Thursday, March 9, 2017

Syria Situation Report: March 2 - 9, 2017

By ISW Syria Team and Syria Direct

Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesperson Col. John Dorrian stated that the U.S. deployed roughly four hundred soldiers drawn from the 75th U.S. Army Ranger Regiment and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to Northern Syria. These forces come in addition to an estimated three hundred to five hundred U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) operating with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northern Syria. The Marines reportedly deployed to Northern Ar-Raqqa Province in order to provide "all-weather" artillery support to the SDF in operations against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City while the Rangers deployed to Manbij in Eastern Aleppo Province in order to "deter" an open confrontation between the SDF and Turkey. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford also held an unprecedented trilateral meeting with Turkish Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov in Turkey on March 7 to deconflict ongoing operations near Manbij in Aleppo Province. Turkey will likely retaliate against these efforts to contain its operations in Northern Syria.

Meanwhile, the latest round of Geneva Talks on the Syrian Civil War concluded on March 3 without significant progress. The regime and opposition delegations agreed on an agenda for the next round of negotiations that included the regime’s demand to include talks on counter-terrorism but excluded opposition requests for direct negotiations on a political transition. Conditions are not set for a meaningful political settlement of the war as the regime remains unwilling to make concessions at the negotiating table and the opposition remains unable to guarantee any settlement on the ground.

These graphics mark the latest installment of our Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. The graphic depicts significant recent developments in the Syrian Civil War. The control of terrain represented on the graphic is accurate as of March 3, 2017.