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Lauren Goodrich on Russia's Upcoming Elections

In an op-ed for Newsweek, Stratfor Senior Eurasia Analyst Lauren Goodrich says Sunday's parliamentary elections will be a litmus test for the strength of President Vladimir Putin's administration.

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Situation Reports

Syria: Government Forces Take Handarat Camp North Of Aleppo

The Syrian army and militia allies seized high ground north of Aleppo on Sept. 24, tightening a siege of the city's rebel-held east while warplanes bombed it relentlessly in a Russia-backed offensive, Reuters reported. Read more…

U.S.: Police Searching For Seattle Mall Shooter

Police searched Sept. 24 for a gunman authorities said opened fire in a Macy's store at a mall north of Seattle, Washington, killing five people before fleeing toward an interstate highway on foot, AP reported. Read more…

Colombia: FARC Members Approve Peace Deal

Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has given its approval to a peace deal with the government after nearly four years of talks, BBC reported Sept. 24. Read more…

Nigeria: Niger Delta Avengers Claim Attack On Bonny Crude Export Line

Nigerian militant group the Niger Delta Avengers said Sept. 24 it had carried out its first attack in the country's southern energy hub since it declared in August it was halting hostilities to pursue talks with the government, Reuters reported. Read more…

France: Migrants In Calais To Be Dispersed Across Country, President Says

French President Francois Hollande said Sept. 24 that thousands of migrants living in the shantytown near the port city of Calais in northern France would be dispersed across the country, Reuters reported. Read more…

Gabon: Court Upholds Presidential Election Results

Gabon's Constitutional Court upheld President Ali Bongo Ondimba's victory in the presidential election on Aug. 27, following a complaint by the opposition that a recount was needed, Bloomberg reported Sept. 24. Read more…

Turkey, U.S.: Gulen Will Return To Turkey If Extradited

Fethullah Gulen said in a Sept. 23 interview with German television company ZDF that he will return to Turkey if the United States grants the request for his extradition, the Daily Star reported. Read more…

Turkey: President Claims Kurdish Fighters In Syria Received U.S. Weapons

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan alleged that the United States has provided additional weapons for the People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia fighting in Syria that is considered a terrorist group by Ankara, Reuters reported Sept. 23. Read more…

Yemen: Government Returns To Aden

The Yemeni government is returning to Aden from Saudi Arabia, various Yemeni news sources including Al Mashhad al Yamani reported Sept. 23. Read more…

Indonesia: Chinese Fishing Boats Detained

Indonesia caught two Chinese fishing vessels operating in waters around Indonesia’s Natuna Islands in the South China Sea on Sept. 22, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti said, Kyodo reported. Read more…

Afghanistan: Government Signs Symbolic Peace Deal With Militant Group

The Afghan government signed a highly symbolic peace deal with the Hizb-i-Islami militant group on Sept. 22, paving the way for its controversial leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to return to Kabul and the national political stage, BBC reported. Read more…

Syria: Heavy Airstrikes Pound Aleppo City

Airstrikes pounded rebel-held districts of Aleppo city overnight Sept. 22 in what opposition activists described as the heaviest aerial targeting of the city in months, Reuters reported. Read more…

Iraq: Government Forces Recapture Shirqat City

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced Sept. 22 that government forces had recaptured Shirqat city from the Islamic State, Al Iraqiya News and BBC reported. Read more…

Venezuela: Electoral Body Rules Out Recall Referendum In 2016

Venezuela's National Electoral Council has ruled out holding a recall referendum for President Nicolas Maduro during 2016, El Nacional reported Sept. 22. Read more…

Syria: Turkey Will Not Join Raqqa Operation If Kurdish Militants Are Involved

A Turkish presidential spokesman reiterated on Sept. 22 that Turkish forces will not participate in a coalition offensive to retake the Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa if Kurdish fighters are involved, Reuters reported. Read more…

U.S.: Senate Shoots Down Bill Seeking To Stop Major Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia

The U.S. Senate voted Sept. 21 against legislation that would have blocked a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported Sept. 22. Read more…

Iraq: Government Forces Will Soon Be Ready For Mosul Battle, Top U.S. General Says

Iraqi government forces will be ready by early October for the battle to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Sept. 21, AFP reported. Read more…

Syria: Airstrike Hits Medical Facility, Killing 5 Aid Workers

An airstrike hit a medical facility close to the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo late on Sept. 20, killing two nurses and two ambulance drivers, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations said, BBC reported Sept. 21. Read more…

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