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Executive Summary for July 10th

We review the key developments in Syria, including a positive first 24 hours of the newly brokered cease-fire in the south of the country, Rex Tillerson’s hopes for healing U.S. relations with Turkey and a small strategic gain for ISIS in central Syria.

Published on July 10, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Sporadic Clashes Fail to Halt Syria Cease-Fire

The internationally brokered cease-fire in southern Syria has managed to see out 24 hours, despite reports of sporadic violence, reports Al Jazeera, citing the U.K-based monitor Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR).

Following the announcement of the cease-fire by the U.S., Russia and Jordan on Sunday after a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin, there has been little in the way of reported clashes in the affected provinces of Daraa, Suweida and Quneitra, according to SOHR.

“There are minor violations that do not affect the cease-fire,” SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman said. “In general, there is quiet in the three provinces.”

Reuters reports that Iran has called for the cease-fire to be extended to the whole of Syria for it to have any significant impact.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura arrived at the latest round of peace talks in Geneva on Monday, insisting that, while “important gaps remain … on major issues,” they will “work very hard” to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.

Unlike the separate talks in Astana, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Geneva meetings.

Tillerson: Syrian Progress Shows Path to Healing U.S.-Turkey Relationship

U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson says that the progress being made in parts of Syria could be replicated in the north of the country, and thus heal the strained relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, reports Bloomberg.

The U.S.’s support for Kurdish forces under the auspices of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been a source of contention in Ankara for months.

“I think we’re beginning to rebuild some of that trust that we lost in one another; they lost our trust to a certain extent, we lost theirs,” said Tillerson on Monday during a visit to Istanbul. “We’re making some progress down in Syria, we’re hopeful that we can replicate that with Turkey on some areas in the north part of Syria.”

ISIS Find Consolation in Small Strategic Gain in Central Syria

The so-called Islamic State (ISIS), after suffering major blows in battles in Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq, has achieved a small victory by taking a strategic hill in central Syria, reports Al Masdar News.

An ISIS unit took the Al-Mashirfah hill that overlooks the Syrian army’s Jubb Al-Jarrah base 40 miles (60km) east of Homs, following a suicide bombing and prolonged firefight that resulted in the deaths of 20 Syrian army soldiers.

Military sources say the Syrian army unit is regrouping and will shortly undertake an assault to reclaim the hill.

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