Logo Wide

Syria Today – Russia’s FSB Says ‘Dismantled’ Financing Ring for Syrian Militant Group

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Russia’s FSB Says ‘Dismantled’ Financing Ring for Syrian Militant Group

Egyptian FM, UN Special Envoy for Syria discuss coordination on forming constitutional committee

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry met Monday with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pederson in Geneva to hold consultations on devising radical solutions to the Syrian crisis addressing all aspects of the issue, EgyptToday.com reported.

Pederson presented the steps he had taken on the front of forming a constitutional committee as well as the outcomes of meetings held to coordinate among stakeholders.

Minister Shokry received in August a phone call from Pederson who wanted to learn about the outcomes of the meeting of the Arab Ministerial Contact Committee on Syria that convened in Cairo on August 15.

The Egyptian minister presented the conclusions, asserting the committee’s keenness on settling the Syrian crisis, handling all its aspects, with the aim of preserving Syria’s unity and stability.

The minister met in May the UN special envoy for Syria in Geneva to discuss the gradual resolution of the crisis adopting the approach of a step for a step.

That is in alignment with the outcomes of Jeddah and Amman meetings, which included a number of Arab foreign ministers, as well as the last Arab Summit and Security Council’s resolution no. 2254.


Russia’s FSB Says ‘Dismantled’ Financing Ring for Syrian Militant Group

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Monday that it has “dismantled” a financing ring for a Syrian militant group, Russian media reported.

“As a result of the activities carried out in 22 Russian regions, 49 members of a terrorist network involved in the collection and transfer of funds for the needs of militants operating in Syria were detained,” the FSB said in a statement.

In addition to providing financial support to the al-Qaida-linked group Khatiba al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which Russia considers a terrorist organization, those detained were accused of disseminating “radical Islamic ideology” online.

The FSB said it was continuing an investigation into the group but did not provide further details.

The United Nations has also designated Khatiba al-Tawhid wal-Jihad as a terrorist organization, saying it numbers around 500 fighters in Syria and cooperates with other militant groups, including the al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic Jihad Group.

According to the UN’s designation, the al-Qaida-linked group was responsible for a suicide bombing attack against the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek in 2016.


Syrians Vital in Turkish Local Elections

As Türkiye gears up for local elections on March 31, Syrians living in the country are making their mark in the political scene, Asharq al-Awsat reported.

Since last year’s elections, where they played a significant role, they’ve become essential in shaping political strategies.

This phenomenon, which initially gained traction during the previous local elections in 2019 when the opposition successfully seized key strongholds of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), continues to shape Türkiye’s political discourse and strategy.

On the government’s side, plans are underway to employ migrants, particularly Syrians, in sectors facing labor shortages.

According to reports from the pro-government newspaper “Sabah,” this initiative draws inspiration from the “guest worker” model previously implemented, benefiting primarily Turkish interests.

This move aims to tackle illegal migration and meet workforce demands. Inspired by past initiatives, this plan involves cooperation with migrants’ home countries under Türkiye’s supervision.

Türkiye’s 2024 budget has stirred controversy with its inclusion of measures concerning foreign employment, particularly targeting Syrians. This move has drawn criticism from the opposition, who view it as entrenching the presence of Syrians in Türkiye and preventing their return home.

Meanwhile, right-wing parties have intensified their rhetoric against Syrians.


Land Corridor And Deterrence Against Israel: Where Syria Fits Into Iran’s Middle East Strategy

Radio Free radio published a long report highlighting Iran’s strategic involvement in Syria, which represents a critical component of its broader Middle East strategy, which aims to consolidate its “axis of resistance” against Israel and the United States. This strategy was highlighted during the funeral of Razi Musavi, a senior commander in the Quds Force, who was killed by an Israeli strike in Syria, underscoring the volatile nature of Iran’s shadow wars in the region.

Iran’s alliance with Syria is central to establishing a continuous land corridor linking Tehran to the Levant, facilitating arms transfers to Hezbollah and the deployment of troops across the Iraqi-Syrian border. This corridor not only enhances Iran’s logistical capabilities within its network of proxies but also serves as a strategic deterrent against Israel, positioning Syria as a pivotal state actor within the axis of resistance.

The longstanding relationship between Iran and Syria, cultivated since the era of Hafez al-Assad, has deepened under Bashar al-Assad’s rule, particularly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Assad’s alliance with Iran has been instrumental in maintaining his power throughout the Syrian civil war, with Iran’s military intervention in 2013 and the deployment of IRGC officers to organize local and foreign Shiite fighters playing a decisive role.

Despite the successes in Syria, which have allowed Iran to minimize its direct military presence while integrating its forces into the Syrian army, the recent escalation in Gaza and retaliatory strikes against Iranian interests in Syria have prompted Tehran to reconsider its approach. The involvement of Iranian-backed militias in various conflicts, including attacks against U.S. forces and the ongoing conflict with Israel, highlights the complexities of Iran’s regional ambitions and the risks associated with its strategy of deterrence.

This recalibration comes in the wake of significant losses, including the death of top IRGC commanders in Syria, attributed to Israeli strikes. The targeted killing of key figures such as Musavi signals a shift in Israel’s strategy, necessitating a tactical reassessment by Iran, which may involve relying more on allied Shiite militias and reevaluating the deployment of senior officers to mitigate risks and maintain influence in Syria.

Overall, Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and the broader Middle East reflects a delicate balance of projecting power, supporting allied groups, and avoiding direct conflict, all while navigating the unpredictable dynamics of regional geopolitics and military engagements.

Helpful keywords