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Executive Summary for February 2nd

We review key events in Syria, including the Syrian government allowing private oil imports and setting up a reconstruction fund for Darayya, the Syrian army risking clashes with Turkey in al-Bab and an unidentified airstrike targeting the Red Crescent center in Idlib.

Published on Feb. 2, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Syrian Government Allows Factories to Import Oil Privately, Sets up Darayya Reconstruction Fund

The Syrian cabinet approved a bill allowing private oil imports for factories and approving funds to reconstruct Darayya, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday.

The cabinet allocated 1 billion Syrian pounds to reconstruct Darayya’s infrastructure. Government and allied forces took control of Darayya in the Damascus suburbs in August after a nearly four-year battle with rebels in the city.

People from Darayya, including rebels and civilians, were evacuated to the opposition-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria.

Syrian Army Rapidly Advances in Al-Bab, Risks Clashing With Turkey

A Syrian army advance on the city of al-Bab, held by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), risks clashing with a Turkish offensive there, Reuters reported.

The Turkish military and Syrian rebels backed by Ankara and fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner (FSA) have been combating ISIS in al-Bab in eastern Aleppo province as part of Turkey’s “Operation Euphrates Shield,” launched in August.

Two weeks ago, the Syrian government moved its military to within 4 miles (6km) of al-Bab. A source in the Syrian government’s military alliance told Reuters that the government was ready to clash with FSA fighting alongside the Turkish military, if necessary, “to acquire a strong hand in the game unfolding on that front.”

Russia, the Syrian government’s key ally, has conducted air raids on al-Bab in support of both the Turkish-backed and Syrian government offensives. Turkey has provided support to opposition factions fighting the Syrian government.

Red Crescent Center in Idlib Targeted by Airstrike

An airstrike on opposition-held Idlib city hit a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) center, injuring staff and partially destroying the building, Syria Direct reported.

Idlib Civil Defense spokesman Hamid Kutini told Syria Direct that the suspected strike was a “coalition drone.” The U.S.-led coalition has increased its attacks on Idlib province, where the powerful jihadist group Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS) has a strong presence. JFS is excluded from the nationwide cease-fire that came into effect on December 30. The U.S. has not claimed the airstrike.

At least four staff members were injured at the SARC center. The president of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, also blamed the U.S.-led coalition, calling the airstrike a “hideous warcrime,” according to Russian state-run news agency RT.

SARC has not yet officially identified the attackers but said the airstrike caused great damage, leaving the center temporarily out of service. The center provides free medical services and aid to residents.

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