[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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday night of every week.]
International and Regional Perspective
Heavy explosion in downtown Beirut kills former govt minister “A large explosion has shaken the downtown area of the Lebanese capital, killing former government minister Mohammed Shattah” and at least 5 other people, RT reports.
After a Long Delay, Lebanon Finally Says Yes to Ikea Housing for Syrian Refugees Lebanon was initially against the idea, because the Ikea units are made to last three years, a period that did not seem “temporary” enough.
Hezbollah ambush kills 32 Islamist fighters in e. Lebanon “At least 32 Nusra Front gunmen were killed in east Lebanon in a weekend ambush sprung by Hezbollah fighters, a senior security source said Monday, adding that a member of the Lebanese group was also killed in ensuing fighting,” The Daily Star reports.
In Lebanon, minority Alawites wounded in attacks in latest spillover from Syria’s civil war Loveday Morris on the sectarian tensions in Tripoli.
The Great Sorting Out: Ethnicity & the Future of the Levant Joshua Landis and Qifa Nabki in an interesting conversation on the latter’s blog, in which he responds to Landis “the upheaval we have seen in the region over the past couple of years is a story of politics and economics, not ethnicity.”
Essay: The Arab Uprisings and Self-Determination - The Missed Opportunity Karl Sharro argues that “the Arab uprisings represented a real opportunity for change. The conditions were ripe for genuinely transformative revolutions that could sweep away the old rotting order and take confident steps towards democracy and freedom. That promise never materialised largely due to failures in leadership and political organisation. Neither the political elites nor the emerging forces were able to take control of the revolutionary wave, to give it meaning and use it to drive through change.”
"Bashar al-Assad Is Not As Bad As These People!" - A Libyan On Joining Jabhat al-Nusra Brown Moses publishes translated parts of an interview which did not make it in Alfred Hackensberger’s "Islamists are worse than Assad" piece.
“Dubious Sources”: Tracing the Rumors About EU Intelligence Reconnecting With Assad Aron Lund writes “many partisans of the Syrian war are, of course, likely to have decided which of these possibilities is true even before having finished this article. But the rest of us might be better served by trying to find out—and by not trusting sensational reports one way or the other until a reporter has dug up some real evidence.”
Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks In his brief report, Aaron Y. Zelin concludes that “a survey of 1,500 media, government, and jihadist sources in multiple languages indicates that between 3,400 and 11,000 foreign fighters have entered Syria since the uprising turned into an armed rebellion.”
Follow the Money: How Syrian Salafis Are Funded From the Gulf Elizabeth Dickinson examines the donation process.
US, Turkey to Rethink Syria Policies Cengiz Çandar argues that the United States and Turkey need to change their approaches to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party.
Bashar Al Assad: An Intimate Profile of a Mass Murderer Annia Ciezadlo writes an extensive profile of the Syrian president.For Peace in Syria, Will Assad Have to Stay? A New York Times debate featuring Joshua Landis, Randa Slim, Ryan C. Crocker, Hassan Hassan and Rime Allaf.
A Cease-Fire Is the Best Hope argues Joshua Landis.
Regional Powers Will Tire of Assad, and Conflict argues Randa Slim
Fighting Will Not Stop While Assad Remains argues Hassan Hassan
War’s Victims Want No One With Blood on Their Hands argues Rime Allaf
Assad Is the Least Worst Option argues Ryan C. Crocker
Don`t Get in Bed With Assad Emile Hokayem responds to Ryan C. Crocker, saying “viewing Syria primarily or uniquely through a counterterrorism lens after two years of civil war is a monumental error.”
All this talk about Assad staying…Matthew Barber writes: “A point of divergence between Crocker and Landis is that Crocker sees Assad regaining control of Syria, inch by inch. Dr. Landis considers this highly unlikely, seeing the regime as incapable of retaking major centers such as Aleppo. So whereas the BBC article painted Landis’ position as further out than Crocker’s, Landis actually doesn’t go quite as far.”
Syria’s opposition must talk to the ‘frightened middle’ Faisal al Yafai responds to the current debate on Syria “no one is speaking to Syrians in the country. This is the root of the disconnect between the fighters on the ground, the opposition abroad and the people caught in the middle.”
On Hassan Hassan, or the most beautiful place on earth, Yarmouk Camp! Salim Salamah remembers Hassan Hassan, the Palestinian actor who died after being arrested and tortured by the Syrian regime.
Questions for the Syrian Sarin sceptics Brian Whitaker restates his stance on the events: “Although many people continue to dispute that the Assad regime was responsible, no one has yet come up with a plausible theory – let alone hard evidence – as to how the rebels might have done it.”
Killing Syrians: The Evil Quartet Walid al-Bunni writes: “four monsters are testing the will of the Syrian people: The Alexa storm, the crimes of Bashar Assad, the failure of the international community, and the inefficiency and subordination of the opposition.”
Who’s who: Muntaha Atrash The Syrian Observer profiles this journalist, activist and “the daughter of Sultan Atrash, the leader of the so-called ‘Great Syrian Revolution’”.
Syrian Revolution Media Demonstration Report 12/20/2013: “Anger to Support Aleppo” “Many peaceful anti-government demonstrations happened again yesterday in Syria, despite increased military operations and much colder weather, including very wintry storms in many parts of Syria.”
Syria-death doctor Abbas Khan was `our star`, brother tells funeral The Syrian authorities that had arrested him said he committed suicide in jail.
The death of Dr Abbas Khan shows how Syria`s President Assad shares power with ruthless and erratic henchmen says Patrick Cockburn.
Battle in East Ghouta, Damascus: Rebels Claim to kill 800 Syrian Army Soldiers An update by Joshua Landis, who says the videos do not show near 800 bodies.
Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: a Cold War in Raqqa Damascus Bureau reports from Raqqa.
Syria’s Alawite Villages: ‘Scenes of Beauty As Well As Unspeakable Horrors’ Sam Dagher reports from Latakia, where 150 women and children are being held hostages since August.
Interview with Jabhat al Nusra`s leader now on Al Jazeera “In his first-ever media interview, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, says conflict is nearing end.”
Talk to Al Jazeera : Hassan Abboud: `We will fight for our rights` An interview with the leader of Ahrar al-Sham Hassan Abboud.
Syria: Sky News Gains Access To UK Jihadists, who respond to those accusing them of being “terrorists”.
Tartous: How Did the Uprising of Dark Alleys End? Sadeq Abdelrahman reports from Tartous.
Wave of Displaced After Aleppo Barrel Bomb Attack The Syrian Observer translates this update by All4Syria.
Syrians Face Shortage of Vital Medications A report from Damascus.
Arts and Social Media
Teenage photographer killed in Syria Molhem Barakat was a seventeen year-old Syrian who was freelancing for Reuters
Chilling Pictures Taken By The Teenage Photographer Who Was Killed In Syria Here are some of the images he captured during the war.
The Qamishli Front A piece by Aymeen Jawad al-Tamimi on Brown Moses’ blog, addressing developments in northeast Syria.
The Factions of Abu Kamal Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi examines the developments of this town located in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor governorate.
Media urge Syrian rebels to stop journalist kidnappings “The 13 organisations, including the BBC, have signed a letter to the rebels warning that the abductions threaten the coverage of the Syrian conflict.”
Wife breaks silence over Spanish journalist`s kidnap in Syria Javier Espinoza and Ricardo Garcia were kidnapped near the Turkey border around three months ago.
Policy and Reports
Document - Syria: Further Information: Student Still in Prison Despite Release Order: Tal al-Mallohi“ A court ordered the release of Syrian student blogger Tal al-Mallohi on 23 October, but instead she was transferred from prison into the custody of Syrian State Security in Damascus, where she is still believed to be held. She is being held incommunicado, putting her at risk of torture.”
Without a trace: enforced disappearances in Syria A report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Economy and Agriculture
Syria’s Other Problem: Inflation Steve H. Hanke for the Cato Institute.
(تبلور نزعة المراهنة على الخارج في المعارضة السورية (2003 - 2006
Mohammad Sayyed Rasas on the history of the Syrian opposition’s reliance on foreign powers.
انهيار قطاعي الصحة والتعليم في سورية.. والأطفال أكثر تأثرا بالنزاع
Report on RT about the collapse of the health and education sector in Syria, and the effect of the struggle on children.
جنيف 2» و«الائتلاف» بيد «الجبهة الإسلامية»؟»
George Samaan on Geneva 2 and the global geopolitics surrounding the Syrian struggle.
صفوان عكاش: سنعارض جنيف 2 إذ ماتحول للعبة أمم
Interview with the leader in the Communist Labor Party Safwan Akkash on Geneva 2 and the status of the party today in Syria.
جنيف السوري»: لا أجندة ولا إيران»
Mohammad Balloot on Geneva 2.
الفيل تحت السجّادة: الطائفيّة في سوريا
Yazan al-Hajj on sectarianism in Syria.
جنيف 2»: الأولوية لمحاربة الجماعات الإرهابية»
Hassan Hardan is optimistic about Geneva 2.
فيروز ـــــ زياد واليسار والذئاب الرمادية
Alaa al-Mawla on the recent rage against Ziad Rahbani and his statements about the famous Lebanese singer, Fairuz’s support for Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah.
المفاوضات الإيرانية الأميركية: من الشرق الأوسط إلى أوراسيا
Huda Rezq on America’s foreign policy during the two-terms of Obama, and the new negotiations between America and Iran.
«خريطة طريق لما بعد «جنيف 2
Mataz Hisso on what happens after Geneva 2.
مشروع تدريس مناهج اللغة الكردية في سورية
A pro-regime program reports that there are dialogues happening in Damascus University looking to implement a Kurdish-language curriculum in Syria.
تحقيق لراديو البلد يكشف: ٥٤ ألف لاجئ سوري فروا من الزعتري وسط تساهل أمني
Report states: 54 thousand Syrian refugees flee Zaatari camp.
(حول تصرفات تنظيم (الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
A statement issued by Alsham Islamic Association about the actions of ISIS.
قاعدة» تعتدل.. وأخرى تشطح بعيداً»
Jamal Khashoggi on the future of al-Qaeda in the region.