The policy debate concerning Syria must reflect on-the-ground realities. The war is a complex, multi-sided affair with no easy solutions.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
The Islamic State claimed five “martyrdom operations” against Syrian regime checkpoints in Damascus, Homs and Tartus earlier today. The assault in Tartus appears to have caused the most casualties, with dozens reportedly killed or wounded.
Russia initially denied that a helicopter was downed east of Palmyra, Syria. After the Islamic State posted a video of the attack, the Russians conceded that two pilots were killed when the chopper was struck by Islamic State terrorists. Russian propaganda has blamed an American-made TOW missile for bringing down the helicopter, but the video seems to show anti-aircraft fire hitting the tail rotor of the chopper.
The Islamic State and Bashar al Assad’s forces are once again battling for control of the Shaer gas field in Syria’s Homs province. The gas facilities have changed hands multiple times since July 2014, when the jihadists first launched an offensive in the area.
Al Nusrah Front has accused the Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa brigade in the northern part of Homs province of secretly serving Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State. The brigade denies this allegation. Al Nusrah raided villages under Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa’s control and claims to have captured “spoils.” The move may be intended to secure a supply route for Al Nusrah into Homs.