Syria Unrest

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

Introduction

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. Turkey Keeps Bombing Civilians in Syria’s Northeast

    - Inter Press Service

    QAMISHLI, Syria, Feb 29 (IPS) - The Ramsys, a farming couple from northeast Syria, never thought they'd spend almost all their savings on solar panels. “We’ve paid 1,700 USD. We simply couldn't cope with darkness and being disconnected from the outside world,” Najma Ramsy tells IPS from her residence in Keshka, a small Kurdish village 70 km east of Qamishli.

  2. UN Syria envoy appeals for urgent de-escalation across the Middle East

    - UN News

    Fallout from conflict in the Middle East and ongoing fighting in Syria are having a devastating impact on civilians inside the country, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen told the Security Council on Tuesday.

  3. World News in Brief: Syria aid lifelines, Sudan telecoms blackout, increased patrols in Abyei, preventing terrorism

    - UN News

    Two critical lifelines for millions of people in northwest Syria have been extended for an additional three months, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday.

  4. One year on, for survivors of Türkiye-Syria quakes the suffering is far from over

    - UN News

    Tens of thousands of families that survived last year’s devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria have yet to recover on multiple fronts, the UN’s top humanitarian official warned on Tuesday.

  5. Following in Pelé’s footsteps, Vinícius Junior appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

    - UN News

    In a ceremony held at football giant Real Madrid’s training centre on Friday, the head of the UN’s culture and sport agency unveiled Brazilian football sensation Vinícius Junior as their new Goodwill Ambassador for Education for All.

  6. ‘Genuine progress’ towards political solution, essential to end war in Syria: UN envoy

    - UN News

    The year 2023 has presented more challenges for Syria, marked by devastating earthquakes, escalating humanitarian needs and the most severe fighting in years, the UN’s envoy for the country said on Thursday.

  7. Syria: ‘A dozen different powder kegs’

    - UN News

    The situation in Syria remains dire, with continued fighting, and tens of thousands displaced - all exacerbating the suffering of civilians and compounded by the effects of the war in Gaza, senior UN officials said on Tuesday.

  8. 70 UN Ambassadors in Geneva call for international action on Gaza

    - UN News

    The international community must act now to end the bloodshed and suffering in Gaza, scores of UN Ambassadors in Geneva said in a joint call on Friday.

  9. Immediate de-escalation ‘only antidote’ to conflict in Syria

    - UN News

    The UN Special Envoy for Syria on Monday warned that civilians there are facing the “terrifying” prospect of a potential wider escalation given the uptick in violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

  10. Syrian war at ‘worst point’ in four years, says Commission of Inquiry head

    - UN News

    The world cannot forget about Syria, the Head of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the country has said, while also highlighting how the war there is connected to the conflict raging in the Middle East.

  11. Working to Relieve the Trauma of Syrian Earthquake Orphans

    - Inter Press Service

    IDILIB, SYRIA, Oct 13 (IPS) - Seven-year-old Salim al-Bakkar was orphaned in the earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, 2023.

  12. Syria: Deadly military academy attack ‘horrific reminder’ of need to de-escalate

    - UN News

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen on Thursday appealed for restraint following a deadly drone attack on a military graduation ceremony in Homs, and amid rising violence in the war-ravaged country.

  13. UN supports 'monumental step' for cancer sufferers in northwest Syria

    - UN News

    The first radiotherapy machine to treat cancer arrived in northwest Syria over the weekend, the UN’s aid coordination office (OCHA) said on Tuesday.

  14. Confidence building critical to break Syria political deadlock

    - UN News

    A comprehensive solution to the Syrian conflict remains elusive, the UN Special Envoy for the country said on Wednesday, calling for “concrete moves” and confidence-building measures to break the impasse.

  15. Syrian minister denounces ‘American chaos’, says States must respect the UN Charter

    - UN News

    In remarks on Tuesday to the UN General Assembly, Syrian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Bassam Sabbagh underscored the need to build a multipolar world order that achieves sustainable development for all and balance in international relations, including through reforming institutions such as the Security Council.

  16. Syria: UN chief welcomes reopening of life-saving aid corridor

    - UN News

    A large UN aid convoy was able to cross into northwest Syria on Tuesday following the reopening of a vital border crossing.

  17. Syria: Urgent response needed to uptick in fighting, economic crisis

    - UN News

    The “dire needs” of Syrians have been systematically ignored during more than 12 years of brutal conflict in the country, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned on Tuesday.

  18. Syria-Türkiye: UN completes 200th cross-border aid mission since February quakes

    - UN News

    The United Nations on Tuesday announced that it has conducted 200 cross-border missions delivering aid into northwest Syria from Türkiye since the devastating earthquakes that struck the two countries in February.

  19. Syrians suffer as political stalemate persists: UN Special Envoy

    - UN News

    The only path out of the war in Syria is a political process, which would also help to address the many crises affecting the country, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen told the Security Council on Wednesday.

  20. UN: Deal reached with Syria to reopen main border crossing from Türkiye

    - UN News

    A deal has been reached with the Government of Syria to reopen the main border crossing from Türkiye to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

  21. Syria still mired in division, top UN envoy tells Security Council

    - UN News

    Months of “potentially significant diplomacy” to resolve the crisis in Syria have not yielded any outcomes or political momentum for the war-weary population, both within the country and those displaced outside, the UN Special Envoy for the country said on Monday.

  22. Children forcibly separated from mothers at Syria’s Al Hol, warns top rights expert

    - UN News

    A UN-appointed independent expert expressed deep concern on Friday over the distressing treatment of children being held apparently indefinitely in prison-like conditions in northeast Syria, where they are forcibly separated from their mothers.

  23. In Northern Syria, Palestinians Finance Settlements in Kurdish-Occupied Areas

    - Inter Press Service

    ROME, Jul 18 (IPS) - The video shows an empty house with even the door frames and windows torn out. Graffiti on the wall recalls that the building was once requisitioned by the Sham Legion, an Islamist faction from northern Syria.

  24. Security Council fails to reach consensus on Syria aid lifeline

    - UN News

    Life-saving assistance to millions in northwest Syria is at risk after the UN Security Council on Tuesday failed to adopt either of two competing resolutions to extend cross-border aid delivery from Türkiye.

  25. UN relief chief calls for continued support for Syria and other crisis regions

    - UN News

    In a wide-ranging briefing on Friday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths highlighted the need to keep aid flowing into northwest Syria and to allow Ukrainian and Russian grain exports to reach global markets amid the ongoing war.

  26. Syrians facing ‘ever worsening’ conditions, top UN officials warn

    - UN News

    Syrians are facing an “ever worsening humanitarian crisis” amid the ongoing 12-year-long conflict, top UN officials told the Security Council on Thursday, as the General Assembly adopted a resolution to create a first-of-its-kind institution to address the issue of more than 100,000 people still missing in the country.

  27. On Peacebuilding Day, ambassadors discuss response to organized crime in the Sahel

    - UN News

    The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) convened for an ambassadorial-level meeting in New York on Friday to tackle the issue of organized crime in the Sahel. Poverty, institutional fragility and massive insecurity have created favourable conditions for the proliferation of organized crime across the vast African region.

  28. UN chief insists on solidarity with people of Syria, with ‘no time to spare’

    - UN News

    As donors gathered in Brussels at an international pledging conference for Syria organized by the European Union on Thursday, UN chief António Guterres highlighted the immense suffering of the Syrian people, which he said “defies description”.

  29. Syria: ‘Unprecedented funding crisis’ means cuts for 2.5 million in need, warns WFP

    - UN News

    An unprecedented funding crisis in Syria has forced the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to announce cuts to aid being provided for 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people who rely on the agency for basic food needs.

  30. Fresh diplomatic gains must match action on the ground in Syria to end war

    - UN News

    Action on the ground must match diplomacy’s steadily advancing gains towards ending the 12-year-old war in Syria, where violence is once again, killing a growing numbers of civilians, the top UN official in the country said on Tuesday.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created:

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