[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.]
Idlib: Civilian Deaths, Hospitals Out of Service Overnight airstrikes reportedly carried out by the Russian air force hit civilian targets in rebel-held Idlib city in northwestern Syria, killing more than 60 civilians and putting two hospitals out of service.
Syria’s Kurds: Raqqa Will Go to Whomever Liberates It PYD says it makes sense that after its recapture, the city will become a part of the democratic federal system created by the Kurds in northern Syria.
Syrian army opens new front as Islamic State`s many foes attack Russian-backed Syrian army has opened a major new front against Islamic State, the third big assault on the self-proclaimed caliphate this week.
Traditional Ramadan Foods Disappear From Tables as Syrian Families Face Financial Hardship Rising prices and lower incomes mean Syrian families are struggling to find the average 8,000 pounds a day to pay for meals during the holy month of Ramadan.
Syrians Wait in Limbo as Turkey Threatens to Cancel EU Refugee Agreement Syrians in Turkey are hoping for the smuggling route to Europe to reopen as Ankara looks to scrap its controversial migration settlement with Brussels.
Why Moscow is preparing to return to Syria There have been indications recently that the Russians are preparing to resume operations against armed factions in Syria.
Outdated Rules of War Need Major Overhaul: Experts Amid the atrocities in Syria, participants at the World Humanitarian Summit vowed to strengthen the so-called rules of war, but without major reforms to the current system, these pledges will never reach the battlefield.
UNESCO`s Francesco Bandarin: `Palmyra is in no danger of Disneyfication` Those who claim the Palmyra ruins could be turned into a Disneyland don`t know what they`re talking about, says UNESCO`s Francesco Bandarin. He`s now in Berlin for a conference on the preservation of Syria`s heritage.
Syria`s internally displaced people are targets wherever they go Thousands of Syrians were uprooted multiple times before deciding to flee the country.
US commandos aid Kurdish-led push on Islamic State`s Syrian stronghold Elite troops support SDF fighters in operation to seize control of northern Raqqa, the home province of IS `capital.`
Thousands of Civilians Displaced After ISIS Lays Siege to Marea Around 3,000 people reach neighboring Afrin as ISIS forces commence offensive on the northern countryside of Aleppo.
Syria: fears of UN reversal over aid airdrops plan International Syria Support Group had agreed to start airdrops on 1 June but UN seems to have decided project is too risky without regime cooperation.
Kurdish forces in big push against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Peshmerga fighters tighten noose around Mosul as Iraqi forces target Falluja and Syrians advance north of Raqqa stronghold.
Dozens killed in bombing of national hospital in Idlib Attack, apparently by forces loyal to Assad regime, is latest incident in aerial campaign against medical facilities in Syria.
Syria civil war: `Deadly` blast hits Latakia mosque State TV says several people killed and injured in explosion that took place as people were leaving afternoon prayers.
Whipped with cables and brainwashed into fighting and dying for Isis: Liberated Raqqa residents on life under jihadists In the third of a four-part series examining Isis, Patrick Cockburn hears from those who have been liberated from Isis’s brutal regime around its de facto capital.
HNC: 700 Regime Air Strikes Hit Aleppo in 48 Hours Opposition spokesman says strikes targeted mostly civilian areas in the northern Syrian city as 8,000 people in besieged Daraya remain on the brink of starvation
Unknown Assailants Kill 6 Ahrar al-Sham Members in Idleb Six members of the key Syrian Islamist group killed near their checkpoint outside Kefraya.
US drops weapons to rebels battling ISIL in Syria US sends arms to rebel units in Aleppo province while UN considers dropping food and medicine to besieged areas by air.
Footage suggests Iran is testing combat drones in Syria Iran offers money, weapons and information to both Damascus and Baghdad. They also provide surveillance drones. However, recent footage claims to show that Tehran is also testing out new combat drones in these war zones.
Regional and International Perspectives
Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for ISIL? Hassan Hassan challenges a surface-level, short-term solution to defeating ISIL.
U.S.-backed Syria force closes in on IS-held city; slow Iraq advance causes rift Assaults from Islamic State’s disparate enemies on a variety of fronts have put unprecedented pressure on the group, although its fighters have put up strong resistance so far.
“India and the Syrian Conflict,” by Niraj Srivastava Niraj Srivastava comments on recent developments that have brought the ISIS, and the ongoing conflict in Syria, uncomfortably close to India.
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say? Alex Ray argues that "the story of the Syrian death toll and how it is used is another example of Ed Herman’s ‘worthy and unworthy’ victims."
No Syria talks for two-three weeks, U.N. says There will be no new round of Syria talks for at least two or three weeks, the office of U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in a statement on Thursday (26 May), after he consulted the U.N. Security Council for about two and a half hours.
Syrian peace talks in peril after opposition`s chief negotiator quits Mohammad Alloush said Geneva talks had failed to secure release of detainees or to push political transition without Assad.
On the Ground In Syria, a slow-motion genocide while diplomats chatter Janine di Giovanni writes that the diplomats, of the International Syria Support Group, consisting of 20 countries and organizations, in Vienna reminded him of an incident from 1992, when he was covering the Bosnian war.
Allies of Syrian President Assad Seek an Opening in Washington A senior official of the Syrian regime made a rare and controversial appearance before a U.S. audience on Thursday (2 June), calling for a united front with the Obama administration in the fight against Islamic State and other international terrorist groups.
Sanctioned Syrian Official Invited To D.C. Event Delivers Outrageous Defense Of Assad There is no moderate opposition and nobody is starving in Syria, according to Bouthaina Shaaban.
Raqqa Will Not Fall Until Arab Tribes Fight the Islamic State Fabrice Balanche writes that the tribes in eastern Syria have been driven in different directions by the Assad regime, outside actors, and their own self-interest, leaving the coalition with a complex web to untangle before it can fully uproot IS.
Stand Together or Fall Apart: The Russian-Iranian Alliance in Syria Aron Lund argues that "Russia and Iran are now trapped in a situation of mutual dependence where both stand to lose if the three-way pact between Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus should fall apart. "
This Is Why Winning The Fight Against ISIS May Mean Losing The War Various countries and coalitions are fighting ISIS on three fronts — in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. But the piecemeal gains mask a lack of political progress, sharpening regional rivalries and expose a lack of a coherent strategy.
General Gouraud: “Saladin, We’re Back!” Did He Really Say It? James Barr fact-checking one of Syria`s national legends: “‘Saladin, We’re Back!’ So France’s general Henri Gouraud is said to have declared when he entered the Kurdish warrior’s tomb beside the Umayyad Mosque in August 1920 after the French had seized Damascus.”
Policy and Reports
Dispatches: ISIS Advance Traps 165,000 Syrians at Closed Turkish Border There are two walls on the Turkey-Syria border. One is manned by Turkish border guards enforcing Turkey’s 15 month-old border closure. The other is a wall of silence by the rest of the world, including the United Nations.
Mediterranean death toll soars in first 5 months of 2016 UNHCR says series of shipwrecks and capsizings last week now appears to have claimed at least 880 lives.
The forgotten child soldiers recruited by Kurdish militants in Turkey and Syria Beybin Somuk writes that the international community is turning a blind eye to continued reports of the PKK and YPG recruiting child soldiers.
Violations Against Women In Syria And The Disproportionate Impact Of The Conflict On Them This report is the product of months of hard work by phenomenal Syrian women organisations who face devastating threats and challenges every day with the aim of bringing justice to Syrian women and men, providing them with much needed services, and carrying their voices to the international fora hoping for a change in the realities that was imposed on them by suppression, militarization and dysfunction of the international system. It was completed in collaboration with the Crisis Response and Human Rights programmes at WILPF, and with the support of The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation.
An Arabic version of this report can be found here: الانتهاكات الواقعة على النساء في سوريا والاثر المجحف للنزاع عليهن
NGO Governance and Syrian Refugee “Subjects” in Jordan Sarah A. Tobin examines the intent and unexpected outcomes of educational and other programs run by the hundreds of non-governmental organizations at Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Oasis in the Desert? Coproduction and the Future of Zaatari At first, write Denis Sullivan and Charles Simpson, the UN and the Jordanian government struggled to meet the basic needs of the Syrians newly resident in Zaatari. The challenge now is to move from crisis management to strategic planning, since there is no sign as yet the refugees will be able to go home.
Syrian Refugees in the Media Katty Alhayek offers a critical appraisal of the sudden Western media attention to the Syrian refugee crisis in the fall of 2015.
Putting Refugee Work Permits to Work Jordan shocked observers by removing legal restrictions on work for Syrians, but Vicky Kelberer finds key weaknesses in the new permit system.
Mobilizing in Exile Syrian Associational Life in Turkey and Lebanon Killian Clarke and Gözde Güran report on inspiring projects of communal self-help undertaken by Syrians in Lebanon and Turkey.
Growing Up in Wartime Images of Refugee Children’s Education in Syrian Television Drama Hayden Bates and Rebecca Joubin review the images of refugee children broadcast in Syrian television serials made from various political perspectives.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
Russian Airstrikes in Syria: May 13 - June 2, 2016 Image that depicts the Institute for the Study of War’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, statements by Russian and Western officials, and documentation of Russian airstrikes through social media.
People are getting worked up over these photos of US soldiers fighting ISIS in Syria Photos of US troops wearing patches from the Kurdish People`s Protection Unit, known as the YPG, while fighting the Islamic State alongside Kurds in Syria have enraged Turkey`s foreign minister.
The Morning They Came For Us by Janine di Giovanni – heroic dispatches from Syria A first person and deeply personal account of horrific events in the Syrian war and revolution makes no policy recommendations but is the very best kind of reporting.
A Novel About the ‘Anonymous People Who Every Day Live, Love, Resist and Struggle’ for Syria Leila Nachawati Rego, a Syrian-Galician journalist and activist, is taking a punt on telling other stories; those stories that we don`t read, see, or hear. Syria, one of her native countries — and greatest passions — has been immersed in a grueling and bloody war, but still love and resistance flourish there. This belief, among other things, is the basis of her first novel “Cuando la revolución termine” (When the Revolution Is Over).
Syrian Refugee Found Dead After Suspected Kidnapping in Turkey`s Mersin Activists and friends claim Syrian man Firas Didan was robbed and killed in the Turkish city while trying to find a way to Saudi Arabia
Syria’s New Media Watchdog Takes Aim at Falsehoods With hundreds of news sources and social media feeds about Syria – some of which publish rumor, hearsay or even fake stories – Zuhour Mahmoud speaks with Dirar Khattab, the managing editor of the Syrian fact-checking website Takkad, on what they are doing to combat this problem.
Syrian Refugees Return to School Desks For Full Integration Older refugees face major learning issues with new languages in the countries they reside in, but people are unfair to judge them for laziness and a lack of motivation, says linguistics expert.
Mike Baird to give refugees priority in NSW public service jobs The Baird government in Australia will offer refugees a priority pathway to public service jobs in a new commitment that puts it at odds with recent comments by federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
Once A National Hero, Syria`s Lone Cosmonaut Is Now A Refugee In TurkeyMore than 2 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, driven out by the fighting that erupted in their homeland in 2011. But none can claim an odyssey quite like that of Mohammed Faris, Syria`s first and only cosmonaut.
A Female Syrian Entrepreneur Builds in Exile Sitting behind a large wooden desk in her white hijab, a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, Lara Shaheen looks every bit the modern Arab businesswoman. The only problem is that her business is illegal.
THE JOURNEY A six-part documentary about the dangerous paths of Syrian asylum seekers in the E.U., directed by the filmmaker Matthew Cassel in collaboration with Field of Vision.
عن اليسار وشياطين أخرى: محاولةٌ أولى لكتابة سيرة ذاتيّة Khaled Saghieh shares his perspective and experience on what does it mean to be a leftist after the Arab Spring.
منطقة آمنة في شمال سوريا: تركيا تطالب والولايات المتّحدة تعترض Turkey is seeking to establish a safe zone on its border with Syria to provide a safe haven for the Syrian refugees that currently number around 3 million in Turkey alone.
An English version of this article can be found here: How Turkey intends to secure return of Syrian refugees
مناطق "داعش"... سجن كبير للمدنيّين Civilians in areas under IS control are barred from leaving, but many are nonetheless risking their lives to flee the group`s grip.
An English version of this article can be found here: Syrians describe `most dangerous journey ever` fleeing IS territories
المسؤولية التاريخية للمعارضة السورية Sa`id Al-Haj provides recommendations to the Syrian opposition (armed and civil) to correct their wrong paths.
القامشلي السورية نافذة إلى النزاع التركي-الكردي في الجهة الأخرى من الحدود For months, residents of a northern Syrian city have watched helplessly as their neighbors and fellow Kurds battle Turkish forces across the border.
An English version of this article can be found here: Syria’s Qamishli a window onto Turkish-Kurdish conflict across border
«جبهة النصرة» بوصفها عماد الثورة السلفية السورية Louay Hussein argues that Jabhat al-Nusra is the main contested point that impedes Geneva talks.
عودة هادئة لـ«عاصفة سوخوي»: نحو الرقة أم حلب؟ Mohammad Ballout writes that there have been indications recently that the Russians are preparing to resume operations against armed factions in Syria.
An English version of this article can be found here: Why Moscow is preparing to return to Syria
بمبادرة قطرية، حل النزاع بين فصائل الغوطة بدمشق After clashes broke out in eastern Ghouta, the Syrian regime exploited the situation to regain control of the Damascus suburbs.
An English version of this article can be found here: Opposition infighting gives Assad regime opening in eastern Ghouta
الطائفة المظلومة في سورية Michel Kilo criticizes the Syrian opposition`s generalized notion of the Alawite sect as one loyal group without differences.
صناعة "الداعشية" Osama Abu Arshid argues that "Daash" represents a distorted response from many Arabs for their “injured dignity.”