[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.]
Assad Advances in Latakia with Russian Support Pro-government forces, with Russian support, have retaken control of more than 35 villages in the northern Latakia countryside, pushing the opposition back to just a few miles from the Turkish border. If the gains continue, the government may be in position to move against rebel heartland in Idlib.
Anatomy of a Siege: The Story of Madaya The siege of Madaya began in July 2015, but global pressure on the Syrian government to allow humanitarian access didn’t begin to build until nearly 30 people had died of starvation.
Rebuilding Houses and Lives in Wadi al-Dayf A 45-year-old widow and her seven children were forced to leave their home in the village of Maar Hatat after it was shelled and reduced to rubble.
Assad has a clear plan to stay in power. This is it “The regime will string the talks out for as long as possible, undermining the opposition at every turn while dutifully turning up to conferences.”
Syrian Kurds plan big attack to seal Turkish border: source The Syrian Kurdish YPG group and its local allies have drawn up plans for a major attack to seize the final stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border held by ISIS fighters, a YPG source familiar with the plan said on Thursday 28 January, 2016.
Syria: Starvation continues in Madaya - MSF denounces continued blockage of essential aid and medical evacuations Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Friday 29 January, 2015, that residents of the besieged Syrian town of Madaya continue to die of starvation, despite the provision of aid in convoys, as the Syrian government-led coalition blocks life-saving medical supplies from the town.
We are Syria’s moderate opposition – and we’re fighting on two fronts Asaad Hanna, a member of the Free Syrian Army Northern Division`s political office, writes that President Assad and Islamic State are two sides of the same coin. Whenever we, the Free Syrian Army, make advances against the regime, Isis steps in.
Letter from Madaya: `Why doesn`t anyone care?` Amar, a former law student in the Syrian town of Madaya, tells his story to Al Jazeera`s Samya Kullab describing life on the brink of starvation.
Ceasefires in Syria How Russia and Iran Can Help Broker Honest Deals Bassam Barabandi and Hassan Hassan show that throughout Syria, at least 30 towns have made ceasefire agreements with the Al-Assad regime.
ISIS claims responsibility for deadly blasts in Damascus suburb ISIS claimed responsibility for a triple bombing Sunday 31 January, 2016 that killed at least 45 people and injured more than 100 others in a Damascus suburb, according to a statement circulating online.
Regional and International Perspectives
Situation Remains Unclear in Geneva as De Mistura Announces Start of Talks Doubts about the direction of negotiations drag on as UN envoy declares beginning to peace talks following meeting with opposition delegation at UN headquarters.
Predestined for Failure? A Preview to the Syria Talks in Geneva Hassan Hassan suggests that U.S. refusal to clearly back Syria’s opposition militarily makes it unlikely the peace talks can work.
The Road to Geneva: the Who, When, and How of Syria’s Peace Talks Aron Lund provides an in-depth analysis of the significant factors of the Syria peace talks and suggests that de Mistura will have achieved something by enshrining the Geneva process as a framework for conflict management.
EU Promises around 2 Bln Euros in Syrian aid at Donor Meeting EU raises Syria aid to two billion euros, but its still way below what the UN needs just to feed and clothe people.
Enterprising Syrians Seek to Boost Business in Germany Language barriers, regulations, and difficulty raising finances are one of the many obstacles Syrians face in Germany seeking a new life.
Negotiations: Three Obstacles... and Intensified Efforts to Barter With Them International players urge Syrian opposition to attend talks as debate continues around the composition of the opposition’s delegation, goodwill measures, and the negotiation agenda ahead of Friday’s peace talks in Geneva.
Syria conflict: Geneva peace talks under way amid uncertainty Syria peace talks have begun on 29 January, 2016 in Geneva amid confusion over whether opposition groups will attend.
British woman Tareena Shakil guilty of joining IS UK mother Tareena Shakil, who took her toddler son to Syria, has been found guilty of membership of so-called Islamic State.
The Guardian view on the Syrian peace talks: fake diplomacy is no diplomacy Getting these talks wrong will not lead to peace. They could end up merely strengthening the hand of Islamic State.
This is the brutal effect of war on the women of Syria Hibaaq Osman, the founder and CEO of Karama, writes that Syrian women are facing displacement, sexual assault, kidnap, house arrest and political exclusion.
Islamic State Group to Create Naval Force, Says NATO Commander The NATO official said the Islamic State group wants a powerful navy to carry out “terror” attacks in the Mediterranean Sea.
Ukraine plans to join fight against Isis means troops could come up against Russian forces in Syria According to The Independent, Ukraine has drawn up plans for a potential military contribution to the fight against Isis in Syria in a move that could also put its troops against Russian forces in the Middle East.
Daesh and other psychopathic cultures Will Black writes that cleansing every system of pathological tendencies is the only route to peace.
Why the Syria talks remind me of the Oslo process Marwan Bishara writes that unless the imbalance of power behind the Syria talks is rectified, Geneva is doomed to fail just like Oslo.
Policy and Reports
Who’s missing from Syria’s peace talks? Lisa Davis writes that those organising Syria’s peace talks must go beyond merely ticking the gender representation box. It`s essential to move towards real inclusion of women peace advocates and larger civil society.
Starvation Spreads Before Syria Peace Talks Opposition, humanitarian groups say government has escalated sieges of rebel-held towns, exacerbating a food crisis.
Letter and memorandum to donors attending the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference With the launch of Geneva peace talks, in this report, Human Rights Watch has identified a need for action in three areas.
War in Syria: Russia’s `rustbucket` military delivers a hi-tech shock to West and Israel As the Kremlin showcases its military capabilities in Syria, Kim Sengupta says Nato leaders are having to reassess.
More than 10,000 refugee children missing in Europe Thousands of children have disappeared raising fears they are being exploited, says Europol, Europe`s police agency.
Malala Yousafzai warns of education gap for Syrian refugees Nearly half the roughly four million children displaced in the region are not in school, according to a new report by the Malala Fund.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
The Road to Germany: $2400 Alia Malek sheds light on the plight of Syrian refugees and their long voyage in hopes for a better future. “A diary of an exodus from a war zone to a hopeful, if uncertain future in the West.”
Syria Conflict Interactive Map (1 Feb 2016) An interactive map of Syria and the dispersion of opposition forces and regime forces/allies.
Plastic bags and kebab skewers: Syrian refugees recreate landmarks from home Plastic bags, kebab skewers and discarded wood: Syrian artists living in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan are using any materials they can find in a project to recreate historic sites from home.
Syrian Arab Republic: Overview of hard-to-reach and besieged locations (as of January 2016) Latest UN figures show 4.6 million people in need are in hard-to-reach areas including 486,700 in besieged locations.
Syrian women have gathered to be trained on negotiations Lina Sinjab went to Geneva to see a group of Syrian women who are getting ready to help advise on the negotiations to make sure women are part of a future Syria.
إيران ترسل آلاف المقاتلين الأفغان إلى سوريا Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited thousands of undocumented Afghans living there to fight in Syria since at least November 2013, Human Rights Watch said on 29 January, 2016, and a few have reported that Iranian authorities coerced them.
You can an English version of this article here: Iran Sending Thousands of Afghans to Fight in Syria
دي ميستورا يراهن على حاجة روسيا إلى الانسحاب من سورية Raghida Dergham writes that: "It is naïve to say that Assad`s survival is a victory for having brought Russia and Iran on his side, with international consent at least for 18 months in accordance to the Vienna process timeframe."
An English version of this article can be found here: De Mistura Bets On Russia`s Need To Withdraw Its Forces From Syria
ما هي فرص نجاح محادثات جنيف للسلام في سوريا James Robbins, the BBC`s Diplomatic Correspondent, discusses the challenges and opportunities of Geneva peace talks.
خطورة التصعيد الروسي ومستقبل سورية Ammar Daiuob discusses the dangers of the Russian escalation in Syria and its future implications.
الفلافل لم يعد للدراويش.. والفول والفتة وجبات رفاهية! Ayman Saleh investigates the prices of popular food in Syria like Falafel and how the current crisis impacted such food.
فيديو.. موالو حمص يتظاهرون على الطريقة “الثورية” A group of pro-regime Homsi people demonstrated recently in Homs imitating some rhythm and slogans from the anti-regime demonstration.
الوقوف مع سوريا.. وليس شيئاً آخر Samir Aita shares his perspective on Geneva 3 peace talks.
سوريا مطلع الحرب الباردة: هكذا دفعها الغرب نحو الاتحاد السوفياتي This is an Arabic translation and summary of Jörg Michael Dostal study on the political history of the Syrian Arab Republic from the time of the country`s emergence as an independent state in 1946 to the merger with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic in 1958.
You can find the complete English study here: Syria and the Great Powers (1946-1958): How Western Power Politics Pushed the Country Toward the Soviet Union.
الحراك السلمي السوري- مصطفى حايد This is a summary of a panel on Syrian peaceful movement by Mustafa Haid.