Regional and International Perspectives
Khoury’s Talismans Vijay Prashad speaks with famed novelist Elias Khoury, who is pessimistic about developments in Syria.
The Full Scoop on the Palestinian Role in the Azaz Hostage Deal “The document informed them of the role undertaken by the Palestinian National Authority in helping secure the release of the Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in Azaz in return for two Turkish pilots kidnapped in Beirut.”
La Jordanie face à la crise syrienne (extrait de Pas de Printemps pour la Syrie, à paraître) An excerpt from a piece from Jalal Al-Husseini, in an upcoming book by Francois Burgat and Bruno Paoli, “No Spring for Syria” (rough translation).
Assad: Foreign Powers Must End Rebel Support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has indicated an openness to participate in talks on ending conflict in Syria, but only if Western states retract financial support for rebel groups.
Syria: Should Geneva 2 Happen? Frederic Hof argues that “Geneva 2 should happen only if the Assad regime gives blanket authorization for United Nations humanitarian relief agencies to go anywhere they wish in Syria, only if significant numbers of political prisoners are released, and only if the shelling of civilian areas by regime forces ceases.”
Syria’s Kurds and Turkey An analysis by Franco Galdini and Pishko Shamsi
St. Petersburg Sends Contractors to Syria A Chinese security firm has been hiring Russian contractors in Syria according to this translated article.
Private Donors’ Funds Add Wild Card to War in Syria Ben Hubbard on the impacts of having private donors sending funds to Syria.
Some Iraqis remain in Damascus despite war Omar al-Jaffal questions some Iraqis about their decision to remain in Syria. One of the interviewee explains how the situation is safer for her in Syria, where violence is less “random”.
Organ trade Thrives Among Desperate Syrian Refugees in Lebanon “Abu Hussein says everyone benefits from the organ trade. The Syrians get money and the sick — who pay up to $15,000 for a new kidney — get a new life. He himself wins too, he added. He gets $600 to $700 commission for every sale he arranges.”
Une Fois Pour Toutes An interview with Ghassan Salame, former minister of culture of Lebanon, in which he discusses 1) the refugee crisis, 2) possible scenarios in Syria and 3) the position of Iran vis-a-vis the war
Un soldat d’élite du Hezbollah raconte sa guerre en Syrie Alix Foucault meets with a member of Hezbollah who has returned from a battle in Syria.
Syrian Kurdish Front Divided as Geneva II Approaches Fehim Taştekin points out that Kurdish groups are divided over issues relating to the representation in Geneva II Syria conference.
Time Running Out for Turkey-PKK Peace Process Kadri Gürsel argues that the government’s stalling of required steps for peace and a political solution with the Kurds increases the likelihood of violence.
Does Washington Have a Policy Toward Syria’s Kurds? Çengiz Çandar claims that “the view from Washington about US policy toward Syria may be more confusing than it looks from Turkey.”
How did Turkish Media “Lynch” Kurdish Singer? Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya receives the Presidential Medal of Honor after his life was ruined by Turkish media fourteen years ago, writes Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı.
Syrian Kurdish Leader: Turkey May End Proxy War Amberin Zaman interviews Saleh Muslim, co-chairman of the PYD, who says that Turkey is ceasing its proxy war against his party.
Turkey Mostly Mum on Chemicals Seized on Syria Border Fehim Taştekin draws attention to the the chemical-seizure in the Turkey’s Syria border.
Syria, or the revolutionary masses will decide their own future…A statement by Syria Freedom Forever
FAQ’s About Syria …With No Clear Answers A feature by the Syrian Observer editorial
Syrie. Du « Harem du Sultan » à la cour du président Ignace Leverrier on Al-Dabbas family’s party themed “Harem of the Sultan,” which gathered major wealthy families in Damascus, and exposed the contrast between the dire conditions lived by others around the country.
Syrie. Rifaat al-Assad de Hama à Genève… sans passer par la case CPI ? Ignace Leverrier on Rifaat al-Assad’s involvement in Geneva II.
Is There an End in Sight to the Syria Crisis? Ibrahim Al-Amin argues that “Damascus finds itself in a relatively strong bargaining position compared to the increasingly fragmented opposition. The state of the regime today is such that it can maintain the current status quo for years to come – perhaps even making additional gains at the expense of its opponents – and thus burying the notion of removing Assad once and for all.”
Syrians ask the unthinkable: could Bashar Al Assad stay? Faisal Al Yafai says that “after so much bloodshed and such utter devastation in Syria, much needs to be reconsidered.”
Where #Syria could be heading Shami Witness provides an update of military developments in Syria.
Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi: The Druze Militias of Southern Syria Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi on Joshua Landis’ blog
Lack of U.S. Peace Movement Solidarity with Syrian Uprising and the “No Good Guys Excuse” Mohja Kahf writes: “The broadbased, unified, secular, civilian resistance is still the core of this Revolution. Under fire from both Assad regime and armed jihadists now, it experiences little solidarity activity from peace groups around the world.”
Boosted by foreign Shi’ite militia, Assad’s forces advance on Aleppo Khaled Yacoub Oweis on the latest government advances in Aleppo.
Damascus school denies children killed in shelling There are conflicting reports regarding an incident that occurred in Damascus’ Bab Sharqui.
Syria Falls Apart: Kurds Declare Self-Rule, Assad Besieges Aleppo Jamie Dettmer on the alleged Kurdish groups’ territorial gains in Syria’s north.
Syrian Kurds’ military gains stir unease “Rising Kurdish assertiveness in Syria puts Turkey in a particularly tough position as it tries to make peace on its own soil with PKK”, according to this article in Al Sharq al Awsawt translated by the Syrian Observer.
Jaramana Residents Angry at Opposition Rockets According to the Damascus Bureau “several local media sources, including some opposed to Assad report that opposition shelling regularly injures civilians – including women and children”
Syria’s Disintegration of Social Values Sawsan Jamil Hassan writes: “Apart from the direct violence that began to control the behavior of people, especially children, violence is occuring in speech. New vocabularies have entered people’s speech, adjectives that carry accusations of treason and bullying and murder: Shabbiha, spy, follower of Arour, follower of the regime etc, or in action vocabularies like ‘I swear I will kill you.’”
Aleppo Battle: Bulk Complicity Zuheir Kseibati asks “was Washington convinced by Moscow that the military exposure and defeat of President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents will push them to practice realism and accept the best possible option”
In Besieged Homs, Residents Fear Disastrous Third Winter Yazan al-Homsi reports from Homs.
In Aleppo, Electric Shock a Hidden Killer Yacoub al-Rahawi reports from Aleppo.
Christian Villagers in Syria Face Dilemma about Taking up Arms Mariam Abdullah reports from Homs province.
Crossing the Bridge of Death in Deir Ezzor Ahmad Khalil reports from Deir Ezzor
Arts and Social Media
The War-Ravaged Cats of Syria This article features the work and testimonies of the members administrating the Young Lens Homsi page.
Nowhere to Go An Andy Warner comic-styled feature about developments in Syria
Beheading in Syria is Called a Mistake Liam Stack on yet another sectarian display by an extremist group, who has mistaken an opposition fighter for a Shi’a “apostate.”
Policy and Reports
Exclusive: U.S. and Iran Poised to Meet to Tackle Syria Aid Together Colum Lynch says “ it’s another indication of the emerging thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran.”
Insight: Starvation in Syria: A War Tactic Reuters provides a report from inside Syria on what Syrian security officials are calling the “Starvation Until Submission Campaign,” an attempt to use starvation as a political weapon against rebel groups.
Economy and Agriculture
In Syria, the Assault on Healthcare Is a Weapon of War Omar Ghabra says “the growing humanitarian catastrophe is not just an accidental outcome of the conflict—the Assad regime has been deliberately targeting healthcare infrastructure and personnel.”
EXCLUSIVE – Assad allies profit from Syria’s lucrative food trade Jonathan Saul says “using front companies and shipping lines, a discreet commercial and logistical network is now emerging, which aims not only to procure food commodities but to generate big returns for members of Assad’s inner circle, trade sources familiar with the matter say.”
Deserted Syrian children flee to Lebanon On the fate of children who are living by themselves in Lebanon.
Lebanon: Unlicensed Syrian Businesses Target of Ministry Plan “A field survey conducted by the Lebanese Economy and Trade Ministry found that, in the past two years, Syrians established around 1,196 unlicensed businesses in the country. After the shutdown of 377 in Bekaa, the remaining number is 819 operating informally in various trade and tourism fields.”
The Wisdom of Syria’s Waiting Game A book by Bente Scheller
Pierre Atallah reminds about the case of the kidnapping of Bishops Yazigi and Ibrahim and its significance to the Christian community in the East.
The Syrian National Council member Farah Beqa’i and the member of the Syrian National Coordination Body Majed Hebbo discuss the formation of a Kurdish transitional civil administration by the PDKSP and the formation of a transitional government by the Syrian National Coalition.
Mohammad Sayyed Rasas writes about three engineers, Omar Jawad, Riyadh Asshaqfeh and Farouq Tayfour, who led an armed uprising against the Asad regime in Hama in the 80s.