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WHO Syria, Week 52, 21 – 27 December 2018

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General developments & political & security situation

  • The security situation within the AOO remains volatile and unstable. The main hot spots remain Deir Ez-Zour, Hama,
    Aleppo and Idlib governorates. The most significant development is Israeli missile attack against targets in the Rif Damascus governorate. While Turkey postponed its military operation against YPG within the north-eastern area,
    SAA persisted in the military operation against ISIL on the western bank of Euphrates river.

  • Heavy clashes were reported between SDF and ISIL in Hajin pocket, South East rural of Deir Ez-Zour with the frontlines remain unchanged. Meantime, SAA ground shelling continues to hit NSAGs positions along the frontline axis of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Idlib Governorates, while several projectiles impacted multiple neighborhoods of Aleppo city.

  • The security situation in the Eastern area remains volatile and unpredictable. USA government decided to withdraw its forces from Syria while SDF confirmed their readiness to clear the area from ISIL and repel any proposed ISIL attack.

  • The military situation in the Northern area remains volatile and tense. Clashes are still reported between NSAGs with sporadic skirmishes taking place between SAA and NSAGs in rural Aleppo, as well as along the Western fronts of Aleppo city.

  • The security situation in the southern area is assessed as relatively calm but unpredictable. The tension between reconciliation groups and SAA in Daraa is still existing. Demining operations are still ongoing in Daraa governorate as well as Safa hills area (previously controlled by ISIL).

  • Coordination between Turkey and the United States in Syria is not limited to military coordination, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Monday.

  • Turkey began reinforcing its positions on both sides of its border with Syria on Sunday, a Reuters witness said, as Ankara and Washington agreed to coordinate a U.S. withdrawal from Syria.

  • Syrian air defenses intercepted “hostile targets” near Damascus, Syrian state media reported on Tuesday.

  • Syria's army says it has entered the flashpoint city of Manbij, according to state media, after the country’s Kurdish armed groups invited government forces to take control of the northern area and protect it from a threatened Turkish offensive. State-run Sana news agency said the Syrian army raised the national flag in Manbij on Friday. It also mentioned that it is pledged to guarantee "full security for all Syrian citizens and others present in the area, according to Saba. Some Manbij residents and Turkish media stated that they had not seen any sign of Syrian forces in their city, and that is that Syrian government troops have already been only on the outskirts of the city, where they were part of an international coalition that is fighting remnants of ISIL. However, it was confirmed that the situation remained calm and stable within the area of Manbij city, no report about any military confrontation or internal displacement among the local citizens.