5 June 2018 - 22 Sivan 5778 - 21 Ramadan 1439
Tuesday Edition - Ramadan Mubarak
This Week in the Middle East is a bi-weekly column edited by Revan Filiaexdeus regularly published on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We draw our information from a wide network of citizen reporters who are often the very ones fighting these conflicts. Our reporting aims to be as objective and fact-based as possible. The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the author.
A note on terminology: We refuse to use any such terms as "Islamic State", "the Caliphate", "ISIS", or "ISIL" when referring to the terror group. Instead, we use the derogatory term Daesh, an abbreviation from the transliterated Arabic. Additionally, we recognize all UN-recognized nationstates, a few micronations, and definitely Kurdistan.
The above video was released by the Free Syrian Army illustrating their deployment towards Daraa, Syria. Just north of the Jordanian border, Daraa has been a hotbed of conflict since the 2011 Arab Spring protests that would eventually coalesce into the Syrian Civil War.
The Daraa region is home to government, rebel, and Daesh forces. Additionally, Iran has deployed troops around the region. Daraa is only 40 km from Israeli forces in the Golan Heights.
In March of 2011, three Syrians protesting the oppressive Assad regime were shot and killed by government soldiers. Only three months later in July, the The FSA is determined to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The most recent estimates show the strength of the FSA around 30,000 - 35,000. The group is currently recieving funding and supplies from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, and Germany. The United States withdrew it's support of the FSA in favor of funding the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG/J).
The YPG announced it's withdrawal from Manbij this week. The city has been hotly contested by all sides. While the YPG said it would withdraw it's chief officers, YPG troops would remain in the area to defend the civilian population of the city from aggression by any faction.
This move is another in a series by the US-led coalition designed to ultimately descalate the conflict and return peace to the region. Both the United States and Turkey are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, the United States has provided funding and armament to the Kurds whom the US views as it's ultimate ally in the fight against both terrorism and totalitarianism in the region.
The Turkish government continues to characterize all Kurdish political parties and militias as terrorist groups akin to Daesh and has increasingly pressured the United States and other Western powers to choose between favoring the Turkish State or democratic-confederalist Kurdistan.
In South Syria: the Iraqi Abu Fadel Abbas Brigade, together with with Iran's Republican Guard, continue to monitor the war front in Quneitra province near the Israeli border.
Revan Filiaexdeus is a freelance journalist and social activist who has been following the Syrian Civil War since it's origins in the Arab Spring of 2010. He is passionately dedicated to an objective covering of these events and works with organizations such as syriancivilwarmap.com and southfront.org