Follow Us

Follow on Twitter    Follow on Facebook    YouTube Channel    Vimeo Channel    Tumblr    SoundCloud Channel    iPhone App    iPhone App

Syria Media Roundup (August 31)

[Image of Kurdish YPG Fighter. Image by KurdishStruggle via Flickr] [Image of Kurdish YPG Fighter. Image by KurdishStruggle 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

The Great Game in Northern Syria Almost exactly one year after Russia intervened in Syria, Turkey does the same. This time, the Turkish military intervention is the start of a different chapter. Hassan Hassan gives his insight on the implications of Turkish incursion.

Dollar Value Continues to Fall on Syrian Black Market Successive declines in the Syrian exchange rate continued on the informal “black” market to reach 520 Syrian pounds to the dollar.

Daraya Residents Confronted With New Reality After Arriving in Idleb Camps Adults and children find difficulty adapting to new life in IDP camps after leaving four years of siege. 

Analysis: Why U.S. Allies Are Fighting Each Other in Northern Syria Journalist Richard Hall explains why Kurdish Syrian opposition and Turkish forces – three major U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS – are now battling each other in the war-torn country’s northern provinces.

After Murky Diplomacy, Turkey Intervenes in Syria Aron Lund on Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria with insight into Turkey’s aims to secure the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s main smuggling and trade hub in northern Syria.

Analysis: How Syrian Men Changed Under Militant Rule Syrian journalist Jalal Zein al-Deen explains how the rise of ISIS and its increasing influence on the local population, is creating changes in the fabric of society that could outlive the militant group's existence. 

Syrian army moves into siege town Daraya after fighters evacuated Civilian residents have been taken to government-run reception centres pending resettlement.

Barrel bomb 'double tap' kills at least 15 funeral mourners in Syria's Aleppo UN calls for all warring sides to agree by Sunday to allow first safe delivery of relief supplies to divided city of Aleppo. 

Why I Go to Aleppo Samer Attar reflects on his work in a basement in a hospital in Aleppo, Syria and he compares between his work there and Chicago.

Erdogan: Turkey to fight IS and Kurds with 'same determination' US supports Syrian Kurdish fighters as effective adversary of Islamic State in region

Fight for Syria's Aleppo exposes limits of Russian air power Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe reports that Russia's politically-sensitive and ultimately fruitless decision to launch bombing missions on Syria from Iranian soil has exposed the limits to its air power, leaving Moscow in need of a new strategy to advance its aims.

Diabetes Patients Battle for Insulin in Syria In the second installment of Syria Deeply series on chronic illnesses in Syria, Hiba Dlewati explores the diabetes crisis across the war-torn country and the constant struggle to obtain the insulin needed to treat the disease.

Knowing the Risks, Some Syrian Rebels Seek a Lift From Turks’ Incursion Anne Barnard discusses how Kurds backed by the Pentagon ended up fighting Syrian Arabs backed by the CIA in Syria.

A crowd-sourced animal sanctuary in east Aleppo teaches compassion: ‘To love the small, weak cats is to love everything’ This article highlights the ways in which Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel (a full-time ambulance driver and part-time cat caretaker living in rebel-held east Aleppo) run an animal shelter in a warzone.

Turkish, Kurdish forces in Syria agree to 'stop shooting at each other': US official Turkish and Kurdish forces in northern Syria have reached a "loose agreement" to stop fighting each other, a US defense official told AFP on Tuesday (30 Aug 2016). 

Turkey risks becoming bogged down in Syria: analysts Turkey's week-old cross-border offensive in Syria could become a drawn-out affair that stokes tensions with Washington if Ankara continues to take the fight to US-backed Kurdish fighters, analysts say.

U.S. sets up 'communications channels' for crowded Syria war The U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State, eager to avoid more clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters, is establishing communications channels to better coordinate in a "crowded battlespace," the Pentagon said on Tuesday (30 Aug 2016).


Regional and International Perspectives

The U.S.’s Syria policy rests on a treacherous fault line U.S. military campaign to seize IS’s capital, Raqqa, may be delayed because of a nasty fight between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG.

Uncertain future for Syrians as EU-Lebanon migration deal looms Increasingly harsh conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon may present new problems for a prospective deal with the European Union. 

Fewer Journalist Deaths in Syria – Because There Aren’t Many Left Special report on how Syria has become an increasingly hostile environment for the press.

Inside the Head of an ISIS True Believer The self-proclaimed Islamic State vows to endure and expand. But under relentless pressure, its shrinking. Michael Weiss reports on how partisans think they can endure.

Ankara’s climbdown on Assad Vijay Prashad reports on Turkey's rebalancing between the West and Russia-Iran. The Syrian conflict has certainly crossed into Turkey - with the recent, grotesque bombing in Gaziantep by the Islamic State as an example. That Turkey now says that Assad may remain for a transitional period is a major shift in its position. 

“Assad or We Burn the Country”: Misreading Sectarianism and the Regime in Syria Emile Hokayem provides a critique of "pro-Assad" pieces that War of the Rocks published recently by an author writing under a pseudonym. 

The predictions have come to pass: Turkey is now in Syria and this is what it means for the Middle East Robert Fisk writes that the Turks don’t want a Kurdish mini-state on their frontier any more than the Syrians want to lose territory to the Kurds. 

America’s Retreat and the Agony of Aleppo Roger Cohen writes: "Syria has been Obama’s worst mistake, a disaster that cannot provoke any trace of pride; and within that overall blunder the worst error was the last-minute “red line” wobble that undermined America’s word, emboldened Putin and empowered Assad."

Lessons From The Syrian Opposition’s Aleppo Offensive Mohammed Alaa Ghanem writes: " If the U.S. truly wishes to combat extremism or broker peace in Syria, it must learn the right lessons from the rebels’ Aleppo offensive."

France criticizes Turkish military intervention in Syria French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday ( 30 Aug 2016)criticized Turkey's "contradictory" military intervention in Syria and warned Russia not to become a "protagonist" in the war.

The left’s hollow anti-imperialism over Syria Joey Ayoub argues that the inability of many leftists to see past outdated narratives on Syria has galvanised the rise of reactionary nativism in the West. 

The real US Syria scandal: Supporting sectarian war Gareth Porter writes that Senior Obama administration officials were aware from 2012 that a war to overthrow Assad would inevitably become a sectarian bloodbath.


Policy and Reports

UN pays tens of millions to Assad regime under Syria aid programme Guardian analysis shows series of contracts awarded to government and charities linked to president’s family.

The questions al-Qaida’s rebranded Syria affiliate won’t answer While Jabhat Fateh al-Sham spokesperson Mostafa Mahamed has tried to soften the Syrian armed group’s image since it ostensibly broke from al-Qaida in July, the Electronic Intifada team outlines questions that they intended to put to JFS spokesperson Mostafa Mahamed who refused to grant them an interview.

U.S. to meet target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees: White House Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy Gardner reports that The Obama administration will meet its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year a month ahead of schedule and is working with Congress to increase the target by a few thousand in 2017, the White House said on Monday (29 Aug 2016).

Up to 15,000 Isis victims buried in mass graves in Syria and Iraq – survey Excavations, mapping and testimony offer clearest evidence yet of scale of militant group’s crimes in conquered territories.

Syria’s Paradox: Why the War Only Ever Seems to Get Worse Experts on civil wars say there are several reasons Syria is “a really, really tough case” that defies historical parallels.


Syria Conflict Mapping Project Reports

Military Situation in Northern Syria: August 30, 2016 The operation, titled Euphrates Shield, is a turning point in American-Turkish relations and the war against ISIS by fulfilling longstanding American demands for more Turkish involvement in the anti-ISIS fight. Euphrates Shield also aims to prevent the expansion of Kurdish control along the border, however.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

There's Only One Way for the Catastrophes in Syria to End, and It's Not Through Violence Vijay Prashad tackles the question of the Syrian war and the question of 'action' - what 'action' can the West, in particular, take to untangle the conflict as UNICEF chief Anthony Lake asks? The answer is not more military force. This articles includes interviews with Syrian economist Omar Dahi and others about the question of a divided Syrian society and the prospects for a dial-down of violence.

The Big Business Of Looted Antiquities The Diane Rehm Show hosts Gary Vikan, Sarah Parcak, Tess Davis, and Amr Al-Azm who discuss new efforts to curb the plunder of the world’s cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa.

M for Muqawama: The secret resistance fighting ISIS with graffiti The graffiti artist works under cover of darkness, spraying the letter M (M for Muqawama: resistance; M for Muaarada: opposition; M for Muwajaha: confrontation) on walls across Mosul.

Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl Nicholas Kristof writes: did you know that Anne Frank's family tried desperately to emigrate to the US, to evade the Nazis? That Anne studied English shorthand, that her dad had lived in Manhattan, that he corresponded with an official in the Franklin Roosevelt administration? 

Oil fires cast black cloud over Iraqi town retaken from Islamic State Stephen Kalin reports oil fires in the northern Iraqi town of Qayyara after it was retaken from ISIS.

CNN Journalist Clarissa Ward Snuck Behind the Front Lines in Syria then Briefed the Security Council About What She Saw In this interview Clarissa Ward (an award winning journalist) discusses how and why she was drawn to journalism and how early experiences of covering conflict in Gaza and Lebanon shaped her later reporting covering the conflict in Syria.


Arabic Links:

على مجلس الأمن الدولي ضمان العدالة ضد الفظائع في سوريا Human Rights Watch says that the United Nations Security Council should urgently impose sanctions on the Syrian government for chemical weapon attacks in Syria and refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

An English version of this article can be found here: UN Security Council: Ensure Justice for Syria Atrocities

 كيف عاش سكّان داريّا السورية 4 سنواتٍ تحت الحصار؟.. وهذا ردّ فعل أطفالهم بعد الخروج من المدينة This article shares some of the stories of the people who left Darayya focusing on children's experiences during the siege years.

هل تكفي "الثورة" لمقاربة الوضع السوري؟ Mohamad Dibo argues that the revolution today in Syria should no longer be only against tyranny, but also it should be a liberation movement against multiple external colonialisms.

 مستبقل غامض للسوريين في لبنان في ظل اتفاقية الشراكة مع الاتحاد الأوروبي Increasingly harsh conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon may present new problems for a prospective deal with the European Union.

An English version of this article can be found here: Uncertain future for Syrians as EU-Lebanon migration deal looms 

الرايات... أدوات جديدة للصراع في العراق A struggle over flags has emerged in Iraq, where the various forces fighting the Islamic State seek to promote their own identities and are desecrating the symbols of rival groups.

An English version of this article can be found here: Iraq's war of flags

في الختام: خمس قصص حب ولوعة بهجران داريا In this article, five people who left Darayya, two of whom are related to Syria Direct reporters, share their stories and what they chose to take with them, and what they left behind.

An English version of this article can be found here: Afterword: 5 stories of love, loss and leaving Darayya

يوميات محامي في القصر العدلي بدمشق Michel Shammas (a Syrian lawyer and legal activist known for his defense of political prisoners in Syria who currently resides in Germany) reflects on his experience in Damascus courthouses during the Syrian Uprising.

An English version of this article can be found here: Diaries of a Lawyer at the Damascus Courthouse

انفوجراف يوضح ما هي مدينة داريا السورية This infographic highlights the history of the city Daraya (southwest of Syria's capital Damascus) and the four years of siege and bombardment and the recent evacuation of civilians and opposition fighters.

If you prefer, email your comments to




Apply for an ASI Internship now!


Political Economy Project

Issues a

Call for Letters of Interest


Jadaliyya Launches its

Political Economy




F O R    T H E    C L A S S R O O M 

Roundtable: Harold Wolpe’s Intellectual Agenda and Writing on Palestine


The 1967 Defeat and the Conditions of the Now: A Roundtable


E N G A G E M E N T