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Syria Media Roundup (September 13)

[Destroyed bus and graffiti in Zahira, Damascus. 13 September 2012. Image via Lens Young Dimashqi.] [Destroyed bus and graffiti in Zahira, Damascus. 13 September 2012. Image via Lens Young Dimashqi.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Syria and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Syria Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.]

International and Regional Perspectives:

Morroco Foreign Policy: All Eyes on Syria Ali Ibrahim analyzes Rabat’s recent diplomacy shift, saying the government’s condemnation of the Syrian regime reflects an attempt to “bend with [the winds] rather than try to resist and be blown over.”

Iraq food costs soar due to Syria crisis Hadeel al Sayegh on the disruption of trade between the two countries and its consequences for Iraqis.


Syrian Refugees: Forced into Marrying off Their Daughters Anas Zarzar on a new phenomenon called sutra or “cover” marriage, where refugees marry off their daughters, even at a very young age, to the first person who asks for their hand, under the pretext of “covering” their honor.


Qatar in Egypt: Buying Foreign Policy Mohammad Khawly on Qatar’s not-so-coincidental decision to invest in Egypt, shortly after Morsi condemned the Syrian regime at a Non Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.

Morsi in Tehran Dan Glazebrook argues that Morsi is clearly playing the role of figurehead for the latest incarnation of the West’s regime change strategy for Syria.”


A Yemen-style transition of power would not work in Syria Khaled Fattah says the complex regional entanglement and the scale of the conflict make the Yemen scenario unlikely in Syria.


How serious is the Syrian refugee crisis? Al Jazeera’s guests assess the refugee crisis in Syria’s neighboring countries.


Jordan: Syrian Refugees Sentenced to Desert Camp Jamal Abdul-Hadi on the deteriorating living conditions of refugees in Zaatri camp and the increasing frustration expressed by Jordanians.


Turkey facing questions on Syria policy Karin Bruillard on the loss of domestic support for
Erdogan’s Syria stance and the growing tensions in Antakya.

A Tale of Two Insurrections: Syria, Iraq, and American Security
Juan Cole deflates the sectarian conversation around Syria and instead focuses on the class-based nature of the conflict.

Imperialism and the Left:

Jamie Allinson’s “Leftist” take on the Syria conflict: a critique (Part III) As’ad AbuKhalil, on the contrary, says “the class dimension was suppressed not only by the repression of the regime, but also by the imposition of the agenda of gulf oil and gas regimes.” 

Jamie Allinson’s “Leftist” take on the Syria conflict: a critique (Part IV) As’ad AbuKhalil’s last response to what he views as a Allison’s flawed methodology and arguments against third wayers.


The US as the Chief Architect of the Syrian Crisis Ali Montazeri says the opposition groups’ movement “entered the military phase so rapidly while it has been enjoying the full support of the West and its allies in the region.”

Syria: A Response to my Critics Jamie Allison responds to Abu Khalil, characterizing his four piece critique as a deliberate misrepresentation of his original argument, which never mentioned a "leftist revolution." 
Syrian Narratives:

Syria's revolution is being branded A young Turkish graphic designer from the small border town of Kilis in Turkey has been commissioned by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to design their logo.”


FSA becomes NSA  In an attempt to change its image, the FSA also plans to change its name.

Who Will Rule Syrian Kurdistan? Giorgia Cafiero says “although the prospects for an independent state in Syrian Kurdistan remain dim, unprecedented Kurdish autonomy will likely result from the conflict.


Syria's rebel fighters vow no mercy for their own pro-regime family members 


A dictator’s best friend: Corruption, War and the West Vijay Mehta says “had Europe not made it quite so easy for Syria’s dictator and his friends to stash their assets, [Bashar al-Assad] would not now be clinging so tenaciously to power.”


An Interview with Abdo Yunus al-Hadji, a Syrian who now lives in Reyhanli district in Hatay by fleeing to Turkey and whose testimony reflects the “neutral” stance that many still hold with regard to developments in Syria.


An Interview with Usama Haled, a Syrian who fled to Turkey and currently lives in tent city in Islahiye district of Gaziantep


Inside Syria:

In Syria, peaceful protesters struggle amid Damascus shellings On a youth group’s planning of a protest in an upscale neighborhood of Damascus and the new difficulties of mobilizing amid increasing violence


Militia Versus Militia in Syria Victor Kotzev outlines the several ways in which the Syrian regime’s mobile warfare, similar to that of Mao, has helped its survival so far.

The uneasy normal of 'Free Syria' Tom Peter on the constant stress endured by Syrian residents in the north of Syria, many of whom are now internally displaced

Syrians Reject 'Bashar' Name Out of Hatred for President Assad

That Gang Can’t Shoot Straight Malik al Abdeh says SNC is“failing to create a credible alternative that appeals to Syrians, as well as to the international community.”

Syrian Clashes Leave Residents Without Water


Life and death in Aleppo Tracey Shelton captures the death of opposition fighters on her camera.


The Plight of Palestinian Refugees From Syria Ramzy Baroud on the Palestinians’ lack of options in escaping the violence in Syria.


A Campaign of Decapitation in Syria Mike Giglio interviews perpetrators and victims of the assassinations and kidnappings conducted against alleged employees of the state security department.


‘We’re at the Last Step’ Before a Humanitarian Crisis in Aleppo Mike Giglio on the deteriorating living conditions of citizens in Aleppo.


Inside Syria’s Farouk Brigade Mani spends time with the battalion and collects disturbing testimonies of fighters who view the war in sectarian terms.

Art and Social Media:

Online trafficking of Syrian women shames all involved Hassan Hassan on online Arabic forums facilitating the market for Levantine houriyas (virgins) taken from the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.

Nabil Haffar: Syrian Theater’s Stalwart Steward Anas Zarzar’s portrait of the accomplished theater critic.

Syria’s Free Army Giorgios Moutafis’ photogallery featuring FSA fighters in their everyday activities that include facilitating border crossing for refugees and making bombs.

Policy and Reports:

Syria’s Cyber Wars Amjad Baiazy’s report on the emergence of virtual opposition groups on social media platforms.



عن الطائفية ومثقفيها والثورة في سوريا
Thaer Deeb presents on Assafir a conversation he had with a Syrian reader on Facebook about sectarianism in Syrian and especially in the context of the revolution 

مقابلة للدكتور هيثم مناع على قناة الميادين This is a link to Haytham Mannaa’s interview on Al-Mayadeen Channel, in which he discusses many issues, including the ramification of the militarization of the revolution and its deviation from any political discourse.   

صورة البلد عندما تتوقف الحرب 
Fayez Sarrah speculates about the future of Syria after the end of “the war” in the country.  

متى كانت الأقليات مضطهدة؟ 
Michel Kilo writes about the Baathist regime’s oppression of minorities, such as the Kurdish population, in Syria.

في نقد السلاح
Munther Khaddam provides his criticism of the Free Syrian Army.

الله، تركيا… بشار وبس”: عن مظاهرة غير متوقعة 
Rasha Rami recounts her experience watching a mass demonstration in Antakya, Turkey that denouncing Turkey’s stance towards the situation in Syria and supporting Al-Assad’s regime.  

المجلس الوطني الكردي ملتزم بالسلمية
An Anonymous writer for the Damascus Bureau writes about the situation in the areas that are under the control of the Democratic Union Party in Syria and the National Kurdish Council’s commitment to a peaceful revolution “in so as long as the regime does not unleash its military power on [their] regions.”


صلاة اردوغان ومبادرة مرسي

Abdel Bari Atwan writes about the Turkish and Egyptian role in the current struggle in Syria.


المعارضة السورية أمام تدويل الأزمة 
Mohammad Sayed Rasas writes about the Syrian opposition’s attempts to internationalize the struggle in the country.  

لاجئو «الزعتري» يصارعون الصحراء
Jamal Abdel Hadi writes about the situation of Syrian refugees in Tal Al-Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. 

سوريا كنموذج قيد الاختبار: الإمبريالية و"حرب مــا بعد الحداثة"
Nahed Hatr presents the current Syrian struggle as a model for a new kind of war, which he calls “the post-modernism war.” 

ما قصة روبرت فيسك؟ ماذا يريد؟

Yassin Al-Hajj Saleh criticizes Robert Fisk’s reporting on Syria.


السلطة الساعية إلى انتزاع الطائفة من جبلها إلى عنفها 
Salma Idilbi discusses Alawite loyalty to the Asad regime and puts it in the context of their history in Syrian politics. 

Syrian Population Regression

Population: ~ 17,583,863 (2017 est.)

2011:  5,800+ (killed)

2012:  60,000+ (killed) and 500,000+ (external refugees), 3+ million (internally displaced)

2013:  100,000+ (killed), 2,000,000+ (external refugees), and 8 million+ (internally displaced)

2014: 200,000+ (killed), 3.5+ million (external refugees), 7.6+ million (internally displaced)

2015: 250,000+ (killed), 4.4 million (external refugees), 6.6+ million (internally displaced)

2016: 400,000+ (killed), 4.9+ million (external refugees), 6.3+ million (internally displaced)


Syria Map and Stats

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Population: 17,185,170 (July 2016 est.)
GDP: $24.6 billion (2014 est.); $50.28 billion purchasing power parity (2015 est.)
Unemployment: 50% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): total: 35.8% (male: 26.6%; female: 71.1% [2011 est.])
Internet Users: 5.116 million - 30%/pop. (July 2015 est.)
Exchange Rate: ~ 497.8 Syrian pounds per US dollar (2016 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: -9.9% (2015 est.)
Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (World Rank: 10) (2011 est.)
Health Expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (World Rank: 180) (2011 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 1.56% (2016 est.)
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166); 15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814); 25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406); 55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525); 65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
Literacy: 86.4% (male: 91.7%; female: 81% [2015 est.])
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 74%; other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%; Christian (various denominations) 10%
Ethnic Demographics: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%