Showing posts tagged as "Syria"

Showing posts tagged Syria

10 Apr
A Late-Night Phone Call Between One Of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy | Mike Giglio
A rebel commander named Mohamed Zataar sat on a living room couch in the ancient Turkish city of Antakya one recent night, taking a short break from the war across the border with Syria some 15 miles down the road. He was eager to return. “There is a new battle starting,” he said, staring at the door. Instead Zataar, who leads a battalion of moderate rebels called Wolves of the Valley, decided to call his enemy from his iPhone.
He dialed the number for the shadowy jihadi known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, one of the most notorious men on the chaotic battlefields of northern Syria. Abu Ayman doesn’t fight for the Syrian regime. He’s a leader in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the al-Qaeda-inspired force that has upended the rebellion with its fanaticism and brutality — while also kidnapping Western journalists and raising global alarms that the foreign fighters who fill out its ranks will return to sow terror at home. Other rebel groups turned on ISIS at the start of the new year, sparking an internal war that men like Zataar, a former dealer of fake antiques who despises extremists, were happy to join. “We are fighting a war against terror,” Zataar said.
Someone answered on the other line, and Zataar asked to speak with Abu Ayman, whom he referred to as “sheikh.” Then he hung up, saying it wasn’t uncommon for the two men to speak. An hour later, Abu Ayman called back.
FULL ARTICLE (BuzzFeed)
Photo: FreedomHouse/flickr

A Late-Night Phone Call Between One Of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy | Mike Giglio

A rebel commander named Mohamed Zataar sat on a living room couch in the ancient Turkish city of Antakya one recent night, taking a short break from the war across the border with Syria some 15 miles down the road. He was eager to return. “There is a new battle starting,” he said, staring at the door. Instead Zataar, who leads a battalion of moderate rebels called Wolves of the Valley, decided to call his enemy from his iPhone.

He dialed the number for the shadowy jihadi known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, one of the most notorious men on the chaotic battlefields of northern Syria. Abu Ayman doesn’t fight for the Syrian regime. He’s a leader in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the al-Qaeda-inspired force that has upended the rebellion with its fanaticism and brutality — while also kidnapping Western journalists and raising global alarms that the foreign fighters who fill out its ranks will return to sow terror at home. Other rebel groups turned on ISIS at the start of the new year, sparking an internal war that men like Zataar, a former dealer of fake antiques who despises extremists, were happy to join. “We are fighting a war against terror,” Zataar said.

Someone answered on the other line, and Zataar asked to speak with Abu Ayman, whom he referred to as “sheikh.” Then he hung up, saying it wasn’t uncommon for the two men to speak. An hour later, Abu Ayman called back.

FULL ARTICLE (BuzzFeed)

Photo: FreedomHouse/flickr

27 Mar
Syrian Refugees Give Up Hope of Returning Home | Ayla Albayrak and Joe Parkinson
In the months after Kholood Aloksh walked for eight days to flee the violence engulfing her hometown of Houla, she consoled herself with dreams of a rapid return to Syria and the restart of her disrupted studies.
Two years later, 22-year-old Ms. Aloksh is still in Turkey with her six siblings and has lost hope of going back. Studying civil engineering on a government scholarship in a Turkish university, she is settling into a new life as a long-term exile.
“Now I know I must concentrate on building my future in Turkey,” Ms. Aloksh said, her fellow students buzzing around the university canteen in the city of Gaziantep, close to Turkey’s Syrian border. “The war can continue for even a decade.”
As Syria’s civil war enters its fourth year, a growing number of the 800,000 Syrians in Turkey and across the region are concluding there may be no future in their homeland. That is aggravating a policy problem for Turkey and neighboring states, and underscoring how the conflict is reshaping the Middle East in ways that may be irreversible.
FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)
Photo: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı/TURKEY/flickr

Syrian Refugees Give Up Hope of Returning Home | Ayla Albayrak and Joe Parkinson

In the months after Kholood Aloksh walked for eight days to flee the violence engulfing her hometown of Houla, she consoled herself with dreams of a rapid return to Syria and the restart of her disrupted studies.

Two years later, 22-year-old Ms. Aloksh is still in Turkey with her six siblings and has lost hope of going back. Studying civil engineering on a government scholarship in a Turkish university, she is settling into a new life as a long-term exile.

“Now I know I must concentrate on building my future in Turkey,” Ms. Aloksh said, her fellow students buzzing around the university canteen in the city of Gaziantep, close to Turkey’s Syrian border. “The war can continue for even a decade.”

As Syria’s civil war enters its fourth year, a growing number of the 800,000 Syrians in Turkey and across the region are concluding there may be no future in their homeland. That is aggravating a policy problem for Turkey and neighboring states, and underscoring how the conflict is reshaping the Middle East in ways that may be irreversible.

FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)

Photo: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı/TURKEY/flickr

26 Mar
The Impact of Turkey’s Takedown of a Syrian Fighter Jet | Karen Leigh
On Sunday, the Turkish army shot down a Syrian government fighter jet that it said had strayed across the border despite numerous warnings. “Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my air space, then from now on, our slap will be hard,” Erdogan said later, at a campaign rally held in advance of next week’s local elections.
Syrian state media said its planes had been pursuing rebel targets near the border.
Though analysts have called it an escalation, it’s not the first time Turkey’s military has been drawn into the conflict next door. Syria shot down a Turkish plane in 2012, and that autumn, Turkey opened fire on Syrian government positions after a Turkish border town was shelled, killing five civilians.
Syria Deeply asked Didem Aykel Collinsworth, Turkey analyst at the International Crisis Group, and Soli Özel, a political scientist and professor at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, to weigh in on the impact of this week’s events.
FULL INTERVIEW (Syria Deeply)
Photo: Anhedral/flickr

The Impact of Turkey’s Takedown of a Syrian Fighter Jet | Karen Leigh

On Sunday, the Turkish army shot down a Syrian government fighter jet that it said had strayed across the border despite numerous warnings. “Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my air space, then from now on, our slap will be hard,” Erdogan said later, at a campaign rally held in advance of next week’s local elections.

Syrian state media said its planes had been pursuing rebel targets near the border.

Though analysts have called it an escalation, it’s not the first time Turkey’s military has been drawn into the conflict next door. Syria shot down a Turkish plane in 2012, and that autumn, Turkey opened fire on Syrian government positions after a Turkish border town was shelled, killing five civilians.

Syria Deeply asked Didem Aykel Collinsworth, Turkey analyst at the International Crisis Group, and Soli Özel, a political scientist and professor at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, to weigh in on the impact of this week’s events.

FULL INTERVIEW (Syria Deeply)

Photo: Anhedral/flickr

19 Feb
Syrian conflict “looking more like a regional war with an epicentre in Syria”, says envoy | Arthur Beesley
The deadlock in Syrian peace talks may yet prompt a revival of demands for a western military intervention in the conflict, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned.
Louise Arbour, the recipient of an award at Trinity College Dublin last night for her work in international law, also said the looming withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan carried potential to destabilise the country itself and the wider central Asian region.
Ms Arbour, a former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, is president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group, an independent non-governmental organisation for the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. In the 1990s she was chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.
FULL ARTICLE (Irish Times)
Photo: Matchbox Media Collective/flickr

Syrian conflict “looking more like a regional war with an epicentre in Syria”, says envoy | Arthur Beesley

The deadlock in Syrian peace talks may yet prompt a revival of demands for a western military intervention in the conflict, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned.

Louise Arbour, the recipient of an award at Trinity College Dublin last night for her work in international law, also said the looming withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan carried potential to destabilise the country itself and the wider central Asian region.

Ms Arbour, a former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, is president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group, an independent non-governmental organisation for the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. In the 1990s she was chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

FULL ARTICLE (Irish Times)

Photo: Matchbox Media Collective/flickr

4 Feb
Al Qaeda Cuts Off Powerful But Brutal Islamist Group In Syria | Max J. Rosenthal
In the latest sign of schisms within the Syrian rebel armies fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, the central leadership of al-Qaeda sharply renounced ties with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
For ISIS, as the group is widely known, the blunt statement from al-Qaeda reinforced its pariah status as a militant body so inflexible that it is shunned even by other hardline Islamists. Having emerged as a major power on the ground in Syria last year, ISIS amassed enemies by trying to marginalize other rebel groups and consolidate its own power. It also enraged Syrian civilians by imposing a harsh version of Islamic law on areas under its control, sometimes beheading those deemed enemies.
In its statement posted in Arabic on prominent online jihadi forums, al-Qaeda’s central command declared that “ISIS is not a branch of AQ & we have no organizational relationship with it,” according to a translation from Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Al-Qaeda added that it bore no responsibility for ISIS’ actions in Syria.
FULL ARTICLE (The World Post)

Al Qaeda Cuts Off Powerful But Brutal Islamist Group In Syria | Max J. Rosenthal

In the latest sign of schisms within the Syrian rebel armies fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, the central leadership of al-Qaeda sharply renounced ties with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

For ISIS, as the group is widely known, the blunt statement from al-Qaeda reinforced its pariah status as a militant body so inflexible that it is shunned even by other hardline Islamists. Having emerged as a major power on the ground in Syria last year, ISIS amassed enemies by trying to marginalize other rebel groups and consolidate its own power. It also enraged Syrian civilians by imposing a harsh version of Islamic law on areas under its control, sometimes beheading those deemed enemies.

In its statement posted in Arabic on prominent online jihadi forums, al-Qaeda’s central command declared that “ISIS is not a branch of AQ & we have no organizational relationship with it,” according to a translation from Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Al-Qaeda added that it bore no responsibility for ISIS’ actions in Syria.

FULL ARTICLE (The World Post)

17 Dec
LINK

In Syria, Rebel Movement Continues To Fracture

Check out this interview with Crisis Group’s Noah Bonsey, Senior Analyst for Syria.

Join the Crisis Group conversation!

Watch Louise Arbour and Kofi Annan on the responsibility to protect, Comfort Ero on the militarisation of peacekeeping, Thomas Pickering on UN Security Council reform, and George Soros on the breakdown of the rule of law.

Crisis Group’s annual briefing brings serious thought to foreign policy’s hardest questions.

YouTube

7 Nov
Syrian war refugees find crowds, crime, contagion at camps | Ashish Sen
Kilian Kleinschmidt, a hardened veteran of international humanitarian crises, finds it too painful to listen to the stories of death and destruction from refugees fleeing Syria’s relentless civil war, as they flood across the border to a crowded camp in northern Jordan.
“I am avoiding talking to people who come in as much as possible because the stories are horrendous,” Mr. Kleinschmidt, who runs the Zaatari camp for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a phone interview from Jordan.
FULL ARTICLE (Washington Times) 
Photo: Oxfam International/Flickr

Syrian war refugees find crowds, crime, contagion at camps | Ashish Sen

Kilian Kleinschmidt, a hardened veteran of international humanitarian crises, finds it too painful to listen to the stories of death and destruction from refugees fleeing Syria’s relentless civil war, as they flood across the border to a crowded camp in northern Jordan.

“I am avoiding talking to people who come in as much as possible because the stories are horrendous,” Mr. Kleinschmidt, who runs the Zaatari camp for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a phone interview from Jordan.

FULL ARTICLE (Washington Times) 

Photo: Oxfam International/Flickr

6 Nov
NPR

Aid Groups Call For More Access Inside Syria As Winter Looms

Peter Harling spoke to NPR’s Melissa Block this morning about the humanitarian toll war is having on Syria’s citizens.

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1 Nov
L’ONU doit promouvoir un accès inconditionnel à l’aide humanitaire en Syrie
Bruxelles  |   1 Nov 2013
L’accord russo-américain visant à démanteler l’arsenal d’armes chimiques syriennes a ravivé chez les observateurs l’espoir de trouver une issue politique. Cependant, un objectif plus immédiat, plus réaliste  – et mieux à même de juger de la bonne volonté des différentes parties concernées – est d’ordre humanitaire.   Sur le terrain, la situation se détériore de jour en jour. Alors que le conflit entame son troisième hiver, il est plus que temps de s’en préoccuper et tous – autorités syriennes, rebelles mais aussi leurs alliés respectifs – doivent impérativement trouver le moyen d’aider la population civile, victime d’atrocités intolérables.
crisisgroup.org

L’ONU doit promouvoir un accès inconditionnel à l’aide humanitaire en Syrie

Bruxelles  |   1 Nov 2013

L’accord russo-américain visant à démanteler l’arsenal d’armes chimiques syriennes a ravivé chez les observateurs l’espoir de trouver une issue politique. Cependant, un objectif plus immédiat, plus réaliste – et mieux à même de juger de la bonne volonté des différentes parties concernées – est d’ordre humanitaire.   Sur le terrain, la situation se détériore de jour en jour. Alors que le conflit entame son troisième hiver, il est plus que temps de s’en préoccuper et tous – autorités syriennes, rebelles mais aussi leurs alliés respectifs – doivent impérativement trouver le moyen d’aider la population civile, victime d’atrocités intolérables.

crisisgroup.org