Region of Concern: Syria
Written By Alessandra Deroma; Edited by Elena Alice Rossetti and Cameron Munoz
Date: September 5, 2023
Map of Minbij, Syria
Event: On September 5, unidentified gunmen hit "Asyish", the Kurdish internal security forces, with machine guns, killing four soldiers in the Minbji countryside, east of Aleppo. On the same night, other people infiltrated a military checkpoint and set it on fire. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) controls part of the Syrian territory, including the Governorates of Raqqa, Hasaka, Deir Ez-Zor, and Aleppo. The US supports AANES militarily and financially to eliminate ISIS and all terrorist cells operating from the country. The AANES armed forces are the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprising Arabs, Kurds, and other minorities. Since 2019, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has controlled the outlying area of Minbij City, which serves as a buffer between the AANES and the Turkish-controlled territories.
Significance: Attacks on checkpoints in the SDF-administered area will almost certainly become more frequent to make it easier for militias to enter the region. Infiltration among the armed forces, both and government forces, will very likely increase. Turkish forces will likely exploit the border’s instability to expand. Foreign countries interested in controlling the Kurdish region will likely leverage dissension among the various minorities to advance their regional agendas. The ongoing conflict will very likely weaken northeastern Syria's socio-political and military structures. In the long term, increased instability among the population and a power vacuum in the contested areas will likely lead to an ISIS resurgence or a strengthening of other terrorist groups in the country. Terrorists will likely attack neighboring countries, primarily Turkey. The safe zone created in northeastern Syria will likely be insufficient to prevent population flight and to counter terrorist groups’ recruitment strategies.
Recommendations: CTG recommends increasing SDF and Internal Security Forces presence and running checks among the armed forces members at the border of the AANES-managed territory. The intelligence unit of Asayish should ensure that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is not operating in their territories. The UN General Assembly should support negotiations between the foreign countries currently in Syria. The Assad government and foreign powers should cooperate to manage the conflict and guarantee security for the whole State. The international community should financially support social and health facilities to appease the population's discontent. The Assad regime and the GCC countries should restore their diplomatic and economic relations by supervising the funds allocated for reconstruction.
 Country Guidance Syria 2023, European Union Agency for Asylum, February 2023, https://euaa.europa.eu/country-guidance-syria-2023/33-syrian-democratic-forces-and-asayish
 Turkey-Syria offensive: Assad's army 'enters Manbij', BBC, October 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50039106