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More Oil for the SDF

The tribal forces protecting the Omar oil field (the biggest in the country) just defected to the Kurds. The regime reached the southwestern edge of the oil field about a week ago, but has been very slow to consolidate its beachhead, and still hadn't made any moves to take the oil field itself.

US Troops in Niger

Someone in a comment thread asked some questions about why there were any US troops in Niger in the first place, and what the general situation is. Here are my answers, posted here for curious minds:

Q: Exactly what the fuck are we doing in Niger?

Losses for the Iraqi Kurds

The Iraqi Kurds continue to lose vast swaths of territory. Forces loyal to Baghdad have now secured all of Kirkuk's oil fields, along with all of the disputed border crossings. Yazidi PMU have also taken control of the Sinjar region, finally solidifying the region's already ongoing shift away from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and towards Baghdad.

Battles around Deir-az-Zor

The regime's Tiger Forces have finished their bizarre expedition to the north, capturing Maadan and eliminating the last ISIS position northwest of Deir-az-Zor. The Kurdish SDF has reached and mostly surrounded the city of Suwar, thereby effectively securing most of the Khabur river. They also took the Conoco plant, and are approaching the Jafra oil field. Once it falls, ISIS will no longer control any oil fields north of the Khabur (except the Derro oil field, which is way to the north).

Assadists Securing Random Farmland

The regime ended up crossing the Euphrates at Mazlum, a little to the north of where I'd expected, and the Tiger Forces are pushing north, not south. No movement from the Kurds. It looks like Assad's goal is to deprive the Kurds of all of the oil fields, even the one northwest of Deir-as-Zor, which would require a second river crossing. I'm guessing that tomorrow we'll see the regime push from Mazlum to the adjacent Tabiyah oil fiels, and then probably north to cut the N-7. The result is total strategic failure for the Kurds.

Oil and the Left bank of the Euphrates

I had realized so many of the oil fields were on the left bank of the Euphrates. There's no way in hell the regime will let the Kurds cross south of the Khabur. The question is whether the regime is willing to accept the Kurds taking the three oil fields to the north of it. Kurdish forces are only a few kilometers away from the closest one, so the regime would need to cross the Euphrates as soon as possible in order to secure them. This also makes it considerably less likely that they'll cross at Mayadeen, since it would take too long to secure the town.

Kurds and Assadists at Deir az-Zor

The Kurds and the Assad regime have both reached Deir az-Zor. The general working arrangement between the two has been that the Kurds get one side of the Euphrates and the regime gets the other. However, the regime is preparing to deploy pontoon bridges across the river, which would cross a stated red line by the US.

Syria Update: Collapsing ISIS

OK, so I'm back from vacation, and just starting to get caught up on what I missed. It looks like the big things are as follows:

Mooschcare

Now announcing: MOOSHCARE, a healthcare reform plan better than anything the Republicans can come up with.

Syria Update: Nothing Newsworthy

I know, it's been forever since I did one of these, but that's because nothing newsworthy has been happening. The Kurds are continuing to slowly grind through ISIS's capital city of Raqqa, which has turned out to be a very long and difficult fight. The rebels are mostly occupied with fighting against each other. The regime has been slowly clearing ISIS out of the desert in preparation for an eventual assault on Deir-az-Zor. Things are progressing slowly.

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