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Syria Media Roundup (January 13)

[Image of territorial control in Syria (Purple representing IS, Yellow representing the Syrian government, Green representing the Kurds and Orange representing the rebels). Image by Karl-Ludwig G. Poggemann via Flickr] [Image of territorial control in Syria (Purple representing IS, Yellow representing the Syrian government, Green representing the Kurds and Orange representing the rebels). Image by Karl-Ludwig G. Poggemann via Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Syria and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Syria Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.]


Inside Syria

As rebel factions fracture, hardliners seek to prosper Hassan Hassan looks at the fragmentation of rebel groups around Aleppo.

Analysis: The Fifth Corps and the State of the Syrian Army The Syrian government’s new and unprecedented volunteer-based military unit is a window into the current state and the future of the Syrian military, explains Syrian journalist Abdulrahman al-Masri

There is nothing fake about the suffering of Syrians “Death and destruction in Aleppo came from Iranian bullets on the ground, Russian bombs in the air and international impotence all around.”

Will History Repeat Itself? In an interview, Abul-Abbas al-Shami looks back on his role in the Syrian uprising.

What it means that the U.S. is not part of the Syria cease-fire William Brangham speaks with Andrew Tabler and Joshua Landis about the symbolic significance of the move and what’s next for the rebels, the Assad regime and Syria. 

All Roads Lead to Aleppo The fall of Aleppo probably marks the beginning of the end for Syria’s myriad rebel factions, five and a half years after their uprising began.

From Brothers to Enemies: How Syria’s War Has Divided Families A portrait of how Syria’s war has carved homes into fighting factions, told through the story of Um Mahmoud, a Damascus mother whose three sons ended up on opposing sides of the battle lines.

Surrender or die: Syria's sieges are the difference-makers in the conflict Allowing aid into besieged areas of Syria has proven to be a successful diplomatic tool for negotiating, but civilians always pay the price for these truces

Hundreds flee fighting near Syria capital despite truce The Barada Valley region is not part of the ceasefire because of the presence of the rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

A New Casualty of Syria’s War: Drinking Water in Damascus For millions of Damascus residents, long-term concerns about the direction of the war in Syria have been replaced by worries about where to get enough water to do the dishes, wash clothes or take a shower.

Fighting on all fronts: women’s resistance in Syria Women in Syria face numerous challenges yet continue to struggle against fascism, imperialism and patriarchy. 

Syria, Iraq Discuss Boosting Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism President Assad and Iraqi national security advisor affirm need for concerted efforts against terrorism.

Will History Repeat Itself? In an interview, Abul-Abbas al-Shami (a Syrian religious scholar) looks back on his role in the Syrian uprising.

The Arabic version of this article can be found here: هل سيُكرّر التاريخ نفسه؟

Aleppans on the Syrian Coast: We Want to Return to Our City Displaced Aleppans in Lattakia and Tartous are eager to return to their embattled city to prevent demographic change after the regime and Russia declared victory against rebel fighters there. 

Hezbollah Prevents Russian Officers from Entering Barada Valley Lebanese militia stopped Russian engineers from entering the area outside the capital after negotiators reached an agreement with locals, sources claim.

Jableh hit by car bomb attack, 11 people killed At least 11 killed and 35 others wounded in government-controlled town in Latakia province, state news agency reports. 

Russia Says It Is Starting To Draw Down Its Forces In Syria Russia says it is beginning to draw down its forces fighting in Syria's war. It decisively entered the war in September 2015, and has been a major factor keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

U.S.-backed force seizes Syria citadel from Islamic State U.S.-backed militias in Syria have captured an ancient citadel from Islamic State (IS) in a strategically significant advance against the jihadist group in its stronghold of Raqqa province, a spokesman said on Friday 6 January, 2017.

Blast kills dozens in rebel-held Syrian town Fuel truck explodes in front of courthouse in Azaz, and news agency says car bomb planted by Islamic State was responsible.


Regional and International Perspectives

U.S. sanctions Syria for use of chemical weapons The Obama administration tightened sanctions against the Syrian regime Thursday in response to reports by international monitors that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons in 2014 and 2015.

Airstrikes by Russia Buttress Turkey in Battle vs. ISIS The deepening partnership between Russian and Turkey could marginalize the United States in the struggle to shape Syria’s future.

U.S. Pilots See Close Calls With Russian Jets Over Syria As planes share crowded airspace fighting parallel wars, militaries struggle to minimize threat of an accident. 

Staring Into Syria’s Diplomatic Fog Syria enters 2017 in a state of diplomatic confusion. On December 30, a truce agreement brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran came into effect. It was endorsed by the UN Security Council on the following day and has been blessed by the United States, but war still rages in many areas of the country.

The Complex Syrian Aid Infrastructure That Needed Help Synaps experts Peter Harlin, Alex Simon and Rosalie Berthier explain the complex field of Syria’s humanitarian sector and the major issues that led to its failure for the Syrian people.

Syrian war 'a cancer on a global scale': Incoming UN chief Incoming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres termed Syria's civil war a 'global threat'

Syrian Opposition Politics-with a Lower-Case 'p' Within this hybrid wartime/post-war milieu, Anas Joudeh is one of the members of Syria’s domestic opposition trying to define what critical politics should look like inside Assad’s Syria, during and after the war.

In Toledo, Syrian Refugees Are Welcomed Amid A Difficult Immigration Climate Last year, NPR's Ari Shapiro visited Toledo, Ohio, to talk to refugees settling there from Syria's civil war. Recently, he returned to Toledo to check in on the community.

Amal Clooney wants to prosecute Syria's president for war crimes Renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said that if Syrian President Bashar Assad is prosecuted for war crimes, she wants to be on the team.

History will be a cruel judge of Obama's risk aversion in Syria Aaron David Miller: Syria may yet prove to be a painful headache for President-elect Trump. Even so, it is unlikely to be as costly to his reputation and credibility as it will be to Obama's, he writes.

Beheading attire and sexy suicide vests? Satire of ISIS wives stirs anger and praise Guy Faulconbridge and Ritvik Carvalho write: "The wives of Islamic State fighters ponder what to wear at a beheading and assess how sexy they look in suicide vests in a BBC satire which has sparked both anger and praise for tackling the fate of women who travel to Syria to join the militants." 

The Observer view on Turkey and Putin’s malign patronage President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames the US for many of his country’s troubles but we must be wary of his closer ties with Russia.


Policy and Reports

Turkey cuts Syria deal with Russia, confronts Western allies As Turkey and Russia reach agreement on a comprehensive cease-fire in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accusing his Western partners in the anti-IS coalition of tacitly supporting the fanatical group. 

Syria Will Stain Obama's Legacy Forever David Greenberg writes: The arc of history is long, but it won't ever judge the president's Syria policy kindly. 

America’s Major Challenges in Middle East Policy, 2017 Juan Cole  writes: "Russia is already in deep disrepute for propping up the seedy one-party state in Syria, and if Trump backs Putin’s Syria policy, people will hate the US as well." 

Statement by Syrian Civil Society Organisations on Ceasefire Agreement The signatories welcome any serious and credible ceasefire agreement as it will spare our people further blood, killing and destruction. Such an agreement should be a prelude to a credible political process that will lead to the realization of the Syrian people’s aspirations in freedom, justice and dignity. 

UN warns of war crimes over disruption to water supply north of Damascus Fighting between regime and opposition groups in Wadi Barada has disrupted supplies to Syrian capital

Coalition Responds to Masalmeh Remarks With First Internal Investigation Syria's main political opposition has begun its inquiry into remarks made by one of its vice presidents following an interview with German DW in which she described battling "extremist" elements within the bloc. 

Cuddles, not bombs: how one woman helped children in Syria Focusing on the quality of family life in a war zone may seem futile, but one woman is doing just that. Juliet Rix meets Aala el-Khani, who is reaching out to traumatised parents trapped on the frontline in order to help thousands of children.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

B.C. volunteer connects Syrian women refugees through love of homeland’s cuisine The Globe and Mail interviews Nihal Elwan about her work with Tayybeh, a food company run by recently arrived Syrian women refugees in British Columbia, Canada.

Little Syria Jihad Abaza takes a stroll through Giza's "Syrian neighborhood" with 15-year old Leena from Damascus.

Ruba Mhaissen: Things that Keeps you Awake all the Night Rouba Mhaissen explains what it’s like to manage a local humanitarian organization in Syria and the difficulties that come with the role.

The voice of Aleppo: How Bana, seven, escaped to freedom Fatemah al-Abed tells the full story of her escape out of the besieged side of the city and out of the country she loves.

DIMASHQ JOURNAL: SPECIAL LAUNCH ISSUE – CALL FOR PAPERS Dimashq Journal is seeking submissions of scholarly essays for its first issue, based on original research, and focused on the history of Damascus in all of its facets. Submission Deadline: 10 March 2017. 

British doctors travel to Syria with 'People's Convoy' This is a video blog of the journey of a team of British doctors led by Dr Rola Hallam and journalist Paul Conroy has travelled to the Syria/Turkey border with a convoy filled with medical supplies. 

John Kerry: Britain hindered US intervention in Syria – video In this video, US secretary of state John Kerry says Barack Obama’s plan for military intervention in Syria was derailed by David Cameron and British MPs.


Arabic Links:

من بين أخطر الأماكن على الحياة.. المنشآت الطبية السورية تعرضت لـ252 هجمة خلال 2016 There have been 252 attacks on Syrian health care centers in 2016 so far, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, a nonprofit organization.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian Medical Facilities Were Attacked More Than 250 Times This Year 

تعديلات على قانون الأحوال المدنية السوري People's Council of Syria modified several articles of the Civil Status Law issued by Decree No. 26 of 2007.

إليك أسماء الفصائل السورية التي وقعت على وقف إطلاق النار.. وهذا قوامها العسكري This article provides a list that includes the names of the seven major Syrian factions that signed the recent ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government. 

تحليل حول وقف إطلاق النار في سوريا: "وفاق مفاجئ" بين روسيا وتركيا وتهميش لأمريكا  This is an analysis of the recent ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition fighting groups that excludes Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and ISIS.

لماذا تطل الصين من سورية؟ Mohammed Kawas analyzes China policy in regard to Syria and the geopolitical implications of Trump foreign policy with China on Syria.

القناة الأم في التلفزيون السوري تغلق لضغط النفقات! This article reports the feedback on closing the Syrian TV First Channel and People's voice radio. 

أسئلة سورية للعام الجديد Yaman Dabiqi explores some questions in regard to the past and future of the Syrian conflict and the possibility of political solution.

تركيا تكتشف الفنانين السوريين This article provides an overview of the Syrian art scene in Istanbul, Turkey.


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