What Happened: Syria's armed forces are reportedly resuming airstrikes against Idlib province after initial reports suggested that a cease-fire agreement appeared to hold, AFP reported Aug. 5. The cease-fire agreement included a withdrawal of forces from a designated demilitarized zone as well as the unblocking of a road connecting the city of Aleppo with the country's capital, Damascus.
Why It Matters: The ongoing cease-fire seemed to indicate that external powers in the conflict, such as Russia and Turkey, were seeking to focus on diplomatic efforts to avoid a further deterioration in security. The Syrian government began a large-scale offensive in April with Russian backing, prompting a humanitarian crisis near the country's Turkish border.
Background: The Syrian army has been encountering heavy resistance from Turkish-backed rebel groups in its push into Idlib. Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia are attempting to avoid interfering with each other over the Syrian civil war, as both countries are seeking to strengthen ties through deals such as the transfer of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey.
- Turkey's Delicate Dance in Iraqi Kurdistan (July 24, 2019)
- Turkey: Washington Warns Ankara About Troop Buildup on Its Border With Syria (July 15, 2019)
- Ankara Calculates the Risks of an Offensive in Northeastern Syria (March 9, 2019)