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 info@SalonSyria.com by Monday night of every week.
Syrian doctors plead for help, fearing the world is ‘bored’ with their conflict (13 June, 2017) A group of Syrian doctors based in rebel-held provinces said on Tuesday that aid had dropped markedly over the last two months because donors were losing interest, a factor that will make it harder for them to handle government assaults.
UN: ‘Staggering’ civilian deaths in Raqqa offensive (14 June, 2017) UN investigator says US-led air strikes on ISIL stronghold of Raqqa is causing a ‘staggering loss of civilian life’.
A Small Syrian Town’s Revolt Against Al-Qaida (15 June, 2017) Al-Qaida-linked factions have been widening their hold in the only Syrian governorate under near complete rebel control, but one small town in southern Idlib is once again rising up against extremist rule.
Red Crescent worker wounded in Damascus attack on aid convoy: ICRC (18 June, 2017) A staff worker for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent relief organization was wounded in an attack on a humanitarian convoy near Damascus, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement on Sunday.
U.S.-Led Coalition Shoots Down Syrian Military Jet West Of Raqqa, Pentagon Says (18 June, 2017) The U.S. military says it shot down a Syrian Air Force jet that dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Iran fires missiles at militant groups in eastern Syria (18 June, 2017) Iran fired missiles on Sunday into eastern Syria, aiming at the bases of militant groups it holds responsible for attacks in Tehran which left 18 dead last week, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported.
Regional and International Perspectives
ISIL’s discourse is more common than you think (13 June, 2017) Hassan Hassan writes “Islamist discourse provides ideological logistics to terrorists and reluctance to speak about extremism creates the space for radicals to entrench their views.”
Putin warns Gulf crisis imperils Syria peace efforts (13 June, 2017) In a phone conversation with the Saudi king, the Russian leader cautioned against anti-Qatar measures.
Amid Continued Instability, Why Are States Investing in Syria? (14 June, 2017) “Several countries have already secured investment deals in Syria in an attempt at first-mover advantage, or to occupy key economic and political sectors before others which India, Brazil, and China already have. The Syrian regime uses this motivation to its advantage in soliciting countries to rebuild its industries.”
Long Read: Israel’s Quiet Campaign to Gain a Foothold in Southern Syria (15 June, 2017) Despite its official policy of non-intervention, Israel has taken on a very proactive role in Syria, working to establish an Israel-friendly zone in Quneitra, akin to its strategy in southern Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war.
The US risks war with Iran in eastern Syria. It should focus on fighting IS elsewhere (16 June, 2017) Some in Washington hope the US can cut off Iran’s regional influence in eastern Syria, but that’s a recipe for endless war.
Saudi-Qatar crisis puts Syria rebels in tricky position (17 June, 2017) The Syrian opposition has been plagued by rivalries between Riyadh and Doha as well as weakened by Russia’s military support of Assad
Russia claims killing ISIL leader Baghdadi (18 June, 2017) Russia’s defence ministry says Baghdadi was present at an ISIL meeting in Syria that was struck by Russian air force.
Policy and Reports
Syria: Key Concerns for Raqqa Battle (13 June, 2017) The United States-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and other local armed groups should make protecting civilians and respect for human rights a priority in the offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. The offensive was announced on June 6, 2017.
The Arabic version of this article can be found here: سوريا: مخاوف إزاء معركة الرقة
Understanding What Syrian Refugees Want (13 June, 2017) An extensive survey of Syrian refugees in Turkey finds very few of them are en route to Europe. Syria Deeply spoke to one of the researchers who conducted the poll about what made Syrians flee, and what they want from the peace process and the future.
Researchers Investigate How Trust Collapsed in Syria (15 June, 2017) Trust, cooperation and shared values among Syrians have fallen sharply throughout the country since the civil war began. That’s according to a new report by the independent Syrian Center for Policy Research, which analyzed the influence of the armed conflict on social relations in the country.
The reports can be found here: Social Degradation in Syria
Syrian army declares city ceasefire as Russia, U.N. plan July peace talks (17 June, 2017) The Syrian army said it would suspend combat operations in the southern city of Deraa for 48 hours from Saturday, as mediators announced two separate attempts to convene new peace talks next month.
Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media
‘He survived Assad only to be killed in a tower block in London’: First victim of Grenfell fire is Syrian refugee Mohammed al-Haj Ali (15 June, 2017) The first victim of the Grenfell Tower fire has been named as Syrian refugee Mohammad al-Haj Ali, whom grieving friends say “came here for a better life” but the UK “failed him”.
Abandoned and abused: the forgotten Syrian refugee children on a Greek detention island (17 June, 2017) Stranded on Chios women and teenagers face new horrors, with reports of police beatings, rape and knife attacks
Syria’s displaced: ‘This Ramadan is full of grief’ (18 June, 2017) Displaced Syrians in Idlib are experiencing a harsh Ramadan after being evacuated from their hometowns.
Family of Syrian victim of London tower block fire allowed to come to UK (18 June, 2017) The UK Home Office says the family of Mohammed Alhajali are being granted visas for the UK on ‘compassionate grounds.’
Medical Workers Seek Accountability for Syrian Healthcare Attacks (13 June, 2017) Medical workers are monitoring attacks on healthcare facilities in Syria. Their aim is to provide data that can be used by international agencies to enforce legal protections and hold the perpetrators accountable for breaches of international law.
A U.S. aircraft has shot down a Syrian Govt. jet (18 June, 2017) Battle for Southern Al-Thawrah Area: The territorial control as of June 18, 2017.
روجدا فلات: سنهزم “داعش” حتّى في عقر داره وعاصمته (2 June, 2017) In an interview with Al-Monitor, Kurdish commander Rojda Felat, one of the leaders in the battle to retake Raqqa, shares her experience as a female fighter against the Islamic State.
The English version of this article can be found here: Meet the Kurdish woman leading battle against IS in northern Syria
راءة في تقرير (راند) “مستقبل العلاقات الطائفية في الشرق الأوسط” (8 June, 2017) Khader Zakaria provides an analysis of a new report RAND Corporation on the future of sectarian relations in the Middle East.
“داعش” خارج حلب … والنظام يوسع طريقه إليها (9 June, 2017) The Syrian regime is closing in on the Islamic State in Aleppo, while securing a foothold in Raqqa’s outskirts, where US-backed rebels launched their offensive to liberate the city.
The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian regime clears last IS bastion in Aleppo province
الغوطة الشرقيّة تستقبل شهر رمضان في ظلّ حصار خانق وظروف إنسانيّة صعبة (11 June, 2017) As the regime continues to impose its siege on eastern Ghouta, thousands of trapped residents are making do with the limited supply of food available and depending on NGOs to get them through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The English version of this article can be found here: Ghouta residents suffer under siege during Ramadan
لماذا لا يضرب السجناء السوريون؟ (12 June, 2017) Rateb Sha’abo provides his perspective on why Syrian prisoners do not use hunger strike for resistance.
أجواء رمضان في إدلب آخر معاقل المعارضة في شمال سوريا (12 June, 2017) Since the Syrian period lost control of Idlib in 2015, the city has become a melting pot of Ramadan traditions, as residents and refugees adapt to new lives.
The English version of this article can be found here: Syrian war has reshaped Ramadan for many
تقرير: تصدع المجتمع السوري وخسارة رأس المال الاجتماعي (15 June, 2017) This is an Arabic summary of the new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research “Social Degradation in Syria.”
The reports can be found in Arabic here: التصدع الاجتماعي في سوريا
حشرة الجراد تشكل خطرا على الزراعة في إدلب والمعارضة تحاول مكافحتها وتشتكي من ضعف الإمكانات (15 June, 2017) A swarm of locusts have destroyed an estimated 60% of crops in Idlib province, reducing the livelihoods of thousands of residents.
The English version of this article can be found here: ‘Day of the locusts’ in Syria’s Idlib
ن الراديكالية الثورية.. هل يكرر التاريخ نفسه؟ (16 June, 2017) Mohammad Dibo reflects on revolutionary radicalism and the fallouts of the Arab Spring.
المعارضة السورية مرّة أخرى (16 June, 2017) This study reviews the types of Syrian oppositions and the possibilities of reforming it.
في شأن التعايش السوري (17 June, 2017) Rasha Omran reflects on the so-called “Syrian coexistence,” the silent majority, and sectarianism.
التمجّد والمثقف “العضوي” (17 June, 2017) Salam Al-Kawakibi reflects on Gramsci’s concept of organic intellectual and the current intellectuals’ positions in the Arab region.
[This article is published jointly in partnership with Jadaliyya.]