SyriaSource|Amplifying Syrian voices

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The case of Palestinian Refugees registered in Syria (PRS) is a difficult one. Once considered lucky, compared to Palestinian refugees in neighboring countries, PRS now face secondary displacement due to the Syrian conflict. Many fled to neighboring countries with little protection, making them among the most vulnerable refugee groups. The war in Syria impacted PRS significantly; those who fled the country, and those who stayed. It continues to impact the future of PRS in a post-war Syria.

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As operations in areas of eastern Syria cleared of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) transition from immediate humanitarian response to longer-term stabilization efforts, the establishment and empowerment of inclusive, representative, and legitimate local governance will be crucial in preventing the resurgence of extremism and violence. Understanding the current conditions of local governance in this region, especially relating to both Arab and Kurdish populations, will be essential to consider in framing US policy in Syria moving forward.

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In January 2018, Syria Independent Monitoring published a research report titled “Understanding Market Drivers in Syria” in which it conducted field research into the olive/olive oil and spice/herb market systems in northeastern and northwestern Syria to assess the flow of food commodities—that has been highly impacted by the conflict —in the dynamic and adaptable agricultural markets that have proven to be the most resilient. Therefore, to stimulate the market, it is recommended that more aid be targeted at the agricultural sector by facilitating market actors, creating cooperatives, and offering a variety of funding options for local farmers.

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When I joined the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center in late 2012, I had one goal: to build a Syria program that could, from outside government, do that which I had failed to do on the inside. I wanted to persuade senior officials that a drifting Syria policy left unchanneled would facilitate human suffering on an industrial scale and serve the interests of those arrayed against the United States and its allies: Russia, Iran, Islamist extremists, and the lawless regime of Bashar al-Assad. 

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As of March 22, 2018, the Syrian Civil Defense (or White Helmets) lost ten of its members in the Damascus countryside during Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent campaign on Eastern Ghouta. According to Siraj Mahmoud, the official spokesman for the Civil Defense, ten volunteers were killed in Eastern Ghouta, including Mohammed Qasim Masarwa, one of the founders of the civil defense in Ghouta, and twenty-five others were injured, in what has become the biggest challenge facing the White Helmets since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution.

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It is not difficult to discern the drift of most commentary on Syria these days: Bashar al-Assad has all-but-defeated the seven-year uprising against him; so, ‘get used to it.’ A corollary of the argument is often some variation of ‘Let Russia own it.’ Can these expressions of resigned defiance form the basis of a constructive Western policy toward Syria? The view here is they cannot.

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In the shadow of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s takeover of Idlib province and the conflict between it and the Syrian Liberation Front (Jabhat Tahrir Souria), it is difficult for women to work in any profession. The laws are designed to prevent women from leaving their homes to do any work. So how would a woman of the region, if she so chose, be able to work in journalism?

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Turkey and Syrian opposition factions took control of Afrin and its countryside after a two-month assault that caused high civilian casualties and the displacement of tens of thousands. In light of an emerging Kurdish-Arab conflict in Syria, some see a Russian-Turkish deal on Afrin and Ghouta as a dangerous indicator at a critical stage in the crisis.

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Seven years after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, several groups now vie for control over Syria. Waves of internal displacement continue to grow in proportion to the battles for control and subsequent territorial divisions. In this context, marriage has become a complex issue, and sexual violence has become a too common yet rarely spoken of issue. Families increasingly fear the unknown fate of their children when marrying members of the regime-allied popular militias, commonly called Shabihas. In Aleppo, the Shabiha there have engaged in sexual violence on a particularly vulnerable group: the displaced youth from other parts of Syria to Aleppo, according to an Aleppo-based lawyer Khalid al-Ali.  

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Over the last few years, thousands of Syrian refugees have arrived in Turkey to escape the war. Several with educational degrees found it difficult to find a job in their areas of expertise due to the challenges of obtaining required work permits  for the private sector.

Many Syrian refugees in Turkey are forced to work illegally in difficult fields with little connection to their specialties, such as construction and laboratory work. Some Syrian teachers worked in temporary schools established in Turkey with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support the education of Syrian students.

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