By ISW Syria Team and Syria Direct
Opposition groups backed by Turkey in Operation Euphrates Shield seized full control over Al-Bab in Northern Aleppo Province as well as two neighboring towns, ending more than three months of heavy clashes. The fall of Al-Bab will enable Turkish President Recep Erdogan to pursue his next stated strategic priorities in Northern Syria – including an offensive to expel the Syrian Kurdish YPG from Manbij in Eastern Aleppo Province. Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik warned that Turkey will “reevaluate” military operations against the town if the U.S. does not ensure the imminent withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish YPG from Manbij. Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura opened the Geneva IV Talks between regime and opposition delegations with the goal of reaching a political solution to the Syrian Civil War. The negotiations nonetheless appear primed to fail amidst deteriorating conditions on the ground - including an increasingly unstable nationwide ceasefire and a continued consolidation of power by Al-Qaeda in Syria.
These graphics mark the latest installment of our Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. The graphic depicts significant recent developments in the Syrian Civil War. The control of terrain represented on the graphic is accurate as of February 16, 2017.