[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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday night of every week.]
International and Regional Perspectives
The Roots of Crisis in Northern Lebanon Raphael Lefevre provides a detailed report on the causes behind the heightened tensions in Northern Lebanon, and concludes with concrete measures to decrease them.
Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis Lana Asfour provides an overview of the political, economic and social tensions in Lebanon and concludes that : “The prolonged conflict in Syria continues to test the stability of the Lebanese state, and constitutes a more serious threat to its sovereignty and independence than previous, post-civil war confrontations.”
Stopping Russia Starts in Syria Anne-Marie Slaughter advocates for a US intervention in Syria, where “the US must demonstrate its readiness to shoulder the full responsibilities of power. Striking Syria might not end the civil war there, but it could prevent the eruption of a new one in Ukraine.”
Al-Qaeda Is Dead, Long Live Al-Qaeda Jean-Pierre Filiu writes: “The key to understanding current jihadi dynamics is not which group Zawahiri is prepared to bless or banish but which forces tolerate or fight the ISIL.”
The Syria Factor in Iraqi Kurdish Politics Wladimir Van Wilgenburg explains: “In Syria, Barzani pursues a policy geared to the same goals that he pursues in Iraq: protecting Kurdish interests in the war while simultaneously squeezing out his rivals and strengthening his own relations with Turkey.”
The Everyday Experience of Humanitarianism in Akkar Villages (Part One) Estella Carpi’s report on the implosion of humanitarian assistance in Akkar and the “ethnicization” of the needs and services provided to the Syrian refugees.On the Struggle of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Moe Ali Nayel meets with Syrians in Arsal and Zahle and reports on the harsh conditions they face living in the refugee camps.
Plongée dans un camp de réfugiés syriens de la Bekaa Elizabeth Longuenesse reports on four initiatives undertaken in the camp of Jarrahiyeh that seeks to foster autonomy to meet the refugees’ needs for energy and education.
Syrian refugees cling to stability in Iraq Ali Al-Arian reports on the life conditions inside Domiz refugee camp in Iraq, where, unlike other camps in the region, refugees seem to have found “relative stability”.
Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on NPR’s Worldview, Addressing Syria’s Presidential Elections In the below interview with Worldview airing on National Public Radio (NPR), Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad discusses the recent announcement, its broader context, and possible implications.
Syria`s starving civilians struggle to survive in bombarded cities Martin Chulov explains how “relentless bombardment has destroyed opposition strongholds. For those trapped inside, the choice from Assad is stark: submit or die”.
Druze Sheikhs Protest in Sweida Tobias Lang explains why “few Druze have so far participated in the protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the Sweida region has accordingly been spared the worst of the civil war, even though fighting seems to have increased recently.”
The Syrian Opposition’s Bleak Outlook Yezid Sayigh explains that “the Syrian National Coalition is living on borrowed time. Unless it can develop credible political leadership and effective administration inside Syria, the outlook for those trying to make it succeed looks bleak”.
The Armenians and Syriacs of Syria: Tale of a Lonely Homeland Rustom Mahmoud offers a geopolitical analysis comparing the two groups’ stance and says ”Armenians find themselves closer to the axis that is lead by Iran, and has to do with the conflict and bitter feeling toward towards Turkey.” [...] “The Syriac, in contrast, do not have any motivations to organize their political choices on basis of political regional equations.”
New Syrian Islamic Council repeats the patterns of old Hassan Hassan says that one of this new organization’s features is that it “has combined three otherwise irreconcilable Islamic currents under one canopy: Sufis, Muslim Brotherhood and Sururis.”
Syria’s Thousand Miles of Red Tape Alsharq al-Awsat says “even Syrians who have escaped their war-torn country into Turkey continue to have their lives dominated by the Syrian regime`s far-reaching bureaucracy”
Khaddam: I am Part of the Regime and Ready to Stand Trial The former Syrian Vice President “Abdulhalim Khaddam challenged the regime to reveal a file of corruption that may convict him or any of his relatives,” reports the Syrian Observer
The Sham Legion: Syria’s Moderate Islamists Raphael Lefevre and Ali El Yassir argue that the formation of the group is a significant development because “until its formation, only more conservative and Salafi-oriented brigades had managed to merge into ideologically coherent countrywide alliances, such as the Islamic Front.”
Syria negotiator says Homs once again a `theater of death` Reuters reports that “in recent months, government forces have recaptured several rebel-held areas and border towns, closing off rebel supply routes from Lebanon and securing the main highway leading north from Damascus towards central Syria, Homs and the Mediterranean.”
What Would the Fall of Homs Mean? Aron Lund examines the military developments in Homs, saying that “even if the Old City were to fall, it would not mean the end of the insurgency in Homs Province. The opposition still has strong support throughout the Sunni countryside.”
Homs Emerges as Turning Point in Shaping Syria’s Future Anne Barnard, reporting from Homs, contends that “if the government is victorious here, it will control a devastated landscape, a physically fragmented and socially divided city where many community bonds, not just houses, have been destroyed.”
Aleppo: What’s Left Behind Reporting from Aleppo, Hannah Lucinda Smith claims that “the people who had been terrorizing the city have gone, but there is barely a city left to terrorize any more.”
Warring Factions Bring Chaos to Syrian Civilians Issam Abdulhamid says “tensions between Syrian rebel forces stationed in civilian areas are causing problems for residents, who say they risk being caught in crossfire or regime strikes.”
West Aleppo faces unending assault reports Edward Dark, a pseudonym for a resident in Aleppo (translation by Sibel Utku Bila”.
Tal Malouhi Back to Adra Prison According to All4Syria, activist Tal “Malouhi was held again under the directives of Major General Ali Mamlouk” (Update translated by the Syrian Observer)
Syria: who can you trust in Manajir? Carl Drott says ISIS is terrorizing citizens in Manabij, to make sure they do not support Kurdish YPG.
Kafr Nabl Publisher: `End of Assad Control Began a Revolution of Consciousness` “In the first of a two-part interview, Salloum tells Syria Direct’s Raneem Qubatrus that this editorial independence “‘is the definition of both freedom and responsibility, but there’s also potential to drift toward irresponsibility and chaos.’”
Review: Return to Homs - the capital of Syria`s revolution destroyed Mark Boothroyd reviews Talal Derki’s film on Syrian goalkeeper Basset Sarout and media activist Ossama Al Homsi’s return to the country.
Syria`s Dagestan ruled by the sword of ISIS Suhaib Anjarini reports on the village of Deir Foul, “the last remaining gathering of Syrians of Dagestani descent” [...] which “has fallen under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their brutal policies.”
Killing Spurs the Living to Continue Revolution Souad Khibiyeh for The Syrian Observer interviews Abu Hassan, who was nicknamed the “father of the martyrs” after he lost his three sons to the revolution.
The Children of Yarmouk Miss You (Video) Children singing a song in which they express their support to Syrians across Syria and those in neighboring countries.
Arts and Social Media
Good Media, Bad Politics? New Media and the Syria Conflict In his lengthy report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, James Harkin asks: “Given that new media was supposed to be such an accessory to Syria’s early rebellion, is it possible that it contributed to its undoing?"
Syria crisis: Uplifting letters of hope “Young Somali refugees living in the world`s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland.”
Testimony of Loyalty Directed by Hassan Altanji, produced by Reaction and supported by Bidayyat, “this is the story of the artist Hassan Hassan, as it is the story of thousands of detainees in Syria, whether Palestinians or Syrians.”
Photoblog: Saraqeb’s Walls Document the Different Stages of the Revolution A photo gallery curated by the Damascus Bureau.
Forging Unity in Syria With Music Mat Nashed features Damascene band “Ana”
A Displaced Syrian Woman Turns Unfinished Building into Joyful Kindergarten The Damascus Bureau explains how “there are no statistics detailing the number of women currently working in Syria, since most of the work they do is in the informal economy.”
Les quatre journalistes otages en Syrie ont été libérés Abducted since June 2013, Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Hénin and Pierre Torres were released last week.
Photoblog: Kafr Nabel’s Walls Are Painted with Fresh Life “After Kafr Nabel experienced severe destruction and its walls were covered with obscene scrawls that were an affront to common decency, a group of local youth came together to rejuvenate the walls and bring colour and life back to certain neighbourhoods as part of an initiative they called “Aish” (Life).” Damascus Bureau’s Youssef al-Ahmad features their art in this photo gallery.
Policy and Reports
Exclusive: U.N. Docs Expose Assad`s Starvation Campaign in Syria reports John Hudson, for Foreign Policy.
Violence against Women, Bleeding Wound in the Syrian Conflict The aim of the report is to shed light on the range of violence and violations affecting Syrian women in the context of the conflict.”
A Special Report on Aleppo Central Prison: The Execution and Fatal Starvation Of Dozens of Prisoners A report by the Violation Documentation Center in Syria.
Syria: Aleppo civilians under attack “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appalled by a sharp escalation of violence in the northern city of Aleppo, where parties have in recent days carried out indiscriminate attacks against civilians and deliberately prevented them from obtaining basic necessities.”
Economy and Agriculture
Slums and the Syrian Revolution Rustum Mahmoud notes that “the poorest in Syrian society had the least level of political participation”
Damascus Merchants Reveal Reason Behind Central Bank Policies Iqtissad says “the Syrian Central Bank has decided to raise the dollar exchange rate for financing imports to 162 Syrian Pounds.” (translated by the Syrian Observer)
PM Says Economic, Trade Ties With China to be Bolstered According to Syrian government paper Tishreen, “Halqi says Syria will be rebuilt by Syrian hands with the support of friends” (translated by the Syrian Observer).
Accommodation Prices Skyrocket in Damascus According to the Damascus Bureau “the past two years have witnessed a mass exodus from the war-torn Damascus countryside to the centre of the capital and to other, safer, areas”
Drought, Corruption, and War: Syria’s Agricultural Crisis Aron Lund provides an overview of one of the underlying cause of the uprising, the social crisis, worsened by a massive drought in the countryside.
« Syrie, la Révolution orpheline » de Ziad Majed. Orpheline, mais créatrice et debout Ziad Majed will discuss his book “Syrie, la Révolution orpheline (‘Syria, the orphaned revolution’)” for an event prepared by Souria Houria, on April 27.
Studying, Researching, Teaching, Representing: The Arab Uprisings Three Years On (28 April, George Mason University) George Mason University and the Arab Studies Institute will host a panel discussing knowledge production about the Middle East region.
Young Syrian Activists “Young Syrian Activists is a non-partisan movement that aims to project the voices of young activists to the international community in a variety of ways. We aim to put the spotlight firmly on the personal choices these individuals have been forced to make in the face of crisis.”
ثلاث ملاحظات على مقاربات سيمورهيرش وروبرت فيسك
Yassin Al-Haj Saleh provides 3 notes on the articles of Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk,
(1) أصوات من يرموك: سوريا و فلسطين، النضال واحد
Joseph Daher converses with Tariq Ibrahim, a Palestinian-Syrian from Yarmouk living in exile.
Bidayat’s video about the story of Hassan Hassan and of thousands of Syrian and Palestinian detaineesin Syria.
اليرموك اشتقلك يا خيا ♥
The people of Yarmouk sing for the displaced residents of the camp and ask them to come back because “Al-Yarmouk Misses you Khayya”.
نشطاء مدينة الرقة يطلقون حملة لإنقاذ المدينة من داعش
Activists in al-Raqqa launch a campaign to save the city from ISIS.
!أسيرة حررها الثوار في "صفقة الراهبات" ثم اعتقلوها
Basel al-Jneidi about the story of Yasmin Benshi, who was imprisoned by the armed Islamists after being freed from the prisons of the regime during the nuns trade deal.
Mohammad Nimr talks to Haytham Mannaa and writes about Mannaa’s views on the current status of the opposition and the regime.
الكتابة في ظل الدكتاتورية
Halim Yousef on writing in the shadows of dictatorship.
تحت خطّ النكبة السورية
Rateb Shaabo on the Syrian catastrophe.
الحل الأخير فى سوريا
Abdel Halim Qandil provides his “last solution for Syria”.
Samira Khalil is a peaceful Syrian political activist who was arrested by an armed group in December 2013 in Duma. Her whereabouts are still unknown.
الموسيقي السوري سعيد ميرخان ينجز حلمه ويرحل
Mohammad al-Attar writes a beautiful eulogy for the Syrian musician Said Mirkhan, who passed away in London recently, after fulfilling his dreams.