Kerry's recent comments about negotiating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sparked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. But what did he actually say?
The battle to reclaim the Syrian city of Kobane was no Pyrrhic victory. It was a serious military change of fortunes, a major event in Kurdish politics, and an ominous sign of things to come for the Islamic State.
The outcome of the battle for Kobane will have significant implications for the fight against the Islamic State and developments in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq moving forward.
While Turkey is likely to lend assistance to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, the recent parliamentary vote won’t trigger any military action by itself. For Turkey, the top priority is not to join the campaign but to leverage it for other purposes.
The provisional governance structures that have emerged in the Syrian Kurdish-majority areas captured by the PYD have become more formalized, and much of the policies are inspired by the writings of Abdullah Öcalan.
Competing regional agendas continue to drive the two leading Kurdish actors in the region apart and because of this, they cannot agree on a joint policy to aid the Syrian Kurds.
Despite the radicalization and despair that has set in on the opposition side, some combination of international pressure and real political opportunity could still have an influence on the insurgency’s ideological choices.
Syria is clearly an area where Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is dangerously exposed, at a time when he is already facing growing internal pressure.
The Hatay region, located on the coast north of Latakia, was originally a part of Syria, but Turkey annexed the region in 1939. While Hatay has made a forceful comeback in Syrian media, nothing suggests that the new rhetoric is indicative of a deeper change in the view that has quietly guided Syrian policy ever since 1939.
Most of Syria’s large rebel groups have explicitly distanced themselves from the Geneva talks.
The creation of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, also known as the Waad Party for its Arabic acronym which means “promise,” had long been in the pipeline.
Islamic Front, a coalition of some of the largest Islamist rebel factions in the Syrian civil war, have seized control over Bab al-Hawa. This large border crossing between Turkey and Syria’s Idlib Province has long been a main entry point for supplies to the insurgency.
It is the season of new governments in Syria.
The question of the extent and duration of Turkish support for jihadist factions opposing the Syrian regime has been a sensitive issue for some time.