Syrian Armed Opposition Powerbrokers

March 17, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande

International negotiations to reach a political settlement in Syria have resumed, although serious challenges remain to reaching a political settlement. The talks follow two weeks of a “cessation of hostilities” in which the Russian air campaign in Syria decreased notably, though it did not entirely cease. Putin announced that he would withdraw some airframes from Syria on March 15, incentivizing both Assad and the opposition to engage in Geneva.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: February 29 - March 15, 2016

March 17, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande
Russia reportedly withdrew approximately fifteen of its airframes from the Bassel al Assad International Airport in Latakia Province from March 15 - 16, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a drawdown on March 14.

Iraq Situation Report: March 8 - 14, 2016

March 14, 2016 - Patrick Martin

ISIS reportedly withdrew its forces from Hit District, west of Ramadi, ISIS’s rst reported withdrawal from a major urban center in Iraq. Between March 8 and March 14, security forces west of Ramadi have made rapid progress in recapturing villages from ISIS and are reportedly less than seven miles from Hit District’s southern perimeter.

New report series--U.S. Grand Strategy: Destroying ISIS and al Qaeda

March 14, 2016 - John Lawrence

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-week planning exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

Why ISIS is So Successful

March 11, 2016 - Harleen Gambhir

ISIS’s messaging is incredibly effective, largely due to its strategic emphasis on hybridized digital warfare. The organization fully coordinates its military and messaging campaigns with the support of a robust media bureaucracy.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: February 27 - March 7, 2016

March 10, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande
Russian airstrikes continue to target mainstream elements of the Syrian armed opposition, despite the ongoing cessation of hostilities agreement.

ISW in the News: January 2016

March 10, 2016 - John Lawrence

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and AEI's Critical Threats Project conducted a multi-week planning exercise to develop potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. The first two reports were released in January and media coverage is detailed below.

Iraq Situation Report: March 1 - 7, 2016

March 7, 2016 - Patrick Martin

Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’a militias spearheaded major operations to recapture desert terrain west of Samarra and Tikrit in Salah al-Din Province. The operation, announced and initiated by the Joint Operations Command on March 4, involves the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Popular Mobilization, and aims to secure the Jazeera desert area northwest of Baghdad and prevent its use by ISIS as a support zone.

Warning Update: Pro-Regime Forces Continue Encirclement of Aleppo Despite Truce

March 4, 2016 - Chris Kozak

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran are continuing to complete the encirclement of Aleppo City despite an ostensible ‘cessation of hostilities’ that began on February 27, 2016. Russia resumed its air campaign against the opposition on February 28 following a one day hiatus, concentrating its strikes against the opposition-held northwestern suburbs of Aleppo City.

Russia Security Update: February 24-March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016 - Hugo Spaulding

Russia redirected criticism over its operations in Syria toward Turkey with the U.S.-backed cessation of hostilities agreement, which came into effect on February 27. Russia has temporarily reduced the intensity of its air campaign following February 27, after weeks of heavily targeting opposition groups in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo.