Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from border posts, Turkey launched a military offensive into northeast Syria to clear, what Turkish President Erdoğan calls, a terrorist corridor. Kurdish Forces in the area are raising alarms about a potential humanitarian catastrophe. Mona Yacoubian examines the decision to withdraw, the risks of Turkey’s incursion, and the future of U.S. policy in Syria.

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Amid Humanitarian Crisis, Syrian Regime Intensifies Idlib Offensive

Amid Humanitarian Crisis, Syrian Regime Intensifies Idlib Offensive

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian

Since December 1, the Assad regime—backed by Russia and Iranian-allied militias—has intensified its military offensive on Idlib, one of the last remaining rebel strongholds in Syria. The regime’s escalating attacks have spurred massive civilian displacement, deepening international concerns about an impending humanitarian catastrophe. Alarmed by the mounting violence, Turkey has broadened its military involvement in Idlib as well. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian examines the impact of the Syrian regime’s latest offensive on Idlib.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Human Rights

How the Soleimani Strike Impacts Syria and the Fight Against ISIS

How the Soleimani Strike Impacts Syria and the Fight Against ISIS

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian

Slain Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani played a considerable role in conflicts across the Middle East. In Syria, he mobilized Shia armed groups from across the region and coordinated closely with Hezbollah to save the Assad regime. His death by an American airstrike leaves many to wonder what’s next for Iran in Syria. It has also stirred fear of a direct confrontation between Washington and Tehran at a time when concerns about an ISIS resurgence in both Iraq and Syria are already on the rise. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian looks at what, if any change, Soleimani’s death will mean for the Assad regime and what’s next in the fight against ISIS.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

By: Mona Yacoubian

In the month since President Trump’s October 6 phone call with Turkish President Erdogan and the announced U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, the picture on the ground has changed immensely. Moscow has emerged as the key power broker in Syria. The Kurds, looking for protection from Turkish forces, are in Russian-brokered talks with the Assad government. These discussions could pave the way for an expanded Syrian government presence in the northeast for the first time in years. Successive agreements with Turkey negotiated first by the United States (October 17) and then by Russia (October 22) to halt Ankara’s fighting with the Kurds have been marred by violations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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