Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of operations to retake Ninewa Province and Mosul from ISIS at dawn on October 17.
Former PM Nouri al-Maliki continues to shape the political landscape in Iraq. Turkish President Recep Erdogan and PM Abadi traded bombastic rhetoric over Turkish force presence northeast of Mosul.
The U.S. suspended all bilateral engagement with Russia on Syria on October 3 in response to the an ongoing regime offensive on Aleppo City. The breakdown comes amidst reports that White House is considering stronger action against the regime, including potential limited military strikes against regime targets. These developments set the stage for further conflict with Russia in Syria.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and tribal fighters recaptured Sharqat on September 22.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have finalized conditions to begin the push north towards Mosul and its environs.
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Russia intensified its air campaign against the Syrian opposition in and around Aleppo City from September 20 – 22 following the breakdown of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The dramatic uptick in Russian airstrikes coincided with the Syrian Arab Army’s announcement of the start of an offensive to seize the remaining opposition-held districts of Aleppo City.
Violence in Aleppo City spiked to new highs after the collapse of a nationwide ‘cessation of hostilities’ on September 19. The ceasefire marked a core component of a wide-ranging deal on the Syrian Civil War reached by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on September 9. No initiative appears likely to prevent the ongoing escalation, pointing towards a new wave of violence that will benefit ISIS, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and other Salafi-Jihadist Groups.
ISW has produced nearly 60 maps on Russian airstrikes in Syria since they first began on September 30, 2015. The first map appeared less than 24 hours after the Russians began strikes and they continue today as do the strikes despite repeated "cessations of hostilities" and an alleged Russian withdrawal.