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Syria Media Roundup (September 26)

[Image of arranged demonstrations in Darayya. Image by Dimashqi Lens via Flickr] [Image of arranged demonstrations in Darayya. 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

Decentralizing Syria: An Option for Peace? As local governance structures grow stronger in Syria, a decentralized government appeals to many in the country. However, both government and opposition forces fear that decentralization may eventually lead to partitioning the country, which they want to keep unified. 

A ferocious assault on Aleppo suggests the U.S. may be wrong on Syria Syrian and Russian warplanes launched a ferocious assault against revel-held Aleppo on Friday, burying any hopes that a U.S.-backed cease-fire could be salvaged and calling into question whether the deal would have ever worked.

Food, Fuel Prices Soar in Eastern Aleppo as Siege Drags On Price of produce like eggplant, parsley and mint have increased by more than six times their usual price while a barrel of diesel jumped to $93. 

Aleppo Local Council Rejects Presence of Russian Forces on Castello Road Presence of the Russian forces on the Castello Road is not acceptable due to its lack of neutrality, says local council.

Ahrar al-Sham Denies Appointment of Abou Saleh Tahan as Jaish al-Fateh Commander Key rebel group rejects claims that Tahan was appointed to the post after former commander was killed in suspected coalition air strikes.

Syrian regime war planes abandon airbase following US warnings After the US issued threats to shoot down Syrian air force planes, the regime has abandoned Qamishli air base in northern Syria with American fighters escorting the unarmed aircraft.

Syrian cease-fire backed by U.S. and Russia gets off to rocky start Liz Sly and Karen DeYoung reports that the U.S.- and Russian-backed cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday (September 12) was almost immediately violated when Syrian government helicopters  dropped barrel bombs on one neighborhood of the besieged rebel portion of Aleppo.

Assad blocks UN aid delivery to besieged Aleppo The Syrian ceasefire has hit another roadblock after 20 UN aid trucks carrying emergency food and fuel are barred from besieged Aleppo

6 Spheres of Foreign Influence in Syria: Geographic Gains and Political Concessions Syria has become divided between conflicting forces into spheres of influence.

US troops 'forced to flee Syrian town' after FSA rebel threats Video shows Free Syrian Army fighters threatening to 'slaughter' US special forces after they moved into al-Rai with Turkish troops. 

U.S. Commandos Enter, Leave, and Return to Syrian Town, With Some Help From Friendly Rebels Paul McLeary reports for Foreign Policy: "Who says the United States got nothing for the star-crossed, $500 million train-and-equip program for Syrian rebels that fell apart last year? It apparently bought enough goodwill with one rebel group that they escorted U.S. special forces troops back into the northern Syrian town of Rai on Friday, just hours after they’d been asked to leave by other Syrian rebels." 

Syria conflict: US air strikes 'kill dozens of government troops' The US-led coalition has admitted its planes carried out an attack in eastern Syria that the Russian army says killed at least 62 Syrian troops fighting IS.

Aid trucks hit by air strikes as Syria says ceasefire over Tom Perry and John Davison reports that air raids hit aid trucks near the city of Aleppo on Monday (19 September) as the Syrian military declared that a week-long ceasefire was over. 

White House: Russia responsible whoever carried out Syria aid convoy strike The aid convoy and warehouse were bombed Monday (19 Sept) night. The attack prompted the United Nations to halt Syrian aid operations. Eighteen of the convoy's 31 trucks were hit, the United Nations said.

Full transcript of AP interview with Syrian President Assad This is the full transcript of the interview that the Associated Press conducted with Syrian President Bashar Assad at a palace in downtown Damascus.

Syrian Writers, Artists, and Journalists Speak Out Against US and Russian Policy “A group of 150 Syrian intellectuals, composed mostly of writers, artists, academics, and journalists, all identifying themselves as secular democratic opponents of the Syrian regime, have issued the statement … to express their condemnation of the role played by both Washington and Moscow in their country.” 

HOW VIDEO GAMES ARE INFLUENCING WAR PROPAGANDA IN SYRIA “The generation that grew up playing modern video games is now making media about war that reflects those influences, including in Syria, where militias are producing sophisticated propaganda films employing tropes from Western popular culture.”


Regional and International Perspectives

Syrian Refugee Children Appeal for Education As the United Nations pushes for more commitments from world leaders to resettle, aid and educate refugees, Syrian children in Turkey describe their dreams of going back to school.

Why Dance with Russia? The traditional tools of U.S. statecraft in the Middle East are wanting.

Turkey Announces Start of Process to Naturalize Syrian Refugees Erdogan says Turkey has begun to give citizenship and work permits to Syrian refugees residing inside the country in an effort to reduce economic burden.

The Flavors That Unite Syrians Dalia Mortada reflects shows that "the story of Syria’s present and future will be told in recipes and the way people cook and eat."

Here’s why Assad’s army can’t win the war in Syria This is a translation of a scathing article on the state of the Syrian Arab Army that appeared in an online outlet, which is Kremlin-controlled but sometimes critical of the Russian authorities online.

Syrian file Vijay Prashad writes that the "U.S. foreign policy is caught in conflicts that it helped fuel, and it is unable to exit. The U.S.’ failure to help its Syrian Kurdish ally will further dent the limited credibility it has in this conflict." 

Despite fears, American followers of Islamic State are few Five years into the Syrian civil war, there is little evidence that American militants pose a significant threat of returning to conduct attacks in the United States, according to a study. 

Inside Bashar al-Assad's mind James Denselow writes that Syria is a conflict with no breaks and Assad himself is insulated in its cockpit.

Refugees Pour Out of Turkey Once More as Deal With Europe Falters Ceylan Yeğinsu reports: "The number of Syrians and others fleeing Turkey for Greece is growing rapidly once again as an agreement reached months ago to curb the flood of refugees into Europe seems to be on the verge of collapse." 

‘Syria Is the World’s Problem’ As the U.N. General Assembly kicks off in New York, a number of Syrian intellectuals issued a statement condemning the U.S.-Russia cease-fire agreement, calling it “the last straw” and criticizing the two countries for intervening in Syrian affairs.

Canada security agencies helped Syria in torture cases: Documents Canada's spy agency and federal police reportedly cooperated with Syrian military intelligence in the post-9/11 torture of three Canadians.

Jimmy Carter: A First Step for Syria? Stop the Killing Jimmy Carter, the former president of the United States, the agreement between Russia and the United States "can be salvaged if all sides unite, for now, around a simple and undeniably important goal: Stop the killing. It may be more likely than it sounds."

The US and Russia have less influence in Syria than they think Despite 10 months of negotiations between the US and Russia, the two biggest players in the Syrian conflict, the ceasefire is close to unravelling.

Lebanon Needs Help to Cope With Huge Refugee Influx Lebanon hosts some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, more refugees per capita than anywhere in the world. International support is needed to keep this fragile country from reaching the breaking point.


Policy and Reports

The UN Enters Syria’s Moral Labyrinth As a new UN humanitarian coordinator arrives in Damascus, called for a debate over aid increase. 

The imperfect world of the new deal on Syria Hassan Hassan discusses the new U.S.-Russian real to reduce violence and combat extremists in Syria.

The US focus on JFS ignores the real battleground Hassan Hassan looks at the latest developments in Syria and asks whether the U.S. can restore credibility in its actions there.

Analysis: Russia-US deal unlikely to end Syria's war Samer Abboud writes that the Russia-US agreement's narrow military focus ignores the key question of political transition.

The Growth of the Syrian Media and Responsible Voices Caroline Ayoub writes: "As media groups have become more formal institutions, they have had to develop bylaws, mission statements, and visions for what they see as their goal and the intent of an independent media."

75,000 Syrians are trapped near Jordan’s border. Satellite images show some are dying Adam Taylor reports on the thousands of Syrian refugees have become trapped in an isolated no man's land between Syria and Jordan known as "the berm."

Obama plans to increase refugee admissions to more than 100,000 next year Administration’s target for fiscal year 2017 is 110,000 refugees, up from 85,000 goal in 2016, 70,000 in 2015. 

Details of Syria Pact Widen Rift Between John Kerry and Pentagon Helene Cooper And David E Sanger reports about  increasingly public divide between John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter in regard to the  agreement with Russia to reduce the killing in Syria.

What Syrians Want A recent survey of 2,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon shows that the majority of the refugees support the rebels, but that a substantial minority sympathizes with the government

The Precarious State of Syrian Refugee Women, Children in Lebanon Mahlet Atakilt Woldetsadik writes that Syrian refugees, especially women, have insufficient information on registration, access to aid, and other sexual and gender-based violence prevention-related services. 

Syrian refugee crisis is changing women's roles - aid agency Emma Batha discusses the ways in which Syrian refugee crisis is changing women's traditional roles with increasing numbers becoming heads of households and the main breadwinners.

UN inquiry to blame Syrian military for chlorine gas attacks: Source Government says allegations are 'void of truth', and says UN is 'in the hands of some countries which support terrorists.'

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien - Statement on Convoy to Urum al-Kubra, Syria [EN/AR] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued this statement as a response to the recent attack on the aid convoy in Syria.


Syria Conflict Mapping Project Reports

[Map] Russian Marines take over strategic Aleppo highway This map showing where Russian Marines have taken over positions from Syrian army forces outside Aleppo.

Visualizing The Invisible: Stranded Syrians in the Desert This visualization shows the overall dramatic increase of refugees between the Syrian and Jordan border over the last months.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

Alan Kurdi: What has changed since his death? A year after 3-year-old boy's drowning moved the world, refugee children are still struggling to escape violence. 

After Years of War, Celebrities Find a Syrian Group to Back Liam Stack reports that "more than two dozen actors, singers and other prominent people have signed a petition urging the Nobel Prize committee to awardfrus its 2016 Peace Prize to a group of volunteer rescue workers toiling in cities across the war-torn country."

Syria ceasefire: Inside Aleppo's ruined covered market BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen reports this video from Aleppo's old market place. 

Islamic State sex slave survivor appointed UN goodwill ambassador Murad says Islamic State's 2014 attack on Yazidis should be recognized as genocide.

Who Is Responsible for Smearing Syria’s ‘White Helmets’? In this article, Alexander Schinis, attempts to investigate recent intense backlash against Syria’s “White Helmets” who earned a nomination for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Donald Trump Jr tweet: 'I'm a refugee' says Skittles photographer Donald Trump Jr's tweet comparing Skittles to refugees has caused a furore on social media. In a new development, the man who took the photo of the Skittles has revealed himself to be a former refugee.

New novel tells story of a Syrian Kurdish refugee in America John Saleh writes: "in a recently-published book, Sirwan Kajjo, a refugee himself, demonstrates the potential newcomers have in contributing to America’s diversity." 

Google to help George and Amal Clooney educate Syrian refugee children in Lebanon George and Amal Clooney are launching an initiative to educate Syrian refugee children in Lebanon — and they are getting started with a big injection of cash and brain power from Google.

White Helmets among 'alternative Nobel prize' winners Voluntary aid group shares Swedish Right Livelihood Award with Russian activist, Turkish daily and Egyptian feminist.

Bouthaina Shaaban talks to Cathy Newman about Syria - full interview “President Assad's key adviser Bouthaina Shaaban speaks in her first interview with Western media following US-led airstrikes in Syria that killed government forces.”


Arabic Links:

هل يصبح طرد المدنيين نهجاً سائداً بعد داريا؟ Aron Lund writes that "with Iranian and Russian support Assad seems to be winning in the areas that matter most to him."

An English version of this article can be found here: Will Darayya Normalize the Expulsion of Civilians? 

تعايش السوريين في طرطوس زمن الحرب This article discusses the categories and the lived circumstances of internally displaced people into Tartus Governorate. 

الأكراد في سورية... الأحلام والواقع This article discusses the realities and hopes of Kurds in Syria and the historical context of their struggle.

سباق عسكريّ محّموم في معركة الباب شمال سّوريا As groups fighting in Syria make headway against the Islamic State, each wants to be positioned to reap the spoils of war.

An English version of this article can be found here: Why the battle for al-Bab is pivotal in Syria

مخاوف السوريون في تركيا بعد فشل الانقلاب Hasan Arfeh discusses the increasing restrictions and the obstacles that Syrians face in Turkey after the recent failed coup against the Turkish government.

An English version of this article can be found here: The Fears of Syrians Living in Turkey

إتّفاق هدنة برعاية أميركيّة - روسيّة في سوريا وتنسيق عسكريّ مرتقب بين الطرفين Although aid convoys have yet to enter Aleppo as part of the latest US-Russia brokered cease-fire, Syrians are still satisfied with the relative calm following the truce’s implementation.

An English version of this article can be found here: How are Aleppo's residents dealing with truce? 

تفاصيل الحياة في إمارة فتح الشام (جبهة النصرة سابقاً) This report investigates the current circumstances of life in the region under the rule of Fateh-al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) including judiciary, security, economy, and education.

اليساري المُهان Rateb Sha'bo explores the concept of the "Left" and its applicability to the Syrian conflict.

عبدالله المحيسني: في حلب معركة وجود... نكون أو لا نكون Al-akhbar interviews Abdullah Al-Mhaisni the Shariah judge of  Jaish al-Fatah who talks about the battle of Aleppo, the prisoners of Hezbollah, and the Syrian conflict developments.

إعادة بناء السياسة في سورية Mohamad Dibo reflects on policy making in Syria and draws on comparison with Turkey. 

لقاء لـ"المونيتور" مع المعارض السوريّ لؤي حسين In an interview with Al-Monitor, Syrian opposition figure Louay Hussein explains his movement’s vision for the transitional period in Syria and his positions against the revolution.

An English version of this article can be found here: Syrian opposition activist: Syrians no longer decision-makers to own destiny

هل جُنّت دمشق؟ Ramy Koussa describes the social contradictions in Damascus during the ongoing war.

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