Syria

A popular uprising has broken out in Idlib, a province in the north of Syria, against the reactionary Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), according to Leila al-Shami, a well known Syrian activist and author.

The uprising began in the town of Kafar Takharim, when people refused to pay increased taxes imposed by HTS on goods and services, including bread, electricity and olive oil. They stormed HTS-controlled olive presses and police stations and evicted HTS from their community.

The horrific violence that has been devastating Syria for the past eight years is intensifying, writes Tony Iltis. On October 9, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave the order to NATO’s second largest army to begin the shelling and aerial bombardment of civilian populations of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AA).

The Bashir al Assad regime has made little progress in its attempt to recapture rebel-held territory in northwestern Syria. Rebels continue to control most of Idlib and parts of adjacent provinces, writes Chris Slee.

Famous British singer Joss Stone performed a concert in the largely-Kurdish region of Rojava in northern Syria after sneaking across the border.

This is a war film unlike any other that you will see, written and directed by a woman, focusing on a squad of the Kurdish autonomous women’s protection units (YPJ). The systematic female enslavement and mass rape by ISIS are its subject matter. 

US president Donald Trump announced by tweet on December 19 his intention to withdraw US troops from Syria. This followed a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had often stated his intention to invade north-eastern Syria. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has supported the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, in the southern Russian town of Sochi on September 17.

After the meeting, it was announced that Putin and Erdogan had reached an agreement on the future of Idlib, a province in northern Syria.

What is happening in Syria? More than half a million people have died since the war in Syria began in 2011. Five million Syrians have sought refuge abroad and more than 6 million have been internally displaced.

Large rallies were held in towns throughout Idlib on September 14 in response to the threat by the Assad regime to invade the province in Syria’s north-west.

Idlib is currently controlled by a mixture of rebel groups. The strongest is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an extremely reactionary Islamist group that controls 60% of the province.

The Assad regime and its allies have been building up their forces around the rebel-held Idlib province, in Syria’s north-west, in preparation for a major offensive. Some bombing raids have already been carried out in the south and west of the province.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are carrying out guerrilla resistance against the occupying Turkish army and its militia allies in the Afrin canton, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria.

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