• Here's Why Syrian Women Need to be Included More in Peacebuilding

    Since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, Syrian women have been involved in all aspects of the conflict: from fighting, demonstrating and documenting war crimes to providing humanitarian relief and local politics.

    Syrian women, who make up more than 50 percent of the Syrian population, are also taking on a more active role in local negotiations to end the conflict that has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more, including tens of thousands of females. However, women remain grossly underrepresented in international peace negotiations.

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  • Where Is the Opposition?

    With a Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit looming, American policy toward Syria may be on the line. Specifically: in an effort to accommodate a Russian counterpart for whom he has high regard, President Trump may be tempted to short-circuit the American-led post-Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) stabilization of northeastern Syria. The silence of the Syrian opposition in the face of this disastrous possibility is deafening.

    A successfully stabilized, liberated northeast is the nightmare of Putin, Iran, and the Assad regime. In its most horrifying version it would produce, for the edification of all Syrians, a governance alternative to a murderous, kleptocratic regime. Putin counts on Trump to serve as doorman for Iran and Assad in northeastern Syria.

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  • Syria's Southwest Offensive: A Timeline

    As the battles narrow in scope, the ongoing offensive and strategy of the Assad regime is to recapture the southwestern region which includes Daraa, Quneitraand parts of Sweida. Daraa is controlled by armed opposition groups with the military support of the United States and Jordan. The region is also one of four allotted de-escalation zones signed in May 2017 by Russia, Turkey, and Iran that would halt fighting and reduce bloodshed. The United States, Jordan, and Russia separately negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria in July 2017. With the Syrian regime’s recent military offensive in southwestern Syria, these de-escalation plans are now compromised.

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  • Enduring Instability Looms in Syria’s Southwest

    The situation in southwestern Syria continues to worsen. The Syrian regime launched a military campaign against opposition forces two weeks ago and hundreds of thousands of civilians fled towards the Jordanian borders and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as a result of intense airstrikes and fierce clashes. Several regime advances have been reported, and there is a growing likelihood more are to occur in the coming days.

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  • Syrian Refugees and Indigenous Canadians Foster Growing Communities

    Canada has a reputation as a welcoming haven for refugees. But for some Indigenous Canadians, public support and funding for displaced people stands in stark contrast to their own communities, which remain impoverished and overlooked.

    Last year the nation welcomed 300,000 newcomers, including about 43,500 refugees and asylum seekers. Faced with President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, thousands of migrants have left the United States to seek asylum in Canada.

    Many arrived in Manitoba, whose capital Winnipeg has the largest Indigenous population of any Canadian city. The city also faces problems with violence, drugs ...

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  • The White Helmets Struggle Without US Funding

    In early May, CBS confirmed that the US administration had frozen aid to the Syrian Civil Defense organization known as the "White Helmets." The US State Department said the aid–which is part of a $200 million assistance package–has come under close review since March. Unexpectedly, the freeze came after the State Department hosted a White Helmets delegation that same month, which sparked strong positive signals afterward. Senior US officials even committed to US support for the Syrian Civil Defense until 2020.

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  • Rebuilding Amidst Conflict: Law 10 and its Implications

    The passage of a new property law in April by the Syrian parliament grants the regime the power to reclaim and redevelop land across the country. Law No. 10—which could impact millions of displaced Syrians—was issued under the pretext of governmental efforts to counter terrorism and rezone illegal housing areas across Syria.


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  • Russia and Iran: Splitting Over Syria?

    Recent reporting gives the impression that Moscow and Tehran are parting ways in Syria. The Kremlin has called on all foreign military forces—except for its own—to leave the country. Tehran has loudly and indignantly rejected the Russian invitation. American officials might be tempted to feel encouraged: a temptation that should, for the time being, be resisted. Moscow knows that without Iran and its Shia militias the Assad regime is bereft of ground combat forces. The point of this supposed contretemps may be to lull Washington into complacency; to consign Syria to Russia, to implement President Trump’s stated desire to leave quickly, and to secure Bashar al-Assad in his place indefinitely.

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  • Stabilization and the Syrian Opposition

    For seven years a chilly, arms-length relationship between the US government and the Syrian opposition has worked to the profound disadvantage of both. Washington has often deprived itself of timely information and informed advice at key junctures of the Syrian crisis, leaving it vulnerable to policy reversals and even disasters. And blindness has been contagious. The opposition—both inside and outside Syria—has typically been clueless about American intentions, as it has struggled with internal indecision, dissension, and disunity fed by the conflicting priorities of regional actors seeking to control the Revolution in the absence of American leadership.

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  • The Civilian Cost of the Southern Damascus Battle

    Thousands of civilians trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus are bearing the brunt of a fierce government campaign targeting so-called Islamic State (ISIS) militants holed up in the area.

    It remains unclear exactly how many civilians are currently caught in middle of the fierce clashes between Syrian government forces and ISIS militants in the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, the country’s largest. But an estimated 6,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Yarmouk and about 6,000 others lived in surrounding areas before the government’s latest offensive began 10 days ago.

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