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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.

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:


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