[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 email@example.com by Monday night of every week.]
Regional and International Perspectives
Defiant Hezbollah Leader Says Ready to Fight in Syria Nasrallah accuses “takfiri terrorists” of being responsible for last week’s bombing in Dahiyeh, and threatens to increase Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria where many of those groups are fighting.
Syrian Palestinians Pack Lebanon Refugee Camp Stephanie D’Arc Taylor meets with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s Burj el-Shemali, who must face their new status as “second-class citizens.”
Lebanon: New Government Awaits Battle for Aleppo Nasser Charara explores the various options on the table for a new Lebanese government - including the “super ministers” and “three-eights” options- while emphasizing Saudi Arabia’s leverage over the ultimate outcome.
Ersal’s Economy Suffers Following Kidnapping Blitz Rameh Hamieh explains how the Lebanese town is suffering socially and economically from the kidnappings, as when they occur, they cut off people from the rest of the country by preventing them from accessing the international highway.
‘Hezbollah Stronghold’: A Western Conspiracy? Brian Whitaker responds to an intervention by Sharmine Narwani, who was insulted by the media’s depiction of Dahiyeh as a “Hezbollah stronghold.”
Jordan’s Crossroads in the Arab Spring Nicolai Due-Gundersen historicizes the “twin disaffection” of Palestinians and Syrians in Jordan and examines their claims to being historically tied to the country, claims he suspects will surface strongly as a result of regional developments.
Syria Crisis: Economy of Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp Howard Johnson, on how the “sense of permanence is taking hold in the camp,” where the markets street was dubbed “Champs Elysees.”
Ankara Reconsiders Backing For Islamist Syrian Rebels Dorian Jones says that Erdogan’s condemnation of extremist groups operating in Syria, which Ankara has long supported both covertly and openly, suggests a shift in its Syria policy.
18 Dead as Qaida Attacks Syria Kurd Town There are heavy clashes between Kurdish groups and al-Qaeda that remain highly neglected in mainstream media coverage.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fall Lands Turkey an Unexpected Ally: Kurds Soner Cagaptay contextualizes what he views as “Anakara’s rapprochement with the PKK,” as the group “controls many Kurdish-majority towns in northern Syria and is an integral part of Turkey`s plans to establish a likely buffer zone in that country.”
Syria Refugees Pour Into Iraqi Kurdistan in Thousands While many have raised skepticism when they saw images of mass exodus of (mostly) Syrian Kurds to Iraq ‘without suitcases’, the footage captured by a human rights organization confirm the authenticity of the events.
In Mass Exodus, Thousands of Syrians Flee to Iraq The mass exodus, which has seen an estimated 30 000 people cross the Iraq border in the span of five days, is said to have been caused by the heavy clashes between al-Qaeda and Kurdish groups fighting for control of the territory.
Foreign Jihadis Conversation
Q+A: The State of Syrian Jihad An interview with Aron Y. Zelin from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who discusses the relationship between the different fighting groups and the future of the country in light of the hijacking of the revolution by extremist forces.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria Jibreel Delgado writes : “with an estimated 17,000 foreign fighters having entered Syria, the ground has been laid for the jihadi globalization of the conflict to a degree far surpassing that of either Iraq or Afghanistan.”
French Brothers Seek Jihad in Syria BBC’s Christian Fraser asks “what makes a young middle-class man turn to Islam and want to risk "martyrdom" in Syria?,” and meets with two French converts from Toulouse who are now fighting there.
Belgian Jihadists in Syria Stripped of Welfare Benefits “The Flemish cities of Antwerp and Vilvoorde have indeed deleted 29 such presumed jihadists from lists of individuals receiving social benefits from the state.”
How Might Syria Come Back to the UK? “RUSI is currently undertaking a research project looking at the phenomenon of foreign fighters in Europe and how this can express itself as a terrorist threat back home.”
Egypt’s Crackdown Divides Regional Leaders Arthur Bright examines the responses from different regional leaders in the aftermath of the massacre in Cairo and suggests that Turkey is suffering from a loss of influence in the region as a result of the overall failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to deliver in a post-Mubarak Egypt.
The Chemical Weapon Attack on Eastern Ghouta
Method in Assad’s Madness While many raised skepticism about the authenticity of the chemical weapons attack, Brian Whitaker writes : “a short alternative answer to the question "why?" is that Assad has little to lose now from using chemical weapons and potentially a lot to gain on the political front.”
The Opposition Advances in Damascus Elizabeth O’Bagy traces military developments in Damascus, and spends some time writing about the situation in Ghouta (prior to the chemical weapons attack).
Will the National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces in Eastern Ghouta be Able to Unite the Revolutionary Forces? Razan Zeitouneh sheds light on the political projects of The National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces in the Ghouta of East Damascus,” saying it “is trying to create a political and administrative umbrella in Damascus’ Ghouta region.”
Collected Chemical Weapons Posts Brown Moses, a British blogger who has been useful in tracking down video evidence for various claims about military developments and the chemical weapons conversation, suggests this list of resources ((prior to the chemical weapons attack).
The Brotherhood Starts Anew in Syria Based on his fieldwork on the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy and leadership, Raphael Lefevre suggests that “the group is adapting to an increasingly fragmented Syria made up of competing centers of power.”
The Southern Front Part II Michael Weiss on the developments in Southern Syria, meets with a man who says that “cultural differences between the north and the south contributed to the moderates’ ability to carve out more territory in the latter area,” a testimony pointing to the emergence of new social/geographic identities. (The first part of his report can be found here)
In Raqqa, Islamist Rebels Form a New Regime Alison Tahmizian Meuse claims that, “over the past week, ISIS consolidated its rule in the northern city using force and intimidation, attacking and capturing both fellow opposition fighters and peaceful demonstrators.”
Presence of Al-Qaeda Linked Groups in Northern Syria Complicates Rebellion Mitchell Prothero says “the incident in Raqqa marked just the latest violent flashpoint between the disparate forces that sometimes come together, and sometimes don’t, in opposition to the Assad regime.”
Aid Local Councils, Not the Syrian National Coalition In another part of the Aleppo governorate, Dylan Crimmins and Joseph Hammoud contend that “the Local Council of Manbij has successfully set up medical, legal, financial and political offices along with a small police force in the region—the basic structures of a viable civil society.”
Assad’s Forces Counter Rebel Gains in Syria’s Deir Ezzor Khaled Yacoub Oweis on the latest developments in Hawiqa district, allegedly a government offensive to avoid having rebels too close to a nearby military camp.
Golani vs. Baghdadi: Al-Qaeda’s Internal War in Syria Radwan Mortada provides a succinct summary of the reasons behind the growing tensions between the two extremist groups, who have however yet to openly confront one another.
Who’s Who: Razan Zaitouneh The Syrian Observer writes a profile on this key figure who has provided a coverage of events from within Syria.
What’s the Point of Winning the War if There’s No Syria Left? Phil Sands interviews two Syrians who have opposed the Syrian regime, one of whom is ready to fight until the end, and another who is having second thoughts about a situation he sees as eventually dividing the country along sectarian lines.
Like 1980s Lebanon, Syria Faces a Lost Decade of War argues Faisal al-Yafai, while conceding that “such analysis has a way of objectifying the conflict, of obscuring the reality of humanity that lies beyond the word "war".”
A Statement From Jobar’s Medical Point Regarding the Chemical Attack Following the alleged chemical attacks on civilians in Damascus, Free Syrian Translators translates this statement by a member of the medical team there, who explains what he witnessed and how the casualties (estimated at more than one thousand now) were increased due to citizens’ misinformation about the proper steps to take following the attack.
Lettre Aux Intellectuels en Occident- Yassin Haj Saleh This letter was written six weeks ago by the Syrian intellectual Yassin Haj Saleh, who has spent the last months living in Eastern Ghouta.
An Alternative to Government Institutions: The General Committee for Civil Defence in Daraa Shumra Ali provides another take on this southern city, where civil society is struggling to cope with the threats on health and sanitation.
The Remaining Jews of Damascus Isolate Themselves From Syrian Crisis Raheel Ibrahim on the few members of the community that remain in Damascus.
A Conversation With Abu Khibbiyeh, Douma Shield Battalion Commanders: “Entering Medan Was a Big Mistake” On the “revolution within a revolution,” the rebels’ relationship with the civilians and the future of Syria.
In Syria, Battle for Damascus is Also Waged in Suburbs Patrick J. McDonnell on a dispatch to Damascus after receiving a government visa, reports from Yarmouk refugee camp.
L’Espoir Jean-Pierre Duthion, a French expat who remains in Damascus today, files this report for Paris Match on how the consequences of the war are finally starting to reach privileged Damascenes.
Education in Aleppo City a Victim of War Lina al-Hakim write : “the grade lists of this year’s final exams, which ended in mid-July, reveal an absence rate of over 30 per cent in most departments.”
Alawite Families in Homs “Between the Fire of the Opposition and the Fire of the Regime”
On the lives of Alawite civilians who are suffering from the government offensives in opposition neighborhoods.
One of many An ISIS-affiliated group allegedly seized of a village in northern Latakia and shared their complete operation in a 21-minute Youtube video, a PR stunt that gives an idea of the radicalization and localization of the war.
Arts and Social Media
I’m Alive A widely circulated video of a young girl, who, in shock following the chemical weapons attack, keeps repeating “I’m alive, I’m alive.”
Syria Gay Activists Launch First Magazine The Istanbul-based group announced the launch of the magazine called Mawaleh, or “Salty Nuts.”
How it all Began A short animation explaining the early days of the revolution and the demands made by the people.
Syrian Civil War Detailed Map of the various military developments in the various governorates and district, a useful resource revealing the extent to which fighting has become localized.
Prayers for an Intrepid Priest Missing in Syria Stephanie Saldana writes about Father Paolo, whose whereabouts remain unknown ever since he was last seen meeting with al-Qaeda members in Raqqa last month. Many rumours about his fate have circulated, with various sources claiming he had been killed while others saying he was still alive.
Ali Ferzat, Cartoonist in Exile A article on the famous caricaturist Ali Ferzat, whose work will be presented at a London gallery this month.
Syrian Civil War: Artists Displaced By Conflict Find Refuge (and Beauty) in Lebanese Artists’ Colony Rasha Elass on a residency program for displaced and fleeing Syrian artists in Lebanon’s town of Aley, a program started by Syrian civil engineer Raghad Mardini.
Call on Syrian Youth: ‘Make your Voices Heard’ - Turkey An initiative “calling on young Syrians to make their voices heard by submitting a short video detailing their visions for Syria’s future. Ten winners will be determined through an online vote and will be brought to Istanbul Kultur University to participate in a workshop and debate on September 16 through 18.”
Syria Civil War Reddit A useful resource to keep track of developing stories on Syria.
Policy and Reports
The Muslim Brotherhood Prepares for a Comeback in Syria An earlier piece by Raphael Lefevre for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which provides further explanation following this week’s piece in Majalla.
The Rise of the Syrian Sisterhood Another report by Rapahel Lefevre, in which he argues “women are taking on an increasingly bigger role [in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood] both within the organization and in its national role.”
Syria’s Crisis and the Global Response Zachary Laub and Jonathan Masters provide a brief background on the situation.
Syrian Authorities Determined to Silence Activists With Bogus ‘Terrorism’ Charges An Amnesty International update on the cases of Mazen Darwish, Hussein Gharir, Hani al-Zitani, Mansour al-Omari and Abd al-Rahman Hamada from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM).
Iraq: More Sahela Border Arrivals UNHCR on the mass exodus of (mostly) Syrian Kurds who crossed into the Iraqi border by the thousands this week.
Economy and Agriculture
As War Rages, Economies of Syria and Lebanon Stay Intertwined Nour Malas on a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia report analyzing the impacts of a prolonged war on the two countries’ economy.
Zabadani’s Trees Victims of Bombing and Siege On the implications of war for the city’s agriculture.
Syria’s Hunger Games Jihad Yazigi writes an update on the Syrian agricultural sector.
Aleppo Countryside Residents Suffer Price Hikes and Lack of Oversight Ayman Mohammad provides an economic update and explains how the price hikes affect people in Aleppo.
Central Bank Sells Foreign Currency at Fixed Prices The Syrian Observer translates this update announced by the state’s news agency.
Reconstructing Syria Jihad Yazigi writes that “it is still too early to make a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the war on bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries, but there is little doubt that Lebanese investors, across all business sectors, are going to be major beneficiaries of Syria’s reconstruction effort.”
دمشق | بيان أولي من المكتب الطبي في حي جوبر حول قصف الغوطة الشرقية بالسلاح الكيماوي
An eyewitness account from a doctor in the Jobar Quarter in Eastern Ghouta in which he explains the situation on the ground after yesterday’s massacre.
This is a pilot of the documentary (Neshama), which depicts the journey of distinguished Syrian musicians to document the folk music of the Syrian revolution.
سوريا تعود إلى الثمانينات
Jihad Yazegy on a government decree banning trade and conducting any commercial procedure with any currency other than the Syrian Lira.
“فريق الابراهيمي ينشط المؤتمر الدولي بشأن سوريا واشنطن بين خيارين “جنيف 2” و انتصار “القاعدة
Mohammad Al-Ballout on developments about “Geneva 2” and the stance of the U.S.
تعليق - في ظل الدولة
Rateb Shaabo on the absence of the differentiation between the state and the regime (or the authority).
تساؤلات … مع محمد حجازي
Interview on RadioAna with the member of the Syrian National Coordination Body and longtime opposition member Mohammad Hijazi, in which he explains the history of his political activism since the 60s under the Baathist regime.
صالح مسلم (الرئيس المشترك لحزب الاتحاد الديمقراطي) في برنامج نقطة نظام
Interview with the co-president of the PYD Saleh Muslim.
حرب “أنفال” ضد الأقليات القومية و الدينية في سوريا
Areeb arRantawi on the migration of the Kurdish population to Iraqi Kurdistan and the status on minorities in Syria.
يوسف عبدلكي: السكين في المائدة
ِAbbas Baidoun on Yousef Abdelki.
الثورة و الصراع على السلطة
Ghassan Eid analyses the meaning of revolution.
الربيع العربي وانكشاف زيف الوعي
Hussein Obeid offers a pessimistic view on the “Arab Spring” in light of the regional and international politics that were and are at play.
ما الذي تيقى من دمشق؟
An Arabic translation of Sarah Birke’s article on the destruction that has ruled the Syrian capital.