Hey folks, I thought I’d chime in here with a letter from the editor, something I will try to do on a more regular basis. We have been hard at work here at SOFREP and I hope all of you have enjoyed some of our recent content.  For me personally, it has been very fulfilling to see SOFREP begin to reach its potential as we send our staff of writers around the world to conduct some boots-on-the-ground reporting. Last year, I traveled to Switzerland and Syria to report for SOFREP, and this year I made it over to Kurdistan. Buck Clay has reported for us from Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, and Transnistria (more on that coming soon). Jamie has reported for us from Somalia and France, and is just now wrapping up a trip to Belgium and Ukraine. Meanwhile, SOFREP CEO Brandon Webb has done some articles about bars in Kiev frequented by spies and military contractors. I’ve been very excited by all of these developments, so please be sure to let us know what you think.

In the future, I see SOFREP traveling back to the Middle East. This region is just so volatile, and the United States appears to be completely unable to extricate itself from countries like Iraq. Over the last few months we have seen numerous developments that will shape the war against ISIS and the eventual post-conflict environment. Russia has jumped into the fray, backing up the Assad regime. America’s various covert-action programs run out of Turkey and Jordan to arm and train various rebels groups like the New Syrian Forces have been a bust. With few remaining options for waging proxy warfare in Syria, America has cobbled together a coalition called Syrian Democratic Forces. This confab is purely an American invention designed to appease our NATO partner Turkey. The SDF consists of the Kurdish YPG and YPJ with some Free Syrian Army components tacked on so that we can tell Turkey that we are helping out Syrian Arabs instead of the Kurds.

The ground war in Syria is about to scale down for the winter. During the winter months, the ground becomes extremely muddy and forces limited mobility options like using hardball roads almost certainly loaded with IEDs.  During these months what we can expect to see is the gearing up for a spring offensive against the ISIS capital of Raqqa. To that end, SOFREP has been told that just a few days ago, American forces drove across the border from Turkey into Kurdish Syria, to a city called Qamishlo, which I visited last November. More than likely, this will be the American and coalition headquarters for the spring offensive.

In the meantime, there are plenty of other developments around the world. Russia is not only in Syria, but also in Ukraine—a conflict which appears to be frozen, at least for the immediate future. The Chinese continue their own expansionist agenda in the South China Sea, one which directly threatens the existing global order and our notions of “innocent passage”—free travel in international waters for commercial shipping.

Please write in and let us know what you think. Also, let us know if there are any additional countries or regions you think SOFREP should deploy our staff to in order to cover important issues we may have overlooked.