Pro-regime forces reinstated the siege of Eastern Aleppo City on 04 SEP. On the same day, opposition groups backed by the Turkish Armed Forces successfully cleared ISIS from the entire length of the Syrian-Turkish Border in Northern Aleppo Province. ISIS later conducted a wave of five suicide attacks on 05 SEP targeting regime positions in Tartous City, Homs City, and Damascus as well as the Syrian Kurdish YPG in Hasaka City.
Iraqi Kurdish parties fractured over the impending no-confidence vote against Kurdish Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Meanwhile, the National Alliance, the pan-Shi’a bloc in the CoR, selected Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) leader Ammar al-Hakim as its new chairman on September 5.
ISW's Jennifer Cafarella and Genevieve Casagrande along with Nicholas A. Heras from the Center for a New American Security highlight, in an Op-Ed for Foreign Policy, the danger to the U.S. from al-Qaeda in Syria, particularly the group Ahrar al-Sham.
ISIS’s network in Europe accelerated small scale attacks in July and August 2015 as part of a deliberate transition to the next phase of its global war between Muslim and non-Muslims. The recent death of ISIS’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the primary architect of ISIS’s global campaign, will likely not suppress this terror campaign.
Russia continued to focus its air campaign against Aleppo City and its environs after opposition groups lifted the siege of the eastern districts of the city on August 6, setting conditions for a potential pro-regime counteroffensive to reestablish the encirclement. Russia conducted airstrikes in support of pro-regime forces in frontline districts on the southern outskirts of Aleppo City undertaking repeated efforts to roll back opposition gains.
The Council of Representatives (CoR) dismissed Sunni Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi on August 25, complicating the success of anti-ISIS operations and Sunni reconciliation efforts.
Turkey is unraveling America’s anti-ISIS partner in northern Syria in order to position itself as a major power broker in planned operations to retake Raqqa City. Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) crossed into Syria to seize the ISIS held border town of Jarablus alongside numerous Turkish- and U.S.-backed Syrian armed opposition groups on August 24.
Russia has altered the security balance in the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East by establishing large anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) exclusion zones. Russia’s power projection in these regions has been further extended by the deployment of the S-400 air defense system to Crimea in August 2016 and to Syria in November 2015.
Taliban militants are successfully expanding their territorial control across several regions of Afghanistan during their 2016 summer offensive, Operation Omari. The ANSF’s counter-offensive, Operation Shafaq has repulsed individual Taliban operations, such as the August offensive to isolate Helmand’s provincial capital, but the ANSF remain unprepared and under-resourced to conduct operations in more than one region simultaneously, despite NATO and U.S. assistance.