March 31, 2017
The third Astana meeting on Syria ended two weeks ago, without any progress after the opposition boycotted the meeting. Russia, Turkey and Iran, guarantors of the ceasefire regime, issued a joint statement in which they underlined the interlinkage between the Geneva and Astana processes and expressed their support for the fifth round of Geneva talks to start on March 23, 2017. They also said that the fourth round of the Astana talks would be held on May 3-4 with preliminary expert consultations on April 18-19, in Tehran.
The Geneva talks started as scheduled on March 23. At the end of the day, UN Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said that he was expecting neither breakthroughs nor breakdowns. He added that agreement on the agenda was in itself a mark of progress. In brief, rounds of talks are following one another in Astana and Geneva but making little headway. Okumaya devam et
October 24, 2016
It was widely reported last week that Syrian opposition fighters backed by Turkish warplanes and artillery dealt a major psychological blow to ISIL by capturing Dabiq which, though a small town of marginal strategic importance in northern Syria, had crucial ideological and propaganda value for ISIL. Again last week, the Iraqi operation to recapture the city of Mosul, called by some the “great battle”, was launched and is receiving wide media coverage.
Major media outlets give different figures regarding the troops involved. One says that the coalition’s 94,000 troops vastly outnumber their opponents. Another refers to about 30,000 pro-government forces taking part in the operation. The number of ISIL fighters in Mosul is generally given as 5,000. Whatever is the exact figure, add to the tens of thousands of troops heading towards Mosul, hundreds of tanks, heavy artillery and coalition aircraft ranging from jet fighters to Apache helicopter gunships, reconnaissance aircraft, heavily armed drones as well as hundreds of American advisors and ISIL will be scoring a great propaganda victory by standing up against the world. Okumaya devam et