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On the Struggle of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

[Syrian children gather on the outskirts of one of the camps in Lebanon. Image by author]

Spring has just landed in Lebanon. Its warmth and colors soothing the dried winter skin of the vast majority of Syrian refugees who resisted icy temperatures and freezing to death underneath thin canvas tents. Lebanon is now home to approximately one million Syrians, displaced from their war-ravaged cities and towns in Syria. Amid unfettered exploitations, Syrian families, forced to seek refuge in Lebanon, have fought a hostile season in a hostile environment that they mistook as neighborly. During the reign of Alexa, a polar storm that hit Lebanon at the start of December 2013, while walking between a maze of tents in Arsal,  Amira grabbed my arm and said, “Sir, I ...

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 2)

[Undated file picture released on Wednesday Jan. 29, 2014, by the official website of Iraq's Interior Ministry claiming to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Al-Qaida's central leadership broke with one of its most powerful branch commanders, who in defiance of its orders spread his operations from Iraq to join the fighting in Syria and fueled bitter infighting among Islamic militant factions in Syria’s civil war. The announcement sharpens a dispute raging the past year between al-Qaida’s central leadership and the faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was created last year by, Al-Baghdadi. He formed the group to expand his operations into neighboring Syria in defiance of direct orders by Ayman al-Zawahri not to do so and to stick to operations within Iraq. (AP Photo/Iraqi Interior Ministry, File)]

This is part two of an interview as conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. You can view Part one here. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a breakdown of existing opposition groups on the ground, starting with the political opposition and moving on to the more consequential military opposition. He divides the military opposition into four main ...

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Tartus in the Present Crisis: A Mirror of the Syrian Regime

[A small boat dock in Tartus. Image by Taras Kalapun via Flickr]

Whether in the Syrian or international media, Tartus is often presented as an island of calm in the ongoing Syrian crisis. The typical response of a Tartus resident to a non-resident interlocutor inquiring about the local situation is “Hon ma fi shi,” which translates from the Arabic as “There is nothing going on here.” Syrian official media in particular likes to emphasize that Tartus’s inhabitants are safe, free, and living without problems.[1] Tartus has always been a relatively quiet city, lacking the commercial and cultural life of such cities as Damascus and Aleppo, and even Latakia. Market areas, including the Suq Mshabki, have always closed early in the evening. ...

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مآلات النزف البطيء: وداعاً سورية دولة مركزية

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النصيحة التي قدمها مسؤولون في عواصم غربية عدة إلى صنّاع القرار في بلادهم، أن الصراع السوري مرجح أن يستمر بين خمس وعشر سنوات ولا بد من وضع السياسات الاستراتيجية على أساس احتمالات متوسطة وطويلة المدى وليست قريبة الأجل. وفق المعلومات المتوافرة، تكثّفت في الأسابيع الأخيرة الاجتماعات السياسية والأمنية بين حلفاء المعارضة و «أصدقاء الشعب السوري». عُقدت اجتماعات عربية – إقليمية – أوروبية – أميركية في واشنطن، واجتماعات بين الدول الأوروبية وأخرى بين الدول الأوروبية والجانب الأميركي في واشنطن أيضاً، شارك في هذه الاجتماعات كبار المسؤولين الأمنيين. كما عقد مسؤولو التخطيط السياسي وخبراء في الشرق الأوسط اجتماعات مغلقة لمراجعة السياسة الخاصة بسورية. محرك هذه الاجتماعات، كان فشل جولتين ...

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Reconfiguring Relief Mechanisms: The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lebanon

[Picture of the

The Issam Faris Institute (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) has released a report, authored by Rabih Shibli, the associate director for Development and Community Projects at AUB’s Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service. The report investigates the impacts of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon, and advocates the reform of current relief mechanisms along more decentralized mechanisms.  The report suggests establishing a new governance system at the level of the eight Lebanese mohafazat (governorates). It supports the establishment of a “Council of Mohafaza” which task would be to coordinate relief mechanisms comprehensively and ...

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Syria Media Roundup (April 4)

[Grafitti in Douma. Image from the Revolutionary Leftist Current in Syria.]

[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 syria@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Perspectives Lebanon Nasrallah: If takfiris succeed in Syria, all in Lebanon will be eliminated Chloe Benoist on Hassan Nasrallah`s latest televised speech Registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes 1 million mark According to the UNHCR, Lebanon has become "the highest per capita concentration of refugees ...

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 1)

[Screenshot from the interview]

This interview was conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a breakdown of existing opposition groups on the ground, starting with the political opposition and moving on to the more consequential military opposition. He divides the military opposition into four main groupings: the Free Syrian Army (very loosely defined), the Islamic ...

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Joint Statement Calling for Release of Arbitrarily Detained Journalists and Others in Syria

[Logo of Reporters Without Borders. Image from rsf.org]

[The following joint statement was issued by the undersigned and published by Reporters Without Borders on 17 March 2014]  Free Key Rights Defenders Government Arbitrarily Holds Darwish, Colleagues Despite UN Demands The government of Syria should immediately and unconditionally release the arbitrarily detained human rights defender Mazen Darwish and his colleagues Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Ghareer, 55 human rights organizations said today. The United Nations Security Council demanded the release of all arbitrarily detained people in Syria on February 22, 2014. Darwish and his colleagues, held in violation of international standards by government authorities ...

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Squeezing the Life out of Yarmouk: War Crimes Against Besieged Civilians

[Logo of Amnesty International. Image from amnesty.org]

[The following report was published by Amnesty International on 10 March 2014] Introduction Three years after popular pro-reform then anti-government protests drew a brutal response from the Syrian authorities, leading to the internal armed conflict that continues to rage, around a quarter of a million civilians are living under siege across Syria. Many have endured appalling conditions in their struggle to survive. Most live in areas besieged by Syrian government forces and have been effectively confined for a year or more in areas devastated by bombing and shelling. The besieged people have little food; some have resorted to killing cats and dogs to eat while those ...

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GCHR Annual Report 2014: Rising Human Rights Challenges in the Gulf Region and Beyond

[Logo of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. Logo from gc4hr.org]

[The following report was published by the Gulf Center for Human Rights on 1 March 2014] Rising Human Rights Challenges in the Gulf Region and Beyond: Annual Report of the Gulf Center for Human Rights 2014 Executive Summary This is the second annual report of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR).  GCHR documents the human rights environment for human rights defenders working in the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. Syria has been included, not because it is typically considered a Gulf country, but because GCHR believes it is essential to ...

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Beyond Emergency Assistance: Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Iraq

[Logo of Refugees International. Image from refugeesinternational.org]

[The following report was published by Refugees International on 4 February 2014] Beyond Emergency Assistance: Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Northern Iraq In less than three years, the Syrian conflict has forced well over two million of that country’s citizens to take refuge in other states. Some 200,000 have fled to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, and 600,000 to Jordan, the two countries visited by Refugees International (RI) during its most recent mission to the Middle East. These refugees seem likely to remain in exile for a considerable amount of time. Even if peace returns to the country quickly – a scenario that seems highly unlikely – the level of ...

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Syria Media Roundup (March 14)

[Memorial service for Ali Mustafa, journalist killed in Syria.]

[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 syria@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  International and Regional Perspectives  Syriac-Kurdish Cooperation in Northeast Syria Carl Drott on a Syriac Christian militia known as Sutoro wearing the same uniform as a Kurdish police force affiliated to the Democratic Union Party (PYD).  À Zahlé, un malaise bien plus social qu’économique Soraya Hamdan provides an economic profile ...

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Syria Media Roundup (April 16)

[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 syria@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Perspectives  The Islamic Front Aron Lund’s useful collection of articles and reports on its emergence in Syria, written for various outlets including ...

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Adunis, Mistranslated (Part One)

Adonis, Selected Poems. Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010. Adunis (1930-) is one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era and a perennial Nobel contender since the late 1980s. A number of his individual works have been ably translated into English in previous decades by Mirene Ghossein and Kamal Boullata, Samuel Hazo, and Shawkat Toorawa. More recently, Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard translated his most powerful and ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (March 2014)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written byJadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyyastrives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send ...

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LA Event--The Political Economy of the Syrian Uprising: Whither the Business Class? (2pm, 8 April, UCLA)

The Political Economy of the Syrian Uprising: Whither the Business Class? A lecture by Bassam Haddad, Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs and Director, Middle East Studies, George Mason University, and Co-Editor of Jadaliyya. Tuesday, 8 April 2014
 2:00 PM
 10383 Bunche Hall UCLA The question of a business classes that can be relied upon to invest in a post-war Syria has become as precarious as it is unpredictable. Political divisions have shattered even the ...

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Month-by-Month Summary of Developments in Syria (Updated)

[The following monthly summaries on developments in Syria were compiled and published by the International Crisis Group (ICG). Jadaliyya Reports will update this post each month as subsequent monthly summaries are issued.]  April 2014 Following Feb breakdown of Geneva II negotiations seeking political resolution to conflict, regime intensified push to secure control over areas bordering Lebanon, part of long-running Qalamoun offensive: with backing of Lebanese Hizbollah seized city of Yabroud ...

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Panel Event -- The Syrian Tragedy: Where From? Where to? (3 April, George Mason University)

The Syrian Tragedy Where From? Where to? Thursday April 3 3pm - 5pm Johnson Center Cinema George Mason University This event is free and open to the public Featuring Omar Dahi, Hampshire College/Jadaliyya: Material Roots of the Uprising: Rethinking the Economic Thesis Rochelle Davis, Georgetown University: Gender, Danger, and Vulnerability: Syrian Men and War Yasser Munif, Emerson College: Participatory Democracy and Local Governance in Manbij Ibrahim Hamidi, ...

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Return Unifies Us: Global Day Of Action For And By Palestinian Refugees

 25 March, 2014 On Saturday 22 March, Palestinians held a day of activities in Syria’s devastated Yarmouk refugee camp. In what has now become a rare occurrence for the besieged camp, concerts took place and music was played, organized by the Damascene School, in cooperation with Yarmouk Youth Group, Sawa’ed Group and the Palestinian Charitable Association. This was one of a series of events held as a result of a “Call to Action” on the right of return. The call was put out by several ...

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الجزائر : لماذا رُشِّح بوتفليقة لعهدة رابعة؟

لم يكن ترشيح الرئيس بوتفليقة لانتخابات نيسان/ أبريل 2014 الرئاسية لِيُحدث كلَّ هذه الضجة لو كان في صحة جيدة، يتوجه إلى الجزائريين بالحديث من حين لآخر مباشرة، لا عبر وزراءَ يرتّلون رسائله الروتينية على مسامعهم دون كثير من الاقتناع. والحال أن مجلس الوزراء، منذ مدة ليست بالقصيرة، لم يعد ينعقد بسبب مرضه، وأنه لم يعد يمثل الجزائرَ في المحافل الدولية، وهو هاوي السفر والتجوال، ولا يستقبل الوفود الأجنبية إلا نادرا، وربما أساسا بغرض تمكين وسائل الإعلام الحكومية من تصويره لمدة دقائق وإقناع الشعب بأنه في عداد ...

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Syria Media Roundup (March 21)

[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 ofJadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to syria@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Perspectives Syrian Refugees and the Educational Challenge in Turkey Muhannad al-Nader explains how “Syrian children are suffering from improvised Turkish ...

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Hello, Zimo

Hello, Zimo November 2013 Beirut, Lebanon   Samer Saem Eldahr (aka Zimo) is a musician and visual artist from Aleppo, Syria. Five years ago, he began working on a project that has now become a hit in the Arab underground music scene: Hello Psychaleppo. The two albums that he released so far mix classical Arabic songs with electronic beats, and showcase the collaborative work of artists and designers from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Spain. In this video interview, Zimo discusses how the group ...

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Women's Activism and the Polio Epidemic in Syria

The international press has spent the last few months actively monitoring the Geneva talks aimed at negotiating a political solution to the present conflict in Syria: from speculation to stagnation and ultimately complete disintegration. Meanwhile, and receiving relatively little media attention, a group of some two hundred Syrian doctors and eight thousand five hundred volunteers have been focusing their efforts on implementing a campaign to vaccinate children against polio in seven northern ...

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Actes du colloque Syrie: reconstructions, immatérielles et matérielles?

Parution: Irène Labeyrie et Claude Yacoub (coord.), Actes du colloque Ila Souria 1.0, Syrie: reconstructions, immatérielles et matérielles? (Paris: Association Ila Souria, 2014). L’association Ila Souria a publié en janvier 2014 les actes du colloque "Syrie: reconstructions, immatérielles et matérielles?", organisé les 9 et 10 octobre 2013 à Paris, à L’Institut du Monde arabe. L’association Ila Souria est une association de droit français sans but lucratif. Elle "est pour l’instant ...

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