SyriaSource

  • A Life of Exile: The Continued Suffering of Syrian IDPs

    Local agreements between the Syrian regime and opposition forces may have lessened the violence, but they have not ended the suffering of Syrians. Such deals, in which the regime uses bombing and blockades to force the opposition to surrender, have moved many Syrians from their towns in the Damascus hinterland towards rural Idlib, where they face new challenges: overcrowding caused by the arrival of thousands of displaced, an area with few work opportunities, and a political environment that is different to what residents had been used to in the south, as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is the strongest power in Idlib.

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  • Return to Syria is Less Likely As Syrian Refugees Receive Turkish Citizenship

    After more than a year of heated debate among the Turkish public and authorities, thousands of Syrians living across the country have begun receiving citizenship. The first batch to receive decisions in early August included fifty thousand Syrian refugees, mostly holders of university degrees, such as doctors, engineers and teachers, along with their families. But decisions on granting citizenship are not subject to clear criteria such as knowledge of the Turkish language.

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  • JCPOA or Assad? Capillary vs Artery

    The Trump administration is focusing properly on blocking the destabilizing, terrorist-abetting activities of Iran in Mesopotamia, the Levant, and elsewhere. Yet rather than addressing the worst of those activities head-on, it is confounding allies and risking Western unity by making the 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA) the centerpiece of its roll-back strategy. One alternative to an all-or-nothing bet on the JCPOA would be for the administration to concentrate its attention and that of allies and partners on the one place where Tehran has stacked a major portion of its own chips: in Syria and on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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  • The Battle for Deir Ezzor Continues

    In recent weeks, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has suffered a string of defeats in eastern Syria. It has lost swaths of territory in Deir Ezzor city to advancing pro-Syrian government forces and has been driven from villages and oil fields on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River by a US-backed paramilitary group.

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  • Dealing with Depression

    It is hard to have a conversation about Syria without speaking or hearing the words “how depressing.” This has, in fact, been true for years. The Obama administration observed, unopposed, a relentless, multi-year campaign of civilian mass homicide by a larcenous, incompetent, and brutal regime, one fully enabled and encouraged by Russia and Iran. The administration protected not one Syrian from a homicidal government, pretending that to try to do so could make things worse: a time-honored excuse for inaction in the face of mass murder. It stood aside and averted its gaze from the slaughter of innocents so that a nuclear agreement—supposedly the jewel in the crown of the administration’s foreign policy achievements—could be had with the Assad regime’s principal accomplice. Indeed, given the extent of humanitarian abomination and policy malfeasance, depression may be the luxury of those not directly affected by systematic state terror and its consequences, both human and policy.

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  • Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's Lone Path to Survival

    The fate of Idlib, the Syrian opposition’s last major stronghold, is coming to a head. Militarily, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is in control, but this military control is severely threatened. HTS could lose this control at any moment and is looking to find another way to continue to exert control over the affairs of the province. That is why HTS participated in the Syrian General Conference in Idlib in mid-September. The conference was called to establish a city administration to manage provincial affairs, but it would appear that HTS tried to influence its result so that the civil administration would be under HTS control, and through it, HTS could remain the dominant force in Idlib. Why is HTS involving itself in these kinds of calls for the civil administration of Idlib, especially when it already controls the city militarily?

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  • Sixth Round of Astana Talks Threatens the Fate of Idlib and the Syrian Revolution

    Once the Syrian regime realized the opposition had the ability to decide the war militarily, especially after the “Allahu Ghalibun” offensive launched by Jaish al-Islam which shook the foundations around Damascus, direct Russian intervention ultimately saved the Assad Regime from collapse.

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  • It’s Time the US Faces the Hard Questions of How and When to Leave Syria

    The US backed effort to territorially defeat the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) has grown more complicated in recent weeks, despite considerable progress to liberate Raqqa from ISIS. The Syrian regime’s capture of Deir Ezzor city in early September brought regime, Russian, and Iranian elements into proximity to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a multi-ethnic umbrella group dominated by the Kurdish YPG. In response to the regime’s advance, the SDF announced the start of “Jazeera Storm,” an offensive to consolidate control over the country-side east of the Euphrates river. The SDF offensive began before the United States and Russia had agreed on a specific mechanism for military deconfliction, similar to arrangements reached to manage combat operations around Tanf in southern Syria and Tabqa, the SDF controlled town just south of the Euphrates.

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