Syria Today – US Confirms Airstrikes on IRGC Positions in Syria; Gaza War to Consolidate US foothold in Syria

The US President has confirmed that airstrikes work conducted on IRGC positions in Iraq, Syria. Meanwhile, some experts believe that the U.S. will increase its influence in Syria in the wake of the war against Gaza.

Turkish intelligence “neutralizes” senior YPG member in N. Syria

The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) “neutralized” a senior member of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in a cross-border operation in northern Syria, the semi-official Anadolu Agency reported Thursday.

Turkish authorities often use the term “neutralize” in their statements to imply the alleged “terrorists” have either surrendered, been killed, or been captured.

The “neutralized” YPG member Fahrettin Tolun, code-named Hayri Serhat, was wanted with a red notice from Interpol, Anadolu quoted anonymous intelligence sources as saying.

Tolun was in the Rmelan region of northern Syria and was allegedly responsible for supplying heavy weapons to the group, according to the sources.

The YPG member had been active in supplying heavy weapons to the YPG in Syria, Iran and Iraq since 1992, said the report.

The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria in order to create a YPG-free zone along the Turkish border with the neighboring country. The Turkish intelligence has also intensified cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria.

Türkiye sees the YPG group as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States and the European Union, has rebelled against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

US President Confirms Airstrikes On IRGC Positions In Iraq, Syria

In a letter addressed to the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Joe Biden detailed recent US military actions against the Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Syria.

The president highlighted the 66 attacks carried out by militia groups affiliated with the IRGC against US personnel and facilities in the region, causing injuries and placing lives at risk. The uptick followed the outbreak of the war in Gaza, in which the US quickly stated its backing of Israel’s right to defend itself following the Iran-backed invasion of October 7, the single most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust.

Biden stated that on October 27, November 10, and November 14, Washington conducted targeted strikes against facilities in Syria used by the IRGC and its affiliated groups.

“The strikes were taken to deter future attacks and were conducted in a manner designed to limit the risk of escalation and avoid civilian casualties. I directed the strikes to protect and defend our personnel conducting military operations pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force,” explained President Biden.

Iran has denied direct involvement in the Gaza conflict, but its proxy forces in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, have initiated attacks against both Israel and US forces.

The attacks by Iran-affiliated groups have resulted in at least 62 US personnel sustaining minor injuries or traumatic brain injuries.

The Constitutional Process in Syria: How to Benefit from the Lebanese Experience?

“Syrians for Truth and Justice” organization, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), facilitated and organized several dialogue sessions, under the title of (“The Road Towards a New Syrian Constitution: How to Benefit from the Experiences of Other Countries?”). The aim of these dialogue sessions was to inform a diverse group of Syrians about the experiences of four different countries, some of which appear to have succeeded, to a great extent, in properly addressing the issue of diversity and inclusion during their constitution-drafting process, and others whose experience were not as successful, if at all. In some of these experiences, the failure to comply with the fundamental principles of the rule of law was even a politically motivated deliberate step towards discriminately excluding certain groups and systematically depriving them of some of their fundamental rights not only as groups but also as individuals.

The idea of these dialogues came as a continuation of an earlier effort in the form of a series of meetings that started in 2020, under the title of (“Syrian Voices for an Inclusive Constitution”), which aimed at promoting a more inclusive constitutional drafting process and ensuring the fair and proper representation of marginalized groups, communities and minorities. Subsequently, a set of papers were published in that regard. These papers respectively focused on the following themes:

“The Formation and Responsibilities of the Syrian Constitutional Committee”
“Syria’s Diversity Must be Defended and Supported by Law”
“Transitional Justice and the Constitution Process in Syria”
“Governance and Judicial Systems and the Syrian Constitution”
“Socio-Ecological Justice and the Syrian Constitution

In the 2021 sessions, the target groups were distributed mainly in the northeastern and western regions of Syria, considering gender and ethnic diversity – women were involved alongside men, and Kurds alongside Arabs, Yazidis, Assyrians, Armenians, Syriacs and other different ethnic groups. Emphasis was placed on individuals who had not participated in any similar meetings on constitutionalism and the constitutional drafting process in Syria.

This paper addresses the Lebanese constitutional experience. It is the second in a series of four such reports, approaching Lebanon, Turkey, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Read the Iraqi experience here).

In these papers such experiences will be introduced and some of their relevant aspects will be projected on the Syrian context. An objective comparison between each of these experiences and the Syrian on specific issues, will facilitate a better and more informed deliberation and consequently come up with more relevant recommendations as to how a more balanced and inclusive new Syrian constitution could ideally be drafted.

After several fruitful discussion sessions between participants and a few renowned academics and experts on the topic, “Syrians for Truth and Justice” has dedicated this paper to discussing the constitutional experience of Lebanon.

Gaza war to consolidate US foothold in Syria – Expert

The war in Gaza and the subsequent ongoing attacks against US forces in Syria will not compel the US army to withdraw, said Abdullah Hayek, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.

Hayek told North Press that these attacks will only solidify the US foothold, adding that the US will respond to any attacks to prevent Iran from exerting control over Syria through its militias.

The Middle East is experiencing security tensions following the escalation in the Gaza Strip, as US bases in Syria, Iraq, and at the Red Sea have been repeatedly targeted. The Pentagon has attributed these attacks to Iran-backed militias.

Hayek warned that if The Sons of Jazira and Euphrates Movement, a local militia in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor fighting against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), evolves into a prominent Iranian militia, it could trigger a fresh wave of conflict and escalation in Syria.

In late August, areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria, faced attacks from armed groups linked to the Syrian government and Iran. Prior to these incidents, documents emerged indicating a collaborative scheme involving Iran, Russia, and Syria with the objective of expelling the US from Syria.

US forces in Syria are deployed in several bases in the east and in al-Tanf base in the south as part of the mission to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). They have been fighting alongside the SDF for years, and together they ended ISIS reign in Syria.

The Sons of Jazira and Euphrates Movement emerged immediately after the events in Deir ez-Zor. It is led by Ibrahim al-Hefl, a prominent figure from the al- Uqaydat tribe who gained recognition through mobilizing locals and advocating for fighting against the SDF.

In a previous statement in September, the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister of Syria, Faisal Mekdad, expressed his support for this movement, and said that it is a movement aimed at combating the SDF and the “US occupation forces.”

Hayek pointed out that Iran has a significant ambition to expand its influence in Syria through Sunni militias and armed groups, not just Shiite ones, who can fight and work in Iran’s favor. This has led to the formation of what is known as the Sons of the Jazira and Euphrates Movement.

Hayek further stated that since 2017, there has been a convergence of efforts between the Syrian government and various armed groups in eastern Syria to combat the SDF and target the US presence in the region with the support of Iran.

He noted that they have also actively sought to inflame regional and nationalist sentiments in the area, specifically against the US.

Hayek concluded that the security and political conditions in Syria are alarming, particularly if the threats posed by Iran and its militias against the US forces in the region escalate, as has been witnessed during the recent conflict in Gaza.

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