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Syria Media Roundup (April 24)

[Image of people walking down a street in Deir Ez-Zor. Image by Khalil Ashawi via Flickr] [Image of people walking down a street in Deir Ez-Zor. Image by Khalil Ashawi 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

Islamic State Attack on Rebel Base in Syria Sparks Rare, Close Battle (10 April 2017) U.S.-backed Syrian fighters and American forces clash with militants inside the base.

'No one knows how to go on': 40,000 residents of rebel-held Damascus neighborhood face starvation behind government siege (11 April 2017) In the east Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh, just north of rebel-held East Ghouta, 40,000 civilians are running out of food in a small opposition-controlled pocket just one square kilometer in size.

Russia Burns Idlib With Napalm and White Phosphorus: Activists (11 April 2017) Activists report numerous attacks on the rebel-held province over recent days, likely in response to last week's missile attack by U.S. forces on a Syrian air base, opposition outlet Zaman al-Wasl writes.

'Misdirected' Airstrike By U.S.-Led Coalition Kills 18 Allied Fighters In Syria (13 April 2017) An airstrike that was meant to target ISIS in Syria instead killed 18 Syrian Democratic Forces personnel because it was "misdirected," U.S. Central Command said Thursday.

Syria chemical attack 'fabricated' - Assad (13 April 2017) Syria's President Bashar al-Assad says reports of a chemical attack by his forces were "100% fabrication".

On Street Child Day, Syrian Students Say ‘We Belong in the Classroom’ On International Street Children’s Day, Refugees Deeply speaks to Syrian students in Lebanon, some who had previously been out of school and on the streets for years, about the importance of education in their young lives.

Syria claims "hundreds" killed by strike on ISIS chemical cache (13 April 2017) With the U.S. and Russia locked in a standoff over Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, the Syrian army is claiming hundreds of people were killed this week by U.S. or allied aircraft hitting a purported ISIS chemical weapons cache.

'Two years under siege, and it ends with displacement' (14 April 2017) Residents tell of trauma and anxiety as buses transfer civilians and rebels from four towns as part of coordinated swap. 

Syria: 126 killed as bomb hits buses with evacuees, group says (17 April 2017) At least 109 of those killed were evacuees from the pro-regime Shia villages of Al-Fu'ah and Kafraya while the rest were aid workers and rebels guarding the convoy, according to the Syrian Observatory.

ISIS media chief in Syria killed by coalition airstrike (21 April 2017) The Counter-Terrorism (CT) department of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) announced on Thursday that a senior ISIS media official was killed in a coalition air strike in Syria.


Regional and International Perspectives

WHY GEOGRAPHY WILL WIN IN THE SYRIAN CONFLICT? (9 April 2017) Syria is located between the main centers of power in the Middle East, this fact makes it the ground showdown. This means that the conflict is endless, and only the «tandem» of Russia and the USA can stop the war.

Syria Conspiracy Theories Flourish, at Both Ends of the Spectrum (10 April 2017) An assessment of some of the online media speculation of hidden motives and hoaxes behind President Trump’s order for a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base.

Why would Assad use sarin in a war he’s winning? To terrify Syrians. (11 April 2017) The chemical weapons attack came at a time when Assad’s military is overstretched. Chemical weapons are a cheap, effective force multiplier — a way to inflict terror despite limitations of manpower and supply. Their use as a tactic instills fear in civilians and rebels alike.

Bombs away! Wag that dog! (12 April 2017) Larry Beinhart the novelist who is best known for Wag the Dog writes "Just as such wars are not meant to fix those actual problems, they are not fought to accomplish any particular military goal. They are fought - and must be fought - for how they will appear on TV for the home audience."

Boris Johnson: Russia a 'lifeline for the murderous Syrian regime' (12 April 2017) Foreign secretary redoubles criticism of Vladimir Putin’s support for Bashar al-Assad and continues to push for tougher stance on Moscow. 

Russia, Iran and Syria warn US against further strikes (14 April 2017) Russia's foreign minister says Washington is seeking 'excuses for regime change' in Syria

Punish Syrian regime harder for chemical attack, say Boris Johnson (14 April 2017) UK foreign minister and French counterpart say international community has moral duty to hold perpetrators to account.

The US media makes a moral case for the Syria strike. That's dangerous (14 April 2017) Outlets have celebrated the US strike on Syria, glossing over major risks of prolonged war and painting US militarism as inherently good.

Syrian president’s British-born wife Asma al-Assad faces calls to be stripped of her UK citizenship (16 April 2017) Asma al-Assad, the Syrian president’s British-born wife, is facing calls to be stripped of her UK citizenship after she was accused of propping up his propaganda operation.

The Syrian People Have Been Betrayed By All Sides (20 April 2017) Mehdi Hasan argues: “Every side has its own self-serving narrative; its own set of “alternative” facts...Dead Syrians have became political props, cynically used to bolster this or that stance on the conflict. Myths and lies abound.”

When it comes to Syria, our press is full of moralizing and propaganda, and short on analysis  (22 April 2017) “It shouldn’t matter which side you favor in the real Syrian war or the Palestinian conflict so far as the news coverage is concerned.  What one wants from a news organization is fair reporting of what is actually occurring; and if we can’t know for sure, then state that as well." 

Presidential decree canceling law no.33 on establishing General Women’s Union President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued legislative decree no.16 for the year 2017 on canceling the law no.33 for the year 1975, which was amended according to the law no.3 for the year 1984, and its amendments which stipulates for establishing the General Women’s Union.


Policy and Reports

AMERICA'S WAY AHEAD IN SYRIA  (14 March 2017) The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-month planning exercise beginning in November 2015 to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

Syria after the U.S. Strike: What Should Come Next (11 April 2017) Poison gas and missile response have heightened tensions over the Syria conflict. Washington and Moscow should respond to the new risks by pursuing their stated common interest: sufficient de-escalation of the war's violence to establish a meaningful political track toward settlement.

Burst your bubble: five conservative takes on Donald Trump's Syria strike (13 April 2017) Rightwingers who said Trump would conquer neoconservatism are howling with rage after a missile attack on Syria – and others are trying to justify it

Canada announces sanctions on 27 top Syrian officials in effort to pressure Assad (14 April 2017) Canada has announced sanctions against 27 high-ranking officials in the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

What does all this bombing tell us about Trump? (14 April 2017) Donald Trump has not only normalised American foreign policy, he has arguably made it more effective.

Thinking Strategically About U.S. Policy on Syria (21 April 2017) President Donald Trump’s administration has reached a crossroad when it comes to its policy in Syria and they may have an appetite for objectives-based strategy for the war-torn country, writes former ambassador Frederic C. Hof. 


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

Your Call: US foreign policy in the Middle East (10 April 2017) Andrew Bacevich and Reese Erlich discuss Trump administration's plans for the Middle East.

Why is Isis a wake-up call to Muslim women? (13 April 2017) American professor Amina Wadud argues that male interpretations of Islam have lead to wildly discriminating laws against women around the world – and the rise of extremist groups proves they need to be challenged. 

From Mosul to Raqqa: 'Our family is still suffering' (14 April 2017) An Iraqi man shares his story of fleeing ISIL in Iraq and then in Syria, only to be stopped at the Turkish border.

Bana Alabed, 7-year-old Syrian girl, to publish memoir (14 April 2017)  Bana Alabed, whose tweets from Aleppo shocked the world, will publish her memoir later this year. "I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria," she wrote on Twitter. 

Syrians have been in the US all along, Donald Trump (15 April 2017) Syrians have woven themselves into the fabric of American society since the late 19th century. Here are their stories.



SYRIA INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP (9 April 2017) The map presents main military events since March 5, 2017 (last release of interactive map) to April 9, 2017 . However, some less important events may have not been reported on the map.

Syria's civil war explained from the beginning (14 April 2017) The Syrian civil war is the deadliest conflict the 21st century has witnessed thus far. 

SYRIA SITUATION REPORT: APRIL 14 - 20, 2017 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued to consolidate his grip around core regime terrain in Damascus and Hama City. Buses evacuated over two thousand opposition fighters and civilians from the besieged towns of Zabadani and Madaya near Damascus in exchange for the evacuation of nearly eight thousand pro-regime fighters and civilians from the besieged towns of Fu’ah and Kefraya in Idlib Province.


Arabic Links:

لاجئو مدينة الرقّة في تركيا... عين على التحرير وتفاؤل مشوب بالحذر  On April 2, a group of teachers from Raqqa held a meeting in southern Turkey to discuss how to proceed with restoring schooling and education once their city is liberated from the Islamic State.

The English version of this article can be found here: Displaced Raqqa teachers prepare for rebuilding education post-IS

الساحل السوري: هل وقع في فخ التشييع السياسي؟ (April 11 2017) This report traces the “political Shiitization” of the Syrian coast.

رسائل ضحايا الحرب في سوريا للرئيس ترامب “أو قفوا الحرب” (April 11 2017) Saleem Al-Omar writes about the reaction of Syrians after the American missile strike on Shayrat Airbase in Homs province.

The English version of this article can be found here: Victims of the Syrian War to President Trump: “Stop the War”

قراءةٌ في ظاهرة “أسلمة” الثورة السوريّة  (April 15 2017) This report examines the Islamization of the Syrian revolution.

تهجير حيّ الوعر بحمص آخر معاقل المعارضة بالمدينة (April 17 2017) After a deal was struck between the Syrian regime and opposition forces in the al-Waer neighborhood of Homs, waves of newly displaced are headed for Jarablus, al-Bab and Idlib.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian regime evacuates civilians from Homs' last rebel-held area

مرافعة رياض حجاب (April 17 2017) Riad Hijab, the former Prime Minister of Syria and General Coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, delivered a speech at Haramoon center in Doha about the Syrian crisis. 

الجيش الحرّ يجري تدريبات مكثّفة في ريف حلب لرفع جهوزيّة مقاتليه استعداداً للمرحلة المقبلة (April 18 2017) The Free Syrian Army is conducting intense training in Aleppo’s countryside in preparation for future battles now that Turkey has announced the end of its operation in Syria.

The English version of this article can be found here: FSA sees 'golden opportunity' with end of Turkey's operations in Syria 

لماذا اخترت الرحيل ولماذا قررت البقاء: صوتان من مضايا يجمعهما الندم بعد أن باتت البلدة تحت سيطرة النظام  (April 19 2017) “I wish I had stayed and died there,” says Hassan Younis, 27, who served as Madaya’s Civil Defense director before boarding an evacuation bus to Idlib on Friday. “No choice remained for us but to leave from this hell.”

The English version of this article can be found here: Why I chose to leave and why I chose to stay: Two voices from town now under government control, both of regret

تحولات في مواقف القواعد الاجتماعية لنظام الأسد قبل ضربة الشعيرات وبعدها (April 20 2017) A report on the rising frustration and discontent among people in the regime-held areas due to the recent decrees regarding the military service. 

بهدوء ودون إعلان: الحكومة السورية تغلق "الوافدين" المعبر الآخير للغوطة الشرقية وتشدد الحصار على 450 ألفا يسكنونها  (April 21 2017) On March 21, government forces quietly, and without prior notice, shuttered the al-Wafideen checkpoint, erecting earthen berms and “completely closing down the crossing.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian government closes final loophole to tighten siege of east Damascus suburbs

سوري يدّعي ترك “النصرة” واعتناق المسيحية ويروّج للأسد في أوروبا (فيديو)  (April 22 2017) Hassan al-Hussein, AKA as Abu Hamza, an ex-Emir in Jabhat al-Nusra converted to Christianity in Germany.

الرئيس الأسد يصدر مرسوما تشريعيا بإلغاء القانون رقم 33 لعام 1975 المتضمن إحداث الاتحاد العام النسائي (April 23 2017) Presidential decree canceling law no.33 on establishing General Women’s Union 

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