Report

Russian Strikes Hit Coalition Bases in Syria

U.S. officials acknowledged that Russian airstrikes hit two remote outposts in Syria used by U.S. and coalition forces last month. The two targets, al-Tanf garrison and the Lions of the East family camp, are located close to the Syria-Jordan border. No U.S. troops were at the sites at the time of the attacks, but a ...

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U.S. officials acknowledged that Russian airstrikes hit two remote outposts in Syria used by U.S. and coalition forces last month. The two targets, al-Tanf garrison and the Lions of the East family camp, are located close to the Syria-Jordan border. No U.S. troops were at the sites at the time of the attacks, but a detachment of British forces had departed from the garrison shortly before the bombing. U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that the strikes were part of a Russian campaign to pressure the United States to cooperate more closely on airstrikes.

In Aleppo, rebels are believed to have killed approximately 40 pro-Assad forces after detonating explosives that they had tunneled under a building being used by government troops. Rebel neighborhoods of the city remain besieged.

A high-level meeting of officials from the United States, Russia, and the United Nations to discuss the conflict in Syria is being scheduled for next week, diplomats said.

U.S. Citizen Believed Arrested in Iran

A U.S. citizen, Gholamrez Shahini, is missing in Iran and believed to be detained by the government. Shahini, who is known to his friends by his nickname, “Robin,” is a recent graduate of San Diego State University and was visiting family in Gorgan, Iran, when he was arrested by Iranian authorities. Friends say he is not an activist but that he has been outspoken on social media about human rights, which they worry might have drawn the attention of Iranian government.

Headlines

  • Eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece by helicopter after the failed coup last week went on trial yesterday for illegally entering the country, which could carry a prison term of five years; the men have applied for asylum but Turkey has requested their extradition.

 

  • Investigators in France say the attack in Nice was planned over the course of months in collaboration with five accomplices, but despite the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility, there is no evidence yet that anyone involved was in direct communication with the terrorist group.

 

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on the United States to fast-track the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based cleric who the Turkish government requested be transferred to their custody this week after accusing him of organizing the recent failed coup.

 

  • Fourteen bodies were found with their arms and legs bound and signs of torture and having been executed in a trash heap in Benghazi, Libya, in an area under the control of Gen. Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan National Army.

 

  • The British government issued corrections to several statements regarding whether the Saudi government has violated international humanitarian law in Yemen; the statements previously said there was no evidence of Saudi misconduct but now say instead that the British government has been unable to assess whether Saudi Arabia has committed violations.

Arguments and Analysis

Will forcibly displaced Syrians get their land back?” (Paul Prettitore, Future Development)

“With half the population of Syria forced from their homes as a result of the five-year-long civil war, now living either as refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs), many are asking, ‘Will we be able to return to our original homes?’ Recent changes to the legal framework in Syria governing the sale and purchase of private land raise concerns — both for the protection of land owned or long-occupied by displaced persons and for the development of any post-conflict land restitution process. Such regulations may also compound post-conflict reform of land administration practices and bring uncertainty to one of the few economic assets of displaced households.”

 

In Translation: Strategic Implications of Turkey’s Failed Coup” (Abdel Bari Atwan, Arabist)

“In video and audio, President Erdogan told a group of his supporters on Monday evening that ‘his country would put all its disputes with neighboring countries behind it,’ and revealed that his country would take an important decision after the National Security Council meeting which will be held tomorrow (Wednesday). We do not know what important decision the Turkish national security leadership — with the participation of the prime minister, senior state officials, and the military and security establishments — will take, but we do know that the biggest disputes with neighboring countries, which it will put behind it, are with Syria, the source of all the problems Turkey is enduring these days, including “terrorism” and its bombings in Ankara and Istanbul, and Kurdish aspirations to establish a “state” taking shape along its northern border. Of course we do not deny the existence of disputes with Iraq, as well as others with Egypt, and third, to a lesser extent, with Iran, and fourth with Russia, which are on their way to being resolved. However, all of these disputes are secondary, or are directly related to the Syrian issue, and will all melt away if there is a change in Turkish policy toward this issue.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

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