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Clashes in Idlib further strained March ceasefire, while skirmishes allegedly broke out between U.S. forces on one side and govt and Russian troops on another in north east. In north west, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants 3 Aug reportedly fended off govt attack in Latakia province, killing 12 soldiers; four HTS and two other rebel fighters killed. Rebel groups 11 Aug reportedly repelled govt offensive in Jabal al-Zawiya in southern Idlib. Russia 3 Aug reportedly carried out airstrikes against rebel-held parts of Latakia and Idlib provinces, killing three civilians near Binnish town north of Idlib; 18 Aug bombed near camps housing displaced persons in Harbanoush and Sheikh Bahr Nahr areas, Idlib province. IEDs 14 and 17 Aug struck joint Russian-Turkish patrols along M4 highway, and joint patrol 25 Aug came under fire, no casualties reported; Kataib Khattab Al-Shishani, unknown group suspected to be composed of militants from Caucasus, claimed responsibility for 17 Aug attack. In north east, U.S. forces on joint patrol with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) 17 Aug returned fire against Syrian regime checkpoint near Tal Al-Zahab, reportedly killing one govt soldier; U.S. forces later same day claimed patrol had come under fire from checkpoint’s vicinity. Intermittent clashes continued between Turkish-backed forces and SDF along fronts dividing “Euphrates Shield” area from Manbij and “Peace Spring” area from the SDF-held north east. Russian military convoy 26 Aug reportedly rammed into U.S. armoured vehicle during altercation near Derik, allegedly injuring four U.S. soldiers. In east, following spate of killings of prominent Arab tribe figures late July, suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants 2 Aug killed prominent sheikh of al-Aqaidat tribe in Deir al-Zour, prompting some Arab tribe members 4 Aug to protests against SDF whom they held responsible, killing two SDF fighters in clashes same day. Also in Deir al-Zour, roadside bomb 18 Aug killed one Russian general. In south west, Israel 2 Aug killed four unidentified militants along fence between Syria and occupied Golan Heights, next day launched air raids on Syrian army installations in Quneitra. U.S. 20 Aug sanctioned six senior Syrian regime officials and leaders of Syrian military units.
Militant attack and Russian airstrikes in north west strained March ceasefire, while President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party won parliamentary elections. In north west, Russia and Turkey 22 July conducted 22nd joint patrol since March, for first time along entire 70km route following M4 highway. After 1 and 7 July joint Russian-Turkish patrols, IED attack in southern part of de-escalation zone 14 July wounded three Russian and several Turkish soldiers; Kataib Khattab Al-Shishani, unknown group suspected to be composed of militants from Caucasus, claimed responsibility for attack. In retaliation, Russia 14 July carried out more than a dozen airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Idlib and Latakia provinces, reportedly wounding five. Russian airstrikes 15 July reportedly killed one civilian and injured at least ten, including children, in Turkish-controlled Al-Bab city. Fighting 25-29 July intensified between govt and jihadists in Jabal al-Zawiya in southern Idlib. Vehicle-borne IED 19 July reportedly killed eight and wounded 77 near the Bab al-Salama border crossing; separate IED same day injured at least 13 in the centre of Afrin. Turkish defence ministry 26 July accused Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of bomb attack same day in Ras al-Ayn's city centre in north east that reportedly killed five. Health authorities 10 July reported first COVID-19 case in Idlib province. Amid collapsing economy and U.S. sanctions in June, President Assad’s Baath Party and coalition won 19 July parliamentary elections, third election since civil war erupted in 2011; opposition Syrian National Coalition described election as “theatrical”. Iranian state media 10 July announced reinforcement of Syria’s air defence system as part of new military cooperation agreement. Israel 20 July reportedly launched air raids on suspected Iranian and Iran-linked targets south of capital Damascus; five members of Iran-backed militia killed, and dozen more wounded, including seven govt soldiers. In response to alleged mortar fire on occupied Golan Heights, Israel 24 July struck Syrian army targets in south. UN Security Council 11 July voted to resume cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria through one border crossing from Turkey. UN 24 July announced 24 Aug meeting of Constitutional Committee comprising representatives of govt, opposition and civil society.
Cross-line assaults between jihadist and govt forces early June continued to strain Idlib ceasefire, while economic crisis sparked protests in south and intra-Kurdish negotiation in north east yielded preliminary agreement. In Idlib, fighting between al-Qaeda linked group Hurras al-Din and govt positions in Sahl Al Ghab area 8 June left 19 govt soldiers and 22 militants dead. Russian fighter jets next day delivered the first confirmed airstrikes on Idlib since Russia-Turkey ceasefire was agreed in March; Turkey next day condemned govt’s alleged increasing provocations; Turkish President Erdoğan and Russian President Putin 10 June discussed tensions in Syria. Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey 16 June conducted longest patrol (40km) to date along M4 highway, fourth during June, bringing total patrols to 17 since March. In north east, Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC), umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish opposition parties, 16 June announced initial agreement aimed at “Kurdish unity”, agreeing that 2014 Dohuk Agreement on governance and defence should form basis for ongoing dialogue. Islamic State (ISIS) detainees in provincial capital Hassakeh 29 June staged riot against People's Protection Units (YPG) guards, demanding fair trial and family visits. Amid worsening economic crisis, hundreds of protesters 7-15 June in Sweida in south west demonstrated against soaring food prices and govt corruption; clashes 15 June erupted between pro-govt protesters and anti-govt demonstrators before security forces arrested at least eight. President Assad 11 June dismissed PM Khamis, reportedly in bid to placate protesters. Moscow 30 June announced 1 July videoconference on Astana settlement with Turkey and Iran. Israel reportedly launched numerous airstrikes on suspected Iranian and Iran-linked targets: 4 June in centre, reportedly killing ninepeople; 23-24 June in south, east and centre killing two govt soldiers; 27-28 June near border with Iraq reportedly killing fifteen members of pro-Iranian militias. U.S. govt 17 June rolled out new sanctions against individuals and organisations under Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, including President Assad, Iranian militia, and division of Syrian army. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator 29 June asked UN Security Council to extend authorisation to deliver cross-border aid through Turkey ahead of 10 July expiration.