[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 Perspectives
Saudis and CIA agree to Arm Syrian “Moderates” with Advanced Weapons Joshua Landis says this will change the battle field in Syria.
Obama Administration Stiffs Chemical Survivors on New Claim Josh Rogin on the allegations that the regime used chemical weapons last month.
Obama Plans to Escalate the War in Syria Bob Dreyfuss says it is not Russia that is fueling the crisis in Syria, instead “it’s the United States that is creating the problem, by using the CIA and its covert allies to wage a war of regime change.”
U.S. left with no point man in Syria after ‘moderate’ rebels fire their commander Roy Gutman and Hannah Allam claim that the ouster of Gen. Salim Idriss “leaves the United States once again with no clear partner in the nearly 3-year-old civil war.”
Syrian rebel command appears split by ouster of senior military leader Loveday Morris on the ousting of Gen. Salim Idriss.
The Next Battle in the Syrian Civil War May Actually Take Place in Lebanon Jeff Neumann reports on developments in Arsal.
Syria says ready to help Lebanon fight terrorism “The statement follows Wednesday`s twin suicide bombings targeting the Iranian Cultural Center in Beirut’s Bir Hassan, killing eleven people and wounding 128 in the latest of a series of attacks targeting predominantly-Shiite areas strongly associated with Hezbollah.”
Increase in sectarianism will lead to more bloodshed in Lebanon Following the Bir Hassan twin bombings by Lebanon’s Adbullah Azzam brigades, Phillip Smyth suggests that “as sectarian tempo surges, it is likely there will come a point when a more indiscriminate and potentially devastating bombing campaign is launched.”
Hezbollah channels European mercenaries to Syria Antoine Ghattas Saab reports on the allegations.
What Does the Lebanese Cabinet Mean for Syria? An analysis by Raphaël LefèvreA car bomb`s journey between Syria and Lebanon Al Akhbar offers this narrative on the car’ journey until it reached Bir Hassan.
Talking to a Hezbollah fighter in Syria Mona Alami interviews a brigade commander in Qalamoun.
Turkey`s new border wall angers Kurds on both sides of Syrian divide Constanze Letsch reports that “the Turkish authorities have started erecting a wall on the frontier with Syria in what is being seen as an attempt to divide the Kurdish majority populations on both sides of the border, prompting protests and hunger strikes, and jeopardising peace talks.”
Car bomb hits refugee camp on Syria border An explosion hit the Bab-Al Salameh crossing between Turkey and Syria.
Turkey Renews Law Preventing Syrians from Owning Property and Having Permanent Residency
Syria war sparks Turkish Alawite anxiety Adnan Abdulrazek interviews “expert in Turkish affairs, Abdulkadir Abdilli, who has translated more than 50 books from Turkish to Arabic.”
The Plight of Syrian Refugees in Turkey Muhannad Nader explains how “difficulties emerge as a result of the Turkish policy of recognizing refugees as ‘guests’”
Container City Mac McClelland writes about a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey based on his observations and interviews with Syrian refugees
Syria War Sparks Turkish Alawite Anxiety Fehim Taştekin argues that the Syrian war has led Turkey’s Arab Alawites to embrace their Alawite and Arab identity
Living in Limbo: The Women of Jordan`s Zaatari Refugee Camp Rena Effendi reports
Q&A: Marwan Muasher on Syria’s Impact on Jordan Syria Deeply’s Karen Leigh interviews “Dr. Marwan al-Muasher, former deputy foreign minister of Jordan and the current vice president for studies at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to weigh in on the impact the crisis is having on Jordan.”
Haitham Manna to Al-Ahram: Geneva a Waste of Time “Manna spoke to Muhammad Shuaair via telephone about Geneva and the Coalition”
Syrian National Coalition banking on regime-free buffer zone Youssef Harb says “there is a huge gap between the dreams of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the plans of the countries that back it – especially the United States – regarding creating a buffer zone in the south of Syria.”
Exclusive: United Nations Officials Talking With Syrian Terror Group Colum Lynch reports.
Beyond Geneva II Haytham Manna writes: “A political solution must be revived with new peaceful standards and a different methodology that allows the Syrian person the right to hope that this dark tunnel does indeed have an end.”
Bulgaria`s `chilly welcome` to Syrian refugees Rayna Stamboliyska says “it seems that Bulgaria has consistently preferred to engage in exacerbating the situation. Bulgarians have built a wall and are allowing far-right xenophobic rhetoric to prevail.”
European Christians fighting with Syria Kurdish factions Muhieddeen Hamish reports.
`There`s no hope left`: the Syrian refugee camp that is becoming a township Robin Yassin-Kassab explains how “six months ago, Atmeh camp on the Turkish border consisted almost entirely of tents. Now, worryingly, proper buildings are springing up … and nobody is talking about going home.”
Looting Along Syria`s Borders Prevents Already Scarce Aid From Getting Delivered “Rumors abound as to who is responsible for the looting. Some Syrians and Turks along the border say extremist rebels are robbing trucks in order to gain control of refugee camps (where aid means power), while others say more moderate rebel groups are capitalizing on a desperate situation.”
Saudi Arabia Replaces Key Official in Effort to Arm Syria Rebels report Ellen Knickmeyer and Adam Entous
Ex-Guantánamo detainee Moazzam Begg held in Birmingham terror raids reports Vikram Dodd.
Some Foreign Fighters Are Fleeing Syria — But Where Do They Go Next? Mike Giglio on foreign fighters now trying to leave Syria.
Rojava and Kurdish Political Parties in Syria A crucial piece by Nader Atassi, providing insightful background information on developments in Syria’s North
Syrian Women and the Uprising: Fighting on Multiple Fronts A piece by the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria.
Jihad, Then and Now The Majallah interviews Abdullah Anas, described here as “second-in-command at the Bureau of Services office in Peshawar that supported the Arab Afghans and Afghan Mujahideen.”
Jarba Says Coalition Faces New Stage, Support Will Arrive In an interview given to the Lebanese newspaper al-joumhouria, “Jarba talks about the regime`s position on Geneva, the replacement of Idriss and new military strategies”
Syria rebels say planning Damascus spring offensive
Syria’s war must end says Stephen Hawking
Spymasters gather to discuss Syria reports David Ignatius.
ISIS defector tells of group`s deception “CNN`s Arwa Damon reports on ISIS defector who says destroying ISIS as critical as defeating regime.”
Syria adds opposition peace talks delegates to `terrorist list` Khaled Yacoub Oweis reports: “Syria has added opposition delegates at peace talks in Geneva to a "terrorist list" and seized their assets”
Collapse of Syrian opposition: disaster or opportunity? “The growing marginalization of Syria`s government-in-exile could spur diplomatic progress to end war,” argues Musa al-Gharbi.
Coalition Condemns Utaiba Killings “Pro-Assad forces ambushed a convoy of civilians on their way out of Eastern Ghouta,” according to the Syrian National Coallition.
Islam in Syrian Textbooks: Monolithic and Nonpluralistic
Assad`s system of state terror tortured my son to death
Assad’s Achilles’ Heel: The Manpower Problem
Syria crisis: ISIS imposes rules on Christians in Raqqa The BBC reports that “A jihadist group in Syria has demanded that Christians in the northern city of Raqqa pay a levy in gold and accept curbs on their faith, or face death.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s dhimmi pact for the Christians of Raqqa province Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi explains the history and terms of this pact.
The People’s Rule: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, Part I by Aron Lund
Knocking On Every Door: An Interview With Saleh Muslim, by Aron Lund
Islam in Syrian Textbooks: Monolithic and Nonpluralistic
Syria’s Southern Spring Offensive
Syrian Kurds recruit regime loyalists to fight jihadists Andrea Glioti reports that “the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has reportedly established Arab brigades made up of regime loyalists.”
Ahrar a-Sham on ISIS: `Killing them is permitted` Syria Direct reports on the death of Abu Khaled a-Suri.
Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part I By Aron Lund
Who and What Was Abu Khalid al-Suri? Part II
Can Geneva Solve The Syrian Crisis Waleed al-Bunni for The Syrian Observer asks “Is the `Free World` truly interested in ending this conflict? Or is it a mere face-saving exercise?”
The Syrian Regime`s Bombardment of Rebel Cities Is Even More Vicious Than You Think Joshua Hersch on developments in Aleppo.
Syria: President Assad`s future `not up for discussion` BBC’s Lyse Doucet “reports on the confident mood from Damascus.”
Scale of suffering at Syrian refugee camp is revealed by photo of huge queue for food “Aid is distributed at the Yarmouk camp in Damascus, where the UN says people have been reduced to eating animal feed. Since the photograph was taken, aid has ceased to be delivered because of security concerns”
Syria crisis: A Palestinian plea from Yarmouk refugee camp Lyse Doucet reports on developments.
Please, please take us out, we are dying here" BBC’s Lyse Doucet reports from Yarmouk.
`Shocking` scenes in besieged Syria refugee camp Footage from AFP.
Syria: History repeats itself in Sweida Al Akhbar reports that “Sweida, which was in a generally neutral position a year ago, is now at the heart of the battle for the south of Syria”
CNN Exclusive: Videos show brutality of radical group ISIS in Syria A report by CNN.
Syria doctors flee amid crackdown Sophie Cousins discusses the medical brain drain.
ISIS jihadists retreat from parts of north Syria: activists “Radical jihadists begin withdrawing from parts of northern Syria Friday after a threat from rivals, in a bid to protect their stronghold in the east of the war-ravaged country,” reports AFP.
Syria: Education under the government Reporting from Damascus Ahmad Hassan says “for the first time ever, the Syrian Education Ministry announced comprehensive curriculum changes from kindergarten to high school classes that include many changes that help students get rid of repetitions and monotony.”
Part VI Former Syrian Prisoners: In Their Own Voices “Amr Mohammed Rafik al-Sbe’ie, a 55-year-old actor from Damascus, was kidnapped in the middle of the afternoon at a public market in a Damascus countryside town called Beit Lahm in November 2012. He was held for more than 12 hours.”
Syria: Education under the rebels Laith al-Khatib provides a grimmer picture of Eastern Ghouta “where children are being educated by Islamist groups. Students now listen to impromptu religious sermons given by opposition clerics instead of their regular subjects.”
Regime Shelling Leaves Crater in Downtown Yabroud video published by Syria direct, with footage from the Yaboud Coordination Committee.
Syria: Fighters and Mice All That Remain in Old Homs Al Akhabr writes a piece about Homs, which was under siege for the past two years.
A Day in Aleppo at the Mercy of Explosive Barrels Zaid Mohammad for the Damascus Bureau reports.
Ghouta Children Die Before Their First Year “Over 1 million people, half of them children, are trapped under a suffocating siege in eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside,” reports All4Syria.
The Lost in Syria Souad Khibyeh for The Syrian Observer explains how “the tragedies of the missing are echoed in the suffering of those they leave behind.”
Islamists order women to don veil in eastern Syria reports Reuters.
Christian Militia and Political Dynamics in Syria Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi provides background information on where the Christians stand in the war.
Syria: Aid Convoys Bring Relief To Besieged Old City of Homs A video by the World Food Programme
Arts and Social Media
A Norwegian boy was out in the cold without a jacket and this is how strangers reacted “The result: a heart-warming montage of people offering the child the clothes off their backs. The video is part of the group`s larger campaign to encourage Norwegians to give warm coats and blankets to displaced Syrian children.”
+18 أعضاء عصابة أرمنية بلوس أنجلوس يقاتلون في سوريا LA gang members in Syria fighting with the Syrian regime.
Crisis fatigue in Syria Figures by Al Jazeera.
A moment of peace in Syria`s devastating conflict “It’s an incredible scene: Syrian pro-regime forces mingling amicably with rebel fighters in a southern Damascus suburb.The powerful images of one of the ceasefires around the nation’s capital were captured by AFP photographer Louai Beshara and reported on by journalist Rim Haddad from the agency’s Damascus bureau.”
Rebel Aleppo TV channel is go-to news source in northern Syria Borzou Daragahi says “part news channel, part community bulletin board and part public service announcer, it is also a testament to how the plummeting costs of broadcast equipment and the ubiquity of satellite technology are changing the rules of mass media, even in a war zone.”
Raed Fares Will Keep Working To Make You Care About Syria Even If It Kills Him, And It Might “In an interview across the border in Turkey, where he’s recovering, he said he’s going back — even though he expects to be attacked again. “I have a lot of work to do,” writes Mike Giglio.
Syria boy pictured alone was actually crossing border with family Ruth Sherlock reports on the misleading image that went viral on social media.
Syria`s art in exile is roaring A report on various artists and how they address the war in their work.
Graph neighborhoods on which 215 barrel bombs dropped Aleppo city b/n February 8th & Feb 14th.
Artists tackle Syria`s brutal civil war Mohammed Jamjoom reports from Beirut.
Soldier`s Funeral photography by Andrea Bruce.
Exclusive: Leaked Powerpoint of Saudi Pitch to Obama for Regime Change in Syria A satire by Karl Sharro.
Policy and Reports
Syria submits new 100-day plan for removal of chemical weapons “Syria has submitted a new 100-day plan for the removal of its chemical weapons after failing to meet a February 5 deadline, but the international mission overseeing the operation believes it can be done in a shorter time frame, diplomats said on Friday.”
Mapping the Syria Conflict in Syria An in-depth report by Caerus Associates.
Neighborhood by Neighborhood, Mapping a ‘Politically Heterogenous’ Aleppo Syria Deeply speaks with Nathaniel Rosenblatt, “the Caerus senior analyst who spearheaded the research”
Aleppo security A report by First Mile Geo.
Economy and Agriculture
Les profiteurs de la guerre Samia Medawar summarizes Jihad Yazigi’s presentation at the French Institute of the Near East in Beirut.
Government Says it Plans to Replace Illegal Housing According to al-Baath (translated by the Syrian Observer) “Plans include the targeted areas in Damascus and all the other provinces.”
We Will Only Later Realize the Volume of Destruction in the Economy: Official “What is needed is a halt to the attacks and recriminations along with a reorientation towards the East”
Syrians Resort to Adulterated Products after Price Hikes reports the Damascus Bureau.
Will the Golden Syrian Pound Protect the Syrian Pound from Collapse? Adnan Abdulrazzak “The regime is using the gold reserves after having already used up everything that had been set aside for investment, everything that it could sell”
Economic Collapse Harms Newspapers “State newspapers Al-Thawra and Tishreen have been forced to reduce the number of their pages from 16 to 12 as a result of financial difficulties,” reports All4Syria.
Syria Seeks to Join Customs Union Between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan Al-Watan reports that “Talks are ongoing about how to boost the Syrian economy in order to join the Union”
Lebanon becomes ‘lung’ for Syrian economy Ziad Ghosn says “despite the impact of politics and security on the relationship between Lebanon and Syria, economic and trade interests are trying to disengage from the situation.”
The Role of Drought and Climate Change in the Syrian Uprising: Untangling the Triggers of the Revolution An article by Francesca de Châtel.
عودة إلى المربّع الأوّل
Samir al-Aitah says, “we are back to square one!”
"معركة يبرود" في الميدان والسياسة
Rabie Barakat on the significance of the “battle of Yabroud” to the current Syrian situation and its developments.
غد سوريا الاقتصادي: مــقدمة لا بدّ منها
Bashar al-Munayyer speculates on the economic future of Syria based on the current developments.
المثقف السوري زمن الأزمة
Maataz Hisso gives his take on the influence and role of the “Syrian intellectual” on the Syrian struggle.
لا بد من انهاء الحرب في سوريا
Al-Sharq al-Awsat provides a translation of Stephen Hawking’s article, which was published on the Washington Post and in which he denounces what is happening in Syria.
التهريج على طريقة فؤاد حميرة
Wisam Kanaan on a new show that has been released on Youtube by director Fuad Humaira and which features artists such as May Skaf, who has supported the Syrian revolution from the beginning.
عزلة المواطن السوري
Bashir al-Bakr says that the only element that has been isolated from the current discussion and coverage of Syria is the most important one, the Syrian citizen.
اليسار، الإمبريالية والثورة السورية
Corey Oakley translated a more than a year old article about the left, imperialism, and the Syrian revolution.
حلب بستان القصر مظاهرة أحرار حلب رفضاً للمصالحة مع القاتل
Syrian in Bustan al-Qasr protest against the recent “reconciliations” that are happening between the regime and the opposition.
أهي مأساة الثورة السورية أم مأساة الحرية؟
Mostapha al-Jarf on the current situation in Syria and the mistakes of the opposition.
أسباب للأمل في سوريا
The Guardian provides reasons for “hope” in Syria.
أوروبيون مسيحيون يقاتلون في سوريا حماية لأبناء دينهم
BBC Arabic reports the existance of Christian Europeans in Syria fighting alongside Christian armed groups to protect Syrians from their own religious sect.
لماذا تآكلت جبهات محيط دمشق؟
Saber Darwish analyses the recent phenomenon of “reconciliation” in the areas surrounding Damascus.