Although the word "withdrawal" from eastern Syria has been repeated by US President Donald Trump and the staff of his administration more than once, and accusations were simultaneously directed towards the so-called "deep state" of delaying the execution of orders and manipulating procedures, this trend has taken a more serious turn recently in light of the existence of motives that drive it and people that are capable of accomplishing it.
The Russian strike against the Jabal al-Duwailah camp in Idlib constitutes a turning point in the course of the Russian-Turkish understandings in northern Syria. This strike has targeted Turkey’s most important proxies in the country’s northwest, namely Faylaq al-Sham (the Levant Corps), in light of the state of calm that the two sides established in the region, and the de-escalation of the demarcation lines since the armistice agreement in March 2020. This shift raises many questions about its causes and the extent of its impact on the existing balances in northwest Syria.
The Syrian Badia (Desert) region is witnessing intense and frequent operations by the Daesh (Islamic State, IS) organisation, which extend to vast areas and target multiple opponents. They are also characterised by speedy execution and striking specific targets. Despite the numerous campaigns launched by the actors being targeted by the terrorist organisation, this did not affect the offensive strength of the Organisation. Those operations raise a question about whether the Organisation, whose elimination was announced in March 2019 after liberating its last stronghold in the town of Al-Baghouz in eastern Syria, has regained its capability to operate, and the effect of this return in the context of developments in a region that abounds with problems and players.
Southern Syria is witnessing a multi-layered conflict involving a number of sides. In spite of attempts by the parties concerned to manage the conflict in order to prevent it from spreading into a broader arena, the intensification of messages passing between the sides has begun to threaten the fragile arrangements in a geostrategically important region fraught with numerous contradictions. This paper highlights the developments taking place in southern Syria, their dynamics, and the potential outcomes.
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