SyriaSource

  • Why Europe Won’t Rebuild Syria

    Since the fall of 2018, we have seen increasing signals of disagreement among European Union (EU) member states regarding Syria. The official EU position remains one of non-engagement with the Bashar al-Assad regime until the realization of an “inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people”— as stated in the United Nations Resolution 2254 that inspires the EU position. However, some European governments are breaking away from this position and beginning to engage with the Syrian government. Although some degree of political normalization between single EU member states and Damascus is likely in the near future, several powerful factors still prevent any significant European contribution to

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  • In Syria, Trump Claims Victory but ISIS Remains

    US President Donald Trump’s December 2018 tweet announcing the withdrawal of American military forces from Syria has inadvertently invited ISIS (ISIL, IS, Daesh, Islamic State) to resurrect itself. Even though American officials have walked-back the presidential decree, the president himself has signaled no enduring or enthusiastic support for the essential, victory-sealing stabilization of areas liberated from ISIS.


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  • Mapping Ceasefire Violations in Idlib

    The Idlib deconfliction zone created by Russia and Turkey at Sochi in September 2018 is currently subject to violations by both the Assad regime and armed opposition groups. Regime and armed opposition groups have targeted each other since February. Tension is increasing between Russia and Turkey due to these ongoing violations and ultimately over the fate of the agreement. These violations are important because of the danger they pose to the three million inhabitants in the area. If the agreement collapses and the regime mounts an offensive on Idlib, using similar tactics ...
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  • The Institutionalization of Demographic Change in Syria

    Before 2011, Syria’s population was estimated at twenty one million people. But after eight years of conflict, five million fled the country, and more than six million are internally displaced people (IDP)s between Idlib province and northern Syria. This displacement is not merely a consequence of the war, but rather a specific goal of the regime and its allies’ strategy in order to regain control of the country. The regime carried out widespread forced displacement in Homs, Damascus, Aleppo and the nearby countryside to effect demographic change. The regime rewarded loyalists with homes in Damascus and punished opposition figures and communities by forcibly evacuating them from their homes to the other

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  • Annex the Golan, Make Assad’s Day

    A new flurry of reports suggesting Israel may formally annex the occupied Golan Heights is music to the ears of Bashar al-Assad, a mass murderer who would welcome a decisive change of subject from his own criminality to what he will characterize as Israel’s theft of Syrian land. Among the delighted will be Iran and Hezbollah, whose resistance pretentions will be gratuitously elevated above their sewer of transnational terror, drug running, and money laundering. As there is nothing substantive to be gained by Israel through formal annexation and much to be potentially lost, one wonders why its proponents are so eager to do it.


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  • The Heavy Lift

    The declared top objective of the Trump administration for Syria is “the enduring defeat of ISIS [ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State].” Presumably this means not only killing the bogus caliphate in its physical and ideological dimensions, but keeping it dead. If the presumption is correct, the administration should prepare itself for a heavy and sustained political, diplomatic, developmental, and military lift in Syria; east of the Euphrates River. There is no sign it is preparing to do so. The concern here is that the security of American allies and friends in the region and in Europe will be jeopardized by a half-hearted American effort; that an undead ISIS can threaten North America itself.


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  • The Horrors Inflicted on Idlib: Ongoing Ceasefire Violations

    The de-escalation zone in Syria encompassing Northern Hama and Idlib Provinces is witnessing ongoing and large-scale cease-fire violations by multiple parties. Recent escalations last night showed the first use of incendiaryphosphorous attacks—a flammable chemical weapon—in almost a year and targeting the towns ofal-Tamanah,Sarmin, and...
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  • Tokenism or Empowerment? Syrian Women and the SDF

    Read in Arabic here. Syrian women took part in popular protests against the Assad regime from the beginning, and as a result of that they have been exposed to all kinds of abuse including physical and mental torture, sexual violence, and were even killed for protesting.

    After eight years, Syrian women are still fighting for their basic rights. Since the uprising, Syrian women faced oppression from one group to another: under the Assad regime, and now with extremist groups that impose fundamentalist interpretations of religious rulings and texts. Additionally, Syrian women continue to deal with imposed gender norms in the local culture; which marginalizes and limits women to

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  • Syria and Its Armed Rebellion, Eight Years On

    Eight years of constant war have brought pain and destruction to the Syrian people and their country. What these years have also brought is a chaotic kaleidoscope of armed opposition groups (AOGs) fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. With various forms of foreign fighters, agenda-ascribed funding, and rising religious and ethnic extremism; almost all of the existing Syrian armed rebellion—which initially aimed to liberate the Syrian people from dictatorship—has, regrettably, not only failed in achieving its goal, but also found itself contributing to the pain and destruction of its own country.


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  • Eight Years

    Eight years ago, a very quiet American peace mediation between Syria and Israel was showing promise. Territorial disputes long dividing the parties were being resolved. Security issues key to a genuine peace were being tackled. The fact that months of shuttle diplomacy had not leaked suggested the parties were serious. Had the mediation continued, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would likely have faced a choice by year’s end: inform their respective citizenries that mutually agreed terms of peace had been arrived at; or scuttle everything. Alas, we will never know what those choices would have been.


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