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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
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.
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 Kamal, in … 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.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
ISTANBUL, Turkey, Dec 16 (IPS) - While the war in Syria continues to draw in more outside forces, the work towards finding a political solution to this five-year old conflict carries on. In the past week, no less than three separate conferences were organized by different clusters of opposition groups. Conferences were held in three places: Damascus, Dêrîk – a city in the Kurdish-controlled northern part of Syria – and Riyadh, the Saudi capital, respectively.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (IPS) - The United States and Russia are escalating arms sales to two of their major allies in the Middle East – Iraq and Syria – despite fears that some of these weapons may ultimately wind up, ironically, in the hands of armed rebel groups battling government forces.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
ABU DHABI, Sep 17 (IPS) - In response to suggestions that the Gulf states are doing littleor nothing to help Syrians fleeing their civil war, the Government of the United Arab Emirates has announced that it has take a broad range of supportive actions to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian population and to care for Syrian refugees in Syria and abroad, reports WAM.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 25 (IPS) - The staggering statistics emerging from the ongoing five-year-old military conflict in Syria – including over 220,000 killed, more than one million injured and about 7.6 million displaced – are prompting calls for a United Nations arms embargo on the beleaguered regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Friday, July 24, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 24 (IPS) - Caught in the grips of a summer heat-wave, in a season that is seeing record-high temperatures worldwide, residents of the war-torn city of Aleppo in northern Syria are facing off against yet another enemy: thirst.
Beleaguered Syrians Comprise World’s ‘Biggest Refugee Population From a Single Conflict in a Generation’
Thursday, July 09, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 09 (IPS) - Barely 10 months ago, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said the refugee population from Syria had reached the three million mark. Today, the latest data from the field show that the number has passed four million.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
WASHINGTON, Jul 02 (IPS) - The United Nations' food aid organisation, the World Food Programme (WFP), said on Jul. 1 that up to 440,000 refugees from war-torn Syria might have to go hungry if no additional funds are received by August.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 09 (IPS) - "Political negotiations, not military intervention are the solution" said United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on the rapidly deteriorating conflict situation in Yemen and recent developments in Syria at the Yarmouk refugee camp.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
KUWAIT CITY, Mar 31 (IPS) - When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stood before 78 potential donors at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait Tuesday, his appeal for funds had an ominous ring to it: the Syrian people, he remarked, "are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time."
Friday, March 27, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 27 (IPS) - A cash-strapped United Nations, which is struggling to reach out to millions of Syrian refugees with food, medicine and shelter, is desperately in need of funds.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 17 (IPS) - As the long drawn-out Syrian military conflict passed a four-year milestone over the weekend, the New York-based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) summed it up in a striking headline: 4 years, 4 vetoes, 220,000 dead.
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 04 (IPS) - Syrian citizens "have no faith" in the international community to solve the chaos and war raging across their country, according to a prominent human rights defender.
Monday, March 02, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 02 (IPS) - Was the four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, mostly civilians, triggered at least in part by climate change?
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 24 (IPS) - The warring parties in the brutal four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 civilians and triggered "the greatest refugee crisis in modern times," continue to break every single pledge held out to the United Nations.
Sunday, January 04, 2015
HARRAN and NIZIP, Turkey, Jan 04 (IPS) - "We ran as if we were ants fleeing out of the nest. I moved to three different cities in Syria to try to be away from the conflict, but there was no safe place left in my country so we decided to move out."
Saturday, November 15, 2014
GAZIANTEP, Turkey, Nov 15 (IPS) - For most Syrian women, the war has been a disaster. For some, it has also been liberating.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
AMUDA, Syria, Oct 28 (IPS) - There was never anything particularly remarkable about this northern town of 25,000. However, today it has become the lab for one the most pioneering political experiments ever conducted in the entire Middle East region.
Friday, September 19, 2014
DOHUK, Iraq, Sep 19 (IPS) - At the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, young Syrian mothers and pregnant women are considered relatively lucky.
Friday, September 12, 2014
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 12 (IPS) - The U.N. Security Council (UNSC), the only international body empowered to declare war and peace, continues to remain a silent witness to the widespread devastation and killings worldwide, including in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine.
- 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