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Syria is one of the oldest places where civilization has thought to have started. Its capital, Damascus, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Throughout history it has seen many changes, violent and otherwise.
Today it is comprised of a number of ethnic groups, mostly Arab, though a reasonable number of Kurds, Armenians are also present. There have also been a number of Iraqi refugees and the main Arab group are themselves from different sects and denominations.
Around January 2011, following on from the Arab Spring where protests against ruling regimes erupted in a number of Middle East countries, protesters in Syria came out demanding President Bashar al-Assad and his government step down. In response, Assad sent in troops with some cities and regions being besieged for weeks and months. Both pro and anti-government protest gatherings have at times been large.
Criticism of Syria’s crackdown has been quite widespread. The Arab League has responded by suspending Syria’s membership. Syria claims that it is fighting an insurgency that is terrorist by nature and claimed Al Qaeda is involved. It has not been possible to verify that claim so many see it as a cynical excuse.
The ruling regime is a sect of Shia, so has support from Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah, while the opposition is largely Sunni, thus receiving support from other Middle East countries, such as Saudi Arabia and others.
Thousands have been killed — civilians and armed combatants. Some are asking the West for a military intervention like there was in Libya, but the US in particular is not keen on another military intervention even though they have been openly hostile and critical of the Syrian ruling regime for many years.
China and Russia also have close ties with Syria and to date have not been keen on any action condemning Syria and have even vetoed some actions. Some papers have reported Iran and others helping Syria with weapons, while others also mentioned the opposition being armed by the West.
Mainstream media coverage is of course part of the issue; understandably the brutal regime crackdown has been met with shock, horror, etc. But the coverage has also been one-sided in the sense that similar types of violence committed by US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not receive similar criticism, but much flatter and measured reporting instead. Media Lens covers this point in much more detail pointing out many propaganda problems in mainstream media coverage and is worth reading.
News stories from IPS
Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Syrian uprising
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
ROME, Apr 04 (IPS) - Khaled left Syria in 2015, when his country was already in its fourth year of war. He is 27 years old and can clearly remember what his life was like then in Damascus: a happy life, with a happy family, in a happy country.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
NEW YORK, Mar 28 (IPS) - US Defense Secretary James Mattis dropped a political bombshell last week when he said the U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports that the Syrian government had used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
NEW YORK, Mar 22 (IPS) - Sherine Tadros is Head of Amnesty International's UN Office in New YorkThere is nothing controversial about saying the UN Security Council has failed Syria. Diplomats have openly admitted it, journalists have written about it, human rights organizations have declared it - several times over in the past seven years. But what happened this week was deplorable and unacceptable, even by the very low standards we now have for the Council when it comes to Syria.
Wednesday, March 07, 2018
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 07 (IPS) - Despite calls for a ceasefire, violent clashes have continued and humanitarian access remains limited in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, leaving the international community extremely concerned.
Since the Syrian government intensified its attacks in recent weeks, more than 700 civilians, many of them children, have been killed in Eastern Ghouta.
Friday, February 02, 2018
WASHINGTON DC, Feb 02 (IPS) - Except for the ongoing war in Syria, coverage of the Middle East by the evening news programs of the three big U.S. networks virtually disappeared in 2017, according to the latest annual compilation by the authoritative Tyndall Report.
Monday, August 14, 2017
ROME/GENEVA, Aug 14 (IPS) - This year alone, between January and July, 602,759 displaced Syrians returned home, according to reports from the UN Migration Agency and implementing partners on the ground. Around 6 million Syrians currently remain displaced within their own country.
Thursday, July 06, 2017
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 06 (IPS) - A former French judge has been appointed as the head of an independent team tasked with investigating war crimes in Syria.
Monday, July 03, 2017
OXFORD, Jul 03 (IPS) - Although US policies during the past few months have been quite puzzling and unpredictable, the events of the past few days have been truly bewildering and alarming. On Monday 26th June, the White House released a statement saying that the United States had "identified potential preparations for another chemical attack by the Assad regime…" It went on to say: "If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
ROME/GENEVA, Jun 20 (IPS) - Between 2010 and 2015, nearly half of all civilian war deaths worldwide occurred in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, a major independent, neutral organisation ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence informs.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
UNITED NATIONS, May 31 (IPS) - The cruel conflict in Syria continues to tear families apart, inflicts brutal suffering on the innocent, and leaves them pleading for protection and justice. I readily acknowledge that there have been reports of a significant drop in violence in some areas of the country, but such steps forward continue to be counter-weighted by the reality of a conflict that continues to devastate the civilian population.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
AMMAN, Jordan, May 18 (IPS) - Hidden almost literally under the rubble of the civil war in Syria is an economic success story that is rarely told. Hanan Odah is a thirty-year-old Palestine refugee living in Jaramana refugee camp in Damascus. She supports her multiply displaced family of three from a thriving micro-enterprise venture. Her husband was killed in the conflict, but she refused to submit to despair and dependency on her parents.
Friday, April 07, 2017
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 07 (IPS) - U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday night described the deepening Syrian refugee crisis as partial justification for the first direct U.S. airstrike against the Syrian government, even though the United States still bans all refugees from Syria.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 28 (IPS) - As the devastating civil war in Syria entered its seventh year last week, President Bashar al-Assad has continued to survive--- despite faltering efforts by the United States and the UN Security Council (UNSC) to rein him in, or impose sanctions on his beleaguered regime.
Monday, March 13, 2017
ROME, Mar 13 (IPS) - The suffering of children in war-torn Syria "hit rock bottom" in 2016 with the highest number of grave violations against them since verification began in 2014, underscored the United Nations children's agency.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
ROME, Feb 08 (IPS) - At Saydnaya Military Prison, "the Syrian authorities have quietly and methodically organised the killing of thousands of people in their custody," according to a new Amnesty International (AI) report.
Monday, December 19, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 (IPS) - The UN Security Council - which has long struggled to find common ground on Syria - has unanimously approved a resolution allowing the UN to monitor the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 14 (IPS) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told UN Security Council members of credible reports of civilians in Aleppo being summarily executed during an emergency meeting held on Tuesday.
Friday, December 02, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 02 (IPS) - Hundreds of civil society organisations from around the world have united to call on UN member states to step in and demand an end to unlawful attacks in Aleppo.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 18 (IPS) - Syria's White Helmets - the volunteers who rescue civilians from collapsed buildings - could be the "most popular" nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize ever, according to human rights group, the Syria Campaign.
Friday, June 03, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 03 (IPS) - The UN has begun plans to deliver aid to besieged Syrian towns by air but says there are a number of obstacles in the way and that delivery by land remains its preferred choice.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 26 (IPS) - The 134 members of the Group of 77 and China (G-77) made their mark on the Paris Climate Change Agreement and should now adopt a program of action to implement it, Ambassador Ahmed Djoghlaf told IPS in a recent interview.
Monday, April 11, 2016
GENEVA, Apr 11 (IPS) - The negotiations on April 11, 2016 in Geneva and the recent reduction of hostilities in Syria may represent important steps towards a peaceful solution to more than five years of turmoil. Few would not welcome the guns falling silent once and for all and for an end to the suffering of civilians.
Friday, March 11, 2016
GAZA, Palestine, Mar 11 (IPS) - In the safety of his sister's bare flat in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, 42 year-old Iyad Yusef still shakes his head in disbelief when he recounts the journey that from war-torn Syria, brought him and his family to the relative safety of the blockaded strip.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
MADRID, Mar 08 (IPS) - In a yet another violation of international laws and their own human values, 28 European countries have just agreed with Turkey to open a new "bazaar" of refugees, this time using the old barter system. i.e. Iraqis and Afghans in exchange of Syrians.
Monday, February 15, 2016
MADRID, Feb 15 (IPS) - When 25 million Syrians--half of them refugees abroad or at home and the other half terrorised by daily bombing, learnt that major world leaders in their meeting in Germany launched an unprecedented confrontation threatening with unleashing World War III, instead of easily agreeing on a ceasefire to alleviate their inhumane suffering, they most probably fell into an even deeper desperation. Se what happened.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
OSLO, Jan 12 (IPS) - Baher Kamalin … And All of a Sudden Syria!: "The "big five," the United Nations veto powers, have just agreed United Nations Resolution 2254 of 18-12-2015, time to end the Syrian five-year long human tragedy; they waited until 300,000 innocent civilians were killed and 4.5 million humans lost as refugees and homeless at home, hundreds of field testing of state-of-the-art drones made, and daily U.S., British, French and Russian bombing carried out." No Chinese bombing.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
MADRID, Jan 12 (IPS) - Few months ago, an unprecedented "humanitarian auction" was opened in Brussels at the European Commission, shortly after watching the image of the three-year old Syrian child that the sea threw up on the Turkish shores. The "auction" was about deciding upon the number of Syrian refugees to be hosted by each EU country. Germany won the largest batch.
Monday, January 11, 2016
ZARQa, Jordan, Jan 11 (IPS) - Emelline Mahmoud Ilyas is an outgoing 35-year-old mother of three from Syria. Sitting in a community centre in Zarqa, Jordan, where she just held a meeting with Jordanian and Syrian parents on the subject of childcare, she remembers the 'journey of death' that led her family to the Hashemite Kingdom.
Friday, January 08, 2016
ROME, Jan 08 (IPS) - The Syrian government says it will allow humanitarian aid into the besieged rebel-held town of Madaya, according to the United Nations, following reports and horrific pictures of residents starving to death. Aid is expected to reach the area by Monday, but for some it is too little and too late.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
BELFAST, Dec 31 (IPS) - In November 2015 I visited Syria together with an International Peace delegation. This was my third visit to Syria in the last three years. As on previous occasions I was moved by the spirit of resilience and courage of the people of Syria.
- Middle East: A 1300 Year Struggle for Control of Resources
- Middle East and North Africa Unrest
- Control of Resources; Supporting Dictators, Rise of Terrorism
- Energy Security
- Crisis in Libya
- Syria Unrest
- Iraq—2003 onwards; War, Aftermath and Post-Saddam
- US/UK Buildup for War on Iraq
- Iraq—Post 1991 Persian Gulf War/Sanctions
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