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 Editors. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week’s roundup to by Monday night of every week.


Inside Syria

Rebels accuse Syrian army of chlorine attack, army calls it fabrication (1 July 2017) A Syrian rebel group accused the Syrian army of using chlorine gas against its fighters on Saturday in battles east of Damascus – an accusation the military swiftly denied as a fabrication.

Deadly car bomb blasts rock Syria’s Damascus (2 July 2017) One attacker detonates car bomb near Bab Touma, as security forces manage to explode two others on airport road.

Assad appears on Syrian currency for first time  (2 July 2017) President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on the Syrian currency for the first time, his portrait printed on a new 2,000-pound banknote that went into circulation on Sunday.

Raqqa: Syrian capital of the IS ‘caliphate’ (4 July 2017) Raqqa, in northern Syria, became the de facto capital of the “caliphate” proclaimed by so-called Islamic State (IS) three years ago.

Russia hits Islamic State in Syria with advanced cruise missiles (5 July 2017) Russian strategic bombers fired advanced cruise missiles at Islamic State targets in Syria on Wednesday from a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621.37 miles) in a show of force Moscow said demolished three ammunition depots and a command post.

Suicide blast kills two at bus station in Syria’s government-held Hama  (6 July 2017) A suicide bomber in Syria’s Hama killed two people and injured nine others on Thursday, state media said, in the second such attack in a government-held city this week.

Tense calm prevails in southwest Syria before truce (8 July 2017) Opposition activists report low-level violence in Deraa one day before a new ceasefire deal takes effect.

UN envoy says Syria cease-fire generally holding (11 July 2017) The U.N.’s special envoy for Syrian peace talks on Monday said a U.S. and Russia-brokered cease-fire in the country’s southwest was generally holding despite some “teething problems,” adding he hoped it would contribute positively to talks between the government and opposition.

Syrian Observatory says it has ‘confirmed information’ that Islamic State chief is dead (11 July 2017) The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters on Tuesday that it had “confirmed information” that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.

Regional and International Perspectives

A photographer’s journey into the dying center of the Islamic State (3 July, 2017) Alice Martins writes “It took Ahmed Brazu and his family 20 terrifying hours to escape this ravaged city, the capital of the Islamic State’s imagined caliphate that has become an increasingly perilous battlefield.”

Where is ‘Islamic State’ leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? (4 July 2017) Three years ago, video emerged of the leader of so-called Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, commanding allegiance in a sermon at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul. The Iraqi city had been freshly captured by the jihadist group and a “caliphate” declared.

How a Syrian NGO is rebuilding destroyed parts of Idlib (4 July 2017) The Violet Organization is working to restore schools, roads, parks and public spaces in the rebel-held province.

After criticism, France’s Macron seeks to reassure Syria opposition (5 July 2017) France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, sought to reassure opponents of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday after provoking concern among rebel groups by saying that he saw no legitimate successor to Assad.

Drumpf to Putin: Syrian President Assad Can’t Have Land Liberated From ISIS (6 July 2017) Little is known about exactly what President Donald Drumpf will discuss with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when the two meet for the first time on Friday. But one thing is certain to come up: the ongoing war in Syria.

When This Western Journalist Reports on Hezbollah (6 July 2017) What Sulome Anderson’s Latest Newsweek Article Reveals About the Standards of Western Journalism In The Middle East

Russia: No deal on de-escalation zones in Syria talks (6 July 2017) Russia, Turkey and Iran fail to reach an agreement in Astana on how to run the de-escalation zones, Moscow’s envoy says.

Lebanese army prosecutor orders forensic probe into Syrians’ deaths (8 July 2017) A Lebanese military prosecutor ordered forensics to examine the bodies of four Syrians who died in army custody last week following calls for an inquiry by rights groups, a judge said on Saturday.

Amid divisions with Macron, Drumpf to travel to Paris to discuss Syria, terrorism (12 July 2017) U.S. President Donald Drumpf will travel to Paris on Wednesday to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron where the two leaders will seek to work together on Syria and countering terrorism, while avoiding the thorny issues that have divided them.

Policy and Reports

Syria’s new war millionaires (1 June 2017) For those with the right connections and an appetite for risk, the war has opened up lucrative sources of revenue. For the new elite, peace would be bad for business.

Syria war: Almost 500,000 refugees return in 2017 – UN (30 June 2017) Almost 500,000 Syrians have returned to their homes this year, the UN says, describing this as a “notable trend”.

Assad appears on Syrian currency for first time (2 July 2017) President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on the Syrian currency for the first time, his portrait printed on a new 2,000-pound banknote that went into circulation on Sunday.

Former French judge to lead UN Syria war crimes probe (3 July 2017) Catherine Marchi-Uhel will head the UN body to document and prosecute serious violations of international law in Syria.

What ISIS Really Thinks About the Future (5 July 2017) Hassan Hassan writes “There is still a long way for Iraq and Syria to go before they can properly claim to have defeated the group.”

Global inquiry aims to report on Syria sarin attack by October (6 July 2017) An international inquiry aims to report by October on who was to blame for a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria in April, the head of the probe said on Thursday, as he appealed for countries to back off and stop telling investigators how to do their work.

The Maddening Maze Of Getting A Syrian Passport Abroad  (6 July 2017) A Syrian passport once cost $9 and took only a few hours to issue. As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, Syrians in Turkey are paying up to $2,000 and waiting for months to get one of the world’s weakest passports.

Total of at least 600 civilians killed by coalition strikes in Iraq, Syria: report (7 July 2017) At least 600 civilians have been killed in strikes in Iraq and Syria by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State since the campaign began in 2014, according to a report released by the coalition on Friday.

Qatar charities and UN sign deals worth $8.5m for Syria (8 July 2017) The money will go towards aid workers on the ground in Syria through various UN agencies.

Berlin worries Drumpf’s Russia problems hampering policy (11 July 2017) Germany welcomes signs the United States is engaging with Russia on Ukraine and Syria, but worries it will struggle to play a constructive role as long as its policy aims remain confused and the furor rages on over Moscow’s role in the U.S. election, a senior German official said.

Secret Details of Drumpf-Putin Syria Cease-fire Focus on Iranian Proxies (11 July 2017) Former U.S. diplomats and observers question whether the agreement is truly enforceable, expressing doubts that Russia could act as a reliable guarantor for a cease-fire involving the Syrian regime, Iran, and its proxies.

Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

How Syrian refugees battle against cancer (26 June 2017) Ammash is a four-year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon’s capital Beirut. He is fighting leukaemia with support from an NGO but the funds for his treatment are running out.

WhatsApp messages from Raqqa: Mama, save me (June 2017) Maha and her nearly 2-year-old son Odai are trapped in Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria and one of the most isolated places on Earth. When she can find a rare internet connection away from watchful eyes, Maha talks to her mother via WhatsApp voice message.

Cardigan residents’ bid to re-house Syrian refugees  (9 July 2017) Communities across Wales desperate to help displaced Syrian refugees are raising money to fund the resettlement of families themselves.

They Wanted to Make it Better: Americans Killed By ISIS In Syria Wanted To Stop Islamic State  (11 July 2017) The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced Tuesday the deaths of three foreign volunteers, two from the U.S. and one from the U.K., amid the U.S.-backed force’s campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in its de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.


Syrian Civil War Map A map of the Syrian civil war that shows who controls what after five years of fighting.

Syria cVDPV2 outbreak Situation Report # 3 (04 July 2017) Twenty-four (24) cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type-2 (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in Syria —22 cases are from Mayadeen (Al Mayadin) district, Deir Ez-Zor (Dayr Az Zawr) governorate, and 2 cases from Raqqa (Ar Raqqah) and Tall Abyad districts, Raqqa (Ar Raqqah) governorate. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 28 May.

Inside Syria’s War: Arms and Resistance in Jobar (6 July 2017) The inside story of how the people of Jobar have defended their homes against the might of the Assad regime.

  Arabic Links:

تعميم «أصالة»: ماذا بشأن آلاف التوقيفات الممنهجة في قضايا استهلاك المخدرات؟ (25 June 2017) This article comments on the news of the arrest of Syrian singer Assala Nasri at Beirut airport for allegedly carrying drugs.

مدنيّون فارّون من دير الزور السوريّة: الألغام تحدّد مصير حياتهم  (28 June 2017) While fleeing the Islamic State, Syria’s Deir ez-Zor residents embark on a journey risking their lives while walking in minefields.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrians brave dangers, mines to escape IS grip

ماذا يعني طرح العملة الجديدة بقيمة 2000 ليرة؟  (2 July, 2017) This article explores the reasons for issuing a new currency, a 2,000-pound with Bashar al-Assad and what does that mean for the country’s economy.

قول في القِيم الآن (2 July, 2017) Dr. Ahmad Barqawi shares his perspective about the status of “values” in the current crisis.

لن تبقى ولن تتمدّد  (4 July, 2017) This is a reflection on the recent losses of ISIS and prediction of its soon end.

عملية تعبئة النشطاء السوريين: دراسة في طبيعة العلاقة الاعتمادية بين تقنيات الاتصالات الحديثة والثقافة السياسية  (5 July, 2017) This study examines the role of information and communication technology in protest mobilizations in the Syrian uprising until August 2011.

شروط تركية تؤدي لتسريح مئات الموظفين السوريين من المنظمات  (5 July, 2017) Turkish authorities have denied, over the past few months, to renew the work permits of hundreds of Syrian employees who work with international organizations.

جَسْر الهُوّة الرقميّة في توثيق حقوق الإنسان في سوريا  (7 July, 2017) An Arabic version of “DATNAV How to navigate digital data for human rights research” is now available to help human rights professionals in the courtroom, when working with governments and journalists, and in documenting historical record.

القضاء في إدلب وريفها.. بين فض النزاعات وتعزيز سيطرة الفصائل  (7 July, 2017) This article tackles the judiciary system in Idlib and its countryside and how it varies depending on the armed group dominating a particular area.

تحرير الموصل لن يكون نهاية “داعش” (8 July, 2017) History has proven that militarily defeating extremist groups such as al-Qaeda does not mean the end of their ideology, and it seems the Islamic State will not stop at the Mosul liberation.

The English version of this article can be found here: Mosul liberation will not be end of IS

أهمية حماية المقابر الجماعية في سوريا (10 July, 2017) This report discusses the discovering of new mass graves in Syria and mechanisms to allow families’ access to the graves of their loved ones.

قبل ربع قرن، مسرح صيدنايا السرّي (10 July, 2017) Malek Dagestani shares his experience in Syrian prison and how performance and theater played a role in alleviating it.

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