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Iran in Syria: “Cognitive Empathy” and Interests

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi How should Iran’s intentions in Syria be understood? The question is all the more relevant in light of the recent exchange of missile fire on the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria. Writing in The Intercept back in March 2018, Robert Wright argued that DC think-tanks “warp our vision” […]

“When the SDF was shocked”- Azaz Opposition Activist’s Analysis of Russian-Turkish Relations, Afrin, & Why US Will Dump Kurds for Turkey

When the SDF was shocked” – An Azaz Opposition Activist’s Analysis of Russian-Turkish Relations, Afrin, & Why US will Dump the Kurds for Turkey Abd al-Qadir Abu Yusuf interviewed by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Syria Comment – Jan 31, 2017 Translator’s preface [Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi]: Operations by the Turkish army and Syrian rebels against the Syrian Democratic […]

Beit Jann: Myths and Reality

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi The Syrian government’s recent recapture of the last rebel-held pocket in the vicinity of Mt. Hermon (Jabal al-Sheikh) near the border with the Golan Heights- comprising the three towns of Beit Jann, Mazra’at Beit Jann and Mughir al-Mir- has led to much exaggeration and distortion about the matter, primarily emanating from […]

Reconciliations: The Case of al-Sanamayn in North Deraa

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Photo from al-Sanamayn, April 2017. It is often thought that the regime has a grand strategy for suppressing the rebellion in the western half of the country that constitutes the main conflict within the Syrian civil war. In reality though, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the question of how the […]

Katibat Dir’ al-Watan: New Sub-Unit of the Fifth Legion

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Katibat Dir’ al-Watan. On top: Dir’ al-Watan. On bottom: “The Special Force.” Note the Russian and Syrian flags in the emblem’s centre. Note also the cedar of Lebanon on the bottom of the emblem. When the Fifth Legion (V Corps) was announced in November 2016, it was debatable how […]

Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi: Syrian IRGC Militia

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi. Flanked by the flags of Syria and Iran, the top reads: “Fawj Qamr Bani Hashim.” The centre consists of a flag with the inscription:  “Labbayk ya Hussein.” At the bottom is the name Liwa al-Mukhtar al-Thiqfi. The rise of ‘Syrian Hezbollah’ is by now a well-established […]

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and Civil Society in Jabal al-Summaq

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi The formation of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (‘Liberation of al-Sham Commission’- HTS) has understandably provoked fear of a total jihadist/al-Qa’ida takeover of Syria’s rebel-held northwest, centred around Idlib province. HTS was announced on 28 January amid wider rebel infighting in Idlib that saw multiple groups merge under Ahrar al-Sham in a bid […]

Further Response to Roy Gutman: Balancing the Picture

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi In his reply to my comments on his recent piece for The Nation, Roy Gutman takes exception to my supposed challenge to his “professional integrity.” I should thus begin by emphasizing that I did not intend my piece to be calling professional integrity into doubt: opinions and definitions may differ, but […]

A Response to Roy Gutman’s “Have the Syrian Kurds Committed War Crimes?”

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi A recent article in The Nation by Roy Gutman has generated considerable controversy, as the article attempts to highlight what it portrays as the more unsavoury and neglected aspects of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)- the main Kurdish faction operating in Syria and linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)- and its armed […]

Liwa Al-Jabal: A New Loyalist Militia Unity Initiative In Suwayda’

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Liwa al-Jabal. Unity initiatives of various kinds among armed groups are foremost associated with the rebels in Syria. Despite some attempts to argue to the contrary, the popular conception of the wider insurgency and opposition as heavily divided is largely correct. Time and time again we have seen talk […]