SyriaSource

  • 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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  • Impoverished Syrian Teachers in Turkey

    Over the last few years, thousands of Syrian refugees have arrived in Turkey to escape the war. Several with educational degrees found it difficult to find a job in their areas of expertise due to the challenges of obtaining required work permits  for the private sector.

    Many Syrian refugees in Turkey are forced to work illegally in difficult fields with little connection to their specialties, such as construction and laboratory work. Some Syrian teachers worked in temporary schools established in Turkey with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support the education of Syrian students.

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  • Let Assad Win? That’s Already the US Policy

    Max Boot in the Post argues that letting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “win as quickly as possible” is “the way to save lives.” But the United States is not obstructing Mr. Assad’s military progress. Mr. Boot is pushing on a door that lacks even a hinge.

    Bashar al-Assad is indeed winning. Beyond outnumbered, outgunned Syrian rebels, no one stands in his way. The way he is winning, however, mandates an American response beyond talk. The terror bombing of 400,000 residents of Eastern Ghouta is but the latest episode of a multi-year campaign of mass civilian homicide.  

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  • Russian and Iranian Calculations Surrounding Eastern Ghouta

    Russian-Iranian cooperation in Syria is booming today, with support for the Syrian regime making it far superior to opposition forces. After the fall of Aleppo two years ago, the opposition appears on the verge of losing another important area, Eastern Ghouta—a highly strategic area due to its proximity to the heart of the capital city, Damascus.

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  • Operation Olive Branch: Status Update

    Turkey’s cross-border intervention in Afrin, the Kurdish-controlled enclave in northwestern Syria separated from other Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria, has advanced to the outskirts of Afrin city. The offensive began on January 20th, 2018, with the intention of ousting the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) from the territory it controls in the northwest. After breaking YPG defenses surrounding the city, Turkish ground forces have moved swiftly to besiege the city and, presumably, will begin urban combat operations in the next few days.

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  • The Commune System: A Look at Local PYD Governance in Northeastern Syria

    The Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) position is precarious. Though it has made political and territorial gains during the Syrian crisis and tied itself to the United States’ fight against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and subsequent stabilization efforts, the PYD is threatened by remaining pockets of ISIS resistance, the threat of a Syrian government attack, and a Turkish-backed rebel assault on its territory in Afrin.

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  • The Fight Against the Islamic State in Southern Syria amid Israeli-Iranian Escalation

    In early February, Syrian rebel forces  in southern Syria announced the launch of “the Battle of the Conquerors,” a military campaign reportedly backed by Israel against an affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in the region. This took place days prior to the February 10 confrontation between Israel and Iran, where, in a day, Israel downed an Iranian drone in Israeli airspace, Syrian anti-air systems unprecedentedly downed an Israeli F-16 aircraft, and Israel responded by striking Syrian and Iranian positions in the country, reputedly destroying some 40 percent of Syrian air defense capabilities.

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