Syria’s Prisoners: Absent but never forgotten

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Protest held by Families for Freedom outside the UN in Geneva (Photo via Families for Freedom Facebook page)

This article was originally published at The New Arab.

This Ramadan, Syrian families across the country and around the world will be breaking their fast in the absence of a loved one. As favourite delicacies are prepared and relatives gather, the empty chair at the table will be a painful reminder of those who are absent but never forgotten. Many will experience the ongoing pain and torment of having no news as to where their relative is being held, or if they are alive or dead. Continue reading

En Siria, las vidas civiles no importan

Publicado originalmente en ‘Hummus For Thought’ (Joey Husseini Ayoub Ed.)

Desde la llegada de Trump al poder se ha producido una importante escalada en la intervención estadounidense en Siria, supuestamente para derrotar al ISIS.

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Voluntarios de los Cascos Blancos – Jina, Alepo

Los Estados Unidos ya tienen cientos de efectivos de sus Fuerzas Especiales luchando en el terreno junto a las Fuerzas Democráticas de Siria y les dan respaldo con centenares de ataques aéreos. Ahora se ha desplegado una unidad de artillería de los Marines y se planea enviar más tropas de tierra. Continue reading

In Syria, civilian lives don’t matter

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White Helmet volunteers work to free trapped victims of US airstrikes in Al Jina, Aleppo

Originally published at Hummus for Thought

Since Trump came to power there has been a marked escalation of the US intervention in Syria, supposedly to defeat ISIS.

The US already has hundreds of Special Operations forces fighting on the ground alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces and has backed them with hundreds of airstrikes. Now a marine artillery unit has been deployed to Syria to support the battle to take Raqqa and the US is planning on sending in more ground troops. Continue reading

Exile: Forced displacement and demographic change in Syria

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The green buses finally arrive in Al Waer, Homs, March 2017

This article was originally published in January at In These Times. It can be found in Spanish here.

The world watched, throughout November and December 2016, as conditions in the rebel-held area of Aleppo became unbearable. There, amid heavy snowfall, thousands of residents were forcibly displaced from their homes. Most were sent to rebel-held Idlib, where the regime is concentrating its opponents and may soon concentrate its military might. Some of those sent to regime-held west Aleppo were reportedly arrested, including Ahmad Mustafa, a journalist with Halab Today, and Abdulhadi Kamel, a volunteer with the Syria Civil Defense. Others were forcibly conscripted by the regime army. Continue reading

The tyrants bring the invaders

This article was originally published on OpenDemocracy

“The tyrants bring the invaders.” Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)

As liberated Aleppo was falling, its horror broadcast by media activists in real time, thousands across the world took to the streets to protest the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding. Whilst such solidarity is vital, some may bitterly complain that it is six years too late. The last pockets of grassroots democracy and creative resistance are now being crushed, and the Syrian conflict mutates into a much darker and more terrifying phase.  Continue reading

The dispossessed

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Photo Credit: Aleppo Media Centre

This was originally published in Al-Jumhuriya

Evacuation. It sounds like a humanitarian operation. The word conceals its brutality. Haunting drone footage shows a seemingly endless convoy of ambulances and green buses snaking their way through a destroyed and desolate wasteland. Those who leave their homes, the city of their childhoods, may never return. This is the Syrian Nakba. It’s a trauma both individual and collective. And its impact will be felt by generations to come. Continue reading