Since the media has gone terribly quiet since the liberation/defeat of Eastern Aleppo, I thought I would throw up an update on what's going on during this critical time in Syria and Iraq.
The peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan came to a close yesterday after the Assad regime, the opposition, Turkey, Iran and Russia sat down together to iron out a realistic plan to end the violence in Syria. Monday's session resulted in little more than bickering and the blame game but concluded yesterday that all sides would ensure compliance to the current ceasefire until a possible permanent solution is duked out in Geneva on February 8th.
The need for a joint effort in defeating IS and Al Nusra was reiterated. In a mind-boggling move to appease Turkey, Kurdish PYD were not invited to the talks, a senseless move as the PYD control a fifth of the state and it's armed wing the YPG and umbrella force, the SDF have proved to be the only consistant force fighting IS.
In Northern Syria it has been reported that Turkey is moving all FSA militants out of the border towns of Jerabulus and Al Rai to the Al Bab front and will fill the vacuum with Turkish soldiers to police said towns. Al Bab remains hotly contested as the SDF, the regime and Turkish backed FSA are moving on the city from all directions. Turkish deputy prime minister Kurtulmus stated that should Turkey take Al Bab, they will not occupy the city but hand it over to the Syrian people. This is rather confusing as they are attacking the Syrian Democratic Forces and are trying to take the city before SAA (govt) do.
In Iraq the PM has announced they have officially liberated east Mosul and their Popular Mobilization Units have been green-lighted to start phase 6 of the operation and advance towards Tal Afar. IS have reported fled the city, likely towards Syria and have destroyed all archives in the city before doing so (Source Maryanne Lavrence).
It has also been reported that IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has been wounded in an airstrike in Al Ba'aj, west of Mosul. This is about the 8th time he has been reported wounded so we'll have to wait and see. We are launching a new fundraising platform on February 23rd in Dublin. We're tremendously excited about it and will reveal more about it in the coming weeks. This new platform will enable us to continue our support to HSK in their clinics in 3 refugee camps, Qamishlo, Aleppo, Kobane, Amude, Shedaddi, Serekani and Derik.
Once again we'd like to thank everybody who organised fundraisers on our behalf, donated and got involved im 2016. You are the reason we are able to help so many people throughout Northern Syria. Check syriasvibes.com for events, rants and ways to get involved. X