SyriaSource

  • Military Developments in Idlib

    Damascus’s escalations in the rebel-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria in August and early September preempted tensions between the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While Turkey stated clearly its opposition to any action that would send additional hundreds of thousands of refugees to its borders, Syrian allies Iran and Russia adamantly supported Damascus’s mission of ousting all remaining opposition enclaves inside Syria.

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  • From Syria with Love, Senator McCain

    The Arab Spring forever altered the lives of Syrian-Americans. The community now refers to life before and after the start of the Syrian revolution. Initially, the infectious energy from al-Assi Square in Hama and Tahrir Square in Cairo captured hearts across the world and triggered supportive policy measures from governments. It was only a couple of years before the enthusiasm turned into heartache and horror.

    By mid-2013, few US policy makers wanted to stake their professional careers on increasingly beleaguered democratic movements in Cairo, Misrata, and Homs. Senator John McCain was one of the few that did not shy away from the challenge, especially in Syria, where he emerged as a singular champion of the cause of freedom in public, behind closed doors, and even on the ground in Syria itself.

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  • The Syrian Detainee that Saved a German Journalist: The Dangers of Being a Foreign Correspondent in Syria

    Syria ranks as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with arrests, kidnappings, executions, bombings, and shelling the leading causes of death for journalists in the country. While local Syrian journalists bare the brunt of the regime’s violence, many foreign journalists are targeted by the regime while reporting during battles and otherwise due to their role in shaping international coverage of the conflict. Yet one German journalist survived detainment by the regime, allowing him to keep sharing his story with the outside world and petition on behalf of those currently detained.

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  • Has the US Given Up on Stabilization Efforts in Syria?

    The Trump administration announced last month that it would not be releasing the over $200 million in State Department funds destined for stabilization operations in Syria, which were “frozen” by President Trump earlier in March this year pending comprehensive review. Much has been made of what this move means for the future of U.S. policy in Syria, warranting deeper examination and attention to context. For reasons addressed below, neither Trump’s tweet nor headlines asserting that the United States has ended stabilization efforts for Syria paint the full picture.

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  • Russia's Disinformation Campaign Has Changed How We See Syria

    Assad's future is looking brighter these days. He has regained control over much of Syria and is amassing loyalist forces in the north in preparation for the Idlib offensive, the last opposition Syrian stronghold. The regime has also met with the Syrian Democratic Council, a Kurdish dominated organization backed by the United States, and discussing the possibility for Kurdish self-administration and the integration of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) into the Syrian army.

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  • Escalations and Military Build-Up: What is Happening in Idlib?

    Recent diplomatic escalations and a military build-up in Idlib province indicate a larger upcoming battle. The regime and Russia intend to recover the regime's sovereignty over Syria, and that has always included Idlib. After launching a successful offensive to retake Daraa and Quneitra provinces last month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced that retaking Idlib was his next priority. The Assad regime is increasing airstrikes and shelling in Idlib and its surrounding areas and recently sent troops to the area. 

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  • Death Notices Fortify Barrier of Fear in Syria

    Over recent weeks, as the Syrian regime updated its civil registries across the country, hundreds of families discovered that their relatives died in detention. Tens of thousands of Syrians were arrested in the early years of the uprising and their families continued to hold on to hope that they were still alive. Syrian human rights organizations documented a significant rise in the number of updates to the civil registry in the past two months; which is ongoing. The cause of death is not mentioned, but it is clear that detainees largely died under torture or were executed.

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  • Chemical Warnings and Unintended Consequences

    On August 21, 2018 the United States, France, and the United Kingdom issued a statement to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Assad regime’s deadly chemical attack on civilians in the rebel-held Ghouta suburb of Damascus. According to the three powers, “we will respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, which has had such devastating humanitarian consequences for the Syria people.” The unintended but inevitable message to Assad is clear: As your campaign of state terror and mass homicide moves to densely populated areas of northwestern Syria, we will limit ourselves to rhetorical outrage and finger-shaking provided you avoid the use of illegal chemicals.

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  • Returning to Mass Graves in Raqqa

    Since this story was first reported in April 2018, further updates have come out on Raqqa’s mass graves, highlighting the challenges of collecting bodies and identifying missing people. This is an analysis with eyewitness stories from people who have gone back to Raqqa.

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  • The Sticky Situation of the Final Idlib Offensive

    The final offensive in Idlib has been an ongoing discussion among Syria analysts for years. Idlib province contains opposition fighters, activists, and civilians displaced from Homs, Aleppo, Hama, and various parts of Damascus. A once tiny area with a 2011 population of 1.5 million now holds an estimated 2.6 million people that fled or were forced into Idlib as part of reconciliation agreements with the regime. Because of the regime-imposed consolidation of opposition fighters in...
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