[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.]
Government Push in North Forces 50,000 to Borders An increase in Russian and Syrian government air strikes across northern Syria over the past week has sent more than 50,000 residents fleeing to the Turkish border. As heavy raids continue and pro-government forces move in to rebel-held areas, residents from Latakia to Idlib to Aleppo are clearing out.
Alawite Militias Operating Unchecked in Lattakia: Is Assad Regime Losing Control? Iran’s increased support for militias in the coastal province of Lattakia has exacerbated internal divisions between members of the Alawite sect.
Pro-Assad Militias Close in on Rebel-held Aleppo Pro-government forces, backed by Russian air power, are very close to encircling opposition-held Aleppo. A firsthand account of how this “decisive” battle has unfolded over the past few days.
The Battle of Aleppo Is the Center of the Syrian Chessboard With ample Russian and Iranian help, regime forces have cut the rebels’ main lifeline in the north, and they will likely steer their relentless steamroller to the west unless outside powers take action.
As Syrians Flee Anew, Neighbors’ Altruism Hardens Into Resentment Syrians are witnessing an escalation of violence, including waves of Russian airstrikes, and as Syrians flee the conflict, neighboring countries are overwhelmed and reluctant to let them in.
Rebel setbacks in Syria have far reaching consequences Rebel setbacks in Aleppo are detrimental but regional and international attitudes turning against them are more severe.
Exclusive: Damascus vows to recapture Aleppo from rebels The Syrian Army, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has launched a major advance in Aleppo, helping to tip the momentum Assad’s way.
Syria war: Thousands fleeing fighting mass at Turkey border At least 15,000 Syrian refugees fleeing fighting in northern Aleppo province have gathered at a border crossing with Turkey, UN and Turkish officials said on 5 February, 2016.
FSA commander announces merger of four well known factions Mountain Falcons Brigade commander defected Syrian Army Captain Hassan Haj Ali said in a Facebook post on Friday (5 February, 2016) evening that his group, Army of Victory, Northern Division and Division 13 have merged to form the Army of the North.
To End Syria’s War, Help Assad’s Officers Defect Mohammed Alaa Ghanem writes that Assad`s officers are key to ending Syria`s war and asks the United States to help them defect as well as to mobilize other members of their community to switch sides and work with opposition members on a political transition plan.
Bombarded Aleppo lives in fear of siege and starvation As airstrikes rage on, aid workers on the ground expect blockades at any moment and have tried to prepare, but know they can’t meet everyone’s needs and have lost faith in the support promised by international agencies.
Syrian President Assad`s mother dies aged 86: state media Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s mother, Anisa Makhlouf, has died at the age of 86, Syrian state media said on Saturday (6 February, 2016).
EU urges Turkey to open its borders to Syrians fleeing war-torn Aleppo Oncupinar border remained closed despite an estimated 70,000 people expected to head there in coming days.
Regional and International Perspectives
U.S. struggles to secure Syrian cease-fire as humanitarian crisis mounts “The Obama administration has found itself increasingly backed into a corner by Russian bombing in Syria that its diplomacy has so far appeared powerless to stop.”
Saudi: Ready to join ground operation in Syria Saudi Arabia’s military spokesman has announced that it is ready to join any ground operation in Syria if needed by the U.S.-led coalition.
Syria conflict: Jordanians `at boiling point` over refugees King Abdullah of Jordan says his country is at "boiling point" because of an influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
Russia and Turkey trade accusations over Syria Russia said on Thursday 4 February, 2016 it suspected Turkey was preparing a military incursion into Syria, as a Syrian army source said Aleppo would soon be encircled by government forces with Russian air support.
The Syria peace talks would have a better chance with one key addition: women Sabrina Hersi Issa and Liz Drew write that peace is more likely to prevail and hold if women are fully involved in building it.
How Saudi Arabia sending ground forces into Syria will have huge ramifications on the civil war While the soldiers are intended to fight Isis, they may find themselves clashing with Iranian ‘volunteers’ and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in what is a highly combustible situation.
What happens next in Aleppo will shape Europe’s future Natalie Nougayrède writes that if there were any doubts about Vladimir Putin’s objectives in Syria, the recent Russian military escalation around this city must surely have set them aside.
Under the watchful Western eyes, Syria unravels Hisham Melhem comments: "Is Kerry saying that after 300,000 dead (mostly Syrians) over 4 million refugees and more than one third of Syrians displaced internally, he still does not know who is serious and who is not?"
The media war at Syria peace talks Nabih Bulos writes: "The frantic shuttling and the lack of real news left most journalists in a state of exhausted frustration; one correspondent compared the peace talks to the movie "Groundhog Day," where Bill Murray`s character is doomed to relive the same day over and over."
Policy and Reports
Why Diplomatic Talks to End Syria’s Civil War Will Fail—Again Sam Heller takes a look at the unbridged divides that will most likely present a deal from materializing. He concludes that there is little hope for a negotiated solution.
REGIMES AND REVOLT: AUTHORITARIAN WAYS OF COUNTERINSURGENCY David H. Ucko takes a look at the way authoritarian regimes conduct counterinsurgency operations. Ucko challenges stereotypes about the way dictatorships fight their wars and how they relate to civilians and popular opinion.
Hidden child labour: how Syrian refugees in Turkey are supplying Europe with fast fashion Thousands of Syrian refugees are working illegally in the Turkish garment industry where child labour, low wages and poor conditions are common.
Leaders pledge $10B to help displaced Syrians World leaders pledged more than $10 billion in aid Thursday (4 February, 2016) for Syrians displaced by civil war, exceeding the target by $1 billion.
Open Society Foundations Sponsor Legal Aid Initiative for Syrian Refugees George Soros makes five-year commitment to train and deploy up to 1,000 paralegals to empower refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Jordan needs international help over refugee crisis: King Abdullah Jordan`s King Abdullah says his country needs long-term aid from the international community to cope with a huge influx of Syrian refugees, warning that unless it received support the "dam is going to burst".
Syria: Assad regime kills so many detainees it amounts to `extermination` of civilian population, UN says In a document published by the UN`s High Commissioner for Human Rights, investigators called the deaths of those detained by the regime a crime against humanity.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
Refugee Girls Got To Dress Up As What They Want To Be When They Grow Up The International Rescue Committee recently sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to meet with young girls in two refugee camps in Jordan and ask them about their hopes and dreams.
Dramatic drone footage shows devastation of Syrian city Newly released drone footage captures the utter devastation inflicted on Homs, a city that has been a key battleground in the bloody Syrian civil war.
Authorities must ensure safe passage in Turkey for Syrians fleeing Aleppo attacks Amnesty International that tens of thousands of people displaced by joint Russian and Syrian government attacks in the north of Syria must be allowed to cross the border to safety in Turkey.
سوريات لقيادة حافلات نقل الطلاب بدمشق Ten Syrian women in the city of Damascus received public transportation driver licenses and started working as drivers for student buses.
نساء دي مستورا Omar Kaddour criticizes women`s representations in Geneva talks and consider it not representatives to the reality of women who suffer from the regime oppression.
مراسلنا يغطي انتخابات المجلس المحلي لمدينة زملكا في الغوطة الشرقية بريف دمشق 2016/2/5 This video shows elections held for Zamalka`s local council.
«الثورة السورية».. ربطةُ عنق ومصير Rabi`i Barakat the narrative of the Syrian revolution in light of Geneva 3 peace talks.
لماذا فشلت مفاوضات جنيف 3 السورية قبل أن تبدأ؟ This is an analysis of the regional and international circumstances that resulted in the failure of Geneva 3 peace talks before it had started.
نساء سوريا المفاوضات أزمة تمثيل وإقصاء مستمر Khawla Dunia discusses the politics of women`s inclusion and exclusion in peace negotiations.
تهديدات أمنية لوفود المعارضة في جنيف Swiss police reports that security threats against members of Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva.
السعودية تجّهز مع حلفائها آلاف الجنود للتدخل بسوريا Saudi Arabia is training 150 thousand soldiers to possibly enter to Syria to fight ISIS.
عقدة السيدة الأولى Iyad al-Jaafari comments on the death of Bashar al-Assad`s mother, Anisa Makhlouf, at the age of 86 and the struggle between her and Asma al-Assad over the title of "first lady."