[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

Israeli missiles hit army base near Damascus: Reports (02 December 2017) Israeli missiles attacked a military position near Damascus overnight and Syria’s air defence system thwarted them.

More than fabric: Mansour Omari and Syria’s secret prisons (7 December 2017) Rosiland Jordan discusses Mansour Omari’s idea to memorialise his detention and that of his fellow political prisoners.

Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias push towards Idlib province (10 December 2017) The Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias backed by Russian air power stepped up a military campaign against rebels in eastern Hama province in a push towards the rebel stronghold of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, rebels and witnesses said.

Vladimir Putin makes triumphant visit to Syria airbase (11 December 2017) President Assad tells Russian leader Syrian people will never forget Russia’s help in driving Islamic State from country.

Russian, Syrian jets hit Aleppo, Damascus countryside (12 December 2017) Russian and Syrian fighter jets have launched attacks in southern Aleppo province and the Damascus countryside, causing civilian casualties in both locations.

Russia will keep bases in Syria to strike at insurgents: Kremlin (12 December 2017)Russia will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against insurgents if required after a partial military pull-out announced by President Vladimir Putin.

Syrian opposition urges Russia to rescue UN peace talks (12 December 2017) Vladimir Putin needs to apply decisive pressure on Bashar al-Assad at Geneva, says leading member of Syrian opposition.


Regional and International Perspectives

Free Syrian Police are courageous and selfless people (5 December 2017) Panorama’s programme ‘Jihadis You Pay For’ was hugely misleading, writes Dr Henry Smith.

Kill British Isis fighters, says the defence secretary. It’s not that simple (8 December 2017) Gavin Williamson’s remarks might score cheap points, but to understand what is right, we must look to the law. No country can kill its way out of the problem.

Assad’s false victory must be rejected  (9 December 2017) Bahia al-Mardini writes: “A choice between the barrel bombs and chemical weapons of Assad’s military and the beheadings, rape and torture of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is no choice at all.”

Pentagon not yet ready to declare victory over ISIS in Iraq (11 December 2017) The Pentagon stopped short of endorsing the weekend declaration from Iraq’s leader that final victory over the Islamic State has been achieved in his country.

Algerian Foreign Minister: IS foreign fighters moving toward Libya (11 December 2017) lgerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel revealed that security reports have detected movements by foreign nationals from Syria and Iraq towards Libya.

Drumpf to Let Assad Stay Until 2021, as Putin Declares Victory in Syria (11 December 2017) Despite the deaths of as many as half a million people, dozens by chemical weapons, in the Syrian civil war, the Drumpf Administration is now prepared to accept President Bashar al-Assad’s continued rule until Syria’s next scheduled Presidential election, in 2021, according to U.S. and European officials.

Kazakhstan to hold new Syria talks next week (11 December 2017) The talks will focus on freeing prisoners, the delivery of humanitarian aid and the functioning of de-escalation zones.

The Guardian view on Putin in Syria: victory and desolation (12 December 2017) The Russian president has been on a victory lap to Syria and the Middle East, intent on showing that he has outplayed the US in the region.

Return of defeated IS fighters ‘real threat’ to Russia: RIA cites FSB chief (12 December 2017) Former militants from “bandit units” in Syria are now a real threat after the defeat of Islamic State, as many of them may be now planning to return to Russia.


Policy and Reports

UN seeks $22.5bn for war, humanitarian crises victims (1 December 2017) The UN has launched a record appeal for $22.5bn to help victims of conflict and humanitarian crises around the world from South Sudan to Syria and from Afghanistan to the refugees from Myanmar.

UN says 400,000 civilians trapped in Syrian enclave (4 December 2017) The UN says about 400,000 civilians who remain trapped in Eastern Ghouta are facing a “complete catastrophe” because the government has blocked aid deliveries.

Children bear ‘disproportionate lethal impact’ of Syrian war, warns study (7 December 2017) Questions raised over legality of airstrikes and shelling as figures show a quarter of all civilians killed in Syria in 2016 were under 18.

Drumpf lifts refugee ban, but admissions still plummet, data shows (8 December 2017) As Drumpf lifted a temporary ban on most refugee admissions, he instituted new rules for tougher vetting of applicants and also effectively halted, at least for now, the entry of refugees from 11 countries deemed as high risk.

U.S. has begun fully implementing Drumpf travel ban: State Dept. (8 December 2017) The U.S. State Department said it began fully implementing President Donald Drumpf’s travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled the order could be enforced while legal appeals continue.

Top Lafarge executives, including former CEO, indicted on terror financing charges (9 December 2017) Two senior executives at French-Swiss cement maker LafargeHolcim, including its former CEO, were charged over claims that top management turned a blind eye to payments to jihadists in Syria, a judicial source said.

Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria (12 December 2017) Nataliya Vasilyeva explores how many Russians are fighting in Syria in a private capacity after the Kremlin and the Defense Ministry have stonewalled questions about private military contractor.

The battle between Syrian secular activists and feminists: we all lose (12 December 2017) Zaina Erhaim writes: “Yet another pushback for Syrian women to leave the public spaces for the powerful men who behave as if these spaces are their ownership.”

Lafarge paid 13 million euros to armed groups to keep operating in Syria: rights group (12 December 2017) French cement group Lafarge paid close to 13 million euros ($15.2 million) to armed groups including Islamic State militants to keep operating in Syria from 2011-2015, human rights lawyers said on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Tracing ISIS’ Weapons Supply Chain—Back to the US (12 December 2017) This report investigates ISIS weapons factories and ordnance in Mosul and Tal Afar and traces the origins of their contents back to to the US.


Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

An Education in Fear Growing up in the Assad regime’s Syria (27 November, 2017) An interactive persoanl narrative by Lina Ghaibeh about growing up in Syria in the 1970s and 1980.

Opposition Media Activists Face Uncertain Future (28 November, 2017) The war in Syria significantly increased the number of so-called opposition media activists who documented alleged human rights abuses and war crimes. But as pro-government forces regain control of rebel-held territory, they fear for their future.

BBC in row over ‘false claims’ of cash for Syrian police being paid to jihadists (2 December, 2017) Panorama accused of jumping on anti-aid bandwagon even as Foreign Office halts funding scheme.

Syrian refugee rescued from tiny dinghy off Libyan coast (4 December, 2017) Rescue ship chief reports that man who worked as a nurse fled because he feared he could be killed by Islamist militias.

Bosnian museum of wartime childhood aims to go global, wins top prize (8 December, 2017) The War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo won a best European museum prize and decided to go global. It has started collecting personal items from children affected by other wars, such as those in Syria and Ukraine.

Perfect match: website gives academic refugees chance to connect (9 December, 2017) German professor Carmen Bachmann used template of a dating site to allow users to network with other people in their field

Has ISIL been defeated in Iraq? (10 December, 2017) Ali Al Dabbagh, Tallha Abdulrazaq, and Ahmed Rushdi discusses the questions: Has ISIL been defeated in Iraq? What does this mean for Iraq’s future?

Who invented hummus? (12 December 2017) Everyone from the Greeks to the Turks to the Syrians have tried to claim it.



Syrian Civil War Map This is a live and interactive map of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Defeating ISIL (10 December 2017) At its peak, ISIL controlled vast expanses of territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. But over the past year, the group has been driven out of all major cities including its self-declared capital Raqqa and Deir Az Zor.

Syria: Military situation in Quneitra and Daraa Governorates  (11 December 2017) This map  shows in details the military situation in southern Syria.


Arabic Links:

رزان زيتونة ورفاقها.. 4 سنوات من التغييب القسري In the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of  four activists —Razan Zeitouneh, her husband Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil and Hazem Hammadi — who worked at the Violations Documentation Center, Amnesty International launched a campaign to shine a light on those who have faced enforced disappearance and abduction in Syria and help families in their efforts to find their loved ones.

المعركة التالية في سوريا With the war on the Islamic State winding down, other tensions in Syria are dialing up as Israel and Turkey worry over forces amassing on their borders.

The English version of this article can be found here:The next battle in Syria

فدوى محمود… من المعتقل إلى المطالبة بتحرير المعتقلين Fadwa Mahmoud discusses the Freedom Bus Initiative and the challenges of advocating for detainees, missing persons and forcibly disappeared persons in Syria.

خمس شركات مسجلة في المناطق الحرة الإمارات العربية المتحدة ضمن ملف المغسلة الروسية .. فواتير متناقضة وإيران تستخدم إحدى هذه الشركات للتهرب من العقوبات This investigative report shows the role of five UAE Companies in the “Russian Laundromat”.

الغارديان: “ماعز لكل شهيد”: المسرحية الساخرة عن التكلفة السريالية للحرب الأهلية في سورية Goats is a play by poet and playwright Liwaa Yazji. It is set in a small Syrian village where the eponymous animals are handed out by authorities to families who lose fathers, sons and husbands in the endless civil war.

The English version of this article can be found here: A goat for every martyr: the bitterly funny play about the surreal cost of Syria’s civil war

أهالي الشمال السوري يرحبون بـ “فوائد” التدخل التركي This article claims that people in Idlib Governorate and Aleppo Governorate are enjoying the “benefits” of Turkish intervention like opening centers of PPT (Posta ve Telgraf Teşkilatı) a post and telegraph service.

الكويت تقدم مساهمة للمنازل لصالح أكثر من 50،000 لاجئ سوري في الأردن خلال فصل الشتاء Kuwait contributed US$5 million to UNHCR which will help 50,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in Jordan which hosts more than 655,000 registered Syrian refugees.

The English version of this article can be found here: Kuwaiti contribution brings essential winter assistance to more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan

خلف كواليس إدلب: رأس الجولاني مطلوبٌ «قاعديّاً»Tension is escalating between al-Qaeda  and Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the commander-in-chief of the Syrian militant group Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra).

قوّات الشرطة التابعة إلى المعارضة في أعزاز تخرّج دفعة من الشرطة النسائيّة للعمل في منطقة درع الفرات “With the help of Turkish trainers, the first batch of policewomen graduated from the opposition’s National police and Public Security Forces in the areas liberated during Operation Euphrates Shield in the countryside of Aleppo”

The English version of this article can be found here: Women join opposition police forces in Aleppo’s liberated areas


[This article is published jointly in partnership with Jadaliyya.]