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BBC Interview with Bassam Haddad on the Question of "Sectarianism" in Syria

This is an interview conducted by the BBC with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on the question of "sectarianism" in Syria. It was recorded a few weeks prior, but we have decided to publish it because of the magnitude that this topic has occupied in the past days.   Read More »

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The Lebanese Left Fails in Syria

[This article was written in Arabic by Khalil Issa and translated into English by Hanna Petro] When the left loses all the material elements of its steadfastness, as a result of its mistakes on the one hand and because of surrounding local pressures on the other, it is usually left with nothing but the ...  Read More »

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Nizar Qabbani's "Poetry Buses"

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) was a Syrian poet, essayist, diplomat, and publisher and one of the most popular poets in the Arab world in the last few decades of the 20th century. He was born and raised in Damascus in a middle-class merchant traditional family. At the age of 15, Qabbani’s sister committed suicide because ...  Read More »

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The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and the Burial of the Martyrs: Syrian Dances in the Arab Spring

Some Fires Burn More than Others [August 10th, 2009] Bosra is on fire. Red lights shine through the night in the ancient Roman amphitheatre. The smoke pours onto the stage, where the famous pop singer, Ali al-Deek, and his orchestra have set the audience and the stage on metaphorical fire. Everyone is dancing: old ...  Read More »

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Culture VIII

This week's basket has everything you need to start the week: Greek mythology, French philosophy, the politics of poetry, and a dispatch from Palestine: Algeria's Impact on French Philosophy: Between Poststructuralist Theory and Colonial Practice by Muriam Haleh Davis The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and the ...  Read More »

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The Largest Demonstration in Hama Ends with Blood, and Signals a Shift

In what has been dubbed as the "Friday of the Children of Freedom" protests yesterday, Hama witnessed the largest demonsration yet, and Syria the largest crackdown to-date, with more than 50 protesters reported killed and several hundred wounded by live ammunition in the key city of Hama alone. These ...  Read More »

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Syria and Hizballah

[This article is written by Khalid Saghieh and translated by Assaf Khoury*] Translator's Introduction  Up until a few months ago, Hizballah could legitimately claim pride of place in the Arab anti-imperialist camp. Hizballah was the only Arab force that repeatedly stymied the powerful Israeli military ...  Read More »

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"We've Never Seen Such Horror": Crimes Against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces

[Below is the latest from the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Syria.] "We've Never Seen Such Horror": Crimes Against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces Summary Since the beginning of anti-government protests in March 2011, Syrian security forces have killed hundreds of protesters and arbitrarily arrested ...  Read More »

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Funeral of Tortured Syrian Child Hamza al-Khatib (Video)

Hamza Ali al-Khatib, a 13-year old boy, was attending a protest calling for the end of the siege of Der'a. He was one of the many individuals detained that day as part of a brutal crackdown on the protest. One month later, his body was released to his family with clear signs that he had been tortured. Videos of his ...  Read More »

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When An Act of War Is Not An Act Of War

Two weeks ago Israel attacked Lebanon. Troops opened fire on a large group of protestors at the border between these two states. The Israeli army used live ammunition, killing at least eleven civilians and wounding over 100 others, some critically. The Lebanese army also fired their weapons at, and over, the ...  Read More »

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Text of Obama Letter Ordering Further Sanctions on Syria

[On Wednesday May 18th, 2011, President Obama issued a letter addressed to both the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate in regards to a new set of US sanctions on Syria. The letter was originally made public by The White House Press Secretary and can be found here.] For Immediate Release May ...  Read More »

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Culture V

This is our fifth weekly edition of Jadaliyya's Culture. Previous weeks can be found here, here, here and here. This week's offerings include:  The conclusion of Sinan Antoon's translation of "Mirrors of Absence" by Syrian dissident poet, Faraj Ahmad ...  Read More »

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Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from "Mirrors of Absence" II

This is the second part of selected excerpts from Faraj Bayraqdar's "Mirrors of Absence," written in Saydnaya Prison, Syria, between 1997-2000. The first part was published last week.   Mirrors of Absence  40   It is neither bias nor bragging there is no graveyard in this world or the ...  Read More »

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Nagm to Nasrallah

Many supporters of Hizbullah's resistance are at a loss when it comes to its position on the Syrian regime and the uprisings. The following video is from a Tunisian satellite channel whose show "WIthout Flattery" hosted a discussion with various Arab poets on the state of the Arab world. In it, popular ...  Read More »

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Syrian Embassy's Response to NYT Interview with Rami Makhlouf

[The following statement was issued by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington D.C. in response to a recent New York Times article that extensively quoted Syria's leading businessman and cousin of President Bashar al-Asad, Rami Makhlouf, on developments in Syria. The original article can be found ...  Read More »

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Culture IV

This is our fourth weekly edition of Jadaliyya's Culture. Previous weeks can be found here, here and here. This week, with Hamdy El-Gazzar's قالت الجدة ("Quoth the Grandmother," trans. by Alex Ortiz), we initiate Hakadha narwi al-thawra, a new series of fiction from the revolutionary Arab ...  Read More »

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Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from "Mirrors of Absence"

Faraj Ahmad Bayrakdar was born in Homs, Syria, in 1951. He studied Arabic at the University of Damascus. He was arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence in 1987 on suspicion of membership of the Party for Communist Action. He was held incommunicado for almost seven years and was tortured. In 1993 he was sentenced to ...  Read More »

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فرج بيرقدار، مقاطع من مرايا الغياب

كان يمكن لهذه المرايا أن تكون مطراً صافياً أو صمتاً صافياً أو دمعاً صافياً على الأقل. بيد أن الظروف كانت من حجر وكان صليل الزمان والمكان مضرَّجاً بما يشبه الدم وبما يشبه الجنون وبما يشبه الآلهة وبما لا يشبه شيئاً على الإطلاق. ١ شكراً لما لا بدَّ لهُ أن يمضي. وشكراً لما لا بدَّ لهُ أن ...  Read More »

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All Sides Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor on Killing of Osama Bin Ladin

[This is an interview conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on May 3, 2011, by Ann Fisher on her WOSU show, All Sides. The interview addresses the significance of Osama Bin Ladin's death in Muslim, Arab, and Western states. It also discusses recent developments with the Arab uprisings, in particular the ...  Read More »

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Two Films for the Syrian Unraveling

A Flood in Baath Country. Directed by Omar Amiralay. 2003. Tea on the Axis of Evil. Directed by Jean Marie Offenbacher. 2009.   As detentions of Syrian activists escalate and reports surface of nearly 500 dead, it is worth recalling that during the throes of Tahrir Square three months ago, all seemed quiet in ...  Read More »

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حنين إلى الضوء

 حنين إلى الضوء    سنان أنطون “إلى أحرار سوريا”           ضع أذنك اليمنى أو اليسرى على الأرض وانصت . . . هل تسمع الأقمار وهي تختنق بالتراب؟ الأشجار تشهق تمدّ جذورها لتقبّل جباه الموتى الجدد الأغصان ترتعش وليس لدى الريح ما تقوله الآن الليل ...  Read More »

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Bashar al-Asad to Announce Amending Article 8 of the Constitution?

[The following was reported by Syria Now on May 5, 2011. The original Arabic version of the story can be found here. Translation by Ziad Abu-Rish.] News source: President Bashar al-Asad will soon announce amending Article 8 of the constitution . . . but no formation of religious parties allowed in Syria. The ...  Read More »

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Syria: Quickly Going Beyond the Point of No Return

[Below is latest from the International Crisis Group (ICG) on Syria] Syria: Quickly Going Beyond the Point of No Return The situation in Syria is quickly going beyond the point of no return. By denouncing all forms of protest as sedition, and dealing with them through escalating violence, the regime is closing the ...  Read More »

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Al-Jazeera's "Inside Story" Debate on International Intervention in Syria, with Jadaliyya Co-Editor

[From AJE] It has been an uprising that has so far claimed more than 450 lives. And with Friday billed another day of rage, violence in Syria does not seem to be abating. Western powers have now convened a special session of the UN's top human rights body on Friday to investigate possible abuses by Bashar ...  Read More »

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  مزمور ”إلى شهداء سوريا"   لا يذهب الشهداءُ إلى الجنّة فأبوابها مغلقة منذ قرون والتجّار الذين اشتروا أنهارها ينظرون من الشرفات العالية إلى الطوابير الطويلة وحشود المشرّدين في الخارج   Read More »

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Syrian Petition for Political Change: A Dramatic Missed Opportunity

Given the atrocities currently committed in Syria and the spectacularly bad press this generates for the regime, one would think that issuing an effective petition calling for political change in this country would be an easy task. All such a petition needs to do is to jump on the bandwagon of rapidly mounting ...  Read More »

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The Arab Uprisings and US Policy (Panel Video)

On Thursday, April 28th, 2011, the Middle East Policy Coucil held a one-day conference on Capitol Hill  in Washingtong D.C., "featuring a discussion of the populist movements sweeping across the Arab world, their regional and global consequences, and how they are impacting U.S. interests and policy ...  Read More »

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After Syria's "Great Friday": Al-Jazeera Interview with Bassam Haddad (conducted on April 23)

Below is Al-Jazeera's interview on Syria with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad after the events of "Great Friday" on April 22nd, the bloodiest day that Syria witnessed since the beginning of the uprisings. In this interview, conducted on Saturday April 23rd, Bassam discusses the events as a ...  Read More »

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A Damascene Diary

This account of events in Damascus, Syria, on Friday April 1st 2011 was originally published in Al Quds al ‘Arabi on April 7th, 2011. *** I will infiltrate the dreams of the killers. I will ask them: did you look into their eyes when your bullets closed in on their chests? Did you glimpse the hole of life? Before ...  Read More »

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Interview with Bassam Haddad on Developments in Syria (Conducted by Sharam Aghamir)

 AUDIO PLAYER BELOW A wave of protests have been shaking Syria since nearly the middle of March.The protests that began by calling for political reforms,escalated after the security forces opened fired on demonstrators in the southern city of Dar'a. Shahram Aghamir of Pacifaca's Voices of the Middle East and ...  Read More »

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%

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