Conflict Risk Alerts


Back-channel talks between Huthis and Saudi Arabia signalled deal could be reached outside stalled UN process, while Huthis attacked energy infrastructure, raising risks of front-line and regional escalation.

Huthis and Riyadh intensified back-channel negotiations away from UN process. As UN efforts to resurrect truce remained deadlocked, Huthis and Saudi Arabia intensified Oman-facilitated secret talks that excludes Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) and UN Special Envoy. Huthis demanded govt use oil and gas revenues to pay civilian and military state employees; while PLC rejected demand, Riyadh reportedly showed willingness to accommodate request provided Huthis enter political process first. Talks raise prospect of bilateral agreement that excludes PLC, which could incentivise anti-Huthi factions to act as spoilers.

Huthis attacked oil and gas infrastructure and redeployed troops on front lines. Huthis 9 Nov launched “warning shot” drone attack on Qana port in Shebwa governorate and ramped up media campaign threatening to target domestic and regional oil and gas facilities; attack disrupted crude oil exports, which is govt’s only source of revenue, and raised spectre of high-profile attack on Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates during World Cup. Huthis 21 Nov attacked al-Dhabba oil terminal for second time. While violence remained below pre-truce levels, tempo of skirmishes along front lines rose steadily, as Huthis sent reinforcements to Marib governorate. Unknown gunmen 8 Nov killed adviser to defence minister and his driver near Marib city. Meanwhile, UN human rights chief 4 Nov said Huthis had committed war crimes since truce’s expiry. U.S. Navy 8 Nov reported-ly intercepted shipment of missile fuel from Iran to Huthis in Gulf of Oman.

Diplomatic efforts continued to reinstate UN-brokered truce. U.S. Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking 2-8 Nov visited Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to meet Saudi, Emirati and govt officials. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg 7 Nov concluded visit to Saudi capital Riyadh, where he met Saudi ambassador to Yemen who is reportedly prominently involved in back-channel talks. Meanwhile, PLC leader al-Alimi 2 Nov attended Arab summit in Algerian capital Algiers and urged member states to designate Huthis as terrorist organisation, as PLC had done in Oct.


Türkiye intensified attacks against Kurdish-led forces after deadly Istanbul bombing, threatening ground offensive in north that could trigger displacement and fuel escalatory cycle of violence.

Türkiye stepped up strikes against Kurdish-led forces, threatening ground incursion. Following 13 Nov bombing in Turkish city Istanbul that killed six, which Türkiye blamed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG), Turkish forces 20 Nov launched “Operation Claw-Sword” in northern Syria and Iraq (see Türkiye); Turkish defence ministry claimed strikes targeting Kobani and Tal Rifat in Aleppo province, Cizire and Derik in Hasakah province and northern Iraq 20-21 Nov killed 184 militants. Turkish President Erdoğan from 21 Nov repeatedly signalled possible ground invasion into north as Ankara reportedly negotiated with Russia on possible offensive west of Euphrates River; potential ground operation in coming weeks – fourth since 2016 – would risk large-scale displacement, civilian casualties and escalatory cycle of violence with YPG. U.S. 23 Nov said Turkish strikes in Syria threatened safety of U.S. personnel and progress of anti-Islamic State (ISIS) operations. Meanwhile, retaliatory cross-border attacks into Türkiye increased: notably; rocket attack 21 Nov killed three civilians in Gaziantep province.

Russia continued strikes in Idlib, while Israel attacked regime bases. Russian aircraft 6 Nov bombed IDP camps near Idilb city, reportedly killing at least nine civilians and injuring over 70. Syrian military claimed Israeli missiles 13 Nov hit Shayrat air base in Homs province, killing two servicemen; Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes 19 Nov killed four soldiers and injured one in military bases in central and western Syria.

Deadly unclaimed attacks continued. Unidentified drone strike 8 Nov targeted militia convoy, reportedly killing at least 14, including suspected Iranian nationals, in Deir Ez-Zor province. Explosion near capital Damascus 21 Nov killed two, including Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps colonel. Rocket attack 22 Nov reportedly killed five civilians in Aleppo province’s Azaz city, controlled by Türkiye-backed groups.

In other important developments. Beheaded bodies of two teenage Egyptian girls were found in al-Hol camp in north east 15 Nov. Erdoğan 17 Nov raised prospect of normalising relations with Damascus following Turkish elections in 2023.

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