Hakan Fidan’s Moscow Visit
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has visited Moscow for the first time since he assumed Minister position. The meetings aimed at having discussions on the reactivation of the grain deal as well as finding a just and peaceful solution to the Ukraine Crisis. During the press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, Fidan expressed that the UN has prepared a new proposal for the reactivation of the grain deal with Türkiye’s intense efforts and contribution. From his side, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia would only return to the grain deal if the Western states complied with Russian demands.
US Congress Members Visited Northwestern Syria
Last Sunday, three Republican Congress members, Ben Cline, Scott Fitzgerald, and French Hill paid a brief visit to Syrian opposition-controlled Northwestern Syria, passing through Türkiye and Bab as-Salama border crossing. This marks the first visit by an American lawmaker to Syria since 2017. The delegation visited the opposition-controlled areas to highlight the humanitarian catastrophe there. Moreover, the Republican delegation called on the Biden administration and US allies to keep pressure on the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.
SDF Arrested Deir Ez-Zour Military Council Leader
After weeks of increasing tension and clashes, YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested the leader of the Deir Ez-Zour Military Council, Abu Khawla, heightening Kurdish-Arab tension. Abu Khawla was tricked into participating in a meeting in Hasakah and was arrested on the spot. A group that was accompanying Khawla and led by his brother Jalal Al-Khabil was also besieged by the SDF.
The situation has triggered tension in the Arab-populated Deir Ez-Zour where Abu Khawla retains considerable influence within the tribal circles. Al-Khabil released a video, explained the situation, and asked the clans in Deir Ez-Zour to prepare to attack SDF headquarters. Following this development, clashes between the SDF and supporters of Abu Khawla took place. The ongoing clashes have led to dozens of casualties from both sides. Moreover, the SDF was forced to withdraw from many locations as a result of the clashes and tribal pressure. The Arab-populated parts of Syria, specifically Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zour have been the weak spots of the SDF administration since they were taken over by the organization.
New Local Administration Project for Syrian Province Suwayda
Last Sunday, a group consisting of retired military officers announced a local administration project for the Southern Syria province of Suwayda, which has been the scene of anti-regime protests for the last two weeks. Retired Brigadier General Nayef al-Aqel issued an 8-point statement after meeting with Druze leader Hikmat al-Hajiri. One of the articles underscores the necessity of establishing a military council under the supervision of the brigadier general in an attempt to bring together all the factions in the region to ensure security in Suwayda. In addition, another article includes the establishment of a temporary administration council to manage the affairs in the province. These mentioned articles were supported and approved by the Druze leader Hajiri. However, it is yet to be seen whether the mentioned local administration project will be realized.
Sudan in the Vision of Hemedti
The Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), presented his vision for peace in Sudan. The Rapid Support Forces stated that they are open to a long-term ceasefire with the army and presented their vision for “establishing the new Sudanese state.”
Hemedti stated that any negotiations aimed at settlement must be based on seeking a comprehensive political solution. He urged the inclusion of provisions in any upcoming negotiations, including the adoption of a federal governance system and a civilian government representing all regions of Sudan. Moreover, he called for the establishment of a new Sudanese army to build a unified military institution that would remain separate from politics, and he advocated for what he termed the dissolution of partisan and political presence within the army.
Al-Burhan Visits Egypt
In his first trip since the outbreak of war in April, Sudanese military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met with President Al-Sisi in Egypt. The Tuesday meeting came one day after Burhan ruled out negotiating a deal with the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Sovereign Council leader Burhan, speaking from Egypt, reiterated his dedication to democratic transition and denied any military intentions to empower Sudanese Islamists. In a significant shift from months of seclusion, Burhan made his first public appearance in months last week after being cloistered within army headquarters in the capital Khartoum ever since the conflict first erupted. An official statement then reported that on Sunday the army chief arrived in Port Sudan, the coastal city where numerous government and international organizations relocated operations to avoid the conflict. Burhan has been the de facto leader of Sudan since October 2021, when he orchestrated a coup alongside Dagalo that ousted civilian leaders and disrupted the transition to civilian rule.
Libyan Foreign Minister Suspended After Meeting with Israeli Counterpart
On Monday, Israel unilaterally decided to reveal that Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush met with her Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, last week in Rome. The meeting, hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, was framed as a normalization step, including discussions on safeguarding Jewish presence in Libya and water cooperation. Following backlash over the meeting, al-Mangoush was dismissed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. Sources claimed Dbeibah had initially supported relations with Israel during talks with CIA Director William Burns but feared public opposition due to Libya’s pro-Palestinian stance. Videos on social media showed protests erupting in Tripoli on Sunday night, with many demanding al-Mangoush’s removal and some protesters even setting fire to Dbeibah’s residence.
Both Libyan legislative bodies, the Tripoli-based High Council of State and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), criticized the meeting, labeling it a “crime against the Libyan people” and calling for emergency discussions. Mangoush has now reportedly fled to Türkiye for cover, though some state sources have refuted this, alleging that she was placed on a no-fly list following the incident. The backlash has not been unilaterally Libyan, however, with many Israeli officials denouncing the Foreign Ministry’s decision to announce such sensitive information and potentially delegitimizing Israel and its political intentions. In response to the situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an order Tuesday mandating that his office approve all “secret” diplomatic meetings in advance, his spokesperson said.