[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.]
The Battle for Aleppo Shows That US Strategy in Syria Is in Tatters The countryside north of Aleppo could become the place where the U.S.’s strategy to combat the Islamic State in Syria falls apart.
The Expert View: The Significance of Aleppo Hassan Hassan gives his insight on the importance of Aleppo and the likelihood of a “cessation of hostilities” in the near future, and the difference in endgames between Damascus and Moscow.
Regime Faces Discontent from Loyalists After Officers `Betray` Soldiers in Ambush, Massacre Supporters furious after images surfaced Wednesday depicting a massacre of hundreds of Syrian army soldiers in the Damascus countryside.
Aleppo Rebels Pledge Allegiance to Former Ahrar al-Sham Leader At least nine rebel groups unite under Hashim Al-Sheikh as Aleppo’s rebels face the risk of defeat from regime and Western-backed forces.
The Race to Save Syria`s Archaeological Treasures James Harkin interviews Ma’amoun Abdulkarim, the director of antiquities and museums, who states that "300,000 objects, the overwhelming majority of Syria’s museum collections, have been safely hidden".
Breakthrough In Access As WFP Delivers Life-Saving Food To Five Besieged Towns In Syria The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered desperately-needed food for over 80,000 people who have been stranded in five besieged Syrian towns, in a series of UN interagency convoys that took place throughout the night 17 February 2016 and were completed this morning 18 February 2016.
Battle for Aleppo rages on after peace talks suspended Mohammed al-Khatieb reports that “Faced with their toughest challenge to date, Syrian rebels are losing ground in Aleppo ahead of the Geneva III peace talks slated to resume Feb. 25”.
An Arabic version of this article can be found here: حلب.. المعركة الحاسمة
How Events in Turkey Could Doom the Syrian Cease-Fire A week after the U.S. and Russia agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria, the situation on the ground has grown even more complicated, with a pause in the military action looking increasingly elusive.
Why some Syrian fighters transferred to Turkey vow to return Shelly Kittleson reports that “Although Ahrar al-Sham is associated with al-Qaeda, the people of Zabadani who were forced to flee to Turkey when the regime took over consider it a moderate group and continue to support it.”
Syrian war: Opposition groups set new ceasefire terms Assad`s opponents want ceasefire to be accompanied by lifting of sieges, prisoner releases and aid access across nation.
Syrian Kurds` agenda simmers on back burner Kamal Sheikho reports that “Though Syria’s Kurds have been calling for the establishment of a federal state, just like their counterparts in Iraq, their demands may never reach the international peace platforms.”
An Arabic version of this article can be found here: أكراد سوريا يتطلّعون نحو الفيدراليّة
Azaz: the border town that is ground zero in Syria`s civil war Held by anti-Assad rebels, seized by Isis, bombed by Russia and now eyed by the Kurds, the fate of Azaz has implications far beyond Syria’s borders
Syrian army, allies advance against Islamic State in eastern Aleppo - reports Syria`s army and allies, backed by Russian air strikes, recaptured 18 villages from Islamic State fighters in eastern Aleppo province on Saturday (20 February), a monitoring group said.
How Syria Activists in Raqqa Are Resisting ISIS Joey Ayoub writes about `Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently‘ (RBSS) and Syrian activists who are resisting ISIS in Raqqa, the city that was dubbed ‘the capital of ISIS’
Syria conflict: US-Russia brokered truce to start at weekend The US and Russia have announced that a planned cessation of hostilities in Syria will come into effect at midnight on 27 February.
Dozens Killed In Blasts In 2 Syrian Cities; ISIS Claims Responsibility ISIS group has claimed responsibility for multiple bombings on Sunday (21 February), which left at least 140 people dead in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs.
Bashar al-Assad: remember me as the man who saved Syria Syrian president says he is ready to implement ceasefire, but only if rebels and international backers such as Turkey do not use it as chance to gain ground.
Will regime keep the upper hand in Syrian conflict? “The Syrian army has gained control of the area connecting Moadamiyet al-Sham and Daraya in Rif Dimashq, though opposition figures say the siege won’t last”.
An Arabic version of this article can be found here:النّظام السوريّ يفصل داريّا عن المعضميّة ويتهيّأ لاقتحامها
Regional and International Perspectives
Obama Administration Argues Over Support for Syrian Kurds Syrian Kurds are now attacking U.S.-supported rebels, but U.S. officials disagree about whether the Kurds have switched sides.
John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail John Kerry tells committee it “may be too late” to keep Syria whole and suggests Washington would support partition if ceasefire is unsuccessful.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey rolling back on rhetoric to send troops into Syria Officials say they will wait to see if a planned ceasefire transpires and for a sign-off from the U.S.-led coalition.
Kurdish Expansion is Changing Ankara`s Priorities As Kurdish militias in northern Syria steadily take on greater importance, largely due to U.S. and Russian support, Turkey has quickly changed its priorities within the crisis.
Will Cease-Fire Agreement Bring Syrians Relief? Syria analyst for the International Crisis Group states, “the broader effort to negotiate a political transition may continue to founder, because the pro-Assad forces are making progress in their military push.
Sudden retreats don’t mean that ISIL is defeated Hassan Hassan talks about ISIS’s logic of withdrawal, why they are losing so much territory to the Kurds and believes IS are playing a game that is not simply about military capabilities.
Turkey detains journalist who risks his life to report from Syria Rami Jarrah, a Syrian journalist who was raised in Britain, and who has been living for five years in Turkey, was detained by the Turkish immigration authorities on Wednesday (17 February) after applying for residency.
The U.S. must act in Libya before the Islamic State grabs more territory The Editorial Board of The Washington Post write a statement about the situation in Libya and ISIS supporting that the "United States and its allies could conduct airstrikes against Sirte and help a Libyan protection force that has been trying to guard oil facilities."
The UN Security Council must do more to protect Syrian civilians Michiel Hofman reflects on the ways in which hospitals, schools, mosques and marketplaces are all bombed in Syria and asks all four permanent members of the UN security council currently participating in the conflict to respect the resolutions for which they unanimously voted.
Ex-UK student clocks up air miles on mission to rebrand Syrian Islamists Labib al-Nahhas is using his European roots to win cautious endorsement for radical opposition group Ahrar-al-Sham.
Policy and Reports
Syria civil war: The untold story of the siege of two small Shia villages - and how the world turned a blind eye Robert Fisk reports on the villages that remained loyal to the Syrian regime and the steep price they have paid for their decision.
How ISIS recruits children, then kills them First database of ISIS child soldiers exposes tactics of terror leaders. Most of the children are from Syria, and were killed in Iraq, a new report says. It`s estimated there are 1,500 child soldiers fighting in ISIS ranks.
Russia is guilty of war crimes in Syria, says Amnesty International Russia is guilty of war crimes in Syria, suggests human rights group Amnesty International.
Injured Syrians fleeing Aleppo onslaught among thousands denied entry to Turkey The Turkish authorities have denied entry to injured Syrian civilians in need of immediate medical care, after fleeing the intense bombardment of the northern Aleppo countryside in the past two weeks, said Amnesty International from the Öncüpınar/Bab al-Salam border crossing.
Safety First in Syria Anna Borshchevskaya writes that however difficult it might be to implement safe zones after years of inaction, the humanitarian disaster will only grow without them, as will the threat to regional and European stability.
Sectarianism in Syria (Survey Study) “The Day After Association (TDA) conducted a field survey that included 2498 respondents, 1424 men and 1074 women. The survey represents a significant and indicative snapshot of Syrian attitudes toward sectarianism”.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
Aleppo Emergency Map Image of escape patterns for 330,000 internally displaced people in Northern Syria, September 2015-February 2016.
Syrian Armed Opposition Forces in Aleppo “The United States faces a geostrategic inflection in Syria that it has not yet fully recognized. The “cessation of hostilities” declared on February 11, 2016 permits Russia and the Assad regime to continue targeting U.S. allies in Aleppo under the pretext that the opposition in the city consists predominantly of al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra”
Syrian Refugees Part 1 | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS Samantha visits a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to get to the bottom of whatever it is these people are up to.
The Battle of School Curricula (1): Oppression and Mayhem This article addresses the ways in which Syrian curricula became a battlefield of influence and control, the impact of which is yet to be seen.
Canada On Track To Resettle 25,000 Syrian Refugees Canada is nearing its goal to integrate 25,000 refugees by the end of the month. More than 20,000 have been welcomed since mid-December. Private citizens are helping to carry the load.
سورية ومصير المستنقع الأوكراني... مستقبل روسي قاتم This article predicts that the future of Russia`s policy in Syria will be resulting in similar results of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
السلفية الجهادية والماركسية اللينينية وعالم اليوم Yassin al-Haj Saleh compares between Salafist jihadist and Marxism-Leninism and applies this comparison to the politics of today.
أوباما السوريّ «يمينيّ» أم «يساريّ»؟ Hazem Saghieh analyzes Obama`s politics to not intervene in Syria and the MIddle East.
سقوط الشدادي السورية.. تسليم وتسلّم بين "داعش" والوحدات الكردية؟ Amin Mohammad analyzes the politics of ISIS group to withdraw from Al-Shaddadah town in southern Al-Hasakah Governorate and the recent gains by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
فيديو تفصيلي عن الأحزاب الكردية.. دورها في الصراع القائم بالمنطقة وعلاقتها بتركيا وأمريكا وأوروبا This video explains the diversity of Kurdish parties in Syria and Turkey and their regional and international positions.
حرب روسيا السورية ونهاية الهيمنة العالمية الغربية Burhan Ghalioun shares his perspective on Russia`s scorched earth policy in Syria and the new political and geopolitical shifts after the failing of Geneva 3.
ملف اللاجئين يهدّد الحكومة الألمانية... هستيريا منظّمة وميركل باقية This article addresses the challenges and debates inside Germany around Angela Merkel`s policy toward refugees.
هذه تفاصيل وشروط الهدنة في سوريا This article outlines the details of the US’s and Russia’s plan of cessation of hostilities in Syria.
خمس سنوات من الثورة.. هل تغيرت بنية الدولة؟ Salameh Kaileh reflects on five years of revolutions and the effects on State structu