SyriaSource

  • 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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  • Syrian Refugees' Struggle with Temporary Status in Germany

    Just a few months separated the arrival of Syrian refugees Ahmad al-’Awda and his friend Mahmud al-Agha to Germany.  Both of them fled from the war in their country that started in 2011. Al-’Awda arrived in Germany in January 2016 and al-Agha arrived in May 2015. This short eight month difference separating their arrivals was enough to guarantee that al-’Awda would not be able to apply to bring his family, who are still in Syria, because he did not get permanent residency in Germany. Rather, due to a series of laws, the German authorities have been granting only temporary residence papers to Syrian refugees.


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  • Syrian Women Detainees: Reclaiming Their Lives and Giving Back

    Across Syria, thousands of men have been held captive by the Syrian government, some languishing for years in detention for their political activities, their refusal to join the army, or just by virtue of being related to people who oppose the dictatorship. Less talked about are the experiences of women who are arrested and held in captivity, raped and tortured, and the struggles they endure if they are eventually released. They can face unemployment, trauma, and even be shunned by segments of their communities. In the Northwestern city of Idlib, one of the last areas of the country still not under control by the government, a group of women are trying to help bring these former prisoners back into society. 'Release Me' is a local support group turned non-governmental organization based in Kafar Tahrim started by Walaa Ahmad, a former prisoner herself, in August 2018.


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  • Forced Conscription Continues Despite Amnesty by Syrian Government

    Read in Arabic hereSince 2011, the Syrian regime has kept thousands of Syrian men in its military service as emergency forces—serving for an unspecified period—and refusing to discharge successive batches of army conscripts; some of whom have served for eight years in compulsory service. If they do not comply, they can be charged with a criminal offense and imprisoned for up to three years. In order to avoid fighting in the regime’s forces, Syrian youth have resorted to fleeing their country and the compulsory military service. Those

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  • Bashar al-Assad and the Greater Arab World

    The outcome of the fourth Arab Economic and Social Development (AESD) summit held in Lebanon last month spoke volumes about the Middle East’s deep divisions. Iran’s role in the Levant and the question of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s legitimacy are unquestionably polarizing issues in the region. Both have potential to slow down the process by which Syria’s government, citizens, and fellow Arab states could reach agreement on a lasting settlement to the country’s eight-year civil war that could potentially pave the path for peace and stability returning to Syria.


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  • Post-Conflict, How Will Iran Preserve its Presence in Syria?

    The Youth Sports Club, once considered one of the most prominent soccer clubs in Deir Ezzor city in eastern Syria, now marks the beginning of Iran’s cultural penetration project in Syria. It transformed the building that was previously dedicated to training the soccer team into a cultural center employing a number of Arabic-speaking Iranians.


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  • American Policy at the Crossroads

    Those who believe that Tehran and Moscow consider themselves home free, gleefully celebrating the political survival of their Syrian client without a care in the world, underestimate the knowledge and sophistication of Iranian and Russian officials. Their problems are just beginning, and they know it. But how should the United States act, given the survival of a hideous regime: one whose crimes against humanity persuade some Syrians (and foreign fighters willing to support them) that Al Qaeda and ISIS (ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) were, and perhaps still are, attractive alternatives?


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  • Consequences of the US Withdrawal from Syria: The French Perspective

    French authorities were undoubtedly upset, if not very surprised, by US President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement of a withdrawal from the northeast of Syria. On several occasions during his talks with President Trump, especially when he came to Washington for a state visit in April 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron was very insistent that the US and their allies should stay, ultimately he did not change the American president’s decision and campaign commitment to end America’s wars abroad.


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