[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.]
When Barrel Bombs Fall, Enter the White Helmets The selfless work of the Civil Defense volunteer force in Syria is well known, but the individuals who risk it all on a daily basis are not.
Damascus `chemical attack`: Syria activists accuse government At least five people have been killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, opposition activists say.
As bombing in Syria intensifies, a debate about the rules of engagement “President Obama’s order to intensify air attacks in Syria has led to a new internal debate over whether to loosen tight restrictions on strikes against Islamic State targets that risk civilian casualties.”
Two Years an ISIS Slave Newly arrived in Turkey, a native son of eastern Syria recounts why his town surrendered to the terror group and why it now wishes it never had.
Regime Forces Step Up Attacks on Northern Homs for Sixth Consecutive Day Northern countryside of Homs witnesses barrage of shelling from the air and ground, killing eleven people in forty-eight hours.
Syrian troops backed by Russian jets enters rebel-held southern town: army Syrian troops launch offensive in Sheikh Miskin, lost a year ago, shoring up hold on Dar‘a.
Death of top Syrian rebel commander reshuffles the deck for opposition ahead of peace talks The assassination of a top Syrian rebel commander who led one of the most powerful groups battling President Bashar al-Asad`s forces has dealt a significant setback to the opposition that could reshuffle the lineup of key players on the ground ahead of the planned peace talks in Geneva next month.
‘We have to save Syria’s culture for all,’ says director of antiquities According to Maamoun Abdulkarim, the director general of the Antiquities and Museums Directorate, three hundred thousand objects have been brought to Damascus from provincial museums and sites.
Evacuation of Damascus militants delayed after rebel leader killed A UN-brokered deal to evacuate more than two thousand Islamic State (IS) fighters and other militants from rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on Saturday has been delayed after the killing of an insurgent leader, an organization that monitors the Syrian war said.
ISIS leader purportedly tells fighters: `You are on the right path` An audio message appears on IS-affiliated social media claiming to be from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The message says, "Soldiers of the Islamic State be patient because you are on the right path." The recording is released as Iraq`s military says it is gaining more ground in fight against IS.
Kurdish Fighters Battling for Control of Syria Dam US-backed Kurdish militia says it has captured Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates from Islamic State.
Syrian Army Kills 17 Islamic Militants in Country`s South Syrian government forces booby-trapped a cluster of farm buildings in the southern Dar‘a province and detonated the explosives as several Islamic rebel factions gathered at the venue, killing seventeen militants, opposition activists said Sunday, 27 December 2015.
Syria rebel group will survive leader’s death Hassan Hassan argues, "the widespread mourning of the former leader—including by his foremost rivals, with the exception of ISIS, which cheered his death—might deflate existing tensions. It will also probably increase military cooperation, which was recently undermined by disagreements, rivalry and measured hostility.”
U.S. sees bearable costs, key goals met for Russia in Syria so far Three months into his military intervention in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved his central goal of stabilizing the Asad government and, with the costs relatively low, could sustain military operations at this level for years, US officials and military analysts say.
Regional and International Perspectives
Who Wants What in the Syria Negotiations As world powers redouble efforts to find a political solution to Syria’s nearly five-year-long civil war, conflicting interests over the fate of Asad threaten to bedevil the entire process.
Taking the October Dam: Syria’s Kurds Keep Hitting the Islamic State Incremental changes continue to reshape the political landscape in Syria. The Islamic State is now under severe pressure on many fronts.
U.S. Pursued Secret Contacts With Assad Regime for Years The Obama administration pursued secret communications with elements of Syria’s regime over several years in a failed attempt to limit violence and get President Bashar al-Asad to relinquish power, according to US and Arab officials.
Christmas in Lebanon: Palestinian refugees extend hand to Syrians On the Saturday before Christmas, Palestinian Christians hosted a celebration at their small refugee camp in Lebanon. “We know what the Syrians are going through.”
Is Saudi Arabia to blame for Islamic State? Five experts share their views on whether Saudi Arabia is to blame for the rise of Islamic State?
The closer Syria is to peace, the more violent it will be Chris Doyle argues that the closer Syria is to peace, the more violent it will be. Thus, sadly, 2016 may get more violent.
U.S. facing `unprecedented threat environment` in wake of ISIS` rise IS now is the top national security problem for US authorities. Part of the solution for US officials has been to arrest suspects even if there`s not enough proof of terrorist plots.
U.N. Syria mediator aims to convene peace talks on January 25 The United Nations said on Saturday, 26 December 2015 that it aims to bring together Syria`s warring parties on 25 January in Geneva to begin talks to try to end nearly five years of civil war.
Alan Kurdi`s aunt reflects on Syria, refugees and her hopes for her family After working for years to bring her own relatives to Canada, Alan`s death thrust Kurdi into the international spotlight as a spokeswoman for the refugees` plight. She traveled to Belgium, Germany, and Turkey, helping give a voice to those displaced by the war in Syria.
A chasm at the heart of the Syrian crisis David Gardner writes that the lack of mainstream Sunni leadership is a blight across the Middle East.
Israel`s exploitation of the Syrian war is laid bare Joseph Dana writes about Israel’s role in the Syrian conflict—such as aiding Syrian extremist groups like al-Nusra and carrying out air strikes against Hizballah targets throughout Syria.
Policy and Reports
The State of the Syrian Economy: An Expert Survey As 2015 draws to a close and Syria prepares to enter its sixth year of conflict, the economic conditions and transformations brought by the war are taking center stage.
Syria: Russia’s shameful failure to acknowledge civilian killings This recent Amnesty International report says that at least two hundred civilians were killed in Russian air strikes in Syria in the two months prior to the end of November 2015.
A related article in Arabic can be found here: سوريا: عدماعترافروسيابمقتلمدنيينأمرمخجل
How to Make Syria Peace Talks Work Sarah Leah Whitson writes that excluding parties that have committed abuses may well mean that there would be no one left with whom to negotiate.
Unemployed Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan: A Case of Adding Salt to the Wound Ninety percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are living in poverty, according to a new report, but their employment rights are limited because their host nations already have poverty rates that are too high.
To download the book, The Welfare of Syrian Refugees: Evidence from Jordan and Lebanon, click here.
A related article in English can be found here: The Welfare of Syrian Refugees: Evidence from Jordan and Lebanon
A related article in Arabic can be found here: أوضاعاللاجئينالسوريين: شواهدمنالأردنولبنان
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
A tale of two Malalas Lyse Doucet from BBC talks with Malala Yousufzai and Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian seventeen-year-old schoolgirl who is known as "Syria`s Malala." Almellehan`s family has just been granted refugee status in Britain. The two girls told Newshour`s Lyse Doucet now that they live in the same country they can work together.
Father Of Drowned 3-Year-Old Syrian Delivers Christmas Message The photo of a three-year-old child named Aylan Kurdi, face-down on a Turkish beach, has become emblematic of the suffering of refugees fleeing Syria`s civil war. Nearly four months later, Aylan`s father Abdullah Kurdi delivered a Christmas message on the United Kingdom`s Channel 4, calling for "the whole world to open its doors to Syrians."
نظامالأسدوالمرصدالسوري: مقتلقائد "جيشالإسلام" زهرانعلوشفيغارةجويةعلىغوطةدمشق Zahran Alloush, general commander of Jaysh al-Islam, and four senior-level officers were killed Thursday, 24 December 2015 in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, when their high-level meeting was bombed by warplanes.
An English version of this article can be found here: Top Syrian rebel leader killed in air strike
اغتيالناشطسوريانتجوثائقياتمعاديةلداعش Naji Jerf, editor-in-chief of the independent monthly Hentah and the maker of documentary films on the militant group Islamic State, was shot and killed in broad daylight today by unknown assailants with a silenced pistol in front of a building that houses Syrian opposition news outlets in downtown Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border.
A related article in English can be found here: Syrian journalist Naji Jerf shot dead in Gaziantep, Turkey
To see Naji Jerf’s movie, ISIL in Aleppo, click here: داعشفيحلبISILinAleppo
السلطةالرابعة : فارسالحلو .قضيةالسورييناليومهياستصدارقانونملزموصارمبوقفشامللإطلاقالنار ! Fares Alhelo, a Syrian actor and opposition figure, shares his perspective on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
ملالاومُزن: تعاونمنأجلإعلاءقيمةتعليمالفتيات This article covers the friendship story of Malala Yousufzai and Muzoon Almellehan and their life in the United Kingdom.
رياضحجاب: مقتلعلوشتهديدللمفاوضات Former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab, who defected to the opposition in 2012 and is now the leader of the Syrian opposition delegation in talks with the regime, announced that the assassination of Zahran Alloush is a threat to peace negotiations and talks.
«جيشالإسلام» يواجهتحديالبقاء Ibrahim Hamidi writes about the challenges that face Jaysh al-Islam after the assassination of its chief, Zahran Alloush, and the naming of Abu Hammam al-Buwaidani as the new group leader.
تجميدإجلاءمقاتلي #داعشمنجنوبدمشقإلىالرقة An agreed-on pullout of a few thousand Syrian militants, including IS fighters and their families, from a neighborhood on the southern edge of Damascus has been put on hold.
الخطالعسكريفيسوريا "بزنسجديد.. الليبيدفعبيمرق" Manar Haddad writes about the military road as a rising business in Syria to escape the long waiting lines of military checkpoints.
مقتلعليالنقرييفجرالشارعالحمصي.. فمنهو؟ The death of Ali Nakkari, a member of Homs` security committee, in the bombings of Zahra neighborhood in Homs generated public anger among Asad regime supporters.