• Chinese Strategic Engagement with Assad’s Syria

    Canada moved to extradite Meng Wanzhou, the top financial officer for China’s global tech giant Huawei, on December 1, 2018 to the United States. The arrest, while closely linked to the ongoing US-China trade dispute and Western fears of Huawei as a Chinese espionage tool, was triggered by allegations that the company concealed payments from Iran in violation of sanctions.

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  • With US Withdrawal, EU Left Alone to Manage the Syrian Crisis

    The defeat of the last Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in Syria concomitant with the sudden USannouncement of troops withdrawal from the northeast; leaves Europe in a tight spot. In recent years, EU governments have spent billions to mitigate the repercussions of the refugee wave resulting from the Syrian war while working towards normalization with the regime on a fair transition process.

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  • Conflict Data Collection and Monitoring in Syria

    In northwest Syria a small, but growing collection of private firms are working to implement technology solutions to counteract the worst effects of an aggressive disinformation campaign which threatens the relative peace that currently prevails there.

    On November 25, 2018, an alleged chemical attack occurred in regime-controlled areas of Aleppo, prompting Russian airstrikes against targets in the nearby towns of al-Rashdeen and Khan Tuman. The regime justified the attacks as retaliation against the rebel groups they claim perpetrated the chemical attack. Since this exchange occurred, a declassified US assessment of the attack states the initial chemical attack was perpetrated by pro-regime forces and most likely consisted of tear gas, not chlorine. The report suggests the attack was staged in order to undermine faith in the current ceasefire


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  • Syria, Israel, and the Golan

    In mid-November 2018, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a resolution demanding, among other things, “that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan . . .” With only Israel and the United States voting “no,” 151 members of the General Assembly told Israel to withdraw from territory occupied since June 1967 and (in effect) to do so in the midst of civil strife that has all-but-wrecked Syria, leaving a murderous regime propped up by Iranian-commanded militias to preside (in name) over much of the wreckage. The “yes” voters communicated not only callous disregard for Israel’s security, but cold contempt for the suffering of millions of Syrians at the hands of a rapacious regime.

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  • Raed Fares: In Remembrance

    For days I’ve been trying and failing to write something about the violent and unjust passing of a good man—Raed Fares—and his colleague, Hammoud al-Jneid. In nearly eight years of witnessing Syria being eaten alive by a rapacious regime and by criminal sectarian “rebels” supported by regional states, nothing has been more demoralizing and deflating than these murders. Those who admired Raed Fares and saw in him the future of Syria now must choose: Permit all hope and effort for a successful, peaceful revolution to follow him and his colleague into the grave; or allow the example of Raed Fares to inspire renewed and unceasing work to bring about the Syria for which he gave his life.

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  • One Group's Work to Stabilize Syria

    Few major implementors currently exist in Syria developing and executing projects to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure ranging from roads, buildings, healthcare system, agriculture and irrigation systems, to the electrical grid. Though a number of reasons limit the existence of project implementors, the primary reason is the ongoing conflict and lack of stability. A lack of infrastructure is also a major barrier for entry for many implementors whose aid deliveries depend on secure roads and bridges. Despite all this, there is a major player on the ground that has implemented projects across non-government controlled parts of Syria throughout the conflict amid all the uncertainty and chaos and that is the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF).

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  • Escalation Between Turkish and Kurdish Leadership Alters Kurdish Relations with Assad

    Over the summer the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration (AA) focused on strengthening its hand in talks with the Syrian government, in an attempt to win concessions on self-rule before a potential withdrawal of US support. Among other escalatory actions, the AA inserted itself into service provision initiatives previously left to the state, and arrested dozens of candidates for local elections organized by Damascus. 

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  • Frederic C. Hof’s Remarks on Syria at the World Affairs Council

    Below are remarks Ambassador Frederic C. Hof gave yesterday at the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading in Pennsylvannia regarding the continued importance of Syria policy and the role of the United States in the ongoing conflict.

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  • Assad Needs UN Assistance to Repatriate Refugees

    As the Syrian government and its allies extend control over a growing portion of Syria, they are accelerating demands for refugees to return to the country.

    President Bashar al-Assad’s government has a political interest in refugees coming back. The government wants international legitimacy, and significant returns would signal that it has won refugees’ confidence in its ability to protect them and rebuild the country.

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  • Regime Resurgence Endangers Local Aid Community

    When pro-government forces recaptured the southwestern rebel stronghold of Daraa province in July, Muhammad Sabsabi’s colleagues tried to bury their pasts.

    Some tried to flee. Many simply went underground.

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