SyriaSource

  • Rebels Advance in Hama Countryside as Regime Mobilizes Army Again to Defend City

    Syrian rebel forces have reached the village of Qamhana in the northern Hama countryside, the scene of fierce clashes between regime forces and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (the Levant Liberation Committee), which includes jihadist factions such as the Fateh al-Sham Front (formerly the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front). The village lies four kilometers (2.4 miles) from Hama city and, along with Zayn al-Abideen, it is an entry point to the city -- whoever controls the hill controls Hama’s airbase and the city itself.

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  • A Responsibility to Project? Power, Law, and ‘Nascent Norms’ in the Levant

    America and its allies have exposed a timeless and troubling truth: without the projection of power, laws -- never mind nascent norms, like the much-ballyhooed Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”) -- are worth as much as the paper they are scribbled on.

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  • Deir Ezzor, the ‘Forgotten City,’ Is Becoming Important for ISIS

    The city of Deir Ezzor joined the Syrian revolution early on, and protestors organized a number of demonstrations against the regime in 2011 and continued until the city emerged from regime control in 2012. After that, many groups in the Syrian opposition and Islamist battalions passed through Deir Ezzor. In July of 2014, the city entered a new stage of its history, when the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) declared that it had seized control.

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  • Beyond Syria: Iran and Future Conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia

    The catastrophic war in Syria seems to have gotten nearer to a tragic conclusion, but the end of this war may herald the beginning of other regional conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia. What began as peaceful protests against the Assad regime’s dictatorial rule, soon evolved into a proxy war between Iran on the one hand, and Turkey, Saudi, and other Gulf countries on the other—and took on increasingly sectarian tones. As Syria’s war reaches an unstable end, a looming question for regional security is what will happen to these proxy forces, and in particular the foreign militias?

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  • Challenges and Successes of Jordan's Work Permit Program for Syrian Refugees After One Year

    There are currently 656,000 Syrians registered with the UNHCR in Jordan, and the Jordanian government estimates the total number of Syrians in Jordan at 1.26 million. These estimates make Jordan one of the most refugee-dense host states per capita in the world. 

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  • How Russia Beat Turkey in Syria

    Turkish-Russian relations have been poor for years because of conflicting agendas in Syria. The Russian decision to intervene in late September 2015 directly challenged Turkish interests. At the outset of the Russian military operation, the goal appeared to be point defense of core regime areas, including the Latakia coast and the road to Damascus. Turkey, in contrast, worked for years to expand opposition held territory out to the coast, as part of its broader effort to empower the opposition to challenge the regime. This sub-set of the broader Turkish proxy war sparked a major escalation with Russia, and in so doing, contributed to the Turkish defeat in Syria.

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  • Will American Ground Forces Fight in Syria?

    Since 2014 there have been two loosely connected wars destroying the Syrian state and creating humanitarian and geopolitical disasters: the battle in western Syria between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad (aided by Iran and Russia) and a diverse collection of armed opposition groups; and the battle to the east between the so-called Islamic State and a coalition of forces led by the United States.  

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  • Rebuilding Syria: Opening Statement by Omar Shawaf

    Below are remarks by Omar Shawaf and audio of the event on Rebuilding Syria: Reconstruction and Legitimacy hosted by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 21, 2017:

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  • Rebuilding Syria: Reconstruction and Legitimacy

    On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion with Dr. Osama Kadi, president of the Syrian Economic Task Force; Mr. Todd Diamond, Middle East director of Chemonics International; Ms. Mona Yacoubian, former deputy assistant administrator for the Middle East at the US Agency for International Development; and Mr. Bassam Barabandi, former Syrian diplomat and co-founder of People Demand Change. Hariri Center Senior Fellow Mr. Faysal Itani moderated the discussion. Mr. Omar Shawaf, chairman and founder of BINAA, gave opening remarks.

    Shawaf introduced the two-year Syrian reconstruction initiative in his opening remarks. He reminded the audience that the future of the Middle East and its people is at stake in Syria, and that the conflict will continue to have implications that reach far beyond the Levant. Shawaf also touched on international engagement in Syria, saying that Russia should rethink its Syria policy and Iranian...

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  • Six Years of War: Is Assad Still Relevant?

    Six years ago, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad betrayed his country by authorizing lethal fire on peaceful protesters. As war in Syria enters its seventh year, the price for the political preservation of one man, one family, and one entourage has been staggering, in Syria and far beyond. Observers numbed by the enormity of a humanitarian catastrophe are periodically jolted by new revelations, such as the regime bombing spree that deprived 5.5 million people in Damascus of running water: a likely war crime, per the United Nations Commission of Inquiry. Just how relevant is this murderous crew to the future of Syria?

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