[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.]
Haunting Memories: An Escape from Daraya Journalist Rahaf Haboub grew up in Daraya, a Damascus suburb besieged by pro-government forces fro more than three years. She and her family fled in fall 2012 after the government targeted the area with airstrikes and barrel bombs – these are her recollections of those harrowing times.
`Elite Forces` Rebels Seize Areas in Eastern Syria Armed group allied to former Coalition president Ahmed Jarba announces its capture of ISIS-held areas in Hassakeh and Deir-ez-Zor.
Is it possible that Al Nusra and ISIL will join forces? The continuing attacks against both ISIL and Al Qaeda, and their affiliates across the region, have led some sympathizers to wonder why the two jihadist groups do not collaborate.
Mosul victory will heighten displaced persons crisis Iraqi authorities have finally reached a breakthrough in efforts to resolve the year-long tribal-cum-sectarian strife in a relatively small town between Tikrit and Baghdad. As the build-up for the battle to retake Mosul continues, the episode is a reminder of the many issues often overlooked in public discussions of the fight against ISIL.
Step by step, we are sleepwalking back to Assad`s Syria As the US election continues its twists and turns, foreign policy only rarely rears it head. This week is an exception, for two reasons: one, the US president Barack Obama is bidding farewell to the Gulf and to Europe. And two, Hilary Clinton, hoping to succeed Mr. Obama, has been burnishing her foreign policy credentials.
Syrian Government Steps Up Airstrikes Escalation comes after opposition negotiators suspend participation in United Nations-mediated peace talks.
An Islamist Experiment: Political Order in the East Ghouta Aron Lund argues: " If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government were to crumble, it is likely that rebels from the East Ghouta would be the first to breach the capital’s defenses."
Restoring Dignity To Idlib’s Jobless Queues of people, young and old, waiting for food aid have become a common sight in Idlib. The conflict has led to the systematic destruction of Idlib’s infrastructure and high rates of unemployment.
Russian artillery deployed for Aleppo offensive as Syria talks falter Opposition negotiators say they are leaving Geneva, overshadowing final day of Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Syria conflict: Largest aid convoy reaches besieged Rastan The largest aid convoy so far in Syria has reached a besieged rebel-held town in the centre of the country.
Frozen Life in Wartime Syria Janine di Giovanni writes: "Five years is a long time to be frozen in the grip of war. Five years is a primary-school education. Five years is hundreds of thousands of memories in a single human life."
Battle between Syrian government, Kurdish force kills 26: Kurdish official More than 21 pro-government militiamen have been killed in two days of battles with Syrian Kurdish forces in northeast Syria that has widened the Kurds` control over a city at the border with Turkey, a Syrian Kurdish official said on 21 April.
The Women of Marrat al-Numaan! Ammar Dayoub writes "When the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra stormed Batallion 13, killed some of its officers, and confiscated its weapons, the women of Marrat al-Numaan marched the streets in protest. This was not the first time women have taken to the streets, and it will not be the last time."
ISIS claims downing of Syrian regime jet near Damascus ISIS claims it shot down a Syrian air force jet east of Damascus on Friday 22 April and captured the pilot, according to Amaq, the media agency affiliated with the extremist group.
At least 28 killed in violence in Syria`s capital and Aleppo Violence in Syria continued for the fourth straight day to chip away at what remains from a cease-fire that has effectively collapsed, leaving at least 28 people dead, Monday 25 April, in reciprocal shellings between government forces and opposition in the country`s largest city while a bomb blast disrupted a relative quiet in a Damascus suburb that is home to one of the holiest Shiite shrines here.
Regional and International Perspectives
Number of foreign fighters entering Iraq and Syria drops by 90 percent, Pentagon says The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from roughly 2,000 a month down to 200 within the past year, according to the Pentagon, which says the waning numbers are further proof of the Islamic State’s declining stature.
`No victors, no vanquished`: UN sees Assad staying, post-conflict Exclusive: Assad will continue to lead Syria in a ceremonial role, ahead of a consensus administration that would eventually see him leave office, according to a leaked UN proposal.
Syria talks pulled back from brink UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura looked to the United States and Russia for help after the Syrian opposition said it will pause its participation in formal negotiations but stay in Geneva until it sees progress on strengthening the cease-fire and aid access.
At What Point Is a Cessation of Hostilities Broken? “Without some form of military pressure on the regime, whether direct or by proxy,” write the Atlantic Council’s Faysal Itani and Hossam Abouzahr, there is no way to force the Assad regime to enter into legitimate negotiations with its opponents.
50,000 Refugees Stranded in Neutral Zone Between Syria, Jordan Jordan says its policy towards receiving refugees has not changed as the number of Syrians attempting to enter the Kingdom increases by hundreds per day.
Media watchdog calls on Turkey to catch IS killers of Syrian journalist A prominent media advocacy group on Wednesday called on Turkish authorities to protect journalists after a Syrian reporter was gunned down in broad daylight by Islamic State militants in southeastern Turkey - the fourth such in six months.
More Syrian refugees: good for national security David Mednicoff argues that Syrian refugees “can be crucial resources in tackling the extremist violence and authoritarian excess that we are now witnessing in the Middle East.”
Syria’s Future: A Black Hole of Instability Thanassis Cambanis writes "Despite talk of a “regime” and “opposition,” Syria today is a mosaic of tiny fiefs. The government has ceded control of stretches of land to Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Its opponents range from the apocalyptic Islamic State to a coterie of tiny insurgent groups led by local warlords reliant on foreign donors."
Assad party wins expected majority in Syria parliamentary vote Syria`s ruling Baath party and its allies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last week across government-held parts of the country.
Everything We Knew About This ISIS Mastermind Was Wrong The Pentagon calls him Haji Imam. He was one man, not two. He had at least seven names, and was mistakenly pronounced dead four times. But the fog surrounding ISIS’s No. 2 is finally beginning to part.
Family of journalist Steven Sotloff sues Syria in US court over Isis beheading Lawsuit seeks $90m in damages from government of Bashar al-Assad for providing support to Isis militants who killed American journalist in 2014.
Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq Seumas Milne writes that the sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place.
US, Russia Touch on `Political Quotas`, Three Vice Presidents and `Protocol Powers` Unannounced negotiations are being held between American and Russian representatives to draft constitutional and political principles for a solution built on the principle of “political quotas” close to “the moderate Lebanese model”
The Long Journey of Two Syrian Revolutionaries Ryan Harvey writes to the outside world, Sami and Ahmed are two other refugees trying to make it in Europe, but in their own words, they are revolutionaries.
John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail US secretary of state tells committee it ‘may be too late’ to keep Syria whole and suggests Washington would support partition if ceasefire is unsuccessful.
Policy and Reports
A Syrian Tempest in the Geneva Teapot Aron Lund discusses a small, proclaimed opposition group and its goal to seek a stake in the Syria talks in Geneva.
Hosting refugees now uses 9% of foreign aid budgets Surge in aid from many European countries driven by expenditure on looking after refugees at home, where spending has nearly doubled.
Civilians in embattled Yarmouk facing `starvation and dehydration`, UN agency warns Up to 10,000 civilians in Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria, have gone without food and water for more than a week due to ongoing fighting, UNRWA warned on 16 April.
Trapped in Europe’s New Refugee Camp: Greece Among the olive groves on some of Greece’s beautiful islands there are barbed wire fences.
Women’s Advisory Board in Geneva Sparks Controversy After being repeatedly accused of sidelining the role and demands of Syrian women at the negotiation table in Geneva, the U.N. established the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board to consult with Staffan de Mistura. But the board`s makeup has caused outrage in some sections of Syrian civil society.
Council of Europe condemns EU`s refugee deal with Turkey Human rights body says agreement at worst breaks international law and progress on integrating refugees is ‘shamefully slow.’
Researching violence against Syrian refugee women A team of researchers working with the Women and Health Alliance International non-profit organization is working on formative research to prevent intimate partner violence among Syrian refugees in Izmir, Turkey.
An Arabic version of this article can be found here:بحث عن العنف ضد اللاجئات السوريات
What’s the Value of Recreating the Palmyra Arch with Digital Technology? Alexy Karenowska, the Institute’s Director of Technology told Hyperallergic. “It’s very important to us that the arch is sculpted in a way that these things are very much apparent from the visual appearance at the installation, the way that we describe it, and the experience that people have when they talk to us and take part in the event’s associated education programs.”
Palmyra Arch Destroyed by ISIS Rises Again in Central London “Using 3-D photos and computer guided stonecutters, researchers recreated the Triumphal Arch destroyed by the terrorist group last year.”
Palmyra`s Arch of Triumph recreated in London “A replica of a Syrian monument, two millennia old and destroyed by so-called Islamic State in Syria, has been erected in London`s Trafalgar Square.”
Saddam Did Not Create ISIS Samuel Helfont and Michael Brill response to Amatzia Baram on getting the extremist group`s origin story right
Syria at War: Five Years On This UN ESCWA report focuses on socioeconomic ramifications of the conflict in Syria five years on; it examines the European Union’s humanitarian cooperation with Syria and region, the flow of refugees and migrants to Syria’s neighbours and Europe, and the impact of the unilateral economic measures on the Syrian people. It also identifies guiding principles and key critical steps for post-conflict Syria.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
`My soul is in Damascus`: portraits of life on the refugee trail In a moving series of sketches, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad captures grueling journeys blighted by poverty and exploitation
Syria: War Crimes and the Pursuit of Justice This is a video of the event "Syria: War Crimes and the Pursuit of Justice," which was held on Thursday 14 April at the UN in New York City. The event provides an opportunity for Member States, UN entities and civil society to discuss how issues of redress for the victims of the Syria conflict, justice, and accountability should be featured in the ongoing political negotiations and in the ensuing political transition, as the basis for sustainable and durable peace in Syria, in the region, and beyond.
Global Affairs Canada ordered closing of Syrian consulate in Montreal Honorary consul, an outspoken supporter of the Assad regime, was disciplined by Order of Pharmacists.
“Now the Writing Starts”: An Interview with Adonis Jonathan Guyer interviews Adonis, the Paris-based Syrian exile who invented the Arabic prose poem and who has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Award Winning Humanitarian Denied Entry To United States Raed Saleh, head of Syria Civil Defence, turned back on eve of receiving NGO community award at Washington forum.
How Four Child Refugees Said Goodbye to Syria A new FRONTLINE documentary Children of Syria — provides a startlingly intimate look at the Syrian war and the refugee crisis, through the eyes of some of the youngest people living through them.
The Syrians in Beirut who are staying put A quarter of people living in Lebanon are now refugees - many of them Syrians. Thousands have applied for asylum in the West, but many want to stay where they are.
`Islamic State`s` most wanted - Part 1: The takeover What happens when you resist the world`s most violent jihadis? This video attempts to answer that by highlighting a Syrian activist resistance story.
الترجمة الكاملة لتحقيق"نيويوركر": الأسد نحو المحاكمة الدولية This is an Arabic translation to the The New Yorker article The Assad Files, which captured the top-secret documents that tie the Syrian regime to mass torture and killings.
وتسقط العمامة في سوريا Iyad Al-Ja`afari criticizes Al-Waqf leaders in Aleppo who renewed their support of Bashar al-Assad.
تهاون السلطات اللبنانية مع مرتكبي الانتهاكات يفاقم وضع اللاجئات السوريات في لبنان Lebanese authorities did not take effective actions against the perpetrators of violations against Syrian women who were victims of sexual exploitation.
سوريا: علوش يدعو لخرق الهدنة Mohammed Alloush, leader of the Syrian opposition delegation at the Geneva peace talk, calls opposition armed groups to continue fighting inside Syria.
البرلمان السوري يتشكّل: معركة المصداقية! Ziad Haider reposts on the new election and formation of the Syrian parliament.
في صناعة التطرف Mihemed Remedan argues that the current phase of the Syrian revolution needs new concepts to be able to fight radicalization.
المفاوضات والشرعية والنظام السوري Salameh Kaileh reflects on Syrian negotiations, legitimacy, and Russian support to the Syrian regime.
انشقاق جديد في صفوف داعش, والعنصر الأجنبي هو الأبرز Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently on recent defections among ISIS group, specifically those fighters who have foreign backgrounds.
25 سؤالاً إلى المعارضة عن «الهيئة الانتقالية» والمجلس العسكري والإرهاب In regard to Syria peace talks, De Mistura asks HNC 25 questions on TGB, Military council and terrorism.
صحفيون سوريون بتركيا: نحن في خطر Hasan Arfeh reports on the recent increasing risks that face Syrian journalists in Turkey.
حملة مناهضة للزواج المبكر على يد طفلة سورية A Syrian girl initiated a campaign to fight child marriage.