Turkey. On 25th Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish militant positions in Iraq and Syria in an operation meant to disrupt the rebels’ supply lines and prevent them from infiltrating Turkey. The airstrikes were Turkey’s first in Syria since it ended a land incursion against Kurdish militants and Islamic State there in March. The military said the attacks centered on Mount Sinjar in Iraq and Mount Karakoc in Syria, south of Turkey’s shared borders with both countries. Although the United States and Russia were informed of the attack, it caused concerns in Washington because it was not coordinated and caused victims among partner forces. Moreover, Turkey is worried about the collaboration between Russian and American forces with Kurds
Syria. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) penetrated ISIS’s bastion of Tabqa in northern Syria on 24th, overrunning territory in the town’s south. The SDF entered Tabqa for the first time after besieging it from all sides. On 27th Israeli air strikes have hit an arms depot operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport. Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz confirmed the attack saying that it “corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah”. A similar operation was carried out on January 13 when Israel targeted the Mezze military airbase.
Russia. A Russian navy spy ship sank on 27th in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey after hitting another vessel, but coastguards rescued all of its crew. The Liman was a former research ship re-fitted as an intelligence vessel. Turkish media said the area where the ships collided was shrouded in thick fog at the time, suggesting that the incident was accidental. The Lima has taken part in Russian operation in Syria and in monitoring NATO forces in the area.
Tunisia. The southeastern Tataouine province on 27th was paralyses by a general strike held in response to perceived government foot-dragging in providing residents with job opportunities. This is not the first of such protests in the province and in the country due to high rate of unemployment.
Egypt. On 28th Pope Francis visited Egypt. The visit happened in a volatile situation due to two bloody attacks that killed scores of Egyptian Christian Coptic two weeks ago. However, the visit is seen as an opportunity to promote better relations between Christians and Muslims.