marshall.lewis's blog

Syria Update: Aleppo, Hama and Shirqat (Iraq)

SYRIA UPDATE: After breaking the cease fire, Russia and the regime carried out a massive series of airstrikes on rebel-held east Aleppo, killing hundreds of civilians and cutting water to the entire city. They then launched a ground offensive from the north, lead by the regime-aligned Palestinian militia, Liwa al-Quds, which was able to seize some territory. Somewhat astonishingly, though, the rebels were able to push them back, inflicting heavy losses and retaking the lost territory.

Syria Update: Hasakah

SYRIA UPDATE: The big news this past week was fighting between the Kurds and Assad in the predominantly Kurdish city of Hasakah, where the regime controls a number of neighborhoods. Relations between the two groups had been good, so this is a bit of a surprise. Discussions to end the fighting are ongoing, but it doesn't look as though a ceasefire has been reached.

Syria Update: Mabij

SYRIA UPDATE: The Kurds have completely expelled ISIS from the city of Manbij. In this slightly outdated map, the Syrian Kurds are light yellow:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_a...

Syria Update: Siege of Aleppo broken

MAJOR SYRIA UPDATE: The rebels have successfully broken the siege of Aleppo. Since half of Aleppo is controlled by the rebels and the other half by the government, this means that the other half of Aleppo is now to all intents and purposes under siege. SRO, who has returned from the brink of death to give us more leaks from the rebel high command, says that the rebels will probably try to cut off the small supply route to the north as well.

Syria Update: Aleppo and Mabij

Syria Update: After an accidental airstrike on a refugee camp north of Manbij, the Kurds opened a corridor to allow ISIS to evacuate. I'm not sure how many militants took them up on it, but a lot of civilians have evacuated. Fighting continues in the city's center.

Syria Update: Aleppo and Mabij

SYRIA UPDATE: The last rebel supply route to Aleppo (the green line on the map) has been cut. The rebels are gathering for a massive offensive to establish a new supply line in the south by punching through the regime's supply line. I'm skeptical that this will work, but you never know. It also sounds like the Kurds are going to be launching an offensive to establish a supply line between Afrin and Aleppo. Two important regime villages lie along that road, so I'm not sure what that would look like in practice.

Syria Update: Tanf and Mabij

SYRIA UPDATE: Other than that weird Russian airstrike on Tanf, the big news continues to be Manbij. The Kurds have taken a huge amount of countryside around the city, and are currently assaulting the city itself. This will be ISIS's biggest defeat since they lost Palmyra.

Unexpected Correlations

People sometimes say that I focus on second and third-order causes, but I'm really more interested in first-order causes of unexpected correlations and parallels, such as the fact that women are significantly more likely to participate in the Resistance than men, or that one of the strongest predictors for a state supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary was lack of ethnic diversity, or the strong tendency of serial killers, mass shooters, and terrorists to be male, or the intense gender divisions in my industry.

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