SyriaSource

  • The Dangers of a US Withdrawal from Syria

    At the end of March 2018, US President Donald Trump froze more than $200 million in pledged funds to restore stability and support reconstruction in Syria as the US administration reassesses its role in a number of protracted conflicts around the world. This measure suggests that US troops may withdraw from Syria in the near future, particularly given Trump’s recent comments on the matter. Many Syrian and US stakeholders objected to those statements, who view Washington's withdrawal from Syria as an opportunity for Iran to expand its already sizeable influence in the region stretching from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon.

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  • Addressing the War in Syria, Not Managing its Consequences

    The refugee crisis in the Middle East—the mass displacement of millions of people—poses immediate and long-term problems. For the refugees themselves, it is a humanitarian crisis. The sudden and unexpected mass displacement of Syrians put an intense strain on neighboring countries: particularly Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, which together host millions of Syrian refugees. The influx of refugees has even upset the political climate in some European countries. In the long term, those growing up as refugees will miss out on education and work opportunities, and, if unable to return to their home countries, will be unable to contribute to the rebuilding of their countries.

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  • The Second Exodus:Tracing the Footsteps of Palestinian Refugees in Syria

    The case of Palestinian Refugees registered in Syria (PRS) is a difficult one. Once considered lucky, compared to Palestinian refugees in neighboring countries, PRS now face secondary displacement due to the Syrian conflict. Many fled to neighboring countries with little protection, making them among the most vulnerable refugee groups. The war in Syria impacted PRS significantly; those who fled the country, and those who stayed. It continues to impact the future of PRS in a post-war Syria.

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  • The Resilience of Agriculture in Syria Amid Conflict

    In January 2018, Syria Independent Monitoring published a research report titled “Understanding Market Drivers in Syria” in which it conducted field research into the olive/olive oil and spice/herb market systems in northeastern and northwestern Syria to assess the flow of food commodities—that has been highly impacted by the conflict —in the dynamic and adaptable agricultural markets that have proven to be the most resilient. Therefore, to stimulate the market, it is recommended that more aid be targeted at the agricultural sector by facilitating market actors, creating cooperatives, and offering a variety of funding options for local farmers.

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  • Leaving

    When I joined the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center in late 2012, I had one goal: to build a Syria program that could, from outside government, do that which I had failed to do on the inside. I wanted to persuade senior officials that a drifting Syria policy left unchanneled would facilitate human suffering on an industrial scale and serve the interests of those arrayed against the United States and its allies: Russia, Iran, Islamist extremists, and the lawless regime of Bashar al-Assad. 
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  • The Risks the White Helmets in Eastern Ghouta Take to Save Lives

    As of March 22, 2018, the Syrian Civil Defense (or White Helmets) lost ten of its members in the Damascus countryside during Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent campaign on Eastern Ghouta. According to Siraj Mahmoud, the official spokesman for the Civil Defense, ten volunteers were killed in Eastern Ghouta, including Mohammed Qasim Masarwa, one of the founders of the civil defense in Ghouta, and twenty-five others were injured, in what has become the biggest challenge facing the White Helmets since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution.

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  • Taking a Stand in Syria

    It is not difficult to discern the drift of most commentary on Syria these days: Bashar al-Assad has all-but-defeated the seven-year uprising against him; so, ‘get used to it.’ A corollary of the argument is often some variation of ‘Let Russia own it.’ Can these expressions of resigned defiance form the basis of a constructive Western policy toward Syria? The view here is they cannot.

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  • Syrian Women Journalists, Stronger than You Think

    In the shadow of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s takeover of Idlib province and the conflict between it and the Syrian Liberation Front (Jabhat Tahrir Souria), it is difficult for women to work in any profession. The laws are designed to prevent women from leaving their homes to do any work. So how would a woman of the region, if she so chose, be able to work in journalism?

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  • Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch Threatens to Worsen Arab-Kurdish Relations

    Turkey and Syrian opposition factions took control of Afrin and its countryside after a two-month assault that caused high civilian casualties and the displacement of tens of thousands. In light of an emerging Kurdish-Arab conflict in Syria, some see a Russian-Turkish deal on Afrin and Ghouta as a dangerous indicator at a critical stage in the crisis.

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  • Sexual Violence is a Crime No One is Addressing in Syria

    Seven years after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, several groups now vie for control over Syria. Waves of internal displacement continue to grow in proportion to the battles for control and subsequent territorial divisions. In this context, marriage has become a complex issue, and sexual violence has become a too common yet rarely spoken of issue. Families increasingly fear the unknown fate of their children when marrying members of the regime-allied popular militias, commonly called Shabihas. In Aleppo, the Shabiha there have engaged in sexual violence on a particularly vulnerable group: the displaced youth from other parts of Syria to Aleppo, according to an Aleppo-based lawyer Khalid al-Ali.  

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