[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.]
OCHA: Daraa Flash Update, Hostilities in Daraa Governorate (3 August 2021)
Heavy shelling and ground clashes in Daraa al-Balad has led to a growing number of displaced, among them Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Palestinian refugees. Violence is on-going with clashes reported in Tafas Mzeirib and Yadoudeh villages in western Daraa. Tension has also spilled into neighboring areas such as Ash-Shajara and Al-Hark and Um Al-Maiathen and Saida.
Clashes between government forces and local opposition fighters erupted in Daraa as the Syrian regime continued negotiations to end fighting in the area. Locals fear that pro-regime Iranian forces may be permitted to enter their neighborhoods.
Notable humanitarian developments observed by UNICEF inside Syria between 1 January and 30 June 2021 include: intensified drought conditions and reduced Euphrates river water levels in northeast Syria, high test positivity rates for COVID-19 in Al-Sweirda, Tatrous, and Homs, ceased functioning of the Alouk water station, constituting the twenty-fourth disruption since November 2019, a deterioration of the security situation in al-Hol Camp, widespread displacement in northwest Syria, and an intensification of the socioeconomic crisis, with food insecurity reaching its worst point since the start of the crisis.
Following a five-day raid targeting Islamic State members in al-Hol camp in March, incidents of violence in the camp have overall decreased. The Middle East director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, however, describes living conditions in the camp as “horrifying” and US military officials caution that the lull in violence may be temporary.
Residential areas have been targeted by shelling as fighting in Daraa al-Balad escalates, putting citizens at great risk. Seeking to strengthen its military positions, regime forces have also stationed tanks in residential areas and imposed tight controls like subjecting citizens seeking to leave the neighborhood to strict security checks.
Approximately 80% of Daraa’s population has become displaced as a result of the Syrian regime’s bombardment. Civilians fleeing the area are forced to pass through a regime-run checkpoint while families crossing in their cards are forced to pay a hefty bribe of two million Syrian pounds.
Al-Monitor: How Syrian Jihadi Group is Laundering Money in Idlib (7 August 2021)
In order to expand their control of resources and economic activity, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leadership is seeking to invest their money in a variety of economic sectors.
Al-Jazeera: Displaced Syrian Children Hold ‘Tent Olympics’ (8 August 2021)
During the last weekend of the Tokyo Olympics, 120 boys from 12 different camps in northwest Syria participated in their own Olympic games. The eight-14-year-old athlete competed in a variety of events ranging from gymnastics, martial arts, and running. The goal behind the event was to give children living in the camps hope and exposure to new sports and draw the attention of the international community to their plight.
Middle East Eye: Government Shelling Kills Children in Hama (8 August 2021)
Four children from the same family were killed by regime shelling in the residential area of Qastoun village in Hama.
Following a deal reached by the Russian and Turkish military, the Alouk water station in Hassakeh province will be put back into service. The Alouk water station has been described by the UN as the only viable water source in northeast Syria, providing water to approximately 460,000 people. Previously, due to months of disruptions to drinking water supplies, families were forced to resort to unsafe sources of water or limit consumption.
Bakeries in Daraa al-Balad have run out of their wheat supplies, forcing them to close. Up until recently, bakeries were able to subsist off wheat stockpiled and smuggled in, since the roads leading into Daraa al-Balad were cut off by regime forces.
Regional and International Perspectives
At a conference in Hassakeh, the United States-led military coalition to defeat the Islamic State announced aid for prisons holding Islamic State detainees and reaffirmed its support for Syria’s Kurdish fighters.
After the Russian Defense Ministry’s claims last week that it repelled Israeli missiles, analysts speculate what the end of the Netanyahu era will mean for Russian-Israeli relations.
Syrians living in Beirut reflect on the insufficient support following the Beirut port explosion that has left them feeling neglected and outraged at the lack of accountability of government officials.
German authorities detained Mouafak Al D., a man accused of firing a grenade into a crowd of civilians at a refugee camp outside Damascus in 2014.
In what many see as an attempt to portray itself as a protector of heritage within Syria, Russia is working to preserve cultural heritage sites in Syria.
Arts and Culture
Impressions Gallery: In Which Language Do We Dream? (7 August 2021)
A new exhibit at Impressions Gallery in the United Kingdom (UK) provides a closer look into the lives of displaced Syrians through tracing the experience of the al-Hindawi family. The project is a culmination of joint efforts over the past four years between documentary photographer Richard Wiles and the al-Hindawi family to document the Hindawi’s family’s experience as refugees in a small Yorkshire town. The exhibit features archival family photos from Syria as well as contemporary photographs by Wiles, new work from the al-Hindawi family, and a film of WhatsApp photos sent by their extended family members. The exhibit will be open until 13 November 2021.
Policy and Reports
Syrians in Lebanon fleeing conflict from their home country are vulnerable amidst Lebanon’s economic crises. Although the economic crisis affects the entire country, Syrian refugees are particularly vulnerable due to Lebanon’s strict residency rules which have left an estimated 86% of Syrians without legal residency. Without legal residency, Syrians face hazardous working conditions and job discrimination.
SJAC: Inside the Raslan Trial: trauma, justice, and politics (5 August 2021)
SJAC provides comprehensive summaries of testimonies from trial hearings between June 30 and July 1, 2021, for Anwar Raslan. Testimonies detail the abuse and torture victims endured at the hands of Raslan.
Analysts Karam Shaar and Wael Alalwani argue that both European Union (EU) and US sanctions have limited effectiveness due to their failure to target the local and international networks built over decades of illicit activities.
A detailed analysis of data collected by IMMAP between July 2020 and July 2021 details the evolution of humanitarian needs in Syria throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses how the pandemic and pandemic response measure have interacted with pre-existing humanitarian crises such as displacement and the economic crisis.
Infographics and Maps
USAID: USG Response to the Complex Emergency (6 August 2021)
This detailed infographic displays active US-supported humanitarian operations by governorate in Syria active as of 6 August 2021.
حكايةماانحكت: سلامالكواكبي: أفتقدكلماهوجميلوغيرجميلفيحلب (٧ آب ٢٠٢١)
تحدثت الأكاديمية بسمة قضماني في شهادتها عن الصديق، الكاتب والباحث، سلام الكواكبي، في هذا الملف، عن قدرته الهائلة على بناء الصداقات.الجزيرة:شاهد- الدومري...مقهىثقافيللتخلصمنإدمانالأجهزةالذكيةفيسوريا(٧ آب ٢٠٢١)يحاول القائمون على المقهى -الذي أطلقوا عليه اسم الدومري- تعزيز التواصل الاجتماعي الطبيعي بعيدا عن الإنترنت وأجهزة المحمول، في مسعى لإعادة الألق للعلاقات الاجتماعية والحوارات الفكرية الهادفة.
تشهد مدينة درعا هدوءًا حذرًا يوم الأحد ٨ من آب, وسط حديث عن اجتماع مفصلي مرتقب بين “اللجنة المركزية” في المدينة والنظام السوري بإشراف روسي، لإنهاء الحصار عن المدينة.
استولت قوات النظام على منازل مدنيين، قرب درعا البلد، وطردت سكانها منها، من أجل تحويلها إلى تحصينات عسكرية، لاستخدامها في المعارك الدائرة بمحيط درعا البلد.العربيالجديد: غسلالأمواليشعلأسعارعقاراتسورية: أثرياءالحرب(٩ آب ٢٠٢١)
شهدت أسعار العقارات في المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة النظام السوري، وبخاصة دمشق، ارتفاعاً غير متناسب مع تدهور القدرة الشرائية للمواطنين وقلة الطلب.
طلبت هيئة تحرير الشام، صاحبة النفوذ في محافظة إدلب شمال غربي سوريا، من المزارعين في منطقة جبل الزاوية جنوبي إدلب عدم الاقتراب من الأراضي الزراعية لقطاف التين دون تنسيق معها نتيجة قصف النظام للمنطقة.