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Syria Media Roundup (December 12)

[Image of a man standing in solidarity with the people of Aleppo, taken in Berlin, Germany. Image by Thorsten Strasas via Flickr] [Image of a man standing in solidarity with the people of Aleppo, taken in Berlin, Germany. Image by Thorsten Strasas 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

Analysis: With Aleppo Poised to Fall, Syria’s Assad Is Set to Rise A victory in Aleppo would put the Syrian regime in a potentially advantageous position to recapture the “essential Syria” – the western half of the country, writes journalist Nicholas Blanford.

Ahrar Al Sham and the myths that surround it Hassan Hassan looks at the formation of another new entity in the Syrian conflict.

Syrian president says Aleppo will change course of war - state TV Syrian government forces may be on the verge of taking full control of the city, Syria’s most populous before the war and which has been divided between government and rebel-held zones for years.

Residents of Displaced Camps Brace for Another Harsh Winter Amid Shortage Concerns Zeitoun reports on the condition of IDP camps in Syria’s north, as civilians are forced to endure a new winter without proper facilities for warmth, education and sanitation.

Aleppo's fall would be win for Russia, defeat for U.S. in Mideast Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed reports that U.S.-backed moderate rebels' loss of the eastern half of Syria's largest city Aleppo to Russian-backed government forces would be a defeat for President Barack Obama's efforts to promote democracy and defeat terrorism in the Middle East, U.S. officials conceded on Monday (5 December).

Syrian troops enter Aleppo's Old City, poised for war's biggest victory John Davison and Stephanie Nebehay reports that Syria's army and allies pushed into rebel-held parts of Aleppo's Old City on Tuesday (6 December), a monitoring group said, looking closer than ever to achieving their most important victory of the five-year-old civil war by driving rebels out of their last urban stronghold.

Syria: Assad loyalists take Aleppo's Old City as rebels plead for ceasefire Pro-government forces are closest they have ever been to seizing entire city as rebels beg for five day ceasefire to allow civilians to leave.

White Helmets in east Aleppo plead for help after regime advances Rescue group says volunteers fear for their lives as Syrian army, backed by Iranian militia, approaches rebel-held areas.

Aleppo bombing will continue until rebels leave, Russia says Statement comes one day after Moscow said Syrian military would pause its strikes to allow civilians to leave city.

Aleppo’s terrified residents flee rebel districts, death and hunger Syrians at a way station describe the attacks that swept them from their homes. 

ISIL 'recaptures' Palmyra from Syrian forces More than 4,000 fighters converge on ancient city, forcing government troops to retreat south in reversal of fortunes.

Aleppo: Safe passage for rebels proposed Armed groups yet to respond to plan to send al-Nusra Front fighters to Idlib and others to different destinations.


Regional and International Perspectives 

How to Salvage Syria Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan preview how Donald Trump and his administration can defeat ISIS. However, whether he can achieve this by giving a large number of Syrians American protection is difficult to answer. 

EU will give Assad money if he allows Al Qaeda jihadists to rule over parts of Syria  Alex Christoforou says "The EU is planning to offer Assad financial aid in exchange for allowing Al Qaeda to stay in power in some regions of Syria."

Robert Fisk’s crimes against journalism Bullets and bombs it seems aren’t the only things doctors in Syria have to fear; they also have to endure the poisoned pens of regime friendly journalists. 

What will happen when Aleppo falls Aleppo's fall will start a new chapter of the war, not end it. How rebels respond will decide if a united Syria can emerge from its ashes.

Aleppo’s fall won’t end the Syrian conflict – it will signal a more terrifying stage Haid Haid says that the Assad regime’s complicated international allegiances and relative weakness in many parts of the country means an end to the agony is nowhere in sight.

One Anonymous Syrian Collective’s Struggle Against the Spectacle of Indignity Hiba Zayadin writes "Over the past three weeks, government soldiers and militiamen in Syria have seized almost half of rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Over 300 civilians have been killed in the offensive so far, the last of the functioning hospitals in the region has been destroyed, and 250,000 civilians trapped in the besieged city have limited access to food and water."

And who are we to say the Syrian revolution is dead? Malak Chabkoun says that the spirit of the revolution in Syria persists, even as Assad's forces advance.

What's at stake in Syria Al-Bab is the current focal point of complicated, interwoven developments unfolding in northern Syria.

Shia militia law adds to the challenges in Iraq Hassan Hassan explores a new law in Iraqi parliament that will regulate the militias known as the Popular Mobilisation.


Policy and Report 

A Syria Policy for Trump’s America Sam Heller gives his insight on a rethought strategy for the U.S. policy in Syria; in addition, he lays out a course for America under Trump. 

The Long View In an interview, Derek Chollet looks back at the Obama administration’s decision-making on Syria.

Turkey: Displaced and dispossessed More than a year has passed since residents of Sur in south-eastern Turkey had to leave their homes after armed clashes between the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the State resumed. 

THE INCREDIBLE STORY BEHIND THE SYRIAN PROTEST SINGER EVERYONE THOUGHT WAS DEAD In 2011, a Syrian protest anthem captured the world's attention after being recorded on a phone and uploaded to YouTube. Now, GQ exclusively reveals the story of the real hero behind the song that rallied the rebels.

Syria: Abducted Activists’ Whereabouts Remain Unknown / 3 Years on, No Word on Douma 4 The prominent Syrian human rights defenders Razan Zaitouneh, Samira Al-Khalil, Wa’el Hamada and Nazim Hammadi, who remain missing three years after armed men abducted them, should be released immediately, 56 human rights organizations said today, on the anniversary of their abduction.

Should the West intervene in Syria? "Aleppo will be the shame of our generation" - French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy on failure to intervene in Syria.


Syria Conflict Mapping Project Reports

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

The Future Of Assad, Syria And The Region Aleppo looks set to fall to Assad, a turning point in Syria’s awful war. Audio report on what this means for Syria and the region.

Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow "Antigovernment activists and doctors working in eastern Aleppo have corroborated, through Skype and WhatsApp, that Bana and her mother are who they say they are. But Bana’s Twitter account has also drawn an inordinate number of trolls and voices sympathetic to the Syrian government and its Russian backers, who assail Bana as a fraud."

Let’s Not Pretend Scenes of Horror in Eastern Aleppo Are ‘Unexpected’ The humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo is tragic but not unimaginable or surprising – it is the result of years of inaction by the international community, writes Physicians for Human Rights researcher Elise Baker.

RAF urged to recruit video game players to operate Reaper drones Former drone commander in Syria says air force should try signing up operators ‘straight out of PlayStation bedroom.’

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the situation in Aleppo "Since the beginning of the offensive by the Syrian regime and its allies notably Russia, the intensity and scale of the aerial bombardment of eastern Aleppo have caused widespread civilian casualties and devastated large areas of the city, causing an appalling deterioration in the situation there."

Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow Bana’s Twitter's "messages are sophisticated for a 7-year-old, for example, particularly for one whose native language is not English."

Why some Egyptians prefer Syrian wives Syrian women in Egypt are sought after by some Egyptian men who think they are preferable to their Egyptian counterparts, amid fears of exploitation of their financial status. 

Nobody Wants to Cross the Qutayfah Checkpoint Al-Qutayfah checkpoint strikes fear into the hearts of most Syrians, regardless of political orientation. It unites them in terror, a surreal paradox in the midst of a polarizing crisis.


Arabic Links:

عن حلب بلا أجنحة Sinan Antoon writes about pain and Aleppo referring to the city with the Greek mythology metaphor Icarus who flew too close to the sun causing the wax in his wings to melt and thus to fell into the sea. 

بلا تذكرة سفر 91 – اللجوء الى استراليا مع ريما فليحان In this interview with Rima Fleihan shares her experiences as an asylum seeker in Australia and the challenges she faced as a woman, mother, and activist. 

الثورة والجدل بصددها Ammar Daioub discusses the debates around the "Syrian Revolution" focusing on the Syrian historical, economic context.

رسالة القانون: التشريع السوري والعنف ضد المرأة Sawsan Zakzak writes that it is easy to externalize violence against women as the fault of extremists, or the brutal tactics of the regime.

The English version of this article can be found here: The Letter of the Law: Syrian Legislation and Violence Against Women

«جبهة النصرة» تفكك «الائتلاف» و «أحرار الشام» Ibrahim Hamid discusses the implications of the opposition's stance toward Jabhat al-Nusra on the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and Ahrar al-Sham.

هل من «درس» جزائري للسوريين؟ Kamil AlTawil compares Jabhat al-Nusra with the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria and reflects on what lesson could the Syrian opposition have learned from the Algerian Civil War.

كيف تواجه الناشطات السوريات الابتزاز الالكتروني؟ This article discusses cases of hacking the online accounts of Syrian women who work as human rights defenders and activists as a way to oppress and silence them.  

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