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Syria’s war in chilling figures

The Syrian war is proof of the collective failure of diplomacy, the UN envoy to the country, Geir Pedersen, said on the eve of the conflict’s ninth anniversary of the conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Britain said it had identified 384,000 deaths since protesters first took to the streets in 2011 demanding the resignation of President Bashar Al Assad.

The observatory said that did not include the nearly 88,000 civilians tortured to death in Mr Al Assad’s detention centres and prisons.

It did not include the 4,100 missing loyalist fighters, or the more than 3,200 civilians and fighters abducted by ISIS, and the 1,800 people taken by other extremist groups.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/syria-s-war-in-chilling-figures-1.992798

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2020 in Middle East

 

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Idlib is hostage for two guarantors… Who will claim victory?

Over the past two years, the Turks and the Russians were the main actors in the Syrian file. They have disagreed on specific points and assented to others. The most imminent subject is the “Astana process” to find a solution for Syria, through which Russia began to implement its political vision to gradually clear the regions of opposition, starting from Aleppo to Eastern Ghouta, to the countryside of Homs and Daraa. In turn, Turkey has not responded with a real reaction comparable to the massive loss of opposition parties, which it supports politically and militarily.

But this time, Ankara’s reaction has changed regarding Idlib. Accelerated events in the city in the past two weeks have annoyed the Turkish guarantor, forced him to make real threats and send military forces with hundreds of armored vehicles and machineries to pass a message to the regime and the Russians: It will not abandon its interests in the border city, even if it has to undertake land and military air operations in the area.

Caught between the Russians’ attempt to maintain their achievements and preserve the areas they seized. The endeavors of Turkey to demonstrate its existence and its real threats, civilians have born a significant loss. According to UN statistics, hundreds were killed, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and now they are waiting for the results of new understandings between the two parts.

In light of the dispute between Turkey and Russia in Idlib, Enab Baladi is trying in this file to monitor the playing cards of both parties in Idlib to achieve their interests, which would further complicate the scene or exert pressure on the conflicting parties to sit at the negotiation table again and reach new understandings.

https://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2020/02/idlib-is-hostage-for-two-guarantors-who-will-claim-victory/

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2020 in Middle East

 

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Idlib’s despair won’t end bloodshed in Syria. It will provoke a rebel fightback

Outsiders can be forgiven for being tired of the Syrian conflict. After all, the violence has lasted for nearly a decade and the worst chapters – for outsiders, at least – have come and gone: Islamic State (Isis) seized almost half the country, in addition to one-third of Iraq and launched a global network of terror in 2014. But the world has now caught its breath and the threat has all but ended. Refugees, too, flooded Europe some years ago but the influx has been contained.

Also, expert warnings about a resurgence of violence or extremism did not materialise and the return of state control seems to be the steady trajectory of the conflict despite persistent problems. Most of the country is currently under the control of either the regime, Turkey or the United States-backed Kurdish forces in eastern Syria. Even in the Kurdish zone, many would concede that it might be just a matter of time before these areas are recaptured by Damascus, even without much fighting, if and when the US eventually ends its presence there.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/23/even-as-idlib-crumbles-syrian-rebels-present-dangerous-new-threat

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2020 in Middle East

 

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The Guardian view on the assault on Idlib: the stakes are rising

What it takes to puncture indifference, it emerges, is not the suffering of ordinary men, women and children, but the prospect that they might escape it by coming to our shores. The Syrian regime’s relentless assault upon Idlib, the last rebel-held area, is a humanitarian catastrophe. But it is Ankara’s announcement that it will no longer prevent Syrian refugees from travelling to Europe, alongside the growing risk of full-on military confrontation between Turkey and Damascus, potentially drawing in Moscow, which has grabbed international attention.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/28/the-guardian-view-on-the-assault-on-idlib-the-stakes-are-rising

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2020 in Middle East

 

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A Idlib è in corso la peggior tragedia umanitaria del secolo

Non esistono parole abbastanza forti per descrivere la tragedia in atto nella provincia siriana di Idlib. E soprattutto, purtroppo, non c’è nessuno che voglia ascoltare, reagire o semplicemente agire.

Secondo le Nazioni Unite circa 900mila persone, tra cui moltissimi bambini, sono in marcia nel cuore dell’inverno siriano per sfuggire a un’offensiva guidata dall’esercito di Bashar al Assad appoggiato dall’aviazione russa. Questa massa di persone scappa dai bombardamenti aerei e dai colpi di artiglieria, ma non ha un posto dove andare perché l’unico orizzonte è la frontiera turca, chiusa.

Centinaia di migliaia di civili sono intrappolati su strade dove creano accampamenti di fortuna tra le montagne, nella speranza di ricevere aiuto. Il 18 febbraio l’Onu ha ricordato il dramma di una bambina morta di freddo tra le braccia del padre all’arrivo in un accampamento. Il giorno prima, il dottor Raphael Pitti, medico umanitario francese in contatto con alcuni colleghi che operano sul posto, ha denunciato il bombardamento di un reparto maternità, a suo dire deliberato.

https://www.internazionale.it/opinione/pierre-haski/2020/02/19/idlib-tragedia-umanitaria

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Middle East

 

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‘We Are Left to Face Death Alone’

When the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria destroyed and took control of my city of Aleppo, its residents, including my family, were forced to flee to the northwestern Idlib province. The pattern repeated after every military assault by the Syrian regime on cities and towns outside its control. Idlib became the sanctuary for about four million people.

Relentless aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and its Russian allies and a devastating ground offensive have displaced more than half a million people from Idlib since December, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In the past few weeks, the attacks on the people trapped in Idlib have severely intensified. The White Helmets, the civil defense group, documented more than 6,600 attacks that killed 208 civilians in January.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2020 in Middle East

 

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The Middle Eastern Problem Soleimani Figured Out

The Iranian general Qassem Suleimani is dead, and tensions with Iran appear to be simmering down. But the landscape he helped build is still very much a problem for the United States.

Since his killing in a U.S. drone strike last week, experts have been rushing to explain just why Soleimani mattered so much to Iran’s ambitions—and what consequences his death really holds for the region. One simple way to think about it: He was the one man who had mastered the new landscape of the Middle East.

Soleimani’s particular skill was in controlling what’s known as “nonstate actors”—a dry name that, in the Middle East, covers the fractious group of militias, religious groups and tribal forces that actually wield power in much of the region. These groups have grown vastly in importance in the past 20 years, confounding traditional diplomats and statecraft, and Soleimani not only exploited but empowered them in Iran’s interests. His absence might help the U.S. in the short term, but it also shows just how deep a challenge the region will pose in the near future—and why our adversaries, whether Iran or Russia, still enjoy a significant and unpredictable advantage in exerting power.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/01/12/iran-middle-eastern-problem-soleimani-figured-out-097350

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2020 in Middle East

 

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Syria’s war is awash with propaganda – chemical warfare watchdogs should not be caught up in it

In the very early spring of this year, I gave a lecture to European military personnel interested in the Middle East. It was scarcely a year since Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chlorine gas against the civilian inhabitants of the Damascus suburb of Douma on 7 April 2018, in which 43 people were said to have been killed.

Few present had much doubt that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which represents 193 member states around the world, would soon confirm in a final report that Assad was guilty of a war crime which had been condemned by Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May.

But at the end of my talk, a young Nato officer who specialises in chemical weapons – he was not British – sought me out for a private conversation. “The OPCW are not going to admit all they know,” he said. “They’ve already censored their own documents.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-war-chemical-weapons-watchdog-opcw-assad-damascus-russia-a9262336.html

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Middle East

 

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Syria’s Oil: Lion’s Share Goes to Russia as US Enjoys Control though Proxies

Since the eruption of the conflict in Syria, warring parties, most notably foreign powers, have been scrambling to seize control of the country’s oil wealth. As the majority of the Syrian people struggle to provide the most basic of heating and electrical resources, foreign powers are dividing the Syrian cake among themselves as they reap the spoils of war.

During the 1930s, Syrian media said that the country’s oil “does not belong to the Syrians.” This is now more true than ever as Russia, the United States, Iran and various factions on the ground seek to capture the country’s lucrative oilfields.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2027676/exclusive-%E2%80%93-syria%E2%80%99s-oil-lion%E2%80%99s-share-goes-russia-us-enjoys-control-though

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing of the Kurds is still happening now – and we have Trump to thank

Mass expulsion or the physical extermination of an entire ethnic or religious community – ethnic cleansing – is usually treated by the media in one of two different ways: either it receives maximum publicity as a horror story about which the world should care and do something about, or it is ignored and never reaches the news agenda.

It appeared at first that the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey after its invasion of northern Syria on 9 October would belong to the first category. There was angry condemnation of the forced displacement of 190,000 Kurds living close to the Syrian-Turkish border as Turkish soldiers, preceded by the Syrian National Army (SNA), in reality ill-disciplined anti-Kurdish Islamist militiamen, advanced into Kurdish-held areas. Videos showed fleeing Kurdish civilians being dragged from their cars and shot by the side of the road and reporters visiting hospitals saw children dying from the effects of white phosphorus that eats into the flesh and had allegedly been delivered in bombs or shells dropped or fired by the advancing Turkish forces.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/erdogan-turkey-kurds-border-syria-war-trump-ethnic-cleansing-a9204581.html

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in Middle East

 

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