Civil Society and Local Governance

  • The Stain of Assad’s Resurgence is the Failure of the International Community

    The Syrian opposition is facing unprecedented regional and international pressure. At the Riyadh 2 Conference last August, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the Syrian opposition about the stances of various countries on the Syrian issue. While many preferred not to have the Assad regime remain in power, the controversy was about timing. Some countries want Assad to leave at the end of a transitional period and others to see him go at the beginning.

    Read More
  • Empower Civil Society in Syria to Rebuild the Country

    A vibrant civil society is key to Syria’s future. But across Syria’s so-called de-escalation zones, the hard-won advances of Syrian activists and humanitarians risk being rolled back in the name of “early recovery” and “reconstruction.”

    Read More
  • The Local Movement Against Jabhat al-Nusra's Civil Administration

    An assault by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham coalition led by Jabhat al-Nusra against Ahrar al-Sham in July left HTS in charge of the border with Turkey as well as border crossings including Bab al-Hawa, Atma and Khirbet al-Joz, prompting Turkey to temporarily close them.

    Read More
  • Could Federalism Work for the Syrian Crisis After Years of Conflict?

    As the Syrian crisis enters what could be its final phase and the battle between the regime and the opposition appears to have frozen, discussion is growing around options for a political solution for the country, different parts of which are controlled by disparate forces. A federal regime, as proposed by Russia and welcomed by the Kurds, appears to be the model most likely to be adopted, despite objections from both the regime and the opposition.

    Read More
  • Underground Hospitals: Investing in Protection

    Throughout the conflict in Syria, regime forces and their allies have deliberately and systematically targeted medical workers, ambulances, and hospitals in opposition-held areas. There have been more than 454 attacks on medical facilities in the conflict, with the Assad regime and Russia responsible for ninety-one percent of them. Over 814 Syrian health workers have been killed since 2011. There is a strategic logic at play: by inflicting widespread injuries on local populations and then routinely destroying the healthcare that would treat them, areas eventually become unlivable. This strategy aims to break the will to resist in opposition-held communities and displace populations outside of regime control.

    Read More
  • Lawlessness in Syria's Regime-Held Areas and the Future of Governance in Syria

    Lawlessness is a major problem in Assad regime-held Syrian cities, especially those on the coast. This is despite the large number of security agencies that control those areas, along with armed militias that commit daily abuses against civilians and government institutions—violations the government ignores as it relies on the militias’ continued support. Such lawlessness raises questions over the regime’s ability to control the areas it holds and whether it can still be thought of as part of the solution in Syria. 

    Read More
  • The Ramifications of the SDF Governance Plan for Raqqa Post-ISIS

    The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US-led coalition, has succeeded in encircling Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in Syria. By capturing the surrounding villages and access routes to isolate the city, this strategy has contributed to weakening ISIS yet is unlikely to lead to a swift victory. Nonetheless, the heavy cost of capturing the city seems to be a secondary concern for analysts and policy makers working on Syria. Securing and governing the Arab majority city of Raqqa post-ISIS appears to be the main concern for analysts. The SDF does not seem to share the same anxiety; its plan for Raqqa is in motion despite all warnings about the negative ramifications that may be caused by it.

    Read More
  • After ISIS the US Will Still Have a Role in Iraq—But Does It Care Enough to Play It?

    The fight against ISIS in Iraq is in full swing. Despite the costly human errors that caused the death of hundreds of Mosul residents, the offensive forces continue to make progress, having managed during the past months to isolate, besiege, and take control of over 60 percent of the city.

    Read More
  • Discussion with Raed Saleh from the White Helmets

    SyriaSource interviewed Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian Civil Defense or "White Helmets" about his thoughts regarding the continued campaign against them, implementing safe zones, and how the last six months has affected their organization with regard to the new US administration as well as the changing dynamics on the ground in Syria.

    Read More
  • Interview with The Young Republic: Local and Regional Activism for Syrians in Europe

    Mohammed Alsaud is the cofounder and chairman of The Young Republic, an NGO based in Sweden with the aim to support the Syrian youth diaspora with their participation and social inclusion in Europe. SyriaSource interviewed Alsaud on the development of the organization and its successes and challenges.  

    Read More