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Finally al-Bab

SYRIA UPDATE: After four months of fighting, Turkey has finally taken al-Bab from ISIS. They also took the nearby towns of Qabasin, Bzaa, and Tadef, where ISIS had been holding out for ages.

Freaking finally.

Current state of the fight against ISIS

The Kurds are carving up the area around Raqqa. The plan was for them to actually take the city, but Trump put that on hold.

Turkey still hasn't taken al-Bab. They started trying in November. They have made substantial progress lately, largely due to Assad doing them a favor and gaining fire control over the supply route. For reasons that are unclear to me, they've also elaborately arranged the front lines to look like an enormous phallus, possibly as a display of dominance.

East Mosul has been fully liberated, but is still being targeted by ISIS drone strikes.

Milo Yiannopulos: Even Nazis Should Be Offended

For those who were confused by people's overwhelmingly negative reaction to Milo Yiannopulos, it's because of shit like this.

For those who are confused by people's overwhelmingly negative reaction to Steve Bannon, it's because he looked at this guy and thought, "Yes, this is who I want to write for my website."

For those who are confused by people's overwhelmingly negative reaction to Donald Trump, it's because he looked at Bannon and thought, "Yes, this is who I want in charge of my political strategy, and also on the National Security Council."

The Black Caucus: "Are They Friends of Yours?"

The sheer douchebaggery of this man is breathtaking. April Ryan has been a reporter for her entire career, a White House correspondent for the last 26 years, and starred in The Longest Journey. You don't need to congratulate her on sounding professional when she asks a question. The reason why people accuse you of anti-Semitism is that you surround yourself with anti-Semites and frequently retweet virulently anti-Semitic twitter accounts. The reason people accuse you of being racist is because that's literally your entire shtick.

Tadif Calling

FINALLY. This is how you take a city, at least in this scenario. You encircle it. Notice how, for months, the Turks tried full frontal assault after full frontal assault, and each time, ISIS, just sat there and killed them. Then the Turks move on Bzaa (the northern prong), and Assad gains fire control over the supply route from the south (that's the other prong), and all the Daesh in their snipers nests realize they're about to get cut off and high tail it back to Raqqa.

Syria and Iraq Update: Progress, of sorts

Major progress by the Iraqi army in Mosul. They've almost completely cleared the eastern half of the city now.

Syria Update: North Aleppo

SYRIA UPDATE: The situation in the North Aleppo countryside is rapidly escalating. As you may remember, this area is strategically important because the Kurds need to take it in order to connect their territories in Afrin and Kobani, and they need to do that in order to be a viable autonomous region in post-war Syria. The are started off mostly under the control of ISIS, with a small pocket held by the rebels. Turkey opposes the Kurds' efforts because they're afraid that a strong Kurdish presence in Syria will cause problems with Turkey's large Kurdish minority.

Syria Update: Noodly appendages at al-Bab

Sweet Christ. When the SDF decides to move, they can really MOVE. That long noodley appendage was all taken TODAY, completely surrounding an ISIS hardpoint and putting them in striking distance of al-Bab. If would have taken the Turkish-backed FSA weeks to cover that distance.

Syria Update: Aleppo, Raqqa, and Mosul

SYRIA UPDATE: Another week, another massive offensive being launched to retake a major city. Last week the rebels began a major offensive against Aleppo, and today the Kurds began an offensive to capture the area around Raqqa, the capital city of ISIS. There's also the ongoing offensive against Mosul, and we may see offensives against al-Bab and Douma before the year is out.

Syria Update: Tel Rifaat

Oh, nice. It looks like the Turkish backed rebels who had been attacking the Kurds have decided not to wage a bloody battle for Tel Rifaat and will instead do what they're supposed to be doing, which is taking al-Bab from ISIS. Or they're going to pounce on the regime and try to lift the siege of Aleppo from the north. Either way, I think the Kurds have learned their lesson about expanding where they're not supposed to expand.

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