[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 email@example.com by Monday night of every week.]
Assad: a monster and dictator but he’s the best option for peace in Syria Janine Di Giovanni suggests that the alternative of removing Syrian President Bashar al Assad would leave a dangerous vacuum that could be filled by IS.
Four Reasons Explaining Syrian Alawite Resentment Towards Iranian Intervention Regime sources claim wide dissatisfaction exists among Alawites and military leaders regarding Tehran’s hegemony over political and military decisions in Syria.
Opposition Issue Calls to Define `ISIS` and `Nusra` Areas as Regime Continues Bombardment of Syrian Towns Assad regime urges rebels in eastern Damascus countryside to surrender and expel “foreigners” as clashes claim lives in a number of areas.
Residents of Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor Fear `Cessation of Hostilities` Deal People in Syria’s ISIS-controlled regions fear bring targeted by all sides under the newly implemented cease-fire deal, which excludes areas overseen by the Islamic State and Nusra Front.
Al-Nusra Front and the Cessation of Hostilities The exclusion of al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria from the cessation of hostilities could bring the truce agreement to a crashing halt. Joshua Landis speaks about the group’s heavy presence across much of the opposition-controlled area in the north and the problem this poses for any long-lasting peace.
In the Syrian Ceasefire Shell Game, the Good Guys May Be Bad Guys A close look at Ahrar al-Sham, the so-called moderate Salafist militia, backed by U.S. allies, that’s actually allied with al Qaeda.
Syrian refugees mass at Turkish border Thousands of people are stranded at the Bab al-Salam crossing after fleeing a government offensive in Aleppo.
Reports of 37 aerial attacks on Harbinafsah, Hama today According to reports from the Syria Civil Defense Russian attacks on Habrinafsah continued throughout the day with a total of 37 aerial attacks on Sunday 28 Feb, 2016.
ISIS executed eight of their Dutch members in east of Raqqa On Friday afternoon 26 February, 2016 ISIS executed 8 Dutch Ma’dan city and then buried them on the mountain in the Aljerf area, after being accused of incitement against ISIS.
Syrian Protesters Take to Streets as Airstrikes Ease Street protests erupted across insurgent-held areas of Syria on Friday 4 March, as demonstrators took advantage of the relative lull in airstrikes during a partial truce, coming out in the largest numbers in years to declare that even after five punishing years of war they still wanted political change.
Four ways to increase income in Syria! Under the huge economic crisis Syria is suffering, many Syrians approached new means to generate income. So many means have become a source of livelihood for some people, or a support for a collapsed salary. However, some Syrian citizens have chosenmeans that they would have never consider before, and with its “black” nature it has changed the concept of earning for some.
Syria conflict: Massive power blackout across country Syria has suffered a massive power blackout across the country due to "unknown reasons", state media on 3 March 2016.
Syria war: Civilians die in Aleppo rocket attack More than 70 rockets and mortar shells fired on city`s frequently targeted Kurdish residential quarter, reports say on 6 March, 2016.
The Syrian `opposition` does not have to prove itself Nadim Shehadi writers that the Syrian political society will show its real face only after the regime is gone – and it needs support to get to that place.
Syria Daily: US Building 2nd Kurdish-Controlled Airbase Expanding its support of Kurdish-led forces, the US has nearly finished the construction of one airbase in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria and is establishing a second one.
Top ISIS leader may have been killed in U.S. airstrike The strike took place on Friday 4 March near the Syrian town of al-Shaddadi. A defense official said 12 additional ISIS fighters were likely killed along with Shishani.
Regional and International Perspectives
How much support did Turkey provide to Syrian opposition? Turkey claims its support to rebels was decisive in their survival. Otherwise the Syrian regime would have destroyed them.
Islamic State: The enemy that refuses to die Despite losing territory and suffering economic strife, IS continues to represent a dangerous threat outside areas it controls.
Islamic State: An invincible force? IS territory has shrunk in the two years since a US-led multinational coalition launched an air campaign on its positions. However, IS has excelled in the realm of intelligence tradecraft.
America should choose its allies very carefully Hassan Hassan suggests that the “US should recognize that there is often a fine line between a force serving as a bulwark against extremism and being a conduit for it.”
Truce Tests Relations Between Islamist Giants The U.S.-Russian brokered truce remains deeply controversial among rebels. Hardline jihadis have condemned the peace process, while more pragmatic Islamists have endorsed it. Now, a jihadi crackdown on demonstrators in rebel-held Idlib is testing the alliance between two of the insurgency’s most powerful factions.
First on CNN: U.S. Special Ops team captures first ISIS operative The detainee is being interrogated by the U.S. and is expected to be turned over to Iraqi officials. The force captured the operative after spending several weeks on the ground developing intelligence.
A Catastrophic Failure in Syria: Why It Is Time to Admit That the International Community Cannot Deal With Conflict A United Nations report cataloging the war crimes committed by the Syrian regime and other combatants was issued last week at the same time as the latest announcement of a deal calling for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, which has now tenuously come into effect.
Syrian refugee women take on life in a man`s world Many female Syrian refugees in Lebanon have become the sole breadwinners for their families.
U.S. struggles with Arabic reports on Syria truce violations A hotline set up by the U.S. State Department to log reported violations of the cessation of hostilities in Syria has suffered from a lack of fluent Arabic-speakers, the department said on Wednesday 2 March.
Spain seizes 20,000 ISIS, al-Nusra uniforms Authorities in Spain have seized 20,000 uniforms and supplies "able to equip an army" of jihadi fighters, Spain`s Interior Ministry announced on Thursday 3 March.
Why partition is not a lasting solution for Syria Michael Young argues against the Yugoslavia solution of partition for Syria.
World leaders hail `real progress` in Syria World leaders hailed "real progress" in Syria on Friday, but fresh air strikes showed the fragility of the week-old truce as the opposition cast doubt on its attendance at talks next week in Geneva.
Notes on the Syrian exodus: ‘Epic in scale, inconceivable until you witness it’ Booker prize winner Richard Flanagan visits Lebanon, Greece and Serbia to report on the plight of the 5 million Syrians fleeing their country. ‘Forced to choose between life and death,’ he writes, ‘they choose life,
The West`s desire to ‘liberate’ the Middle East remains as flawed as ever Robert Fisk writes: as Stalingrad-size casualties mount in civil war Syria today, it`s worth remembering how the French and British thought they could create a `modern` Syria in 1941.
Decoding the changing nature of ISIL’s insurgency Hassan Hassan argues that: "The war against ISIL is changing, and how its opponents adapt will be a key test of the group’s ability to achieve its goals." ISIS reverts to devastating pre-Mosul insurgency tactics while it still controls territory. Hassan Hassan describes this hybrid challenge.
ISIS militant accused of beheading Lebanon soldier arrested Lebanon`s General Security, Monday 7 March, announced the arrest of an ISIS member accused of beheading a Lebanese soldier in 2014 and killing a police officer in January.
Policy and Reports
What’s in a Word? The Terminology of Ceasing Fire It might not seem like the most important of Syria’s many problems, but linguistic accuracy has its merits. In diplomacy, it can be quite crucial, argues Aron Lund.
UNHCR, UNICEF launch plan to protect refugee women and children UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF launched on 26 February a joint initiative to increase protection for the growing numbers of children and others with specific needs arriving in Europe.
Syrian and Russian forces targeting hospitals as a strategy of war Russian and Syrian government forces appear to have deliberately and systematically targeted hospitals and other medical facilities over the last three months to pave the way for ground forces to advance on northern Aleppo, an examination of airstrikes by Amnesty International has found.
Syrian refugees: Desperate just to go to school About 4 million Syrian children are not going to school because of war, UNICEF says. Situation is particularly bad for girls; aid workers see a spike in child marriages.
EU-Turkey Summit: Don’t wash hands of refugee rights European leaders’ attempts to use Turkey as their border guard to stop refugees and asylum-seekers heading to the EU is a dangerous and deliberate ploy to shirk their responsibilities to people fleeing war and persecution, warns Amnesty International ahead of the EU and Turkish leaders’ meeting on 7 March 2016 in Brussels.
Syria war could cost country $1.3T by 2020: Study The prolonged conflict in Syria has already had a devastating economic impact but could yet spiral to cost the country more than $1 trillion, according to a new report.
You can download the full copy of the report here: The cost of conflict for children: Five years of the Syrian Crisis
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
Here`s why the partial truce in Syria has astounded even the experts PRI`s The World Short audio clip of Joshua Landis and his views on the relative effectiveness of the partial two-week ceasefire agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia.
Political Thought in the Arab World Speaking with Carnegie’s Marc Lynch, Michaelle Browers discusses the role of intellectuals in the Middle East and the growth of a new generation of scholars and political theorists in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Heba Osman: A Week in a Jordanian Refugee Camp Heba Osman, a first-year student from Mississauga, Ontario in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, writes about how she spent her winter break in Al-Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Syrian Journalist Rami Jarrah: ‘The Russians Are The Airforce Of ISIS’ The award-winning Syrian journalist Rami Jarrah fled Syria four years ago, but over the last few months he has returned several times to report on the situation in his country. Recently he was arrested in Turkey but he has now been released. Pieter Stockmans interviewed him one week before he was arrested.
On The Front Line Of Benghazi`s Battle With ISIS This documentary "The Battle Of Benghazi" shows the men fighting ISIS on the front line, and the civilians caught in the crossfire.
Capturing the reality of life in the Syrian war zone Two new books encourage looking past the grand narrative and listening to voices on the ground.
BOOK REVIEW: Burning Country A new book on the Syrian revolution gives voice to the peaceful activists forgotten in Western narratives of the war.
Map of Syria civil war (2 March 2016) This full map of Syrian civil war provides the reader with clickable info boxes to learn more about the current situation.
Syrian woman gathers refugees in Turkey into women’s choir to grieve, find strength Raja Banout was told by those around her that her idea was crazy: creating a choir of Syrian refugee women to sing traditional songs each week as their country was devastated by civil war. “They said, ‘You are crazy, we are at war.’ And I said that is exactly why we should sing,” Banout told Voices of America.
Syria conflict: Is this a new kind of world war? With four of the five members of the permanent UN Security Council members involved in the Syrian conflict the BBC`s Jeremy Bowen asks is this a new kind of world war?
ظاهرة المختصّين بسوريا Ziad Majed criticizes the recent phenomenon of Syria`s experts.
النصرة تنسحب والحل السياسي يقترب Ammar Dayoub discusses the possible end of al-Nusra Front.
الأسد يخاطب المعارضة رغم أصابع الاتهام الأمريكية والسعودية والسورية: تخلوا عن أسلحتكم وسأمنحكم العفو This article overviews the main points of Bashar al-Assad recent interview with ARD German Television.
الأوضاع الاقتصادية في الرقة This article overviews the current economic situation in Al-Raqqah.
بالصور: المظاهرات تعّم سوريا بعد أسبوع من الهدنة Opposition demonstrations spread throughout Syria after a week of truce.
في استخدام "الإسلام" كأيديولوجيا تسلّطية Tariq Azzizeh discusses the use of "Islam" as an authoritarian ideology after the Arab Spring.
أردوغان يقترح بناء مدينة للاجئين ويغلق "باب الهوى" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proposes to build a city in Northern Syria for the refugees and to close "Bab Al-Hawa."
جدل بعد دخول قوات من المعارضة السورية المدربة أمريكياً إلى حلب This article reviews some of the debates surrounding the recent entry of Syrian opposition troops that are US-trained into Aleppo.
روسيا في سورية: قوة كولونيالية عنصرية Yassin al-Haj Saleh argues that Russia is a racist colonial power in Syria.