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Syria Media Roundup (December 5)

[Image of a man on his bicycle in what is left of his neighborhood in Aleppo. Image by Don Johnston via Flickr] [Image of a man on his bicycle in what is left of his neighborhood in Aleppo. Image by Don Johnston 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 

How the worst option is playing out in Aleppo The unfolding tragedy in Aleppo is not only a humanitarian and moral disaster, but it is a political calamity as well. All the worst actors are poised to be the big winners from what appears to be the imminent collapse of rebel groups in the besieged eastern half of the city.

In Aleppo, I saw why Assad is winning Russian and Iranian troops have helped Assad retake a rebel stronghold, but there was more to his strategy to keep power than naked force. 

Keeping the Lights On in Rebel Idlib Sam Heller on local governance, services, and the competition for legitimacy among Islamist armed groups.

A Turning Point in Aleppo A defeat will leave Syria’s opposition at a dead end, with little chance of reversing the tide of war. 

“The End is Near”. “Remember What We Sacrificed”. Dispatches from Eastern Aleppo As forces loyal to the Assad regime make their advances in rebel-held and besieged Eastern Aleppo, human rights groups as well as the UN are sounding the alarm. 

Thousands Flee Parts of Aleppo, Syria, as Assad’s Forces Gain Ground The ferocious ground assault and aerial bombardment in eastern Aleppo has forced some 16,000 people to flee for their lives in the last few days, according to Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations under secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Waer: Residents Claim Life Still Paralyzed Despite Truce With Regime Opposition negotiators of the Homs neighborhood are pointing to an older truce agreement after being heavily bombed with rockets and napalm for almost two weeks straight. 

Damascus Countryside Witnesses Further Reconciliation Agreements: Sources Towns and villages secure breakthrough in reconciliations and disarmament with gunmen, resolving their legal status under presidential amnesty.

Aleppo could witness one of the worst massacres since World War Two, France warns The ‘smell of blood’ is everywhere, doctor in besieged rebel-held area says, as Assad’s forces step up brutal final campaign before change in US administration 

Syria: tens of thousands flee Aleppo before UN emergency talks More than 50,000 leave amid continuing government bombardment that reportedly killed at least 21 people on Wednesday 30 November.

Syria's Aleppo loses clown who warmed war-torn hearts The 24-year-old Anas al-Basha was a center director at Space for Hope, one of many unheralded local initiatives operating against the odds to provide civil society services to Syria's war-torn opposition areas.

Russians talk with Syrian rebels as eastern Aleppo runs out of food Deal under negotiation in Ankara involves ceasefire and opening of corridors for delivering humanitarian aid.

For Aleppo Residents Under Siege, A Risky Journey To Relative Safety In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side.

US-led Coalition Strikes Kill 10 Civilians in Raqqa Wesnesday’s strikes hit camp for displaced families fleeing north of ISIS’ Syrian stronghold, sources claim. 

Aleppo siege: Syria rebels lose 50% of territory Syrian government troops control of 50% of rebel-held areas of east Aleppo, a military spokesman has told the BBC.

Attacks on schools aim to 'destroy Syria's identity' Teachers and aid organisations believe the attacks on schools are deliberate.

Suspected Russian warplanes bomb Idlib, dozens killed Monitoring group says air strikes hit several places across Syrian province, killing at least 46, mostly civilians.


Regional and International Perspectives

Russia seeks full withdrawal of Aleppo rebels Russia switches to demand total retreat from Aleppo. Rebel defeat now seems almost certain.

Syrian Refugees Suffer Most From High Rates Of C-Sections While the rate of births by cesarean section in Lebanon remains considerably above internationally recommended levels, the incidence of the procedure among Syrian refugee women comes with additional risks and hardship, writes Federica Marsi, of Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper. 

Analysis: The Consequences of Egypt’s Potential Military Engagement in Syria As ties between Cairo and Damascus strengthen, Syrian journalist Abdulrahman al-Masri explores the factors behind possible military cooperation between Egypt and Syria and the consequences this would have both locally and regionally.

One by One, ISIS Social Media Experts Are Killed as Result of F.B.I. Program Adam Goldman and Eric Schmitt writes "While American and British forces conducted a series of drone strikes on members of the group, the F.B.I. sifted through thousands of the Legion’s followers on social media to figure out who had actually been inspired to take action. In the last two years, it has arrested nearly 100 people in cases involving the terrorist group." 

Another Mass Grave Dug by ISIS in Iraq, and a Ghastly Ritual Renewed Tim Arango writes "The battle was over in Hamam al-Alil, Iraq, an old spa resort town that the country’s security forces had wrested from the Islamic State a few days ago, but one Iraqi soldier was still on a very personal mission." 

How can the world ever make up for how much we have failed Bana Alabed? Samar Batrawi writes "while east Aleppo falls to devastation at the hands of pro-regime troops, debating over exact population figures and a young girl's tweets is morally indefensible."

Egypt and Turkey Soften Positions on Syria, Benefiting Assad Anne Barnard writes "Egypt and Turkey, countries that were once vocal opponents of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, have, to varying degrees, softened their positions." 

EU offers cash to Assad regime for Syria peace deal The EU is offering financial support for a Syria still ruled by President Assad in a last-ditch effort to retain western influence on the outcome of the war, The Times has been told.

We Are All Accomplices to the Slaughter of Aleppo Diana Semaan says that Russia and Syria are guilty of bombing thousands of civilians. The rest of the world is guilty of doing nothing.


Policy and Reports 

Transnational War in Syria: The Eisenhower Doctrine in the 21st Century? Jorg Michael Dostal aims to explain the geopolitical interests and strategy of the United States in the Middle East region.

Even after defeat, ISIL’s influence will remain strong Hassan Hassan gives his thoughts on whether Sufism will survive the systematically erosive rule of IS in a region historically Sufi.

A Syria Policy for Trump Andrew J. Tabler and Dennis Ross write: "President Trump will need to be more willing to put pressure on Moscow and Tehran than he has so far indicated. That means he should be ready to impose penalties on both if they do not fulfill any commitments they make."

Iran and Assad in the Age of Trump Alex Vatanka writes: "The first big test will be on the question of Syria and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, with whom Iran’s history is considerably more complicated than many realize. If Trump decides to cut a deal with Russia and Iran over Syria, he will find he has more leverage on the question of Assad’s future than many might recognize."

Formal Informality, Brokering Mechanisms, and Illegality. The Impact of the Lebanese State’s Policies on Syrian Refugees’ Daily Lives This report seeks to provide an overview of Lebanon’s current policy towards Syrian refugees, and to explore the new rules and regulations issued by General Security regarding the entry, residency, and departure of Syrian nationals. It also analyses the challenges pertaining to the current policy and its impact on the daily lives of Syrian refugees, with a special focus on their emerging illegality, their struggle for decent livelihood and working conditions, and increased informality and insecurity.

What Trump Should Do in Syria Kenneth Roth writes: "Trump may want to turn his back on Syrian government war crimes, but in view of the regional pressures created by the conflict and the public demands to address it, he will find these atrocities difficult to ignore. " 

Congress authorizes Trump to arm Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles Today, the House passed a defense bill that conditionally allows the provision of MANPADs to anti-Syrian regime forces.


Syria Conflict Mapping Project Reports

Syria, Iraq & Lebanon War Map This map shows situation around Damascus (Capital of Syria) after several pockets surrendered.

Field Report: Syrian Army storms key rebel-held district in southern Aleppo. Map Update The Arab Source latest battlefield map of Aleppo after capturing Shikh Sa'eed district. 

Aleppo: Who controls what

Aleppo, once Syria's largest city, is an important battleground in the war with at least 250,000 besieged in the east.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

A Letter From Rebel-Controlled Idlib, Syria “Let Nusra go to hell,” says a member of the Islamic police, who are despised by the people and even by their own employees.

How Facebook hurt the Syrian Revolution Social media made the Syrian revolutionary movement less resilient and more exposed to regime brutality. 

Aleppo: 7-year-old girl's Twitter account goes silent Bana Alabed, 7, had tweeted about the horrors of war in Aleppo, Syria. On Sunday, her Twitter account was deleted without explanation.

Syrian refugees face a new kind of uncertainty as federal allowance ends The monthly federal stipend for the first wave of Syrian refugees in Canada comes to an end this month as they enter their second year in Canada — something a Toronto settlement volunteer says could leave the oldest of the newcomers with a gap in their income.


Arabic Links:

الانتخابات الأميركية وتداعياتها المحتملة على المسألة السورية This study explores the possible implications of the American presidential elections on the future of Syria.

متحدون من أجل السلام في سوريا: نداء من المجتمع المدني العالمي للدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة A global coalition of 223 civil society organizations, urgently call upon UN member states to step in and request an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly to demand an end to all unlawful attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, and immediate and unhindered humanitarian access so that life-saving aid can reach all those in need.

The English version of this article can be found here: Uniting for Peace in Syria: Global Civil Society Appeal to UN Member States

في رثاء أخي: “هيك صارت حياتنا”  This article is a personal piece from one of Atlantic Council regular contributors, Haid Haid. This article is meant to serve as a reminder to our readers about this tragic reality, and spur us on to find a solution to the conflict.

The English version of this article can be found here: In Eulogy for my Brother: “Our Lives Have Become Like This” 

سوريات ناجحات في الأردن In this article, Roula Othman highlights some of the successful stories of Syrian women in Jordan.

حلب: الاستثناء مقدمة للقاعدة Husam Itani reflects on media depictions of the atrocities in Aleppo.

الانتداب الروسي على سورية Abdul Hamid Ajmahiri describe Russian intervention in Syrian war as "Russian Mandate for Syria"comparing it with French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon (1923−1946).

آراء السوريون في الرئيس المنتخب ترامب Most Syrians considered the outcome of the election critical to the future of their country; as such, Syrians chose to root for a candidate based on his or her statements on the Syrian crisis.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrians' Opinions about President-Elect Trump

تحليل الوضع السياسي للنظام السوري، دراسة في بنية ركائزه، وتحولات المستقبل This study analyzes the political situation of the Syrian regime, its pillars structure, and its future trends. 

حزب الله بين سورية ولبنان (3) Rateb Sha'abo shares his perspective on the history and present of the political relationship between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.

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