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Syria, will Ramadan and coronavirus calm violence?

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) tries to undermine rival militias in Idlib. The former al-Nusra Front, cashed in the support of local inhabitants for siding against the Turkey-Russia joint patrols on the M4, trying to become the leader in the Syrian province

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) continues to attempt to expand to Idlib, to the detriment of the other militias. A few days ago in Armanaz there was a clash between members of HTS and the Guardians of Religion (GRO), another al Qaeda-affiliated group, for control of the city. The former surrounded the others’ headquarters, trying to drive them out. The situation then recovered thanks to the mediation of both parties, but what happened is a strong signal. The former al-Nusra Front, after acquiring the support of the local inhabitants for taking sides against the Turkey-Russia joint patrols on the M4, is trying to become the main actor in the Syrian province. Not surprisingly, it recently arrested some members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a rival formation that in the last period has suffered a decline following its proximity to Ankara. In addition, internal fighting between rebels has increased.

Meanwhile, the SDF are targeting Isis logistics and support networks in Deir Ezzor. New operation in Shahil, which involves ferries on the Euphrates

Meanwhile, the SDF in Deir Ezzor have launched a massive anti-Isis operation in the Shahil area. The maneuvers, which Inherent Resolve also participates in, have developed on both sides of the Euphrates and have involved river ferries in particular. Objective: to dismantle the logistics and support network for the Islamic State in eastern Syria, affecting supplies and smuggling. The city, together with Busayrah and Dhiban are the main point from which Daesh militiamen converge in the region. This is because the surveillance by the army of Damascus (SAA) is poor, as well as from here pass the main roads to infiltrate deep into the quadrant or reach the border with Iraq. It is no coincidence that the Arab-Kurdish forces carry out continuous raids there and vigilance has been increased. Especially on the al-Shaddadi road.

Will Ramadan and the coronavirus emergency manage to decrease violence? Theoretically yes, but the unknowns are many

It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve in Syria, not only in Idlib, following two fundamental elements: Ramadan and coronavirus. Theoretically during the recurrence, which has just begun and which should end on May 23, the clashes between militias, SAA and Turkish soldiers should drastically decrease. Especially because the fights could fuel the COVID-19 emergency. In fact, none of the actors has an interest in spreading the infections. This is because they would weaken their forces to the advantage of the enemies. Furthermore, external elements (see Isis) could take advantage of it to try to regain ground-weight, boosting the problems to be managed. However, all parties are increasingly nervous. Ankara has also long been pointing to the Kurdish north-east, where there are no agreements with Moscow and has recently sent substantial reinforcements. Therefore, the risk of sudden escalations remains very high across the country.

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