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Syria Today – Israeli Strike Hits Damascus Residential Area

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Israeli Strike Hits Damascus Residential Area

Syria says an Israeli strike that hit a Damascus residential area killed 2 people

Israeli strikes hit a neighborhood of the Syrian capital on Wednesday morning, killing two people and causing material damage, Syria’s state TV said. There was no confirmation of the strikes from Israel.

The Syrian state TV reported that several missiles hit the western neighborhood of Kfar Sousseh but did not elaborate or say who were the people killed. The pro-government Sham FM radio station said the strike hit a building near an Iranian school.

The state news agency, SANA, quoted an unnamed military official as saying that the Israeli missiles were fired from the direction of Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and hit a building, killing two civilians and wounding another.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition war monitor, said the two killed were inside an apartment but did not give any clues about their identities.

He added that the strike was similar to last month’s killing in Beirut of Saleh Arouri, a top official with the militant Palestinian Hamas group.

The strike damaged the fourth floor of a 10-story building, shattered window glass on nearby buildings and also damaged dozens of cars parked in the area. An empty parked bus for the nearby Al-Bawader Private School was also damaged and people were seen rushing to the school to take their children.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of war-torn Syria in recent years.

Israel rarely acknowledges its actions in Syria, but it has said that it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Last month, an Israeli strike on the Syrian capital’s western neighborhood of Mazzeh destroyed a building used by the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, killing at least five Iranians.

In December, an Israeli airstrike on a suburb of Damascus killed Iranian general Seyed Razi Mousavi, a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Syria. Israel has also targeted Palestinian and Lebanese operatives in Syria over the past years.


AANES gears up for elections in NE Syria

An official in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) stated on Tuesday that, in preparation for holding elections in the region, the AANES is working on establishing institutions specialized in supervising and monitoring the election process, North Press reported.

The main institutions that the administration is working to establish in line with its recently released Social Contract (constitution) are the Supreme Electoral Commission and the Constitutional Court.

Fareed Ati, Co-chair of the Legislative Council of the AANES, said that they are drafting laws that would regulate the work of the commission and the Constitutional Court.

In a statement to North Press, Ati added that these laws are scheduled to be passed in March.

The court’s responsibility is to oversee the laws issued in AANES-held areas, ensuring their compatibility with the contract, he said.

Ati emphasized that all AANES institutions will undergo the elections, and that the AANES plans to initiate municipal elections by the end of April 2024.


Here’s what an uncoordinated US withdrawal from Syria would look like. It’s bad for many partners, but especially Turkey.

The Atlantic Council published a long article discussing the potential repercussions of an uncoordinated U.S. withdrawal from Syria, with a particular focus on the impact for Turkey and regional dynamics involving Iran and Russia. It highlights how the relationship between Turkey and the U.S. has deteriorated since 2014, partly due to the U.S. partnership with the YPG, which Ankara views as a threat due to its ties with the PKK, a designated foreign terrorist organization. The article outlines the complex scenario that unfolded in 2019 with partial U.S. withdrawal decisions, Turkey’s military operations, and the subsequent involvement of Russia and the Syrian regime in northern Syria.

The article claims that a complete U.S. withdrawal from Syria is seen as less critical to Turkey than the manner of withdrawal. Turkey prefers a coordinated withdrawal with the U.S. to manage the power vacuum that would otherwise enable Iran and Russia to expand their influence in the region. The article describes how Iran could capitalize on a U.S. withdrawal to strengthen its logistical routes across Syria and Iraq, while Russia could extend its control along the Turkey-Syria border, potentially leading to negotiations that legitimize the YPG’s control in parts of Syria.

Turkey faces significant challenges in this scenario, including the possibility of military confrontations to secure its borders and the difficulty of dealing with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib amidst pressure from Iran and Russia. The article also touches on the broader implications of the conflict dynamics, including the potential for mass migration and Turkey’s leverage using domestically produced drones and air-defense systems against Iranian proxies.

The article underscores the importance of a coordinated and strategic approach to any U.S. withdrawal from Syria, emphasizing the significant geopolitical and humanitarian implications for Turkey, the region, and the broader international community.

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