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Syria Media Roundup (October 24)

[Image of a Syrian boy at a [Image of a Syrian boy at a "Stop Bombing Syria" demonstration. Image by Geert Smits 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

After ISIS Leaves Palmyra, Residents Still Cannot Return It has been seven months since the Syrian regime and its allies “liberated” the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS control, but residents without ties to the Syrian government have still not been allowed to go back home.

The Symbolic War of Fatwas Among Rebels in Syria As Turkey gets deeper into Syria, opposition groups are divided on whether or not they should fight alongside the foreign power. The power struggle between rebel factions, for now, is taking the form of competing religious rulings. 

The battle for Mosul is a struggle for Iraq itself Hassan Hassan explains why the fight against ISIL in Iraq is critical for the region, the political challenges, and competing interests in Mosul.

Damascus: 'Chaos' in Medicine Prices as Stocks Diminishing Pharmacist says chemists are exploiting the lack of medicine in the capital to raise prices, sometimes increasing costs by twice the actual price.

The dangers of a protracted battle to retake Mosul Will ISIS defend Mosul or will it live to fight another day? The binary is misleading, but a third choice exists, argues Hassan Hassan.

Russia says Damascus embassy targeted in mortar attack, no staff hurt The Russian embassy in Damascus was targeted in a mortar attack on Wednesday (Oct 12, 2016), the Russian Foreign Ministry said, condemning what it called "a terrorist attack" in the Syrian capital.

Renewed bombing kills over 150 in rebel-held Aleppo this week: rescue workers Renewed bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo has killed more than 150 people this week, rescue workers said on Thursday (Oct 13, 2016), as the Syrian government steps up its Russian-backed offensive to take the whole city. 

Despite The Odds, Syrian Activist Keeps Basement Schools Running In Aleppo "Bombing a school in 2016 shouldn't be normal, shouldn't be OK," insists Marcell Shehwaro, a 32-year-old Syrian activist, who runs a network of informal schools out of basements in the devastated city. 

Seven Experts to Watch on Sieges in Syria In the next installment of Syria Deeply “Experts to Watch” series, Syria Deeply highlight seven experts spreading news and analysis about the horrific conditions inside Syria’s besieged cities. 

Pixels Of War: Photographing the Siege in Eastern Ghouta In the first installment of “Pixels of War,” Syria Deeply's diary series on Syrian journalists, Artino describes his time as a war photographer, wanted by the regime, in besieged Eastern Ghouta.

Turkey kills 160 to 200 Syrian Kurdish militants in airstrikes Turkish jets carried out 26 airstrikes on 18 Syrian Kurdish YPG militant targets in northern Syria and killed 160 to 200 militants, the Turkish army said in a statement on Thursday (20 October, 2016).

Fighting intensifies in Syria's Aleppo Syrian rebels warn of "collateral damage" and call on civilians in war-torn city to stay away from government positions.

Syria's Kurds restore ancient names to Arabised towns As part of an ambitious project by Kurdish authorities, hundreds of towns and villages in northern Syria are shedding Arabised names adopted in the 1960s in favour of their traditional Kurdish ones.


Regional and International Perspectives

Is War in Syria in America's Interest? Antoun Issa suggests that U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to clearly articulate what America’s interests are in Syria.

Aleppo siege and airstrikes are war crimes: UN rights boss The U.N. Human Rights Council voted to launch an independent inquiry into events in Aleppo to identify and hold accountable anyone responsible for alleged violations. 

Constructively Ambiguous Aron Lund argues that Hillary Clinton may intervene more in Syria, but one cannot assume that she is a hardened interventionist. Should Clinton win the U.S. election, it could certainly lead to a stepped-up role in Syria.

Egypt Reaches Agreement with Assad Regime to Bring Humanitarian Aid to Aleppo Cairo announces success of negotiations aimed at evacuating the injured and delivering aid to the besieged areas of Aleppo.

The Human Cost of War’s Environmental Impact In this article, Wim Zwijnenburg aims to elaborate on the paramount importance of the environment in relation to the protection of civilians during and after the Syrian conflict. 

Kerry Opens a New Diplomatic Push for a Cease-Fire in Aleppo The United States will convene a new round of multilateral talks on Syria Saturday (15 Oct) in Geneva. Delegations from Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia are expected to attend. 

Turkey frees US journalist who fled Syria Lindsey Snell, an American photojournalist, has been released by Turkish authorities and will be allowed to return to the United States. She was arrested by Turkey on August 6 for “violating a military zone” as she crossed the border from Syria into Turkey.

When Mosul falls, Isis will flee to the safety of Syria. But what then? Robert Fisk argues that "The entire Isis caliphate army could be directed against the Assad government and its allies – a scenario which might cause some satisfaction in Washington."

The blending of Lebanon and Syria John Bell writes that Iran is a conquering shadow behind Lebanon and 'useful' Syria.

How Syria's Forgotten Revolutionaries Rose Up “To Kill This Fear” Murtaza Hussain writes "Jerf is only one of the innumerable Syrian revolutionary activists who have lost their lives over the past five years."

Kremlin says all of Syria must be “liberated” The entire territory of Syria must be “liberated,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in remarks televised Saturday (22 October), dismissing demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s departure as “thoughtless.”


Policy and Reports

The Debate Over Syria Has Reached a Dead End Bassam Haddad writes in the Nation "two mutually exclusive, warring narratives now dominate discussions—and neither is sufficient to bring the country back from the brink."

I am She Network in the Eyes of Its Peace circles I Am She” is a network of community-based women’s groups or “peace circles” led by Syrian women. This assessment was conducted with twenty four peace circles, whose dates of establishment varied between three years to two months, with eight participants in each peace circle on average.

Syrian Civil Society Platform Statement End the Syrian Tragedy The tragedy facing Syrian civilians increased after the recent halt of the US-Russia agreement for ceasefire in Syria. The truce gave hope for initiating a political solution in Syria to solve the daily tragedy of the Syrian people; instead, there was an unprecedented increase in the frequency of violence, and it took unprecedented forms. 

Cholera in the time of war: implications of weak surveillance in Syria for the WHO's preparedness—a comparison of two monitoring systems This study shows that in the context of the current Syrian war, the government's surveillance is inadequate due to lack of access to non-government held territory, an incentive to under-report the consequence of government attacks on health infrastructure, and an impractical insistence on laboratory confirmation.


Syria Conflict Mapping Project Reports

SYRIA SITUATION REPORT: OCTOBER 13 - 20, 2016 The U.S. and Europe appear unlikely to pursue more aggressive action over the Syrian Civil War, including targeted sanctions against Russia in Syria or limited military strikes against the regime.

The history of Mosul, in five maps A visual aid of Mosul throughout the years and how it has reached its current state of play.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

Interview with Rami Jarrah Rami Jarrah (journalist, war correspondent and political activist from Syria) says that the meeting with Erdogan was sparked by an incident at the border in which my colleague was beaten up by Turkish police as he attempted to cross in from Syria to Turkey 

Finland church bells toll nationwide for Aleppo Churches across Finland are tolling their bells once a day in tribute to victims of the bombardment of Aleppo.

Berlin, 1945; Grozny, 2000; Aleppo, 2016 The destruction (in Aleppo, Syria, the Mashhad district) is so complete that it obliterates even a sense of time. At a glance, the video shot from a drone could show Berlin in 1945 or Grozny, 2000. Mass death erases all distinctions.

Syrian terror suspect Jaber al-Bakr found dead in cell in Germany Jaber al-Bakr, a Syrian man arrested in Germany on Monday (Oct 10, 2016) on suspicion of involvement in an Islamic State terrorist plot, killed himself in his jail cell. German police are investigating how his death occurred.

Supporting Women’s Leadership for a Post-Conflict Syria Sarah Lynch reports on a mentorship event in New York City for Syrian women who are part of “100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives,” a scholarship program that offers them what students and experts say is needed: University scholarships specifically for Syrian women after more than five years of war.


Arabic Links:

تسوية في قدسيّا تقضي بخروج المسلّحين شمالاً إلى إدلب The Syrian regime has recently pounded the city of Qudsaya, northwest of Damascus, in a bid to reach another one of its settlements that includes the evacuation of militants from the cities.

The English version of this article can be found here: Militants from Syria's Qudsaya prepare to leave for Idlib 

أعطتني سترة ابنها المعتقل Mosa'ab Hammoud reflects on his lived experience in participating in the Syrian uprising and the consequent political imprisonment.

أربعة كتّاب يتحدثون لـ “جيرون” عن الوطن والهوية في الزمن السوري الجديد  Four Syrian writers share their perspectives on nation and national identity in Syria today. 

سوريا: "علمانيةٌ" زائفةٌ وخطرٌ أصوليّ Tareq Azizeh analyzes the history of secularism in Syria and the effects of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

النظام السوريّ في محاولاته لتجميل صورة مناطق سيطرته The Syrian state media has been promoting a false image of the country and its capital, spreading images of untouched cities and holding entertainment events, while the war rages on in the opposition areas.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian regime promotes another image of the war-torn country

أسماء الأسد: عرضوا علي ضمانات لأهرب.. ورفضت! This link provides access to Asma al-Assad's recent interview with Russia24 which is her first public interview with foreign media in 8 years.

سورية: المعارضة السياسيّة ورهان المستقبل This study explored the potential of Syria's "new opposition" to maintain Syrian nationalism in the future. 

لماذا لا تصل النساء إلى المجالس المحلية؟ This program investigates the realities of Syrian women's exclusion from accessing local councils and political organization. 

بحثًا عن “ديمقراطية سورية” Mohamad Dibo explores the ways in which democracy can be adopted and applied in the future of Syria according to the local context of the country. 

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