The battles in the Syrian North between the Syrian regime and its allies and the opposition forces, backed by Turkey, have entered a new stage since the collapse of the Sochi Agreement and the regime started its military campaign to restore the areas currently under the control of the opposition, as Turkey has, for the first time, publicly declared war on the Syrian regime on March 1st. Turkey has announced that it was launching a massive offensive against Bashar Al-Assad’s forces following an airstrike that killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers and injured 30 in Idlib on Feb. 27th.
During the month of October, the MENA region has witnessed some political unrest and instability. In Syria, the Turkish offensive took place after the US withdrew troops from the Syrian border. And Iraq experienced two waves of mass protests against the country’s socioeconomic conditions, while similarly in Lebanon, people took to the streets to protest against the Lebanese government.
The Israeli legislative elections are to be held on September 17th, 2019 after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government in April 2019. Netanyahu was able to secure 60 seats in the Knesset but failed to reach the required number of seats (61) to form a government.
With recent advancements in technology, more and more countries are choosing drones in warfare and conflicts. This trend has been most prominent in the MENA region, as Israel has used it on multiple occasions against Hezbollah and Hamas, Saudi Arabia used drones in the war on Yemen, as well as the US and Russia's use of drones in Syria. Drones use varied from kamikaze style to surveillance and intelligence.
During the month of August, the MENA region has witnessed some political unrest and instability; In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees have been holding protests in for over six weeks following the Lebanese Ministry of Labor’s crackdown on undocumented foreign labor. Lebanese waste problem deepens amidst establishment of landfills around residential areas. In Syria, battles between the Syrian Army along with its allies and the opposition forces intensified and led to the Syrian Army advance on opposition strongholds and took over control of a number of towns in Idlib and Hama.
Israel’s general election is coming up on April 9th and it could possibly facilitate a new era of politics in the region. Despite the fact that popular opinion still generally favors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling center-right coalition, an opportunity for center-left challenger Benny Gantz rises in the midst of growing discontent. Whoever wins, however, will need to deal with brewing threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine that could escalate to a major conflict as well as increasing criticism from U.S. Politicians regarding Israel’s ties with China.
The Syrian state media reported on Monday February 11th, 2019 that Israel bombed a demolished hospital and observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border between Israel and Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on February 12th, 2019 that Israel did in fact strike Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. "We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region," Netanyahu stated as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.
On Friday, Jan 11th, 2019, Israeli warplanes launched multiple missiles towards Damascus. According to a Syrian military source, the attack took place at 11:15 PM (2115 GMT) when Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus. The source claimed most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense system and that the airstrike caused damage but no casualties. said a “ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus International Airport” was hit.
On Dec 19th, 2018, Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that he’ll be pulling US troops from Syria and declared victory over ISIS. According to various reports, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily without consulting his security advisers nor any US allies. The US president reportedly made this decision following a phone call with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Dec 14th.
On September 17, 2018, Russian and Turkish presidents agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib along the line of contact between the Syrian government forces and the armed opposition. The agreement fell apart following a chemical attack targeting Aleppo and reigniting clashes between Turkish-backed rebel forces in Idlib and the Syrian Army supported by Russian forces.
Idlib Chemical attack. (Nov. 24, 2018)