Tag Archive: Syria

Assad’s Foreign Fighters

Assad’s Foreign Fighters

While the danger posed by foreign fighters flooding into Syria has become a central point in world media and research, this focus was more likely to concentrate on Islamically-flavoured extremists and their globally Jihadist ideology. Much less attention was given to those who fight beside Assad regime, who indeed espouse an extremist ideology but with a different flavor. As much as Assad relies on Russian fighters, warplanes and destructive force, he also relies on Iran’s money and Shiite foreign fighters from a variety of countries.

Assad and the rise of ISIS

Assad and the rise of ISIS

A link between Bashar Assad regime and the rise of the so-called Islamic State does not come as a surprise to many Syrians. Unlike the image the regime has been trying to sell to world media that Assad is fighting ISIS, there is well-documented evidence of the Assad dictatorship’s contributions to the ISIS tale of terror. Both former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Assad released al-Qaeda-affiliated prisoners in 2011 in their respective countries, which was instrumental to the rise of ISIS. So far, research has shown that releasing Jihadist extremists correlates with the increase of the number of arrests…
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US Army Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle in Northern Syria – © Photo: @AfarinMamosta/Twitter

Syria: Has Turkey Been Marginalised While the US Thrusts into the Fight?

In a remarkably under-reported series of events in northern Syria, the success of the joint Turkish – Free Syrian Army (FSA) Operation Euphrates Shield (Turkish: Fırat Kalkanı Harekâtı, Arabic dara’ al-furat) is now more uncertain than ever. The goal of the military campaign is to defeat the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). FSA forces supported by Turkish air power, armour, artillery, intelligence and special forces were moving slowly but steadily on their way from the Turkish border towards what is regarded as ISIS’s centre of gravity – its self-proclaimed capital in the city of Al-Raqqah. Just…
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Syrian soldier with the national flag inside Aleppo's Umayyad Mosque [Reuters/Omar Sanadiki]

Aleppo: Evacuations Continue but What’s Next?

Evacuations from besieged Aleppo are in progress right now and thousands of wounded people, elderly civilians and children have already made it out with the help of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. Many of us have been waiting for this moment and have campaigned for safe passage for civilians and humanitarians who were being bombed in their crowded neighbourhoods. It’s a bittersweet moment. At the arrival point in the Aleppo countryside many were in tears. Some of relief to have survived the siege, others because they had to leave their homes and the graves of their family members…
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What to Be Improved in the Arab World? Image ©: Wayne Owens Chair Tanner Humanities Center The University Of Utah

What to Be Improved in the Arab World?

The short answer to the question: Where does one start? If things in the Middle East and North Africa were not complicated enough, answering the question has been made even more difficult by the rise of Donald Trump, and the fact that no one, maybe not even he, has an idea about what his policy towards the various crises in the Middle East and North Africa will be, or what his attitude might be towards individual countries in the region.

Graffiti under siege - MPC Journal - HOS

Graffiti Under Siege

Omeir, a 20-year-old Syrian artist, has been living under siege in Douma in the eastern Ghouta of Damascus for more than three and a half years. In cooperation with the Human in Syria Initiative, he had the chance to tell his short story: I am from the city of Douma in the eastern Ghouta of Damascus. As many people living in besieged areas, I try to seek possible alternatives to keep on living. My story started from here. Based on my passion for art, painting, colours and artistic expression of ideas in a way suits the war we are living,…
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Credit: Bulent Kilic

How Many Foreign Fighters in Syria?

It is estimated that a number between 27,000 and 31,000 foreign fighters have been flocking to Iraq and Syria since the breakout of the war in 2011. An updated assessment of the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq shows that there is a significant increase in the number of foreign fighters travelling to Syria. Data provided by the Soufan Group in 2014 estimated that the identifiable number of foreign fighters is approximately 12,000 from 81 countries. It was also believed that the number of foreign Jihadists coming form Western countries does not exceed 3000: “Around 2,500 are from…
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A Syrian woman cries as she leaves a residential block reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18, 2014, in Aleppo. Khaled Khatib / AFP

The War Criminals of Syria

“It is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.” This is the charge laid by the British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, in a vituperative meeting of the Security Council on 25 September 2016. In comments unrestrained by the normal diplomatic niceties, Britain, France and the US openly condemned Russia as “an international pariah”. The war crimes accusations centred on the widespread use of bunker-busting and incendiary bombs on the 275,000 civilians living in the rebel-held east of the city, weapons that Moscow’s accusers say were dropped by Russian aircraft.

General Adib al-Shishakli with officers of the Syrian Army in 1953. Front row, to his left sits Head of State, President Fawzi Selu and General Aziz Abdul al-Karim. In the back seat, in glasses, is General Amin Abu Assaf, Riad Kaylani, and Mahmud Shawkat

Remember Syria’s President Adib Shishakli

Nearly 52 years ago, a Syrian political leader hiding in exile was killed in the heart of Brazil. As Syria watchers continue to monitor and understand the country’s grinding civil war, the era of the former Syrian political figure Adib Al-Shishakli could yield some clues. The flag of the Syrian opposition factions bares the green, white, and black tricolor with three red stars. The very same flag once flew over Syria from its independence until the late 1950’s, a turbulent era marked by political intrigue, military coups, early experiments with democracy, and authoritarian rule. At the center of this era…
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