The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has lost about 14 percent of its territory in 2015, while Syria’s Kurds have almost tripled theirs. Iraq’s government managed to claw back some six percent of its territory from ISIL in the past year, IHS Jane’s said, while Iraqi Kurds regained two percent of their lands. The biggest territorial loser among the main factions in the Syrian conflict was the Syrian government, which lost 16 percent and is now left with around 30,000 square kilometres, according to the think-tank, less than half the area controlled by ISIL and a fraction of Syria’s total area of about 185,000 square kilometres.
For the first time since the nearly five-year-old Syrian civil war began, world powers agreed on Friday at the United Nations Security Council to embrace a plan for a cease-fire and a peace process that holds the distant prospect of ending the conflict. The resolution makes no mention of whether Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, would be able to run in new elections, which it says must be held within 18 months of the beginning of political talks.
Just over a week after Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief, Can D ndar, represented the Turkish daily news outlet in receiving a press freedom award, he and another top editor were arrested and jailed on charges of espionage. In question was a controversial article exposing arms shipments from Turkish intelligence to Syrian extremist rebels.
Russia has strengthened its anti-aircraft defences in Syria by moving a cruiser towards the coast and deploying new missiles at its main base. The Moskva cruiser’s long-range air defence system will provide cover for Russian aircraft, as will the S-400 missiles which arrived on Thursday. The row over Turkey’s downing of a Russian combat jet on Tuesday rages on.
Both Russia and Turkey say the Russian Su-24, an all-weather attack aircraft, was shot down by Turkish F-16s in the Turkey-Syria border area on 24 November. President Putin said the plane, which had two crew members, was flying at an altitude of 6,000m (19,685ft) when it was hit by an air-to-air missile. The planes were warned 10 times over the space of five minutes via an “emergency” channel and asked to change direction
Weeks after the Obama administration canceled a failed Pentagon program to train and arm Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State, American officials announced a new effort to equip ground forces in Syria to fight the jihadists. But 10 days of interviews and front-line visits across northern Syria with many of the forces in the alliance, called the Syrian Democratic Forces, made clear that so far it exists in name only, and that the political and logistical challenges it faces are daunting.
Insurgent commanders say that since Russia began air attacks in support of the Syrian government, they are receiving for the first time bountiful supplies of powerful American-made antitank missiles. With the enhanced insurgent firepower and with Russia steadily raising the number of airstrikes against the government s opponents, the Syrian conflict is edging closer to an all-out proxy war between the United States and Russia.
Four cruise missiles in a barrage of 26 fired by Russia from warships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria crashed in a rural area of northern Iran, senior United States officials said on Thursday. Russian and Iranian officials dismissed the claim as nonsense. Iran s semiofficial Fars News Agency described the report as part of the West’s “psychological warfare” against the Russian-Iranian alliance with Mr. Assad.
Russian officials vehemently defended the country s airstrikes in Syria on Thursday as blows to Islamic State militants even as evidence mounted suggesting that U.S.-backed rebels and others were facing the brunt of Moscow s attacks. And while Russian officials and diplomats rallied behind President Vladi mir Putin, the Kremlin s stance appeared further clouded by acknowledgments that the missions have already extended beyond solely the Islamic State.
Heavy bombardment by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least 32 civilians in the northern city of Aleppo, sources told Al Jazeera. Rami Abdelrahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that the attack on Monday targeted the al-Shaar neighbourhood in Aleppo city’s east, which is controlled by the opposition. Abdelrahman said 18 civilians were killed, but other sources told Al Jazeera that the fatalities were as high as 32.