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Syria Media Roundup (December 2)

[Image of Syrian boy studying while selling sweets to feed his family in Abu Rumaneh. Image by Dimashqi Lens via flickr] [Image of Syrian boy studying while selling sweets to feed his family in Abu Rumaneh. Image by Dimashqi Lens via flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Syria and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Syria Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.]


Inside Syria

Saving Syria's Lost Generation Individuals and civil society organizations are stepping in to bridge the gap and give Syrian children hope and the opportunities they deserve.

Trapped Deir e-Zor city residents living on ‘a cup of rice, boiled wheat and water’ Prices have become so prohibitive that Deir e-Zor residents are living on the absolute minimal.

Assad to Velayati: Syria and its Allies Bent on Fighting Terrorism “Syria’s resolve to fight terrorism will continue despite recent escalations by hostile countries who support extremists, says Bashar al Assad.”

Study Shows Massive Drop in Syrian Exports Syrian overseas trade witnesses $20 million slump since 2014, Damascus Chamber of Industry reports.

A Growing Jihadist Presence in Syria’s Opposition Hassan Hassan gives his analysis on Syria’s increasingly entrenched jihadist presence and its consequences for political transition. 

Israel admits forces operating in war-hit Syria PM Benjamin Netanyahu admits that Israeli forces have been operating in Syria, “where the Iran-backed regime is battling rebels including ISIS.”

Raqqa's Rockefellers: How Islamic State oil flows to Israel “Oil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it reach Israel?” 

Shortages Force Aleppo Medical Centres to Close “Medical care becomes especially vital when a nation is enduring protracted conflict. In Aleppo in northwest Syria, health centres have operated under dire conditions in the last four years, with little funding, the daily threat of aerial bombardment, and dangers posed by local armed groups.” 

Ghost of marriage from ISIS militants frightens women “ISIS tried through its restrictions to crack down women, in order to force them indirectly to marry from its members”

Are Syria’s Salafi movements witnessing a split? According to Mona Alami, "The creation of Jaish al-Sham might be indicative of widening ideological fissures inside Ahrar al-Sham and other Salafi movements in Syria."

Syrians in Raqqa tell of 'insane nights' of air strikes “Activists say abandoned ISIL bases hit in city suburbs with no civilians or fighters as France carries out air strikes.”

The local journalist shining a light on Aleppo Zein al-Rifai, a 28-year-old freelance photographer and video-journalist from Aleppo, writes about his work in covering the daily life in the rebel-held area of the city.

PROFILE-From hairdresser to hero, Syrian woman forges a new path for women This article shares the story of Om Khaled "an inspirational leader, running five centres in northern Syria providing education and hope to thousands of women." 

Islamic State Authorities Ban Syrian Banknotes “ISIS has banned the use of newly pressed 500 and 1,000 Syrian pound notes, and while some residents fear this could be the beginning of a currency switch throughout the jihadist-controlled territory, others told Syria Deeply it's a ploy by the upper echelon of ISIS to make a quick buck.” 

Russian strikes blamed for 400 Syrian civilian deaths “At least 97 children among casualties of military operations which began in late September, two monitoring groups say.”

ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape The three Syrian women interviewed for this article, all former members of the ISIS morality police who escaped to Turkey this year, met with a NYtimes reporter in a southern Turkish city for hours of interviews, together and separately, over the course of two multiday visits.

Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Putin warns of 'serious consequences' “Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying the jet had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.”

Syria: Arbitrary conscription 'aims to please the Russians' Rayan Mohammad writes that Syria's rounding up of young men to fight has reminded many Syrians of the dark days of Seferberlik, under the Ottoman Empire.

Russia and Turkey refuse to back down in row over jet downing Russia sent an advanced missile system to Syria on Wednesday 25 Nov, 2015 to protect its jets operating there and pledged its air force would keep flying missions near Turkish air space, sounding a defiant note after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet. 

Can Syrian opposition defend both Hama and Aleppo at the same time? Mohammed al-Khatieb reports that "The Syrian opposition is stretching itself thin as it strives to protect Aleppo while also securing its progress toward Hama, where regime forces pose a serious threat."

The Arabic version of this article can be found here: المعارضة توقّف تقدّمها في حماة للحفاظ على حلب 

Is defeating the Islamic State impossible? According to Ali Hashem “The Islamic State's stringing together of religion, power and modernity of sorts is a tough knot to untie”.


Regional and International Perspectives

John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State “Defeating ISIS means restoring power to Assad in Syria.” John Bolton on a strategic objective for defeating ISIS.

Syria’s only hope of peace is if Assad is removed If Russia abandons its support for the regime, it will find a political opposition ready to defeat ISIS and create a democratic Syria. 

ISIS and Syria: What to Do -- And Not Do -- About It Joseph Bahout on the action(s), or inaction, that will pose as the most durable structural solution to the ISIS problem.

U.S. sanctions businessman helping Syrian government buy oil from Islamic State The U.S. continues to use both financial and military tools to target finances of the Islamic State.

Russia must reconsider its role in the fight against ISIL Russian’s decision to “intervene on the side of Syria president Bashar Al Assad had a unifying and galvanizing effect for the anti-government forces.”

Will Paris Attacks Prompt U.S. Boots on Ground? The likelihood of a switch in U.S. strategy to send soldiers to wage ground war against the Islamic State is unlikely. 

After shooting down Russian jet, what's next for Turkey? Metin Gurcan reports that “The Syrian army offensive backed by Russia in the region northeast of Latakia and the downing of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey leaves many to wonder which scenario will play out in the coming weeks .”

The U.S. Record Shows Refugees Are Not a Threat According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), "The reality is this: The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001. In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible."

Information minister of the Islamic State killed in U.S. strike near Ramadi The Information Minister in the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) was reportedly killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on the group’s headquarters in Iraq’s Ramadi, west of Anbar. 

Islamic State is plotting deadly cyber-attacks - George Osborne ISIS militants are trying to develop the ability to launch deadly cyber-attacks on UK targets such as air traffic control or hospitals, Chancellor George Osborne has said. 

It’s not just the Islamic State. Other terror groups surge in West Africa. The new acts of violence in West Africa  coincided with the release of a Global Terrorism Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace that dubbed Boko Haram the "most deadly terrorist group in the world." The report noted that there had been a dramatic surge in the Nigerian group's violence in 2014, with the number of deaths caused by the group surging by 317 percent to 6,644. Meanwhile, the ISIS rose to 6,073 deaths. Together, the two group accounted for more than half of the terror-related deaths in the world.

Obama's drone war a 'recruitment tool' for Isis, say US air force whistleblowers Four former service members – including three sensor operators – issue plea to rethink current airstrike strategy that has ‘fueled feelings of hatred’ toward US. 

House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees The House passed bill to suspend program allowing Syrian, Iraqi refugees into U.S. The vote was 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining 242 Republicans in favor of the bill.

Hillary Clinton Goes Beyond President Obama in Plan to Defeat ISIS Hillary Clinton called  for accelerating the American-led operation to defeat ISIS, going well beyond what President Obama has proposed by urging a no-fly zone with coalition forces to protect Syrians, more airstrikes and an expanded deployment of special operations troops to assist local ground forces. 

7 Things I Learned Reading Every Issue Of ISIS's Magazine Robert Evans shares the lessons he learned from reading through 700-plus pages of ISIS oddly well-put-together propaganda. 

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It Kamel Daoud argues that "Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it," and sees ISIS and Saudi Arabia as two faces for one coin. 

Syria’s only hope of peace is if Assad is removed Mouaz al-Khatib, Ahmad al-Assi Jarba, Hadi al-Bahra, Khaled Khoja (the current and the three former presidents of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces) write that if Russia abandons its support for the regime, it will find a political opposition ready to defeat ISIS and create a democratic Syria. 

This is no World War III – ISIS is still weak Chris Doyle argues that: "despite all the overblown rhetoric about World War III and existential threats, ISIS is weak and those arrayed against it are strong when united and determined." 

Saudi Arabia to host Syrian opposition talks, says state media Saudi Arabia will host a conference in mid-December aimed at unifying the Syrian opposition, the state-owned al-Arabiya television station has announced. Saudis aim to foster ‘unified position’ among factions, while John Kerry says separately that conference will help set up formal peace talks.

Turkish journalists charged over claim that secret services armed Syrian rebels “A court in Istanbul has charged two journalists from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper with spying after they alleged Turkey’s secret services had sent arms to Islamist rebels in Syria.”

Is Turkey Buying Oil From ISIS? After Downed Plane, Putin Slams Islamic State's Black Market Fuel Sales Elizabeth Whitman reports that the “fact that Turkey shot down a Russian plane is not the only reason Russian President Vladimir Putin is furious. Since the jet fighter was downed Tuesday near the Syria-Turkey border, Putin has reiterated concerns -- already raised by other countries -- that Turkey has been buying oil smuggled from the Islamic State group.” 

Canada's Syrian refugee plan limited to women, children and families The CBC News reports that Canada federal government's much-anticipated Syrian refugee plan will limit those accepted into Canada to women, children and families only. 

How is this not World War III? Frida Ghitis writes, that after Turkish forces shot down Russian plane, escalating a Syria-rooted conflict increasingly going global, it is getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I -- strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience. 

The Syrian Jihad: An Interview with Charles Lister In this interview with Syria in Crisis, Charles Lister gives his views on Syria’s armed opposition, the threat posed by jihadi factions, the Vienna process, and the way the conflict is evolving. 

How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence Tyler Durden reports about Turkey's role in facilitating the sale of Islamic State oil

The Crisis of the Arab Nation-State Yezid Sayigh argues that the “Arab states can no longer be reconstructed according to past blueprints, even when powerful external actors attempt to restore them.”

The Arabic version of this article can be found here: أزمة الدولة القُطرية العربية


Policy and Reports 

For Money or Liberty? The Political Economy of Military Desertion and Rebel Recruitment in the Syrian Civil War According to Holger Albrecht, Kevin Koehler and Dorothy Ohl, “While desertions have contributed to the emergence of an armed rebellion since early fall 2011, they have failed to critically weaken the Syrian regime’s army.”

The Arabic version of this article can be found here: من أجل المال أم الحرية: الاقتصاد السياسي للفرار من الجيش وتجنيد المتمرّدين في الحرب الأهلية السورية 

Turkey: 400,000 Syrian Children Not in School Human Rights Watch says in a recent report that more than 400,000 Syrian refugee children living in Turkey are not attending school.

The full report can be read here: When I Picture My Future, I See Nothing’: Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey

Amid Insecurity, Protect Refugees Human Rights Watch said that governments should not allow the recent attacks in Paris and similar mass casualty attacks elsewhere to undermine the responsibility to protect refugees around the world.

A related report can be read here: Ten Steps to Address the Global Refugee Crisis 

Russian Airstrikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians by Cluster Munitions and Vacuum Bombs The Violation Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) said that: "Russian airstrikes killed at least 329 civilians in Syria within thirty days between September 30th  -the very first day it started- and October 30th, said VDC in a report released today, including 88 children and 58 woman." 

4 Reasons Why Syrian Refugee Resettlement Is the Right Policy for the US Geoffrey Mock shares four points that outline confusions and outright lies that are driving opposition to resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Experts weigh in: Is ISIS good at governing? A group of scholars comment on ISIS governance over the past years and speculate on what they might face in the year ahead in an effort to explain the troubles ISIS faces at home.

Security Council calls for eradicating ISIL safe havens in Syria and Iraq The United Nations Security Council on 20 November 2015 called on all countries that can do so to take the war on terrorism to territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq and destroy its safe haven, warning that the group intends to mount further terror attacks like those that devastated Paris and Beirut last week.

After Paris attacks, refugees should not be turned into scapegoats The UN refugee agency has expressed its shock and horror at the attacks in Paris and the killing of so many innocent people, and cautioned against the scapegoating of refugees.

Iran’s Forces in Syria According to Soufan Group, “Tehran’s extensive intervention in Syria gives it leverage to shape the country’s future, even if Putin, who is visiting Iran this week, shifts away from Assad in multilateral negotiations”


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

Inside Isis Inc: The journey of a barrel of oil The progress of a barrel of oil from extraction to end user. This shows how the ISIS production system works, who is making money from it and why it is hard to stop.

Showdown on the Syrian Border: Vijay Prashad on Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet According  to Vijay Prashad comments “There are some serious questions on the table about Turkey’s role in this conflict”

Prof. Maamoun Abdulkarim on Syria's Battle to Protect its Past - London, 15th November 2015 “WMF Britain's inaugural talk in The Past, Today series - 'Heritage & Conflict: Syria's Battle to Protect its Past'. Here Prof. Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria's Director General of Antiquities and Museums – a latter-day Monuments Man - gives the human story from behind the headlines. The Royal Geographical Society, London, Thursday 12th November 2015.”

Why It Takes Two Years for Syrian Refugees to Enter the U.S. “Syrians must pass many layers of security checks before being admitted to the United States, a process that can take two years or longer. In most cases, the refugees do not enter the United States until the very end. They are also subject to an additional layer of checks beyond those for refugees of other nationalities; after the Paris attacks, the House voted to further tighten screening procedures. Since 2011, the United States has admitted fewer than 2,000 Syrian refugees.”

Paris Attack Impact On Refugees Anti-refugee sentiment in Europe and Islamic radicalism in the Middle East is making a difficult situation for worse for refugees. So what happens next to people fleeing ISIS in Iraq and Syria? Will these refugees ever be able to return home? Dr. Keith Watenpaugh adds his perspective.

Watenpaugh is an associate professor of Human Rights Studies and Director of the UC Davis Human Rights Studies Program. He teaches in the Religious Studies and Human Rights Minor programs. His new book “Bread from Stones” analyzes the theory and practice of modern humanitarianism.

Infographic: The Screening Process for Entry to the United States for Syrian Refugees This infographic shows visuals that address the long security screening process that Syrian refugees face before being admitted for entry to the United States. 

The Young Women Standing Up to Extremism in the Middle East This article shows examples of grassroots activism of young women from the Middle East region who are fighting extremism and building democracy.

Syrian Refugee Turned Hollywood Movie Star Speaks Out to PEOPLE: 'Let's Not Target the Victims' In this interview, actor Jay Abdo shares his experience as a refugee in the United States and comments on the recent American politicians call for a halt to accepting refugees. 

Violence comes home: an interview with Arun Kundnani In this interview, Arun Kundnani unveils and critiques the ramifications of the ‘war on terror’, from the conservative and liberal rhetoric of the intellectuals and commentators who have emerged, to the theories of ‘radicalisation’ which have fuelled counter-terrorism programmes in the west. Only an anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist politics can provide a genuine alternative to jihadism and ISIS, Kundnani argues. 

John Oliver's excellent takedown of the fearmongering about Syrian refugees John Oliver walked through the very, very rigorous vetting process that Syrian refugees go through — debunking the idea that a terrorist could easily infiltrate the US by posing as a refugee.

حملة اليونسكو #متحدون_مع_التراث "#Unite4Heritage is a global movement powered by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world”


Arabic Links:

أكراد سوريا يقرون المساواة بين الرجل والمرأة في جميع المجالات بما فيها الإرث Kurds, who exercise their authority in the north-east part of Syria, issued an ordinance that guarantees equality between men and women in all areas, including inheritance.

بالفيديو.. حملة لفضح إيديولوجية "داعش" من داخل معقله في سوريا This article discusses the vital role of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered in documenting ISIS violations and exposing ISIS ideology to the public opinion.

 رور «داعش» يعجل بنهايته  Raghida Dergham argues that ISIS was never a local terrorist group, and was always a global organization that has cost Syria dearly. She adds that perhaps ISIS now has overplayed its hand and has invited its own doom, even if after a while.

An English version of this article is available here: ISIS's Arrogance Will Accelerate Its Demise

سيناريو متخيل لسبعة أيام تهز سورية: الأسد في قبضة الروس... ومرحلة انتقالية Bassam Al-Kuwatli imagines a scenario of seven days in which a transitional periods begins in Syria.

اللجوء السوريّ ... بانتظار ترودو Nael Hariri writes about the hope of refugees after the election of Canada's Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister.   

هل انتصرت الهوية السورية ؟ Ahmad Barqawi tackles the question of the Syrian national identity.

ضرائب داعش تتجاوز ضرائب الأسد المفروضة قبل الثورة ISIS imposed harsh taxes on businesses and individuals in Deir ez-Zor 

سياسة المكان: الحدود، حركة السكان، والخيال السياسي Yassin Al Haj Saleh writes about the Syrian state and its border

هل يمكن للنساء صنع السلام؟ An interview with Malak Kasem, a legal Syrian activist, about how Security Council resolution 1325 can help women in peace process.

كيف أثرت الحرب على التعليم في سوريا؟ Rowaida Kanaan discusses with her guests from Balad, a Syrian NGO, and the Syrian Press Center (SPC), the impact of the Syrian conflict on basic education

 سوريا: حياة مدافع عن حرية التعبير في خطر- باسل خرطبيل محتجز في مكان مجهول، وقد يواجه حكم الإعدام  Bassel Khartabil, a defender of freedom of expression being held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance may be facing a death sentence, 36 local and international organizations said on 20 Nov, 2015.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syria: Fears for Life of Free Expression Advocate

تفجير العريش... "داعش" يستهدف الانتخابات والتنسيق الروسي  ISIS in Sinai killed Egyptian election monitors in Hotel Attack

سورية: "داعش" يطلق دفعة جديدة من المختطفين الآشوريين بالحسكة ISIS released a new group of abducted Assyrians that included 10 people, 5 of them were women. 

حملة إلغاء تركمان سورية والخطوات الاستباقية لتباشير المنطقة الآمنة Bassem Dabbagh provides an analysis of the recent tensions between Moscow and Ankara following the military operations by the Syrian regime on Turkmen Mount.

فيسماءسوريا According to Amer Mohsen, the downing of the Russian Su-24 by Turkey was the result of game-changing. 

نزعةالاستعانةبالخارج: عن «الجلبيين» العرب Muhammad Sayed Rassas discusses the “Arab Chalabis,” after the name of the Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who demand and cooperate with foreign p 

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