Small Wars Journal

Syria

USIP: Guns, Camps and Deradicalization: Violent Extremists in Conflict Zones

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 11:28pm

Link: https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/03/guns-camps-and-deradicalization-violent-extremists-conflict-zones

 

What are the differences between disengagement and rehabilitation programs in stable settings and in conflict zones?

Violent extremists make civil conflicts more complex and less manageable. Whether in the Middle East, Africa or South Asia, one of the many problems presented by conflicts involving violent extremists is how to deal with these combatants and associates when they surrender or are captured. There have been many attempts to disengage, deradicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate violent extremists around the world, but most research focuses on stable settings such as Western Europe and North America. What, then, do we know about how to do this in the middle of conflict?

It’s one thing to put a terrorist offender in a Western prison through a disengagement and rehabilitation program. But the challenges are far greater in a location such as northeast Syria. The territorial defeat of the Islamic State group (ISIS) left around 10,000 former combatants and thousands of family members in the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC).

But what is the status of the former combatants? Are they criminals or prisoners of war? Are their families displaced victims, or should they be viewed as suspected perpetrators? How should they be treated, and by whom? The SDF and SDC may have de facto jurisdiction, but they are not recognized as sovereign by any country and are under military and political pressure on all sides. And as several political controversies in recent years have shown, few states seem interested in taking responsibility for even the most vulnerable and most victimized of their own citizens in northeast Syria.

Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve Quarterly Report to the United States Congress | October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 7:48pm

A roundup of the conflict in against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Topics Include:

Partner Forces

The state of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Troop Reductions

 

 

Link: https://www.dodig.mil/In-the-Spotlight/Article/2497908/lead-inspector-general-for-operation-inherent-resolve-quarterly-report-to-the-u/

Turkey’s Drone War in Syria – A Red Team View

Thu, 04/16/2020 - 11:59am
Since the Idlib operation, a number of articles have appeared with glowing reviews on the sophistication of Turkey’s homegrown drone force and its tactical effectiveness in Syria. While decidedly impactful, a review of the operation suggests there are some shortcomings as well. These include questions about the Turkish drones’ operational reach, lethality and survivability. Any analysis of the implications of Turkey’s demonstrated UAS strength, particularly their potential role in other conflict zones, should consider these potential vulnerabilities as well.

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What to Make of Turkey’s Recent Dust-Up in Syria SWJED Tue, 03/17/2020 - 4:22pm
Putin’s effort to divide NATO through the recruitment of Erdogan has run aground in Syria, where the Russian-backed forces of Bashar al-Assad were recently battered by superior Turkish aircraft and weaponry. After Syrian and Russian aircraft attacked a Turkish column and killed 33 (some report as many as 100) Turkish troops, Erdogan’s forces downed Syrian fighter planes, destroyed Syrian tanks and artillery pieces and killed Syrian soldiers.

All the King’s Men: Authoritarianism, Loyalty and the Syrian Collapse

Sun, 02/09/2020 - 7:27am
While the true social and economic origins of the Syrian civil war stretch back decades, the longstanding culture of government corruption and purchased loyalties hastened the final spiral toward war. Like in pre-war Iraq under Saddam Hussein, loyalty and favor had been traded like currency among the upper echelons of Syrian society since the early days of Hafez al-Assad’s rule.

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Amid Humanitarian Crisis, Syrian Regime Intensifies Idlib Offensive

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:28am
Of the three million people in Idlib province, U.N. sources estimate more than one million have been displaced—with approximately 586,000 displaced since December 1, and the number is rising rapidly. With Turkey and other nations closing their borders, and harsh winter conditions in the region, what is the humanitarian situation in Idlib?

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Being a Proxy: The History of Cooptation Offers Lessons to Learn - Are the Kurds Learning Them?

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 3:27pm
They know the drill. Emerging threats, foreign intervention, local alliances, and historic letdowns. Abandonment should not come as a surprise. Great powers have instrumentalized Kurdish nationalism for grand strategy, but cooptation implies agency from the proxy—a willingness to offer its strategic advantages for support or protection. U.S. withdrawal in face of the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria shines a light on the challenges of proxy warfare.

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A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 6:06am
In the month since President Trump’s October 6 phone call with Turkish President Erdogan and the announced U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, the picture on the ground has changed immensely. Moscow has emerged as the key power broker in Syria. The Kurds, looking for protection from Turkish forces, are in Russian-brokered talks with the Assad government. These discussions could pave the way for an expanded Syrian government presence in the northeast for the first time in years.

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Should the U.S. Carry Out Punitive Strikes in Reaction to Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria?

Tue, 09/24/2019 - 1:04am
The international community, with the U.S. at the helm, has made it clear chemical weapons attacks are a uniquely abhorrent violation of international norms and laws. One that justifies punitive military strikes against the Syrian regime. Some might wonder if the Syrian regime could be deterred by more significant military action. Probably not.

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