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

Food supplies reach families from Syria’s Raqqa as road reopens: U.N. (12 July 2017) Food supplies have reached thousands of people displaced by fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa after road access was opened up for the first time in three years, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Suicide bomber kills and injures scores in Syria’s Idlib province (12 July 2017) A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a gathering of jihadist rebels near the rebel-held northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Wednesday, killing and injuring scores, rebel sources said.

U.N. helps Syria’s women farmers by treating their livestock (14 July 2017) More than a million sheep, goats and cows have been treated for parasites in Syria to help resurrect the country’s war-battered food production and shore up its female farmers, a U.N. agency said on Friday.

Shells hit Russian embassy compound in Syria (16 July 2017) Syrian state media said that two mortar shells were fired at the Russian embassy in Damascus but reported no injuries.

Jobar: ‘Death is a central part of their daily lives’ (17 July 2017) Syrian director Maher Jamous provides an insight into making a film about life in the besieged town of Jobar.

After The Buses: Life in a Government-Controlled Damascus Suburb (18 July 2017) The Damascus suburb of Barzeh, once a thorn in the side of the Syrian government, has been under full government control for less than two months. Syria Deeply takes a look at the current situation in the neighborhood through the eyes of its remaining residents.

Syrian rebels killed in Kurdish clashes (18 July 2017) Fifteen dead in hit-and-run clashes with US-backed fighters in the country’s north, says monitoring group.

Air attacks hit Raqqa as ISIL defends stronghold (18 July 2017) Fatalities reported among warring Kurdish-led group and ISIL fighters as heavy bombardment shakes Old City of Raqqa.

Regional and International Perspectives

Is the Latest Cease-Fire in Syria Different? (12 July 2017) The recently announced cease-fire in southwestern Syria should not be dismissed as a replica of the 2016 internationally-brokered pause in fighting that failed, according to the Atlantic Council’s Frederic C. Hof.

Syria and the case for editorial accountability (12 July 2017) By publishing Seymour Hersh’s latest ‘fiction’ on Syria, German daily Die Welt served as a conduit for disinformation.

U.S. says Russia willing to deploy monitors for Syria ceasefire (13 July 2017) Russia has said it is willing to deploy monitors to prevent any violations of a ceasefire in southwestern Syria by Syrian government forces, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Analysis: Shift in Rhetoric Among Kurdish Politicians in Syria (14 July 2017) Kurdish political officials in Syria are taking an increasingly anti-Iranian and pro-Saudi Arabia stance amid the rising tensions between Washington, Tehran and their proxies, and the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, writes journalist Wladimir van Wilgenburg.

Russia says growing acceptance of Assad is key to Syria talks (15 July 2017) The opposition has suffered military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to President Assad over the past year.

A toehold for peace in Syria (18 July 2017) The truce in Syria’s southwest, brokered by Russia and the US, hints at war fatigue and some hope for ending a six-year war now largely driven by foreign interests.

Washington’s Dead End in Syria  (18 July 2017) Sam Heller writes “Washington’s approach to fighting ISIS in Syria—and in particular the local Kurdish partner it has chosen—has granted a victory that can last only as long as the United States stays.”

U.S., Russia and Iran are battling to build bases in Syria as ISIS falls  (18 July 2017) “Three of the leading international powers involved in Syria’s war—the U.S., Russia and Iran—are looking to expand and fortify their military presence in the country by building and upgrading foreign bases, with some already in the works.”

Policy and Reports

Traumatized civilians fleeing Syria’s Raqqa in droves: U.N. official (13 July 2017) Scores of civilians are fleeing Syria’s Raqqa traumatized, with families torn apart and conditions worsening as the battle to oust Islamic State intensifies, a senior U.N. official said on Thursday.

U.N. ends round of Syria talks with focus on fight against terrorism (14 July 2017) U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura put the emphasis on the international fight against terrorism on Friday as he wrapped up a round of Syria peace talks at which there was “no breakthrough, no breakdown and no one walking out”.

Lebanon will coordinate refugee returns to Syria only with U.N.: PM Hariri (14 July 2017) Lebanon will coordinate refugee returns to Syria only with the United Nations, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Friday, days after a number of refugees left for Syria under an agreement brokered by Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

Syrian army takes more oil fields from Islamic State in Raqqa province (15 July 2017) Heavy fighting continues near Arak gas field, which the Syrian army took last month.

EU sanctions Syrian soldiers and scientists over chemical weapons (17 July 2017) Sanctions come after UN chemical watchdog ruled last month that sarin gas was used in Idlib attack.

Here’s What To Know About The Drumpf-Putin Syria Cease-Fire  (17 July 2017) President Drumpf is touting a newly brokered cease-fire in southwest Syria as a major foreign policy win for his White House. After years of failed peace attempts under the Obama administration, Drumpf has boldly speculated that the new truce could mark the beginning of the end of the war.

How the Economic Model of ISIS Evolves Post-Caliphate (17 July 2017) Due to U.S.-led military operations to counter its finances, the so-called Islamic State is not only changing its military tactics but also adapting its economic practices, writes Chatham House fellow Haid Haid.

Lebanese PM says army to carry out operation at Syrian border (18 July 2017) Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday the army would carry out an operation in an area of the border with Syria that has been a base of operations for militants including jihadist groups.

Chechnya becoming major player in rebuilding war-torn Syria (18 July 2017) Russia’s mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya is becoming a major player in rebuilding war-ravaged Syria. And ordinary Chechens are likely to foot the bill, with many of them being forced to make contributions or face the possibility of exile or death, human rights activists say.

Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

The Passport Racket of the Syrian Government (7 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.

The Syrian war crime suspects who could be brought to justice (14 July 2017) UN tasks Catherine Marchi-Uhel with securing justice for Syrian war crimes victims amid mounting evidence of abuse.

What next for Islamic State? (14 July 2017) Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville explains what might happen to so-called Islamic State now its “caliphate” is shrinking, following their defeat in Mosul.

EXCLUSIVE: Lebanese army accused of torturing Syrian refugees (17 July 2017) Shocking pictures show extent of injuries to four men who died in custody after being picked up in raids on camps near Arsal

Prosecutors checking whether German teenager arrested in Mosul (18 July 2017) German prosecutors said on Tuesday they were checking reports that a 16-year-old German teenager under investigation for supporting Islamic State was among five women arrested in the Iraqi city of Mosul.


Syria profile – Timeline (12 July 2017) A chronology of key events in Syria modern history and current war.

Syrian Civil War Map (16 July 2017)A map of the Syrian civil war that shows who controls what after five years of fighting.

The Campaign for Ar-Raqqa City: June 20 – July 17, 2017 (18 July 2017) The U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) achieved small but significant gains against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City between June 20 and July 17.

Syria’s civil war explained from the beginning (18 July 2017) The Syrian civil war is the deadliest conflict the 21st century has witnessed so far.

Arabic Links:

عن سوليدير دمشق..
 (11 July 2017) Talal Salman compares some attempts by Syrian companies to plan and rebuilt some of Syria’s major cities to the project of the Lebanese joint-stock company Solidere that planned and redeveloped Beirut Central District.

دابق في ريف حلب تتنفّس الحياة بعد طرد “داعش”
 (13 July 2017) With the help of its local council, aspects of a normal life are gradually returning to Syria’s Dabiq following the Islamic State’s expulsion from the town in late 2016.

The English version of this article can be found here: Syrians catch breath as post-IS Dabiq takes shape

اطق باسم الجبهة الجنوبية: هدوء حذر في جنوب غرب سوريا عقب وقف إطلاق النار
 (14 July 2017) In an interview with Al-Monitor, the spokesman for the Southern Front, Maj. Issam al-Rayes, talks about the recent cease-fire broken by the United States, Russia and Jordan in southern Syria, the time of violations and the boycott of the Astana talks.

The English version of this article can be found here: ‘Precarious calm’ in southwest Syria amid cease-fire

الأسد براغماتياً ديمقراطياً.. وحداثياً
 (16 July 2017) Chazi Dahman analyzes the reason for Al-Assad acceptance in the West.

آلاف المهجّرين ينتظرون العودة إلى قراهم التي سيطرت عليها قوّات سوريا الديمقراطيّة في ريف حلب
 (18 July 2017) After well more than a year living under wretched conditions in refugee camps, thousands of displaced residents from northern Aleppo province hope to return home soon as the Free Syrian Army fights to reclaim towns from the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The English version of this article can be found here: Fighting revives refugees’ hopes of returning to Aleppo

اتفاق هامبورغ.. مسار بديل في سورية
 (18 July 2017) Ali Al Abdullah reflects on Hamburg agreement between Russia and the U.S. on Syria and the condition for its success.

أسئلة التفاهم الأميركي – الروسي حول سورية
 (19 July 2017) Akram al-Bunni discusses the recent agreement between Russia and the U.S. on Syria and the implications it can bring to Syria and the region.

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