Regional Dispatch // Week in Review
It has been quite an eventful week in the Middle East! Below is a roundup of major news stories—please keep FAI teams and the region in your prayers!
Russia announced the end of the southern Syria “de-escalation zone,” paving the way for a large-scale military campaign.
On June 22, the Assad regime’s Syrian Army launched the first stage of its offensive against the rebels living in and around the Daraa governate. This region is located close to Syria’s southern border with Jordan and Israel, and in 2011 it was home to more than a million people.
The UNHCR reported the initial shelling displaced 6,000 civilians, while subsequent shelling displaced at least 45,000. The White Helmets estimated that by Sunday up to 80,000 people were displaced. On Monday, Jordan (which already hosts more than 660,000 Syrian refugees) stated it will not admit more refugees. Israel, as well, said that it will not be accepting Syrian refugees, though it will support the Syrian IDPs through intensive humanitarian aid. (see FAI Connection)
Turkish autocratic president Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election this week, further establishing and increasing his overall authority in Turkey, though his party lost its unilateral majority in the Turkish parliament. A major campaign issue was the millions of Syrian refugees now residing in Turkey, a problem which Erdogan plans to address through Turkey’s advances into Syria to establish “security.” However, many suspect Turkey’s excuse of border security and subsequent entrenchment in Syria’s northern region is, in fact, blurring borders in order to serve Erdogan’s expansionist ambitions.
Early on Tuesday morning, Syrian state TV and Hezbollah media reported the impact of two Israeli missiles near Damascus, which was the latest development of the ongoing story of the Israeli-Iranian conflict in Syria. Israel has made it clear that there will be no tolerance of Iranian presence in Syria.
Meanwhile, in Iran, massive protests over Iranian involvement abroad—in Syria, in Lebanon, in the Palestinian territories, in Yemen—have been taking place. Many see the current financial and plunging currency as a direct result of the regime’s refusal to deal with domestic issues, but instead focusing on establishing Shia dominance in the region.
Thursday night, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) delivered 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three palettes of medical equipment and medicines, as well as 30 tons of clothing and footwear across the border into Syria in a special operation at four different locations.
As an organization, FAI is honored to partner with the IDF in this extravagant endeavor to providing merciful aid and care to Syrians caught in the cross fire of this ongoing war.
As the military campaign in southern Syria continues, the opportunity for relief in the midst of crisis is growing exponentially. Would you consider today giving towards this urgent need?