[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 Media Roundup Editors or of Salon Syria. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week’s roundup to info@SalonSyria.com by Monday night of every week.]


Inside Syria

Director-General praises Dr Maamoun Adbulkarim’s commitment as Director General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria between 2012 and 2017 (4 October, 2017) UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova commended Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim at the end of his 5-years’ mandate as Head of the Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM). She praised his unfailing commitment, tenacity and outstanding contribution to the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Syria since 2012.

‘We’re staying out of it’: Syrian Arab Army soldiers in Suwayda defy military command (4 October, 2017) After serving for three years in the Syrian Arab Army, from 2012 to 2015, Abu Sari was ready to go home.

Conservation completed on Lion of Al-lāt statue from ancient city of Palmyra, damaged by ISIL (5 October, 2017) The 2000-year old statue Lion of Al-lāt, that once watched over the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, stands proudly once again, thanks to UNESCO’s Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project.

Syria’s reconstruction: Winners and losers (10 October 2017) There is a growing debate about reconstruction in Syria in Western and regional policy circles. The European Union has been closely studying options for reconstruction, while some Western (and non-Western) governments are positioning themselves so that they can play a role in the reconstruction process.

Turkey’s Operation in Idlib May Not Bring All-Out War With al-Qaida (10 October 2017) Turkey’s discussions with al-Qaida-linked militants ahead of its deployment in Syria’s Idlib province indicate that a wide-scale offensive against the militant group may not be Ankara’s primary objective, according to Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute.

Sarin gas attack-linked Syria air base to be visited by UN investigators (11 October 2017) UN team will visit Syria’s Shayrat airfield, which was targeted by US after Khan Sheikhun sarin gas attack

US-backed rebels withdraw from eastern desert with no clear mission ahead (12 October, 2017) The capture of new desert territory appears to illustrate a major shift of military control in Syria’s east that is months in the making, despite rebel assertions that they withdrew in order to protect the nearby Rukban displacement camp located within the American-run military zone.

Inside ISIS’ Dysfunctional Schools (13 October, 2017) Kinana Qaddour reports on how ISIS educational system evolved over the years and its failure to function (or even exist) in most ISIS-controlled areas.

After fall of Mayadeen, Syrian Arab Army expands campaign against Islamic State in Deir e-Zor (16 October, 2017) The capture of Mayadeen is part of a wider regime offensive to drive IS from the province, where both US-backed Kurdish-majority forces and pro-government fighters continue to capture towns and villages previously controlled by the militant group in the Deir e-Zor countryside.

What next for Raqqa? (16 October, 2017) The truth is that Western countries want to fight ISIS, especially foreign fighters, that may present risks to their own societies in the future. But what happens to the civilians that get crushed in the process, seems to be no one’s responsibility.

Drought Not the Only Environmental Problem in Syria Before 2011  (17 October, 2017) It is misleading to view the case of the Syrian drought as an example of climate-induced conflict. There were many socio-economic and political factors at play at the same time, and it is unrealistic to try to identify a single root cause of the uprising.


Regional and International Perspectives

Qatar’s Pragmatic Syria Gamble (4 October, 2017) Doha’s policy is aligned with the West, and not the ideals of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda.

Syria’s destruction revives a dream of rebuilding Lebanon’s railway (5 October, 2017) Firms from the Gulf and China are eyeing investments that seek to capture some of the $200bn needed to rebuild Syria. A railway from Lebanon’s ports to Syria’s cement-hungry cities might encourage them. But even if the war ends it will take years before work on a new rail network can begin.

EU Officials Urging Syrian Opposition to Accept Assad Remaining (9 October, 2017) Zaman al-Wasl reports that European officials are pursuing normalization with Assad through the diplomatic and security fields.

Hezbollah leader says US actions aiding Islamic State in Syria  (8 October, 2017) Comments come after US official says president is considering sanctions on Iran for its support of Hezbollah.

Turkey intervenes in Syria: What you need to know (9 October, 2017) After months of speculation, Turkey has launched an intervention – with the help of rebels it supports – in northwestern Syria. But what exactly is Turkey hoping to do, and how will the jihadis who control the province react, not to mention the civilians who have taken shelter there?

‘People no longer care’: Damascus accepts Assad victory as fait accompli  (9 October, 2017) Shortages have eased, rebel attacks have reduced – and desire for change has evaporated as many in Syria’s capital just want the killing to end.

Crushed but for 120 minutes united: qualifier lets Syrians forget war (11 October, 2017) The national team’s progress into a World Cup play-off was a chance to focus on something other than division and destruction.

Idlib city in state of lawlessness as hardline rebel coalition’s police force fails to maintain order, residents say (11 October, 2017) Hundreds of residents of opposition-held Idlib city closed their businesses and took to the streets in a city-wide general strike this week, amid what residents and local business owners described … as lawlessness and ineffective rebel policing.

C.I.A. Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels (14 October, 2017) The still-classified review, one of several C.I.A. studies commissioned in 2012 and 2013 in the midst of the Obama administration’s protracted debate about whether to wade into the Syrian civil war, concluded that many past attempts by the agency to arm foreign forces covertly had a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of a conflict.

How Assad’s Enemies Gave Up on the Syrian Opposition (17 October, 2017) There is no longer any serious international support for the opposition’s original raison d’être, the idea that still animates its members and leaders: namely to rid Syria of the Assad dynasty.


Policy and Reports

Did some media play into ISIS’s hands? (2 October 2017) Some conservative outlets hyped the terror group’s claim that it was responsible for the Las Vegas shooting.

Jordan Says Hosting Syrian Refugees Has Cost $10 Billion (10 October 2017) Authorities in Jordan estimated at more than $10 billion the cost of hosting thousands of refugees displaced from neighboring Syria since the civil war broke out there in 2011.

The Arabic version of this article can be found here: كلفة استضافة اللاجئين السوريين في الأردن تجاوزت عشرة مليارات دولار


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media  

نورا الصفدي خرطبيل في المشهد  (October 3, 2017) An interview with Noura Ghazi Safadi, a Syrian human rights lawyer, who shares the story of her husband, a well-known internet activist, Bassel Khartabil who was executed by the Syrian regime.  

The agony of absence: Wives of disappeared detainees face uncertainty, social pressures (9 October, 2017) “For friends and families, disappeared detainees exist in a space between life and death. Prolonged absence forces a difficult choice—assume loved ones to be dead and move on with life, or wait, perhaps for years, in the hope that they are still alive.”

‘How can I support this team?’ Divided loyalties for Syrians haunted by civil war (10 October, 2017) Like the country itself, feelings about Syria’s national football team, who play Australia tonight, are complex.

Syrian women will sing Big Ben’s missing bongs to remember loved ones ‘disappeared’ by Assad regime (10 October 2017) An estimated 200,000 have been jailed or disappeared by the Assad regime since 2011.



MOSCOW PRESSES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN  (10 October, 2017) Moscow’s expanding footprint in Tartous underscores the Kremlin’s intent to use its positions on the Syrian coast to establish Russia as a permanent regional power and challenge the Unites States and NATO in the longterm.

What is left of ISIL in Iraq?(11 October 2017) More than three years since its dramatic capture of Mosul, ISIL is a group in rapid decline, despite the ongoing threat of attacks.


Syrian Civil War Map (15 October 2017) A map of the Syrian civil war that shows who controls what after years of fighting.

MAPPED: The battle against ISIL (15 October 2017) In the past year and a half, ISIL’s territory has been shrinking steadily.


Arabic Links:

«التتريك» يزدهر في الشمال: لواء إسكندرون جديد Turkey pursues a policy of turkification as part of the Shield of Euphrates operation in Syria.

حميرة: “أنا أشحد”.. ولهذه الأسباب يرفض الخليجيون تمويل أعمالي Fouad Humeira, a well-known Syrian scriptwriter, reveals the reasons that forced him to stop writing and how a production company in the Gulf refused to finance his work for sectarian reasons.

“التعليم العالي” تنفي رفع الاعتراف بالشهادة السورية Higher Education Minister Atef Naddaf refutes rumors about Syrian degrees obtained from Syrian universities as being unrecognized internationally.

ماذا لو اشتكت لاجئة من العنف ضدها؟ What if a refugee woman filed a complaint for being subjected to violence?

مع استمرار التعديات عليها غابــات اللاذقيــة تضيــع بيــن التحطيــب والتفحيــم .. فمــن يوقــف الحــرائق؟Fires destroy many forest areas in the countryside of Lataki.

من “زهرة الصحراء” إلى “شوكة الصحراء” … أسماء الأسد مرة أخرى!Asma al-Assad, A Rose in the Desert, as Vogue magazine described her once, remarketing her image through her frequent appearances and visits to the poor in Syria.

طعن بالسكين .. محاولة اغتيال المخرج السوري محمد بايزيد في اسطنبول Syrian film director Mohamed Bayazid was subjected to an assassination attempt by unknown assailants in Istanbul.

باص الحرية يبدأ رحلتهActivists drove a ‘Freedom Bus’ around the British capital to draw attention to tens of thousands of detained and missing people in Syria.

منذر مصري يكتب: من أجل ماذا خرج الشعب السوري؟Monzer Masri criticizes Syrian opposition figures who forgot why Syrians revolted against the regime.

دروس البوسنة لسوريا: لا يمكن لمجرمي الحرب أن يكونوا جزءاً من الحل Syria Untold interviews Dr. Goran Šimić, a Professor of Criminal law and Transitional justice at the International University of Sarajevo, about justice and reconciliation in post-conflict societies, as well as similarities between Bosnia and Syria.

The English version of this article can be found here: Bosnia’s Lessons for Syria: War Criminals Cannot Be Part of the Solution