Syria Unrest

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  • by Anup Shah
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  1. Introduction
  2. News stories from IPS


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.

Image: Demonstrations in Hom. Credit: Bo yaser

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.

Image: Pro-Assad Rally. Credit: Newtown grafitti

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.

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News stories from IPS

Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Syrian uprising

  1. ILO calls for fresh support as job losses grip post-quake Türkiye and Syria

    - UN News

    Urgent support is needed to prevent a slide into poverty and an increase in child labour and hand-to-mouth jobs, following the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in February, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Tuesday in new assessment reports.

  2. UN chief calls for new tool to find 100,000 ‘disappeared’ Syrians

    - UN News

    Top UN officials called for creating a new institution to help locate tens of thousands of missing Syrians and bring peace to their families, as the General Assembly debated on Tuesday the human rights situation in the country.

  3. Deadly Syria earthquake provides chance to move forward: UN envoy

    - UN News

    Renewed diplomatic attention on Syria, and the suffering of its people following the recent deadly earthquake, create new obligations and opportunities to forge lasting peace, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen told the Security Council on Thursday. 

  4. UN underlines commitment to support communities affected by Syria-Turkiye earthquakes

    - UN News

    The head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has underlined on Monday the importance of addressing immediate humanitarian needs in earthquake-affected Syria and Türkiye, and efforts to promote recovery.

  5. UN officials call for durable solution to end the war in Syria

    - UN News

    Three senior UN officials underscored the need for a political solution to end the war in Syria, in statements marking the 12th anniversary of the conflict on Wednesday. 

  6. More than half of all Syrians going hungry: WFP

    - UN News

    More than half of the population in Syria is facing hunger as the country grapples with 12 years of war and recent devastating earthquakes, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Tuesday. 

  7. Step up support to Syria-Türkiye earthquake survivors: UN refugee chief

    - UN News

    The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on Monday underlined the need for greater and urgent international support for survivors of the recent deadly earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye following a five-day visit to the two countries. 

  8. Syria rights investigators back calls for earthquake ‘failures’ probe

    - UN News

    Top rights investigators appointed by the Human Rights Council on Monday delivered a highly critical assessment of the role of the Syrian Government and the international community including the UN, in getting help to communities in the northwest, hit by last month’s deadly earthquake emergency.

  9. Syria: Guterres demands ‘renewed energy’ for peace as war enters 12th year

    - UN News

    Support provided to Syria following the recent deadly earthquakes must be directed towards finding a political solution to the civil war, now entering its 12th year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday. 

  10. Compromise is crucial in search for peace for sake of all Syrians, urges UN negotiator

    - UN News

    The Syrian conflict will only be resolved if all parties involved in it are prepared to make the kind of compromises on humanitarian grounds that followed last month’s earthquake disaster, UN negotiator Geir Pedersen said on Wednesday.

  11. More than 850,000 Syrian, Turkish children displaced by earthquakes

    - UN News

    One month on from the two catastrophic earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria, more than 850,000 children remain displaced after being forced from their damaged or destroyed homes amid millions in dire need of aid, UN agencies said.

  12. Iraq: Repatriations from notorious Syria camp ‘an example for the world’

    - UN News

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday praised Iraq for repatriating its citizens from camps in northeast Syria holding people suspected of having ties to ISIL extremists, urging other governments “to take responsibility and to act”. 

  13. WHO chief underscores need for ‘peace for health’ in landmark visit to northwest Syria

    - UN News

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday visited earthquake-ravaged northwest Syria, becoming the first senior UN official to enter the region since war erupted in the country 12 years ago this month. 

  14. Earthquake Relief Efforts in Syria Shouldn't Overlook Those With Disabilities

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Feb 28 (IPS) - Emina Cerimovic is a senior disability rights researcher at Human Rights Swatch.A few days ago, I saw a photo shared to Twitter of Sham, a young Syrian girl rescued from under the rubble in northwest Syria, sitting upright in her hospital bed, According to the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer humanitarian group also known as the White Helmets, Sham will lose both her legs because of injuries from the quake.

  15. UN officials call for Security Council’s support for post-quake Syria

    - UN News

    Top UN officials on Tuesday called on the Security Council’s strong support for Syria following the 6 February earthquakes, which worsened an already dire situation in the wake of 12 years of brutal civil war.

  16. WFP chief describes ‘apocalyptic’ post-quake landscape in Syria, Türkiye

    - UN News

    The head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) concluded a visit on Saturday to devastated Syrian and Turkish communities and aid supply routes, calling on authorities to open more border crossings to help survivors of the earthquakes that hit both countries in early February.

  17. Syria-Türkiye earthquakes: Food, shelter and medicines among latest aid deliveries

    - UN News

    Aid continues to roll into northwest Syria, with 53 trucks crossing from southern Türkiye on Thursday, the UN reported in its latest update on response to the devastating earthquakes that struck the two countries on 6 February. 

  18. UN humanitarian delegation visits northwest Syria as earthquake response continues

    - UN News

    A total of 282 United Nations trucks transporting aid for earthquake victims in northwest Syria have passed through three border crossings with Turkiye over the past two weeks, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Wednesday. 

  19. Syria-Türkiye: Three border crossings now operational for earthquake aid delivery

    - UN News

    Two weeks after the devastating earthquakes, the UN and partners continue to scale-up cross-border aid delivery from Türkiye into northwest Syria, including through a new entry point, the UN Spokesperson said on Monday. 

  20. Quake latest: Aid convoys will keep crossing into Syria ‘for as long as needs are there’

    - UN News

    A steady flow of UN aid trucks filled with vital humanitarian relief, continues to cross the border from southern Türkiye into northwest Syria to help communities enduring terrible trauma caused by last week’s earthquake disaster – and  “will continue every day for as long as the needs are there”, UN aid teams said on Friday.

  21. Syrian women hope earthquake tragedy opens up possibility for peace

    - UN News

    Critical maternal health services and other programmes for women and girls in north and northwest Syria “have had to scale up massively” following the deadly earthquake last week, a senior official with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has said. 

  22. Guterres calls on countries to fully fund $379 million quake appeal for Syria

    - UN News

    The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday announced a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid the people of earthquake-ravaged Syria, to help secure “desperately needed” relief for nearly five million people.

  23. Earthquake disaster: UN chief welcomes Syria decision to open aid corridors

    - UN News

    The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the decision on Monday by the Syrian president to open two further crossing points on the Turkish border to allow more aid into the stricken northwest of the country.

  24. First Person: Plea to prevent ‘lost generation’ in Syria

    - UN News

    Syria’s future generation of young people is being lost due to the multiple crises affecting the country, according to a senior official at the UN World Health Organization (WHO). 

  25. WHO announces $43 million appeal to scale up response in Syria and Turkiye

    - UN News

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a $43 million appeal to support earthquake response in Syria and Türkiye, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Sunday.

  26. More aid reaches Syria’s quake victims but it’s not enough, say UN aid agencies

    - UN News

    A second UN aid convoy reached northwest Syria on Friday to help victims of the still-unfolding earthquake tragedy, but humanitarians have warned that far more lifesaving help is needed, and much more quickly.

  27. First UN aid convoy reaches Syria’s quake-hit northwest since disaster

    - UN News

    As a UN aid convoy reached Syria on Thursday for the first time since devastating earthquakes cut off supply lines from Türkiye three days ago, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, called for assurances that desperately needed assistance inside Syria would not be held up or “politicized”.

  28. Earthquake disaster latest: fresh snow compounds Syrians’ misery

    - UN News

    Fresh snowfall in Syria on Wednesday has compounded the already desperate situation faced by millions of people in the five governorates whose lives have been shattered by the earthquake disaster, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the country said.

  29. Türkiye, Syria quake latest: full scale of disaster still unfolding, UN humanitarians warn

    - UN News

    The full scale of the multiple earthquake disaster in Türkiye and Syria is still unfolding, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, as they stressed the critical need to step up search and rescue efforts for victims and ensure that lifesaving aid reaches all those who need it.

  30. ‘Reasonable grounds’ to believe Syrian Government was behind deadly chlorine gas attack on Douma: OPCW report

    - UN News

    A new report released by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) finds “reasonable grounds” exist to believe the Syrian Government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack that killed 43 civilians in the suburban town of Douma in 2018, the organization’s senior official told the Security Council on Tuesday.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
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