In sad milestone, Syrian government forces have nearly completed recapturing the south of the country
The BBC reported on Thursday that troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad entered rebel-held areas in the city of Deraa, near the border with Jordan. As in other places recaptured by the government, opposition forces have reportedly agreed to surrender in exchange for safe passage to other rebel-held areas.
With the fall of Deraa, the government has nearly completed its recapture of the southern part of the country. It is a sad milestone: Deraa is where the rebellion began in 2011 with great hopes for throwing off the repressive Assad regime.
I expect military operations will soon shift back to the north, especially to the rebel-held areas in Idlib province, near Aleppo. Also in the north, large sections of land are controlled by the Kurds. It will be interesting to see whether the Assad regime turns its attention to regaining control over these provinces, and whether the Trump administration will permit US ground troops positioned there to stand by our Kurdish allies, who fought in the front lines in the battle against ISIS.
Espionage coup: Mossad filches Israeli spy's watch from Syria
The Israeli government announced last week that the Mossad had recovered the watch of martyred agent Eli Cohen. In the years leading up to the Six Day War, Cohen infiltrated the top levels of the Syrian government, obtaining crucial military data for Israel, before he was captured and hanged in 1965. Despite repeated requests from the Israeli government, the Syrian regime has refused to return Cohen’s remains to the Jewish state.
Israel does not reveal Mossad operations frivolously. My speculation is that the decision to go public with Cohen’s watch was made in order to send a message to the Assad regime: we can operate freely in your country.
Nineteen year old Maedeh Hojabri was arrested last week after she posted video of herself dancing on Instagram, without a hijab, in defiance of Iran’s strict Islamic code.
In response of her arrest, thousands have tweeted their support for Hojabri with hashtags like برقص_تا_برقصیم# (Dance to dance) and رقص_جرم_نیست# (Dancing is not a crime)—many with their own videos in which they bust some moves.
I dance in a public park in Tehran to support Maedeh the 19 year old girl who got arrested for dancing.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 7, 2018
در پارک هنرمندان بدونحجاب اجباری رقصیدم ولی نوازنده نگران اینکه بساطش جمع بشه با عذرخواهی آهنگ رو قطع کرد.
برای حمایت از #مائده_هژبری بیا #برقص_تا_برقصیم pic.twitter.com/8JtGU4QOzI
|Michael Isenberg drinks bourbon and writes novels. His latest book, The Thread of Reason, is a murder mystery that takes place in Baghdad in the year 1092, and tells the story of the conflict between science and shari’ah in medieval Islam. It is available on Amazon.com|