In a meeting with families of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fighters killed in Syria and Iraq, the Supreme Leader of Iran once again justified Iran’s military involvement in the region. Senior IRGC commanders condemned the decision of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to designate the IRGC. Iranian, Russian and Turkish delegations met in Moscow for another round of talks concerning the settlement of the war in Syria. A Syrian opposition website reported that Iran began the construction of a military base in the Lajat region in Daraa governorate, intended to serve pro-Iranian militias in the region.
In the Idlib enclave there is still no progress in the establishment of the demilitarized zone. Local clashes occur between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations. In eastern Syria strong fighting continues in the ISIS enclave in the Euphrates Valley. In the al-Ghurabaa’ region fighting was renewed in the al-Safa enclave after a ceasefire which was used for the exchange of prisoners (abducted Druze women in return for the wives of ISIS operatives).
ISIS’s use of drones in Syria and Iraq and the threat of using them overseas to carry out terrorist attacks
During the years in which it was active in Syria and Iraq, ISIS made extensive use of drones, both for offensive and defensive purposes. It handled the drones to carry out attacks (“explosive drones”), to collect intelligence, and even for propaganda purposes (documenting attacks by suicide bombers in order to disseminate the photos through ISIS’s media foundations).
In the Idlib enclave, there is still no progress in the establishment of the demilitarized zone, even after the extension for the implementation of the Sochi agreement. In eastern Syria, the Kurdish SDF forces continue to attack the ISIS enclave north of Albukamal, with Coalition air support. In the area of As-Suwayda, in southern Syria, ISIS continues its relentless fighting against the Syrian army. A ceasefire was achieved in order to enable a deal to be carried out in which six Druze abductees (two women and their four children) were released in exchange for wives of ISIS operatives detained by the Syrian regime
The establishment of the demilitarized zone in the Idlib region, which was agreed upon between Russia and Turkey at the Sochi summit, was not actually carried out on the ground (it was supposed to end on October 15, 2018). In eastern Syria, the SDF continues its offensive against the ISIS enclaves in the Euphrates Valley north of Albukamal, with the support of the United States and the Coalition.