SyriaSource|Amplifying Syrian voices

This summary based on the Justice for Life Organization report which describes a number of potential reforms for the governorate of Deir Ezzor in Syria once a political solution allows it to reintegrate into the state. The future of the Syrian state remains unclear, but in its current form is no longer the centralized power it was prior to 2011.

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We know that conflict exacerbates existing gender inequalities within a society and disproportionately affects women and girls, many of whom experience abuses such as rape, domestic violence, early marriage, lack of educational opportunities, and harassment.

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The Syrian conflict has transformed Syrians’ identity by politicizing religion, forcing Syrians to either associate with or disassociate from their religion. To better understand this identity transformation in the Syrian diaspora, I interviewed twenty-seven Syrians that have fled the country. The sample size, although small, included Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Ismaelis, atheists, and agnostics. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom commissioned the report.

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The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) is an influential actor in the Syrian conflict. Yet the PYD was excluded from recent peace talks in Astana at the request of Turkey, who jointly backed the negotiations with Russia and Iran. Turkey designates the PYD as a terrorist organization due to its ties to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and is likely to push for the exclusion of the PYD from the upcoming talks in Geneva as well. 

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When a new round of peace talks kicked off between armed opposition groups and the Syrian regime on January 23rd, a different situation played out on the ground. The talks, which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan under the auspices of Turkey and Russia, were fraught with tension between the regime and opposition delegations. However, inside Syria the tension was playing out within the opposition groups themselves.

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Since the regime defeated opposition forces in Aleppo, the rebels have been struggling to regain their balance. Reeling from their recent defeat and struggling with internal challenges, though, they have yet to put forth any solid plan.

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For moderate, unarmed rebels, as well as anyone wanted by the government, the rapid and brutal offensive to retake east Aleppo is a sign of what’s to come elsewhere in Syria.

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The recent American presidential election attracted a big following among Syrians of all different political orientations. Most Syrians considered the outcome of the election critical to the future of their country; as such, Syrians chose to root for a candidate based on his or her statements on the Syrian crisis. Overall, loyalists of the Syrian regime welcomed Republican candidate Donald Trump’s soft stance toward Bashar al-Assad and his desire to coordinate with Russia—the regime’s principle ally—to solve the Syrian crisis. Conversely, most of the Syrian opposition were encouraged by the prospect of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s assuming power. They hoped she would act on her campaign promises to establish a no-fly zone and investigate war crimes committed by Syrians and Russians.

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The military siege imposed by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally has entered its second month. Its effects on the close to 4,000,000 people that are estimated to be living in this area are becoming more severe—most food and medical supplies are running out.

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“To be able to understand accurately the damage, threat and the devastation of the disaster in Syria, [it is like] we are having a 7.6 earthquake 50 times a day,” writes Ammar Al-Salmo, leader of Syrian Civil Defense in Aleppo, on the agency’s website.

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