كسر حصار حلب

Here are Arabic, French and Spanish translations of my blog ‘Breaking the siege of Aleppo’. Many thanks to the team at GlobalVoices for the translations.
French and Spanish follow Arabic.

كسر حصار حلب

ترجمة: رامي الهامس

احتفل الناس في شرق حلب في 6 أغسطس/آب بعد كسر الثوار للحصار الذي فرض عليهم من قبل النظام السوري وحلفائه منذ 17 يوليو/تموز في مناطق المدينة التي يسيطر عليها الثوار منذ يوليو/تموز 2012 كسجن كبير لأكثر من 300 ألف نسمة عملوا على تخزين المواد الغذائية خوفًا من الموت جوعًا.

احتاج الأمر لجهود جبارة من الثوار مع أسلحتهم المحدودة لكسر الحصار. انضم القوميين الديمقراطيون للجيش السوري الحر إلى الميليشيات الإسلامية وجبهة فتح الشام، المعروفة حتى وقت سابق من هذا الشهر باسم جبهة النصرة، التابعة لتنظيم القاعدة في سوريا. Continue reading

Daraya

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‘Daraya: the spirit of the Syrian revolution, and the heartbeat of every rebel’

Four years following its liberation, the predominantly agricultural town of Daraya, strategically located near the capital, has fallen to the regime. A deal was reached to evacuate the 4,000-8,000 civilians remaining from a pre-uprising population of 300,000. The local fighters who defended their town so courageously will go to Idlib and join the resistance there. Continue reading

Breaking the siege of Aleppo

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The first aid convoy entering Aleppo after breaking of the siege – sent by the  people of Idlib

The people of eastern Aleppo celebrated on Saturday after rebels broke through the siege that had been imposed on them by the Syrian regime and its allies since July 17. For almost a month, the areas of the city held by the revolutionaries since July 2012 had been turned into an open-air prison where some 300,000 people stockpiled food and supplies for fear of starvation.

It required a great feat of unity for the rebels, with their vastly inferior arsenal, to break the siege. The democratic nationalists of the Free Syrian Army joined together with Islamist militias and, crucially, Jabhat Fatah Al Sham, which until earlier this month had been known as the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. Continue reading

Syria’s forgotten revolutionaries

I was interviewed by Patrick Ward for Bookwitty  about why contesting the prevalent narratives on Syria is so important …

Why did you write Burning Country?

There was a lot being written about Syria, a lot being written about Syrians, but very little that actually spoke to Syrians and asked them how they themselves define what’s happening in their country. So we really wanted to bring Syrian voices to the forefront, and to speak with people who had been involved in the revolution and see how they felt, to hear their story and to enable other people to hear their story. Continue reading

Why are Syria’s refugees going through hell?

Last month Ashley Smith interviewed me for the Socialist Worker about the refugee crisis and current situation …

OVER THE last few weeks, the Syrian regime has carried out a savage siege and bombardment of Aleppo. Why is Assad’s regime so intent on crushing Aleppo and its people?

ALEPPO IS strategically and symbolically important for the regime and its allies, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Continue reading

Challenging the Nation State in Syria

This article was first published at Fifth Estate. It was written in February, but only just got online.

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Hope amidst the wreckage in Daraya

Syria’s current borders were drawn up by imperial map makers a hundred years ago in the midst of World War I as part of a secret accord between France and Britain to divide the Mideast spoils of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. As the colonial state gave way to the post-independence state, power was transferred from Western masters to local elites.

The three major discourses which grew out of the anti-colonial struggle—socialism, Arab nationalism, and Islamism—all fetishized the idea of a strong state as the basis of resistance to Western hegemony. In the case of Syria, it led to the emergence of an ultra-authoritarian regime where power is centralized around one man in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by the state bureaucracy, and security forces. But today, new ways of organizing have emerged which challenge centralized authority and the state framework. Continue reading