Syria in Crisis


A member of al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham watches men in a "tug of war" contest during an Islamic quiz and games contest in a public square in Raqqa, Sept. 25, 2013. (photo by REUTERS)

The Evolution of ISIS

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 | Translated from assafir

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, appeared only recently in Syria but has been able to quickly eclipse other groups.

Syrian Refugees Now Equal One-Third of Lebanon’s Population

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

US leads with assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon but budget battles and a lack of sufficient support from wealthy Arab states threaten to exacerbate Lebanon’s “existential” crisis.

Syria Kurdish Leader: Solution Must Include Assad

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 | Translated from taraf

Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Syrian Kurdish PYD, said no solution can be reached in Syria without involving President Assad, and his exclusion would mean the death of 2 million Alawites.

Syria’s Race Against Time

Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

UN-Arab League Joint Representative Lakhdar Brahimi presses for Geneva II, while Saudi women are on the road again.

Iraqi Shiites join Syria war

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 | Omar al-Jaffal, Contributor

Many Iraqi Shiites are joining the fight in Syria, by first receiving weapons training in Iran and then traveling to Lebanon, from where they are taken to Damascus by Hezbollah.

Is Saudi Arabia Holding Up the Geneva II Conference on Syria?

Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

While Turkey may be shifting its Syria policy in response to domestic and international pressure, Saudi Arabia appears to be digging in to oppose the trend toward a diplomatic solution.

Getting to Geneva II: Three Challenges

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

Regional discontent and Lakhdar Brahimi’s tenuous connections with parties to the Syrian conflict pose obstacles to setting out a precise date and framework for the Geneva II conference.

Erdogan's Frustration Shows Over Syria Deal

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 | Semih Idiz, Columnist

The Turkish prime minister is questioning John Kerry's praise of Syria’s compliance to date with UN Security Council Resolution 2118.

Turkish Nationals Fighting On All Fronts in Syria

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 | Translated from milliyet

With young fighters going to fight in Syria, it is important to note that Turkish nationals have taken up arms on all sides of the conflict raging in its neighbor to the south.

Natural Gas Resources May Be Backstory in Syria War

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

The Syria war, like many of the region's other conflicts, has an important oil and gas angle.

Displaced Syrians Shed Light On Lebanon’s Internally Displaced

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 | Nasser Chararah, Contributor

The continuous flow of displaced Syrians into Lebanon throughout the civil war has served to bring attention to internally displaced Lebanese citizens, who lead similarly disaffected lives.

Assad Warns Erdogan on Turkey’s Syria Policy

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 | Pinar Tremblay, Contributor

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s latest interview reveals again the deep personal enmity between him and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Maliki Says Terrorism in Iraq 'Directly Related' to Syria

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 | Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Contributor

In an exclusive written interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said, “The increasing growth of extremist groups” is the deeper problem in Syria and warned “against the narrow, revenge-based view that controls some of the region's countries."    

Syrian Islamist Forces Gain in Aleppo

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

Divisions among Syrian opposition groups may be hindering Geneva II.

Arab League Secretary-General: Syria Needs Political Solution

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

As talk of a potential Geneva II conference has picked up again, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby emphasizes the importance of cooperation in getting all necessary parties to meet at the negotiating table.

Turkish Parliament's Permit to Intervene in Syria Misguided

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 | Translated from radikal

The Turkish parliament recently issued a decision renewing permission for Turkish troops to intervene militarily in Syria, but they should be addressing the dangers posed by al-Qaeda and jihadist groups.

GCC Secretary-General Interviewed on Iran, Syria, Yemen

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said that while they welcomed Iran’s new rhetoric, it must be accompanied by action on the ground.

Syrian Sufis Divided as Salafist Influence Grows

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 | Mohammad Abu Rumman, Contributor

Sufism has long been the dominant strand of Sunni Islam in Syria, but is under threat as Salafism gains power.

Netanyahu Supports a 'Syrian Model' for Iran

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 | Ben Caspit, Columnist

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would gladly embrace employing a military threat to convince Tehran to halt its nuclear program.   

US-Iran Deal Would Bring Good News to Lebanon

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

A thaw in US-Iran relations would, over time, have a positive effect on regional conflicts.

Lost in the Pipeline: Tracking Jihadists From Turkey to Syria

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 | Translated from radikal

Extremist groups fighting in Syria have set up recruitment centers in southern Turkey, encouraging youth to travel to Syria for jihad.

UN Resolution Opens New Chapter in Syria Conflict

Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

A UN Security Council resolution has recast the Syria conflict as a matter for international diplomacy, not US unilateral action.

Rouhani Heads to New York, Offers Help on Syria Talks

Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

Al-Monitor’s analysis and coverage of what to expect at the UN General Assembly this week.

Lebanon Support Group Deserves Support

Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013 | Clovis Maksoud, Contributor

The International Support Group for Lebanon, a critical initiative by President Michel Suleiman, will meet at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25.

Russia Rescues Turkey From Syrian Chemical Threat

Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 | Kadri Gursel, Columnist

The accord to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons has marginalized Ankara’s Syria policy while removing the threat against Turkey.

Turkey’s Syria Nightmare Goes From Bad to Worse

Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 | Semih Idiz, Columnist

Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Syrian government are setting up camp on Syria’s border.

US-Russia Syria Deal Affects Saudi Regional Strategy

Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 | Jean Aziz, Columnist

The US-Russia deal on Syria chemical weapons gives momentum to possible settlement and may mean changes for regional players.

Vedrine: Threat of Force Key to US-Russia Initiative on Syria

Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013 | Denis Simonneau, Contributor

Hubert Vedrine, a former French minister for foreign affairs, talks to Al-Monitor about the Syrian crisis.

Washington, Riyadh Divided Over Iran’s Role in Syria Solution

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

While Washington and Riyadh agree that the Syrian regime should go, they are very divided on a timeline and how to achieve this goal, with Iran’s role being particularly contentious.

Dismantled Syrian Factories Resold in Turkey

Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 | Translated from taraf

Following the outbreak of the Syrian crisis more than two years ago, many factories in the north have been forced to close, and there are reports that some of these sites are being disassembled, smuggled into Turkey and resold.

Saudis Set Back by US-Russia Deal on Syrian Weapons

Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 | Madawi Al-Rasheed, Columnist

Saudi Arabia, like Iran, has pursued a sectarian interventionist strategy in Syria that furthers the war and undermines a democratic transition.

On Turkey-Syria Border, Despair Over War

Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Columnist

Syrians in Antakya are pessimistic about the future.

Is Defection of Syrian General Part of Russian Plan?

Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 | Jean Aziz, Columnist

There are reports that a high-ranking Syrian Alawite officer, Gen. Ali Habib, has left the country, leaving some thinking this could be part of a Russian plan to reach a solution to the conflict.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Backs US-Russia Plan for Syria

Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says that if there is a chance for peace in Syria, “we have to grab it.”

Syria Crisis Prompts Turkey's New Openings to Its Alevis

Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 | Rasim Ozan Kutahyali, Contributor

Turkey’s new liberalization package for its largest religious minority is linked to Syria.

Obama’s Syria Policy Has Potential for Breakthrough on War

Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013 | Al-Monitor Week in Review

Al-Monitor’s analysis and coverage of US policy toward Syria.

Syria's Oil Sector on Verge of Collapse

Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

Syrian oil exports have dramatically decreased and the entire sector is in ruins as a result of the war.

Syria War Paralyzes Region's Economies

Friday, Sep. 13, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

General instability in post-Arab Spring Middle Eastern countries, along with ongoing conflicts, has left the region's economic situation particularly dismal.

Court Case Reveals Turkey Arms Flow to Syrian Rebels

Friday, Sep. 13, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Columnist

The transfer of Turkish weapons to the Free Syrian Army is documented in a court case in Hatay.

Turkey’s Syria Border on Edge

Friday, Sep. 13, 2013 | Amberin Zaman , Columnist

A first-hand account of Turkey’s Syrian border suggests that Turkey continues to provide sanctuary for both rebels fighting the Syrian government and Kurdish forces alike.

Israel's Brooding Versus Hopeful Expectation for Peace

Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 | Clovis Maksoud, Contributor

Israel's brooding over Syria should be shifted to hopeful expectation of a peaceful outcome.

Israel Escapes Retaliation Threat from Syria

Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 | Jacky Hugi, Contributor

Russia and Syria have offered the US a respectable way out, without damaging its deterrence, and relieving the region from an immediate retaliatory threat. 

Israel Will Pay for Obama’s Hesitancy on Syria

Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013 | Shmuel Rosner, Contributor

Israel should expect little in return for its support of US President Obama's policies on Syria.

Lebanon as 'Theater of Surprise' in Syria War

Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

Lebanon is the traditional battlefield for regional conflicts.

Syrian Refugees Overwhelm Lebanon's Schools

Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013 | Translated from assafir

Lebanon is struggling to deal with an immense number of Syrian refugees, particularly as the new school year begins and refugee children seek to integrate into Lebanese schools.

Obama Administration Should Stop Conflating Syria, Iran

Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

The Obama administration is risking a breakthrough with Iran in its rhetoric on  Syria.

'Diplomatic Vitality' Needed to Bring Peace to Syria

Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 | Clovis Maksoud, Contributor

While the US public awaits President Barack Obama's speech on Sept. 10, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has publicly criticized a US military attack against Syria, lobbying to continue negotiations during Geneva II.

Syrian Islamist Rebels Threaten Maaloula, Christians

Sunday, Sep. 8, 2013 | Nasser Chararah, Contributor

The Aramaic-speaking  village of Maaloula, a symbol of religious and sectarian coexistence in Syria, has been invaded and desecrated by Islamist opposition groups.

Turks Oppose War in Syria

Saturday, Sep. 7, 2013 | Kadri Gursel, Columnist

A recent Turkish poll shows that those opposed to a war in Syria grew from 57% to 72% over the past year.

Jumblatt: Military Strike Would Increase 'Chaos' in Syria

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Translated from assafir

Lebanese MP Walid Jumblatt discussed the possible US military strike in Syria and Lebanese politics.

Christians In the Levant Grow Fearful Over US Syria Strike

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Jean Aziz, Columnist

Christians in Syria and Lebanon congregate to discuss the implications for their community should the United States follow through with its plans to carry out military strikes on Syria.

Five Lessons From Turkey’s 1998 Standoff With Syria

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Barın Kayaoğlu, Contributor

Revisiting the 1998 confrontation with Syria over Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan could help decision makers in Ankara avoid the pitfalls of intervention.

Military Strike on Syria May Put Turkey at Risk

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Semih Idiz, Columnist

Turkey may become the target of Syrian retaliation and face domestic unrest in the case of a US strike on Syria.

Iraq Needs Unity to Deal with Syria Crisis

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Contributor

As foreign military intervention in Syria grows more imminent, the Iraqi authorities would do well to set aside their internal differences and take the necessary precautions should its neighbor’s conflict spill over onto its territory.

Syria's Chemical Weapons Could Inform Iran Nuclear Talks

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Yasmin Alem, Contributor

By talking to Iran, the Obama administration could find a face-saving off-ramp for its Syrian conundrum and build trust for resolving Iran's nuclear crisis.

Lebanon’s President Must Form Government to Prevent Collapse

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

While the situation in Lebanon is increasingly affected by the crisis in neighboring Syria, President Michel Suleiman must form a government, even without the support of major parties, to end the country’s paralysis and save its economy.

Internal Syrian Opposition Group Rejects US Strike

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Translated from assafir

Unlike the Syrian opposition abroad, the Syrian National Coordination Committee rejects a US strike and calls for diplomacy toward a political solution.

Syrian Kurdish Party Struggles With Dissent, Exodus

Friday, Sep. 6, 2013 | Andrea Glioti, Contributor

In Amuda, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has imposed a resolution banning Syrian Kurdish emigration after last month's mass exodus in pursuit of autonomy.

What Does Syria Crisis Hold for US, Iran?

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Nassif Hitti, Contributor

The challenges of the Syrian crisis, and how Iran and the United States deal with it, will have a strong impact in the region.

Libya Objects to Foreign Intervention in Syria

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Translated from assafir

Though Libya itself received NATO military support to oust its own dictator, it has come out against what looks like certain armed intervention by Western powers in Syria.

Turkey Calls for Help Receiving Syrian Refugees

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Columnist

Turkey's foreign minister is concerned that another chemical weapons attack could increase the number of refugees from neighboring countries.

Syrian Christian Village Besieged by Jihadists

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Translated from assafir

The Syrian town of Maaloula, once a common pilgrimage site for Christians from around the world, has in recent days witnessed violent clashes between armed Islamist opposition groups and the Syrian army.

Turkey’s Kurdish Strategy Muddled by Talk of US Syria Strike

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Fehim Taştekin, Contributor

A slowdown in the peace process with the PKK and anticipation of a US military strike has pushed the Rojava, or Western Kurdistan, opening to the back burner.

US Should Keep Focus on Syria, Not Iran

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Dalia Dassa Kaye, Contributor

Iran's nuclear threat should not be part of the US congressional debate over whether to authorize airstrikes in Syria.

Maliki Proposes Initiative to Resolve Syria Crisis

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 | Translated from alhayat

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has proposed an eight-point initiative to resolve the Syrian conflict, based on a comprehensive cease-fire and a rejection of military intervention.

Iran Plays Supporting Role in House Panel Debate on Syria

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee focus on potential adverse fallout from a US strike on Syria, including emboldening extremist opposition to Bashar al-Assad.

Israelis Amazed by Open Debate in US Congress on Syria

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

If Israel was to discuss striking Syria, it would never have taken place in a Knesset open debate — as is the case in the US Congress — but behind closed doors.   

Israel Awaits Cyberattack From Syrian Electronic Army

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Tal Pavel, Contributor

The Syrian Electronic Army, related to elements supporting President Assad, intensifies its targeting of government bodies and global media outlets. 

Israel's Right Wing Does Not Care About US Credibility

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

Israel's right wing seeks to score propaganda points at US expense.

War Clouds Gather Over Lebanon

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | An Al-Monitor Correspondent in Beirut, Contributor

A US strike on Syria could double the already large number of refugees in Lebanon.

US-Iran Nuclear Deal Hinges on Syria Vote

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Jon B. Alterman, Contributor

If US President Barack Obama fails to win the congressional vote on the authorization to use force against Syria, Iran will conclude a nuclear deal is out of reach.

Egypt Debates US Strike on Syria

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Nervana Mahmoud, Contributor

Anti-Americanism has clouded perceptions in what is now the post-realist phase of the Egyptian revolution.

Refugee Crisis in Lebanon Takes Extra Toll on Women

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 | Charlotte Bruneau, Contributor

The plight of women in Lebanese refugee camps is worsening as refugees continue to flee the war in Syria.

Turkey’s Middle East Policy Lies in Shambles

Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 | Semih Idiz, Columnist

While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may still have some admirers in the "Arab street," he may be losing the admiration of many of the region’s leaders.

Is Turkey Backpedaling on Syria?

Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Columnist

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has signaled that Turkey hasn't fully decided to join the coalition of the willing against the Syrian regime.

Is There a Plan for Day After Military Strike?

Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 | Sami Nader, Columnist

As the world awaits a potential Western military strike on Syria, the results and repercussions of such a strike would largely depend on the plan or vision to be implemented the day after.

Obama Stuns Israel With Delay on Syria Strike

Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 | Ben Caspit, Columnist

The US president's decision to seek congressional approval to strike Syria has caught Israel and its security establishment by surprise.

US Military Force Could Promote Diplomacy in Syria

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Murhaf Jouejati , Contributor

If the endgame is a diplomatic solution, the Obama administration should seek to strengthen secular Syrian opposition forces in advance of the Geneva II conference.

Regional Turmoil Casts Shadow on Israelis’ New Year’s Eve

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

Israelis will celebrate the Jewish New Year with the threat of the Syrian civil war, the revolutions in Egypt and other changes in the region; next year doesn't promise more stability.

Obama's Unnecessary Red Line

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

President Obama's hesitation in enforcing his own red line on Syria will make Israelis question his limits for Iran.

Islamic Jihad May Respond if Israel Enters Syria War

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Hazem Balousha, Contributor

Fighters from Al-Quds Brigades say they are ready to fight in Syria alongside Hezbollah if requested.

Syria's Bus Drivers Brave War to Provide Transport

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Martin Armstrong, Contributor

Bus companies operating between Lebanese and Syrian cities continue despite the high dangers of war.

Attacking Al-Qaeda in Syria

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Bruce Riedel, Contributor

A robust information campaign to undermine al-Qaeda in Syria would help to mitigate, although not eliminate, the dangers of the civil war.

Saudi Arabia Pushes US Toward Military Strike in Syria

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Madawi Al-Rasheed, Columnist

Saudi Arabia is advocating for a US military strike in Syria to advance its own regional and sectarian agenda.

Egypt Rejects US Strike on Syria

Monday, Sep. 2, 2013 | Translated from assafir

Despite massive financial aid from the Gulf, Egypt has chosen to run counter to the Gulf countries’ Syria policy and has come out against the expected US strike.

Iran Pleased With US Pause on Syria Strike

Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been stressing the need for cooperation and consultation on Syria.

Syria's Rebels Not Unified on US Strike

Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 | Andrea Glioti, Contributor

Syria's rebels are cautious about attacks that they believe may benefit Israel, and not aid them in defeating President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria’s War of Tunnels

Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

An exclusive report from Qusair.

One Thing Syrians Agree On: Sense of Collective Loss

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

Layla M. writes that the only sentiment shared by Syrians is one of collective loss — of both a secure past and a meaningful future. The general feeling on the streets of Damascus is that the current system of governance is crumbling under the weight of civil war and economic sanctions.

FSA Strikes Syrian Military HQ in Damascus

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

Syrians have learned to anticipate bad things, writes Layla M. for Al-Monitor. A massive explosion hit the regime’s military headquarters last month, shattering a short-lived sense of normalcy and bringing back to Damascus a sense of anxiety and dread. 

Syrian People's Wallets, Psyches Damaged by Civil Strife

Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

The recent intensification of violence in Syria’s two main cities has practically brought commerce to a standstill. Business owners aren’t seeing the profits to inject back into the market; meanwhile, the protracted and dangerous state of Syria’s unrelenting crisis has made those with cash anxious to save it, further freezing economic conditions.

The Risk of Syria's Chemical Weapons

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 | Mark Fitzpatrick, Contributor

Unconventional weapons must be a top international priority, writes Mark Fitzpatrick. The risk of Syria’s chemical weapons being used is very real, and the prospect of them falling into the wrong hands is even more so, given the degree to which the stockpiles are dispersed and the number of fighters in Syria with links to al-Qaeda and other radical groups.

Syrian Bombs Follow Refugees To 'Liberated' City of Azaz

Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 | Justin Vela

The inhabitants of Azaz — always an unruly lot known for smuggling, and in some cases, drug running — were in a celebratory mood as they showed off their “liberated” city. Still, in the bloody aftermath of the recent bombing, efforts to form new institiutions, like courts, remain a challenge. Justin Vela reports for Al-Monitor.

Where the Rebels Rule: Syria's Boys of Summer

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 | Katie Paul, Contributor

Syria's former prime minister, who defected last week, said the Assad regime is crumbling and controls only about 30% of the country. In Jabal Zawiya, a village under rebel control in a strategic spot between Aleppo and the coast, boy soldiers with Kalshnikovs and walkie-talkies rule, writes Katie Paul, who also shares photos from her journey.

Syrian Conflict Strains Bonds Of Families and Lovers

Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

One deeply distressing consequence of the Syrian crisis is the increasing number of families breaking up over support for either the FSA or the regime. Divisions emerge in the city and country, among the rich and poor, and few are even aware of the extent to which their lives are affected by national and international geo-politics.

For Many Assad Supporters, Other Paths Appear Riskier

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

Syrians opposed to Assad’s rule often get more media attention, but a visit to Damascus shows that a sizeable — and perhaps decisive — part of the population supports, or at least doesn’t resist, his remaining in power. Some even blame parents who bring their children to protests — to “get shot and killed” — for fueling violence.

Has Assad Won The First Round In The Battle For Damascus?

Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

The Syrian opposition scored a big victory last week with the assassination of members of Assad's inner circle, but the gains quickly slipped through their fingers in the face of the regime's overwhelming might. Layla M. goes to crucial Damascus neighborhoods in the battle, where she talks to city residents.

Crumbling Syrian Regime Casts Long Shadow Over Region

Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2012 | Henri J. Barkey

The bombing that killed senior regime officials in Syria is just another sign that Bashar al-Assad’s regime is on its way out sooner or later, writes Henri J. Barkey. Syria’s disintegration will quickly be felt in Iraq, already on the brink of sectarian violence, and ties between Iraqi and Syrian Kurds will increase pressure on both Turkey and Iran.

In Syria, Ramadan Bustle Eclipsed by Plans to Escape

Saturday, Jul. 21, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

The start of Ramadan in Damascus usually sees Syrians wishing family and friends well as they scurry between shops buying supplies for the sunset meal which breaks the fast, writes Layla M. from the Syrian capitol. But this Ramadan, most of the activity on the street is at protests and funerals as Damascenes flee neighborhoods under siege. 

Damascus Spring?

Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2012 | Layla M., Contributor

Layla M., on the ground in Damascus, reports that amid sporadic artillery fire and power outages, with helicopters whirring overhead, residents verged on jubilation. But the city was a ghost town Wednesday night, hopes tempered by fears ranging from economic paralysis to chemical weapons.

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