Syria has been at war for seven long years. More than a half million people have been killed. More than 11 million – close to half Syria’s pre-war population – have been displaced either internally or as refugees in other countries.
But Syrians are not the only ones involved in this fight. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah – the Iranian regime’s foreign legion – and Russia have helped keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power. Israel, Turkey and the U.S. also have been playing significant roles.
To discuss the conflict in Syria, where it is heading, what U.S. policy is and where it should be, host Clifford D. May is joined by FDD’s senior counselor John Hannah and director of research David Adesnik.
The Iraqi Shia militia Liwa Zulfiqar, which is controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, released a picture of its forces in the southern Syria town of Busra al Harir. The photo offers first confirmed evidence of the Iraqi militia’s – and thereby Iran’s – involvement in the current Syrian offensive on rebel-held areas in southern Syria. Released on its Facebook page, the Iraqi Liwa Zulfiqar advertised its presence in the current offensive with several photos and videos. It also released celebratory photos from Busra al Harir yesterday. Read in FDD's Long War Journal
The White House announced yesterday that President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month in Helsinki, even though Russian airstrikes in southwest Syria are devastating areas inside the ceasefire zone that Trump and Putin endorsed last November. The State Department had warned that the U.S. would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to such violations, yet reports indicate that American negotiators offered last month to abandon a key base at Tanf, despite clear signs that Assad was getting ready to launch another scorched-earth offensive. Read the FDD Policy Brief
President Donald Trump is expected to seek Moscow’s help in scaling back Iran’s military presence in Syria when he meets in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 for a summit, say European diplomats and U.S. officials. Some American officials see a potential for a U.S. and Russian “convergence” on the issue that Mr. Trump could explore at the summit meeting, said one senior diplomat, one of several who have recently spoken to American officials on the issue. Read in The Wall Street Journal