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The situation in Syria remains unstable despite of a slight decline in violence. As of January 13, several military and security developments were reported in the country’s northwester, northeastern, central and southern regions.
In the northwestern region, known as Greater Idlib, the ceasefire which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than a year ago is still holding up despite repeated ceasefire violations.
On January 12, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies shelled positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) near the town of Urem Al-Kubra in the western Aleppo countryside.
The army responded within a few hours by shelling militants’ positions in the town of al-Bara and Kansafra in the southern Idlib countryside and the town of al- Enkawi in the northwestern countryside of Hama.
The situation in Greater Idlib will not likely calm down anytime soon. However, a serious military confrontation seems unlikely.
Meanwhile in the northeastern region, the Turkish military and its proxies continue to provoke the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On January 12, a series of Turkish artillery strikes targeted several SDF-held villages in the northern countryside of Raqqa.
The strikes hit the villages of al-Khalidiyah and Hushan, which are located to the west of the key tow of Ain Issa, as well as the village of Beir Khat whcih is located to the west of the Turkish-occupied town of Tell Abyad. No losses were reported, however.
The strikes were likely a part of the Turkish military’s ongoing response to the January 8 Tell Abyad attack which claimed the lives of three Turkish service members. Ankara held the SDF responsible for the attack.
In Syria’s central region, ISIS continues to launch attacks despite facing much pressure from the SAA and its allies.
On January 12, ISIS cells attacked a post of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate (AFID) near the town of al-Kashmah in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor. Three officers were killed and five others were wounded.
On the same day, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out more than 40 airstrikes on ISIS hideouts in the outskirts of the town of al-Resafa in the southern countryside of Raqqa. No losses were reported, however.
The situation in central Syria will not likely improve without a large-scale operation. Government forces and their allies are reportedly preparing to kick off such an operation.
Meanwhile in the southern region, Syrian government forces are still making efforts to secure and stabilize Daraa.
On January 12, Syrian security forces killed former rebel Noor Adnan al-Khorasan following a pursuit that took place in the town of Nawa in the western Daraa countryside. Prior to the 2018 reconciliation agreement, al-Khorasan was a member of a local Free Syrian Army faction known as Liwa Ahl al-‘Azm.
On the same day, clashes broke out between security forces a small armed group led by a local warlord known as Fayz al-Radi near the Nasib border crossing with Jordan. No casualties were reported. However, security forces may soon launch an operation to neutralize al-Radi group in order to guarantee the security of the vital crossing.
Overall, the situation in Syria, while being unstable, it appears to be under control for the time being. The war will not likely experience a major escalation anytime soon.