Civil Society and Local Governance

  • First Development Project in Marginalised Region

    Shar For Development has launched a first-of-a-kind development project in the north-eastern al-Jazirah plain to lure local investors and limit dependence on international support in the future.

    (ʿAmuda, al-Hasakah, Syria) The marginalising policies that the region of al-Jazirah has endured for decades have resulted in widespread unemployment, driving a great part of the workforce from the area. In the light of the Syrian crisis, the region is considered relatively safe, but unemployment persists especially in the absence of sustainable development projects.

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  • Islamic State Torture is Destroying Syrian Society

    Since its entry into Raqqa, the Islamic State (ISIS) has attempted to spread fear into the hearts of civilians by kidnapping and disappearing activists, journalists, leaders, and members of the Free Syrian Army and opposing Islamist factions.

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  • Constructive Development Solutions during War: An Interview with Hisham Dirani, Director of Binaa

    Amid the war and the savage bombardment raging today in Syria, Binaa is working on development and construction. Some might say that building and developing in the shadow of destructive bombardment in Syria is illogical. However, Binaa director Hisham Dirani responded to some questions to explain the significance of this work in the current context.

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  • On the Anniversary of Hafez al-Assad’s Death: How He Divided the Alawite Sect

    This month marks the sixteenth anniversary of the death of Hafez al-Assad, a man who built the foundation of Syria’s civil war and still influences its course today. He had supported his Alawite sect along with other minorities to secure their support for him and as a counterweight to the Sunnis, showing favoritism towards those who supported him. Over time, the Alawite sect found itself entangled with the regime in a strained relationship of mutual survival.

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  • Can Military Action Save Syria?

    Last week, 51 State Department diplomats signed a dissent memo critical of US policy in Syria, calling for military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's government to force it to adhere to the February 26 cessation of hostilities (CoH). Concrete military action against the regime is the only course of action available to the United States to bring Assad to the negotiating table and prevent the collapse of peace talks, and in the process salvage US interests in the region.

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  • The Nusra Front’s Impossible Position

    The city of Maarat al-Num’an in Idlib Province is continuing its revolt against the Syrian regime and extremist groups like the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s arm in Syria, and Jund al-Aqsa group. The dynamics between Nusra trying to impose control and Sharia law on the city, and the locals resisting it, give insight into the armed group’s complex position as a group that locals respect for its military prowess but reject for its extremist ideology.

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  • Syria Civil Defense: How a Group of Volunteers Has Saved Thousands of Lives

    In the early days of the Syrian Civil War, following an increase in casualties from regime air strikes on opposition-held areas, poorly trained civilians volunteers would transport the wounded for treatment and try to save civilians trapped in the rubble.  Their lack of experience led to the deaths of a number of wounded people due to suffocation, delays in removing debris from them, and serious errors made during treatment en route to medical centers.

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  • Civilian Survival Strategies in Syria

    On Wednesday, June 8, at least 10 people were killed in strikes targeting the Bayan hospital in opposition-held Aleppo city. Staff from the nearby Children's Hospital had to remove nine newborns from their incubators after the aerial assault, according to the Independent Doctors' Association in Syria.. This adds to nearly 740 doctors and staff have been killed in more than 360 attacks on hospitals in Syria, according to Physicians for Human Rights. The international community has...
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  • Challenges Facing a Developing Kurdish Media

    It is difficult to find a single professional Kurdish media outlet operating in Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria, or what in Kurdish is called Rojava. The situations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Syria under the Baathist regime led to a lack of independent media and institutions to nurture Kurdish media and language. In Syria, this led to Kurdish parties filling in the gaps left by absent ministries of culture and information. Kurdish parties—which have been banned in Syria since the establishment of the first one in 1957—secretly have published Kurdish newspapers and magazines both in Syria and abroad.

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  • Syrian Children and the Exit from the Dark Tunnel

    For more than five decades, the Syrian child was subjected to an orderly process of upbringing to control the phases of his growth and maturity. Following the nursery phase, which did not have an ideological formation, the child entered the realm of official popular organizations, along the North Korean model, controlling the child’s consciousness and distorting his growth.

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