Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: Statement issued by Syrian organizations in support of the work of the IIIM

SJAC Update | April 18, 2018
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Statement issued by Syrian organizations in support of the work of the IIIM

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

 We, the signatories to this letter, are Syrian organizations working on human rights documentation, accountability, and transitional justice in Syria. Reaffirming our commitment to the demands of justice and accountability, standing in solidarity with all victims in Syria and recognizing their demands for justice and redress, we would like to make the following statement to the General Assembly of the United Nations and to the Secretary-General in support of the mandate of the IIIM. We wish to refer to the following points:

  1. Support the work of the IIIM and cooperate with its team:

In its resolution establishing the IIIM (A/71/L.48) in December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly called upon various bodies, including Syrian civil society, to cooperate fully with the IIIM, in particular to provide the IIIM with any information or documents these bodies may possess, as well as any other forms of assistance relevant to the IIIM mandate.

Over the past year and a half, Syrian civil society has worked diligently to support the IIIM’s work. Civil society has introduced the Syrian people to the mechanism, leading to a greater understanding of the IIIM’s mandate. This process included holding three consultative meetings with the mechanism’s team in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently culminating in the signing of a protocol of cooperation between the IIIM and Syrian civil society organizations. This protocol aims at ensuring mutual understanding between the parties in terms of opportunities for cooperation, furthering the parties’ common objective of ensuring justice and accountability for victims of crimes committed in Syria.

The signatory organizations look forward to working with the mechanism’s team to advance the justice and accountability agenda for all victims in Syria and would like to encourage international and local organizations to cooperate with the mechanism and support its mandate.

 

 

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The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at info@syriaaccountability.org.
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I Am Syria: The Fate of Douma City

The Fate Of Douma City

On April 7th 2018, reports started coming in from medics that civilians were coming in for treatment displaying symptoms of a chemical attack. Shortly after, video and pictures surfaced showing tens of dead bodies of women and children, along with scenes of families who suffocated in bunkers that became gas chambers after the attacks with no escape. Final death tolls reported 55 civilians dead and at least 1,000 injured.

On April 7th 2018, reports started surfacing that civilians were coming into Syrian hospitals displaying symptoms of a chemical attack. Shortly after, video and pictures surfaced showing tens of dead bodies of women and children, along with scenes of families suffocated in bunkers that became gas chambers after filling up with chlorine gas. Final death tolls reported 55 civilians dead and at least 1,000 injured.

​After being captured by rebel forces in 2012, government forces counterattacked the area of Eastern Ghouta in May 2013, beginning a siege.  Government forces then imposed restrictions on humanitarian supplies to Eastern Ghouta while simultaneously striking the area with air artillery.

In August 2013, Eastern Ghouta witnessed the deadliest chemical attacks since the Iran-Iraq war. Government forces launched rockets in the area containing sarin gas that killed over 1,700 people. Civilians never recovered and lived mostly on aid from outside sources.

Despite de-escalation agreement attempted in late 2017, the situation escalated in November. Between the start of heavy fighting in November 2017 up until the escalation through February 2018, the SNHR reported that 1,121 civilians had lost their lives, including 281 children and 171 women. There were more than 18 attacks on medical facilitates, 32 attacks on local markets and 11 attacks on schools. The SNHR also reported that chemical weapons and four cluster munitions were used by Syrian government, and government backed forces.

​In March, government forced broke up Eastern Ghouta, but Douma city was controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, who was holding onto the area and not evacuating like other rebel groups. Negotiations with the group stalled on April 6th 2018, resuming air strikes.

On April 7th 2018, two attacks took place in Douma City. One in north-western Douma on Saada Bakery, and the next on Martyrs Square according to the Violations Documentation Center (VDC).

Medics began reporting they were treating civilians with symptoms consistent with those of chlorine gas, and reported strong chlorine odor. Symptoms included acute dyspnea, conjunctivitis, and oral foaming.

​Aid groups and eyewitnesses immediately began blaming the Syrian regime and their allies for the chemical attack. Many agreed the attacks were aimed to break the will of rebel groups so they would let go of the area and evacuate. Groups also noted that Regime forces and allies have used chemical weapons numerous times during the seven year war. The UN found that three of these occasions included the use of chlorine gas.
Shortly after the attacks, Russian military operatives announced that the Syrian Government was in full control of the town as rebels controlling the area surrender.

On April 12th, it was announced that the fact-finding team from the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was on its way to Syria to investigate the chemical attacks.

The international community was quick to denounce the attacks, claiming action would be taken against the Syrian regime and their allies. On April 14th, 2018, the US, backed by Britain and France led air strikes against Syria, targeting area they claimed were vital to Syria’s chemical weapons program.  Shortly after the air strikes, the US, France and Britain laid out evidence that the chemical attacks were perpetrated by the Syrian Regime. They cited eyewitness accounts of government helicopters in the area, and accounts of the same helicopters taking off from the nearby airfield.

The future of Douma city and Eastern Ghouta is unclear as the investigation by the OPCW in still underway. The small agricultural town of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the capital city of Damascus, is home to over 400,000 people that are still in dire need of aid and medical attention after the chemical attacks.

​After being captured by rebel forces in 2012, government forces counterattacked the area in May 2013, beginning the siege on Eastern Ghouta.  Government forces then imposed restrictions on humanitarian supplies to the area while simultaneously striking the area with air artillery.

In August 2013, Eastern Ghouta witnessed the deadliest chemical attacks since the Iran-Iraq war. Government forces launched rockets in the area containing sarin gas that killed over 1,700 people. The area never recovered and lived mostly on aid from outside sources.

Despite de-escalation agreement attempted in late 2017, the situation escalated in November. Between the start of heavy fighting in November 2017 up until the escalation through February 2018, the SNHR reported that 1,121 civilians had lost their lives, including 281 children and 171 women. There were more than 18 attacks on medical facilitates, 32 attacks on local markets and 11 attacks on schools. The SNHR also reports that chemical weapons and four cluster munitions were used by Syrian government, and government backed forces.

​In March, government forced broke up Eastern Ghouta, but Douma city was controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, who was holding onto the area and not evacuating like other rebel groups. Negotiations with the group stalled on April 6th 2017, resuming air strikes in the area.

On April 7th 2017, two attacks took place in Douma City. One in noth-western Douma on Saada Bakery, and the next on Martyrs Square according to the Violations Documentation Center (VDC).

Medics began reporting treating civilians with symptoms consistent with those of chlorine gas, and reported strong chlorine odor. Symptoms included acute dyspenea, conjunctivitis, oral foaming and miosis.

​Aid groups and eyewitnesses immediately began blaming the Syrian Regime and their allies for the chemical attack. Many agreed the attacks were aimed to break the will of rebel groups so they let go of the area and evacuate. Groups also noted that Regime forces and allies have used chemical weapons numerous times during the seven year war. The UN found that three of these occasions included the use of chlorine gas.  Shortly after the attacks, Russian military operatives announced that the Syrian Government was in full control of the town as rebels controlling the area surrender.

On April 12th, it was announced that the fact-finding team from the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was on it’s way to Syria to investigate the chemical attacks.

The international community was quick to denounce the attacks, claiming action would be taken against the Syrian Regime and their allies. On April 14th, 2017, the US, backed by Britain and France led air strikes against Syria, targeting area they claimed were vital to Syria’s chemical weapon program.  Shortly after the air strikes, the US, France and Britain laid out evidence that the chemical attacks were perpetrated by the Syrian Regime. They cited eyewitness accounts of government helicopters in the area, and taking off from the nearby airfield.

The future of Douma city and Eastern Ghouta is unclear as the investigation by the OPCW in still underway. The small agricultural town of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the capital city, is home to over 400,000 people that are still in dire need of aid and medical attention after the chemical attacks.

Syria Deeply: Join our Deeply Talks – Making Sense of the Syria Strike

Dear Syria Deeply community,

Join Syria Deeply on Monday, April 16, at 11:00 a.m. ET (4:00 p.m. CET) for a special session of Deeply Talks, covering the fallout of the joint U.S., U.K. and France strike in Syria, and what it could mean for the conflict at large, the welfare of civilians, the persistence of ISIS and jihadi groups and the growing footprint of Iran and Russia in Syria.

In a 30-minute live conversation, our editors Alessandria Masi, Lara Setrakian and Hashem Osseiran will discuss the motivations behind the first coordinated action by western governments against the Syrian government targets, whether or not it could deter the future use of chemical weapons against civilians and the strike’s potential impact on relations between Russia and the U.S.

To RSVP and receive dial-in instructions, click here.

Please send us your questions and comments you would like us to address in the discussion. You can respond to this email or tweet @SyriaDeeply using the hashtag #DeeplyTalks.

Warm regards,

Kim Bode
Community Editor of Geopolitics
News Deeply

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Syria Deeply: Another alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta, evacuations begin from Douma, and a missile strike on one of the largest Syrian army air bases

Syria Deeply
Apr. 9th, 2018
This Week in Syria.

Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Suspected Chemical Attack: A suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma killed dozens of people late Saturday night in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.

The Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) said they documented at least 42 fatalities, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 80, including 40 people who reportedly died from suffocation. More than 500 patients being treated in medical facilities in Douma reported symptoms compatible with exposure to poison gas, including difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth and burning eyes, according to a joint statement released by the SCD and the Syrian American Medical Society.

Activists and medics blamed the Syrian government for the attack, but Damascus denied allegations, saying they were “fabrications” by the Jaish al-Islam rebel group.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has investigated previous claims of chemical weapons use in Syria, expressed “grave concern” about the alleged attack and opened a new investigation. However, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow’s “military specialists have visited this place, along with representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent … and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians.”

U.S. president Donald Trump accused the Syrian government on Twitter of carrying out the alleged attack, warning that there would be a “big price to pay” for using chemical weapons. So far, Washington has not specified if, when or how it would respond – Trump is reportedly expected to make a decision on the matter in the next 24-48 hours. U.S. defense secretary James Mattis said on Monday that he would not “rule out anything right now.”

The United Nations Security Council met on Monday to discuss the situation in Douma. The U.S. circulated an updated version of a draft resolution calling for a U.N. inquiry into chemical weapons use in Syria that Washington had initially put forward last month, according to Reuters.

Missile strike: Russia and Syria have accused Israel of launching a missile strike on a Syrian airbase near Homs on Monday. As of Monday afternoon, Israel had not confirmed nor denied the reports.

At least 14 people were killed in the strike on the Tiyas, or T-4 base, including members of Iran-backed paramilitary groups, Reuters reported. At least two Iranians were among those killed, the semi-official Iranian Fars news outlet said, according to Reuters.

T4 is one of the Syrian army’s largest bases, and is allegedly also used by Iranian and Iranian-allied militias.

Russia’s defense ministry said that two Israeli fighter jets launched eight missiles on the T4 air base from Lebanon’s airspace. Syria shot down five missiles, and the remaining three hit the western part of the air base, according to Moscow. The Lebanese army confirmed that four Israeli warplanes had violated its airspace on early Monday, flying in the direction of the Syrian border, but did not specify whether the jets were responsible for the strike on T4.

Syria initially accused the U.S. of carrying out the strike, as it came after Trump’s “big price to pay” warning for the Douma attack. Syrian state media called it an American “aggression.” U.S. officials denied responsibility.

“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting airstrikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”

Rebel evacuations: Jaish al-Islam, the last rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, began to exit the town of Douma on Sunday, in the first phase of a Russian-backed evacuation agreement, Reuters reported. Dozens of fighters from Jaish al-Islam and their families were bussed to the northern city of Jarablus after striking an evacuation deal with the Syrian government. Almost simultaneously, hostages freed by Jaish al-Islam arrived at a government-held crossing.

Both developments are part of an evacuation deal brokered on Sunday between the government and rebels, with mediation from Russia. Under the agreement, the Syrian government grants rebels safe exit to northern Syria in return for the release of hundreds of hostages and prisoners held by the group.

The deal also grants an offer of reconciliation for those rebels who wish to stay in Douma. Citing the Russian RIA news agency, Reuters said that Jaish al-Islam will evacuate Douma in two batches. Syrian state media said the rebels will be evacuated within 48 hours. If completed, the complete evacuation would give the government complete control of Eastern Ghouta.

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After Decree 66, Some Residents Fear Reconstruction Means Eviction

Construction has begun in the Basateen el-Razi district in southwestern Damascus, under a government development plan. Experts warn though that construction efforts are not geared towards repair and recovery.

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The Second Exodus: Tracing the Footsteps of Palestinian Refugees in Syria

An estimated 550,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria are now facing secondary displacement due to the conflict, and many of them are facing deteriorating conditions and a protection gap in host countries, writes humanitarian expert Hanan Elbadawi.

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ISIS

Analysis: Washington Still Has Work to Do in Former ISIS Territories

Emily Burchfield,  Program Assistant at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

Before the U.S. pulls out of Syria, Washington needs to address a governance gap left in some former ISISterritories. Otherwise, marginalized Arab communities will likely ally with the Syrian government or extremist forces, writes Emily Burchfield of the Atlantic Council.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: New Commission of Inquiry Report Focuses on Detainees

SJAC Update | March 27, 2018
The COI’s recent report, ‘Detention in the Syrian Arab Republic.’ | Source

New Commission of Inquiry Report Focuses on Detainees

On March 9, the UN  Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria released a new report, ‘Detention in the Syrian Arab Republic: A Way Forward.’ The report offers an overview of the detainee crisis in Syria: tens of thousands of Syrians held with no due process, families with no knowledge of their loved ones, and prisons where sexual violence and extrajudicial killing are rampant. In addition to accusing several parties to the conflict of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, the report makes recommendations for how to address the suffering of detainees and their families through the UN-led negotiation process. Indeed, Syrian civil society has long demandedthat the issue of detainees be central to negotiations, and the report endorses the notion that concrete proposals on the detainee issue could not only address the immediate needs of victims but also further the negotiations themselves.
READ MORE
The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at info@syriaaccountability.org.

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Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: How the Legacy of Halabja has Failed to Protect Syria

SJAC Update | March 13, 2018
The Monument of Halabja Martyrs was built in 2003, in a city that was still largely destroyed. Photo from Wikipedia.
Thirty Years Later: How the Legacy of Halabja has Failed to Protect Syria
Thirty years ago this week, Saddam Hussein’s forces attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja in Northeastern Iraq. Iraqi forces first launched a conventional attack, forcing civilians into confined basements and shelters. The air force then dropped what is believed to have been a combination of the deadly nerve agent sarin and mustard gas, effectively converting civilian shelters into gas chambers and killing an estimated five thousand people, mainly women and children. The attack was the deadliest use of chemical weapons on a civilian population in history and has become a symbol of the horrors of chemical warfare.
In the three decades since the attack, the international community has made great strides in prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. The conflict in Syria, however, is a stain on that record. To commemorate the Halabja atrocity, SJAC is looking back at why the immense progress on prohibiting chemical weapons over the past 30 years has failed to protect Syrians.
READ MORE
The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at info@syriaaccountability.org

The Washington Post: Trump gives the Assad regime an open invitation to keep gassing children


A Syrian girl receives treatment after airstrikes in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 7. (Amer Almohibany/AFP/Getty Images)
 March 10

NEARLY TWO weeks after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution mandating a 30-day cease-fire in Syria, Russian and government forces are unrelentingly pursuing one of the bloodiest and most brutal offensives of the war. They are attempting to overrun the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus, where nearly 400,000 people have been besieged since 2013. Scores of people are being killed each day; the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted 93 on Wednesday alone. There have been numerous reports of attacks on hospitals and schools and of the use of chlorine gas — all of which are war crimes.

Tragically, there is little new in this, apart from the intensity. Over and over, the government of Bashar al-Assad and Russia have accepted cease-fires, or “humanitarian pauses,” or “de-escalation zones” in Eastern Ghouta, only to continue their attacks. Their brazenness is enabled by the unwillingness of any other power to enforce U.N. resolutions, or the Chemical Weapons Convention, or to otherwise punish the regime or Russia for their crimes.

There is, at least, reason to hope that the impunity will not last forever. Since 2011, a U.N. commission has been meticulously gathering evidence of war crimes in Syria for presentation at the U.N. Human Rights Council, and eventually to international and national courts. Its latest report, covering the period from last July until January, offers horrifying detail about the Russian-Syrian depredations in Eastern Ghouta.

The siege, the report says, has been “characterized by pervasive war crimes, including the use of prohibited weapons, attacks against civilian and protected objects, starvation leading to acute malnutrition, and the routine denial of medical evacuations.” Hospitals and schools have been systematically bombed; on a single day, Nov. 8, three schools were struck from the air. Hundreds of medical workers have been killed or injured in airstrikes, and women have begun giving birth at home rather than risk going to a hospital.

The United Nations documented three uses of chlorine against rebel fighters in July, and another attack in November in which a phosphorus-based pesticide was used. These are carefully calibrated atrocities. President Trump ordered a retaliatory strike following the regime’s use of nerve gas last year, but he has not responded to chlorine attacks. And so they continue.

Russian forces also target civilians, and the United Nations documented one incident it says “may amount to a war crime.” Last Nov. 13, a Russian plane was observed carrying out a series of airstrikes on the main market as well as surrounding houses in the town of Atarib, in Aleppo province. The report says at least 84 people were killed, including six women and five children. It said the plane dropped unguided “blast weapons,” even though “the use of such weapons in a densely populated area was certain to impact civilians.” That, no doubt, was the intention.

As the Ghouta offensive has continued, the State Department has objected; spokeswoman Heather Nauert castigated Russia on Twitter. The trouble is, Moscow knows that Mr. Trump feels differently. When he was asked about Eastern Ghouta, on Feb. 23, the president reiterated his view that the only U.S. interest in Syria was “to get rid of ISIS and to go home.” For the Assad regime and Russia, that’s an open invitation to continue gassing children, bombing hospitals and committing other war crimes.

Syria Deeply: The latest developments from Eastern Ghouta, Afrin, Idlib, the Aleppo countryside and Daraa

Syria Deeply
Mar. 12th, 2018
This Week in Syria.

Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

As the Syrian conflict enters its eighth year, Syria Deeply is collecting insights from our expert community about what the war has taught us about 21st century conflicts. We invite you to share your expertise about the most important developments and lessons here.

Eastern Ghouta: The death toll in East Ghouta continued to rise this week, as pro-government forces continued their aerial and ground offensive on Damascus suburbs that have been under siege for more than four years.

Over the weekend, Syrian troops reportedly cut off the major towns of Douma and Harasta from the rest of the opposition enclave and seized the towns of Misraba and Mudeira. The advance split the Eastern Ghouta suburbs in two, as pro-government forces established a corridor that cuts through the opposition holdout.

More than 1,100 people have been killed since the start of the campaign three weeks ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Civilians in the area are now faced with the difficult choice of either staying in East Ghouta amid the pro-government advance, despite the deadly aerial campaign and the lack of necessary medical and food supplies, or evacuating to government-run shelters.

The SOHR said on Monday that negotiations were ongoing between community leaders from certain towns in East Ghouta, and mediators from the capital. The Russian military said late on Sunday that 52 civilians, including 26 children, had been evacuated from Misraba, according to Reuters.

Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in the area, said on Monday it reached an agreement with Russia through the United Nations to evacuate the wounded, the Associated Press reported. A day earlier, Faylaq al-Rahman, another major rebel group, said in a statement that it rejected a previous Russian proposal that would allow them safe passage out of East Ghouta if they surrendered the enclave to government forces.

Northern Syria: Turkish troops and allied rebels reached the outskirts of the Kurdish-held city of Afrin over the weekend. Ebrahim Ebrahim, a Europe-based spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told theAssociated Press that thousands are fleeing the area as Turkish-backed fighters advance on Afrin. According to Al Jazeera, others are planning to erect a human shield to protect the center of Afrin from Turkish forces.

Elsewhere in northern Syria, there have been clashes between major opposition groups vying for control in the countrysides of Aleppo and Idlib provinces for more than a week. Clashes began after rebel groups Ahrar al-Sham and Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki announced last month they would merge forces in an attempt to seize territory controlled by the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Meanwhile, Syrian government and Russian airstrikes are escalating in Idlib province. SOHR reported that at least seven people were killed in air raids on Sunday and Monday, and at least a dozen more people were injured. Syrian Civil Defense officials said one of the airstrikes hit a preschool in Teftenaz village on Monday, injuring at least 20 people, the Turkish Anadolu Agency reported.

Southern Syria: Syrian warplanes reportedly hit the southwestern province of Daraa on Monday, despite the de-escalation zone deal that Russia, the United States and Jordan agreed to in July, according to SOHR. In the first aerial attack since the de-escalation agreement, at least eight raids targeted the eastern Daraa towns of Busr al-Harir, Hrak, al-Gharaiya al-Gharbiya and al-Sowara, Reuters reported.

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The Syrian war is not a clean-cut sectarian conflict as some would suggest. However, a study of sectarian trends and dynamics can illuminate some overlooked aspects of the war, says Fabrice Balanche of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

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OP-EDS

The Real Reasons Why Syrians Return to Syria

A small number of Syrian refugees are returning home despite the violence in the country. New research among returnees shows that most were pushed home by the harsh living conditions in neighboring countries, and did not find safety or dignity upon return.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

After ‘Massacre’ in Ghouta, Aleppo, E.U. States Must Not Fund Reconstruction

6827aefd-79dd-482b-9584-82c275-565c92dc808b2.jpg?w=68&h=68&fit=facearea&facepad=2&corner-radius=100&mask=corners&maskbg=transparent&fm=png32
DR. Ahmad Tarakji,  President, Syrian American Medical Society

E.U. states must take action over putting an end to violence against civilians in East Ghouta by holding the perpetrators accountable and refusing to fund reconstruction efforts until the attacks stop, says SAMS president Dr. Ahmad Tarakji.

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GOVERNMENT & PRO-GOVERNMENT FORCES

Beyond the Endgame in Eastern Ghouta

6827aefd-79dd-482b-9584-82c275-565c92dc808b2.jpg?w=68&h=68&fit=facearea&facepad=2&corner-radius=100&mask=corners&maskbg=transparent&fm=png32
Lina Khatib,  Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

The government’s endgame in Eastern Ghouta is to overtake the last opposition holdout near the capital. But the bloody strategy Damascus is using to get there is just as important, writes Lina Khatib of Chatham House.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: Three Lessons for the UN Security Council on the Ghouta Ceasefire

SJAC Update | March 6, 2018
UN Security Council Meeting | Credit: Wikipedia

Three Lessons for the UN Security Council on the Ghouta Ceasefire

It is now clear that the ceasefire passed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on February 24th has failed to put an end to the fighting in Syria or address the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Eastern Ghouta. An estimated 77 people were killed on Monday alone, and when an aid envoy finally entered Eastern Ghouta yesterday morning, it was first ransacked by government security forces, which removed 70 percent of the desperately needed medical aid.

The reality of the Syrian government’s current military position makes any ceasefire challenging, but even under ideal circumstances the flaws in Resolution 2401 would make it difficult to implement.

The text lacks key details and fails to place itself within the larger context of a political solution, reading as a reactive attempt at damage control rather than a thoughtful attempt at resolution. The following lessons from ceasefire agreements in previous conflicts provide useful comparisons:

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The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at info@syriaaccountability.org.

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Syria Deeply: Forbidden aid to Eastern Ghouta, Afrin operation puts anti-ISIS efforts on “pause” and leaders expected back in Astana next week

Syria Deeply
Mar. 6th, 2018
This Week in Syria.

Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Eastern Ghouta: Syrian troops and their allies advanced on Eastern Ghouta over the weekend, capturing at least six towns and villages along the edge of the Damascus suburbs. Speaking to reporters in Damascus on Sunday, President Bashar al-Assad said the operation would continue. He added that there “is no contradiction” between the operation and the Russian-ordered daily five-hour cessation of hostilities to allow for civilian evacuations and aid deliveries.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday that a 46-truck aid convoy reportedly reached the besieged city of Douma, marking the first time the organization has been able to deliver aid to the area since November 12, 2017. The convoy included 5,500 food parcels that “should last a family of five a month,” the ICRC said.

The ICRC stated the food aid should feed 27,500 people, however, Siege Watch reported that 125,000 people were living under siege in Douma as of January 31, 2017. More than 390,000 civilians are believed to be living in the Eastern Ghouta.

Medical supplies were also expected to be included in the convoy, however, the Syrian government prevented 70 percent of such supplies from reaching the area, including “all trauma, surgical, dialysis and insulin supplies,” AP reported.

Marwa Awad, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, told AP that “consequently, three of the 46 trucks being sent to Douma today are close to empty.”

More than 700 civilians have been killed in the region since the government stepped up attacks on the enclave two weeks ago, AFP said.

Afrin, ISIS and divergent interests: Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria has prompted the Pentagon to put the battle against the so-called Islamic State on “operational pause” in eastern Syria.

Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that “some fighters operating within the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] have decided to leave operations in the middle Euphrates river valley to fight elsewhere, possibly in Afrin.”

Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning said that the “pause” has put some of the SDF’s ground operations on hold, but that coalition warplanes continued to target ISIS positions.

In Afrin, Kurdish groups – with support from pro-government forces who entered the area in recent weeks – are fighting Turkish troops and their allied Syrian rebel forces. Turkish troops launched a series of attacks over the past few days, killing at least 36 pro-government fighters on Saturday and at least 13 people on Monday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put Monday’s death toll at 19, including two children and four women.

Astana: The foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran are set to meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana next week to “assess the results of their collaboration” and discuss next steps toward a settlement for the Syrian conflict, according to a statement released by Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry, cited by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

The United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will be invited to the talks, but neither the Syrian government nor other observer countries will participate, Anadolu said.

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ARTS & CULTURE

Writing Syria: History as a Form of ‘Resistance’

Alia Malek, author of “The Home That Was Our Country” speaks to Syria Deeply about the process of rediscovering parts of Syrian history that have long been lost or erased.

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DISPLACEMENT

For Syrians in Lebanon, No Formal Plan for Return

The Lebanese government risks losing international support should it develop a formal repatriation plan for Syrian refugees. This has raised concerns that non-state actors will spearhead repatriation efforts, says Dima Mahdi of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.

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ARTS & CULTURE

Writing Syria: Wendy Pearlman’s ‘Oral History of the Revolution’

Wendy Pearlman, author of “We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled,” speaks to Syria Deeply about how the conflict changed the way displaced Syrians tell their stories, and the shift from hope to disillusionment and eventually despair.

973ab3c3-9b8d-4a6d-9ac8-50621f4257fe.png EDITOR’S PICKS

Community Insight

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CIVIL SOCIETY

Deeply Talks: The Humanitarian Catastrophe in Eastern Ghouta

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Hashem Osseiran,  Deputy Managing Editor of Syria Deeply

In the latest installment of our Deeply Talks, Dr. Annie Sparrow, assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Dr. Mohamad Katoub, advocacy manager for the Syrian American Medical Society, discuss the deteriorating healthcare situation in Eastern Ghouta.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Attacks on Healthcare Look Like a Strategy for Forced Displacement

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Abdulkarim Ekzayez,  Syrian Medical Doctor and an Epidemiologist

There is reason to suspect health facilities are being deliberately targeted in eastern Ghouta in a bid to weaken the resilience of the community and make it more amenable to evacuation, writes Syrian doctor and fellow at Chatham House, Abdulkarim Ekzayez.

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EDUCATION

Don’t Forget Our Unfulfilled Promise to Syrian Refugee Children

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Giulia McPherson,  Director of Advocacy and Operations, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

Escalating violence in Syria is a reminder that the war is far from over. A focus on Syrian returns had distracted from failures on refugee education, says Jesuit Refugee Service’s Giulia McPherson, urging donors to now refocus on their commitments to Syrian children.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Syria Deeply: The latest developments on the situation in the Eastern Ghouta and the U.N. Security Council’s call for a 30-day cease-fire

 

Feb. 26th, 2018

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Healthcare Under Attack: As part of our Deeply Talks series, Syria Deeply will host a live 30-minute conversation on Tuesday, February 27 at 12 pm ET, with Annie Sparrow, a critical-care pediatrician and public health professional, and Mohamad Katoub, a medical worker from Eastern Ghouta and advocacy manager for the Syrian Medical Society, about the deteriorating healthcare situation in Eastern Ghouta. To RSVP and receive dial-in instructions, click here. Submit questions for our editors or guests by responding to this email or tweet @SyriaDeeply using the hashtag #DeeplyTalks.

Increased attacks on the rebel-held enclave in the Eastern Ghouta have severely damaged the region’s already strained medical infrastructure. We invite you to read up on our recent interview with Annie Sparrow about the unprecedented pressures on healthcare facilities in Eastern Ghouta, and the repeated failure to deliver life-saving aid.

Eastern Ghouta: It has been one of the deadliest weeks in the opposition-held suburbs of Damascus, since Eastern Ghouta came under siege more than four years ago. Despite the United Nations Security Council resolution that passed on Saturday calling for a 30-day cease-fire to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations, at least 24 people were killed in attacks on the area in the since Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Sunday’s casualties bring the total death toll to around 530 people killed since the government launched an intensified bombing campaign on the opposition enclave last week, according to Agence France-Presse, who cited the SOHR.

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered a “humanitarian pause” in Eastern Ghouta, beginning on Tuesday that would only be in effect from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time daily, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced. Shoigu added that a “humanitarian corridor” would also be created to facilitate civilian evacuations from the area, but did not give any additional details on that process.

Afrin: Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” continued in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on Sunday despite the U.N. Security Council’s resolution for a 30-day nationwide cease-fire across Syria.

On Monday, Syrian state-run news and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a Turkish airstrike in the village of Yalan Quz in Afrin killed at least five people. The Turkish army also reportedly captured three villages near the northern Syrian town from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia and shelled Afrin on Sunday, the Associated Press reported, citing Turkey’s official news agency.

Ankara on Sunday said that the cease-fire would not affect operations against the YPG in Afrin, according to AFP.

“We welcome the resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council in response to the worsening humanitarian situation all across Syria, in particular in Eastern Ghouta,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement. But it added that Turkey “will remain resolute in fighting against the terrorist organizations that threaten the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.”

 

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GOVERNMENT & PRO-GOVERNMENT FORCES

Syrian Conflict’s Deadly Week in Eastern Ghouta

A look at the major developments of one of the deadliest weeks in the besieged Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta.

 

DISPLACEMENT

‘I Was Something She Bought’: Syrian Men Marry To Survive

Although much has been written about Syrian refugee women in Turkey being sold into marriage, little is known of the Syrian men selling themselves in wedlock. Two such refugees share their stories to shed light on what they say is a growing trend.

 

 

EDITOR’S PICKS

Community Insight

 

OPPOSITION GROUPS & REBEL FORCES

Braving Bombs, Health Workers Struggle to Save Lives in Eastern Ghouta

Areeb Ullah,  Journalist, Middle East Eye

 

The Syrian government has targeted a number of hospitals and medical clinics in East Ghouta recently, complicating attempts to provide life-saving care to the nearly 400,000 people trapped under bombardment, writes journalist Areeb Ullah.

 

 

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

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Copyright © 2017 News Deeply, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Syria Deeply: Join Our Deeply Talks – The Humanitarian Catastrophe in East Ghouta

Dear Syria Deeply community,

Please join us on Tuesday, February 27, at 10:30 a.m. EDT (4:30 p.m. CET), for a 30-minute conversation with Dr. Annie Sparrow, a critical-care pediatrician and public health professional, and Dr. Mohamad Katoub, advocacy manager for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), about the deteriorating healthcare situation in East Ghouta. The call will be moderated by Alessandria Masi, Syria Deeply’s managing editor, and Hashem Osseiran, deputy managing editor.

We will discuss the humanitarian implications of the ongoing government offensive, the international community’s response, and the feasibility of civilian evacuations in light of escalated attacks on opposition-held areas further north.

To RSVP and receive dial-in instructions, click here.

We invite you to read up on our recent interview with Dr. Annie Sparrow. And please send us your questions, as well as any comments you would like us to address in the discussion. You can respond to this email or tweet @SyriaDeeply using the hashtag #DeeplyTalks.

Warm regards,

Kim Bode
Community Editor

 

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Syria Deeply: Eastern Ghouta ‘spiraling out of control,’ and Turkey’s operation in Afrin grows increasingly complex

Syria Deeply
Feb. 20th, 2018
This Week in Syria.

Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Eastern Ghouta: After more than four years of siege, it’s hard to imagine that the situation in Eastern Ghouta could become even more dangerous and devastating. However, aerial bombardments have increased in the suburbs of Damascus, as the Syrian government allegedly prepares for a ground offensive on the besieged opposition-held enclave.

More than 100 people were killed in government attacks on the Eastern Ghouta on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The monitoring group added that this number was expected to rise as many of those injured remain in critical condition, but that it was already the highest one-day death toll in Eastern Ghouta in three years.

“It’s indescribable. It reminded me of what we used to see in Aleppo – shelling day and night,” Khalid Abulabed, a field doctor in the Damascus suburb, told Al Jazeera. “Nothing is excluded from the shelling, not schools, not residential areas, not even markets, which has caused a significant increase in the number of people martyred and wounded.”

The SOHR claimed that the stepped-up attacks are a prelude to a government-led ground offensive in the Eastern Ghouta. Syria has been sending reinforcements to the area since February 5, Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday. “The reinforcements are complete; the attack is just waiting for a green light,” SOHR head Rami Abdulrahman told AFP.

The SOHR and pro-government media are reporting negotiations between rebels and the Syrian government over the evacuation of al-Qaida-linked militants from the Eastern Ghouta in a last-ditch effort to spare the region a full-out attack, AFP said. However, the main rebel groups in the area denied that these talks took place.

Panos Moumtzis, the U.N. regional coordinator for the Syria crisis, said in a statement released on Monday that “the humanitarian situation of civilians in East Ghouta is spiraling out of control. Many residents have little choice but to take shelter in basements and underground bunkers with their children.”

Afrin: The situation in Afrin is becoming even more complex, after reports on Tuesday that pro-government forces entered the northern Syrian city to help defend Kurdish forces battling Turkish-backed troops in Ankara’s “Operation Olive Branch” in the area.

Syrian state-run TV reportedly showed a convoy of pro-government forces entering Afrin on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

SANA reported on Monday that “popular forces” would enter Afrin “within hours.” Turkey’s foreign minister later responded to the report, threatening to confront pro-government forces if they enter the Kurdish enclave, the Associated Press reported.

“If the regime is entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us, stop Turkey or the Turkish soldiers,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, according to AP.

On Friday, Kurdish forces accused Turkey of carrying out a chemical attack in a village in the northwest of Afrin, near the Turkish border, and a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin told Reuters that six people suffered breathing problems after the attack. Turkey dismissed the accusations as “baseless,” but the SOHR and SANA news agency echoed the YPG’s claims.

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Analysis: In South Syria, All Roads Lead Back to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The recent uptick in clashes between Israel, Iran and Syria risks circling the conflict back to decades-old hostilities between Damascus and Tel Aviv in battles over the Golan Heights.

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GOVERNMENT & PRO-GOVERNMENT FORCES

Why Syria and the U.S. Clashed for Control East of the Euphrates

The U.S. coalition’s show of force against a pro-government attack in Deir Ezzor last week is not a change in American engagement policy, but a sign that Washington’s interest in Syria will increasingly come under threat.

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CIVIL SOCIETY

Analysis: A Model For Rebuilding Infrastructure in Northwestern Syria

The Idlib Health Directorate is a model for local networks providing public services in opposition-controlled areas and for rebuilding northwestern Syria’s shattered healthcare system, writes Abdulkarim Ekzayez, a Syrian medical doctor and fellow at Chatham House.

973ab3c3-9b8d-4a6d-9ac8-50621f4257fe.png EDITOR’S PICKS

Community Insight

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

In Syria’s Tangled Conflict, a Kind of Regional War Has Already Begun

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Samer Abboud,  Associate Professor of international Studies, Arcadeia University

A general state of war exists between antagonistic, intervening states in Syria, even if it remains undeclared and unacknowledged. However, the form this war will take, and the conditions for escalation, remain unclear, writes Syria researcher and professor Samer Abboud.

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Analysis: Iran and Israel Eye Containment in Syria

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Yossi Melman,  Israeli Security and Intelligence Commentator

The downing of an Israeli warplane on Saturday threatened to escalate tensions between Israel and Iran. But now the two adversaries are actively trying to avoid a full blown confrontation, writes Israeli security and intelligence commentator Yossi Melman.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Syria Justice and Accountability Centre: Syria and the Collapse of the International System

SJAC Update | Feb 20, 2018
Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Russia, 2017. The three guarantors of the “de-escalation zones” in Syria. Photo from Wikipedia

Syria and the Collapse of the International System

The past few weeks have seen the emergence of a new narrative about the conflict in Syria. It is not, as had been widely reported towards the end of 2017, winding down, but rather entering a new phase. While the intervention of foreign powers has defined the war for years, the past few months have seen a profound shift. Not only are foreign powers becoming increasingly active on the ground, they are also increasingly focused on each other. The last two weeks alone have seen incendiary remarks from Turkey regarding the US position in Manbij, Israeli strikes against Iranian air defense, and three foreign states (Israel, Russia, and Turkey) losing aircraft in Syria. The possibility for direct clashes is growing. At this stage of the conflict, with the Syrian government having regained much of its territory, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) largely destroyed, it should be time for all parties to refocus on negotiations instead of escalating tensions on the battlefield to the detriment of civilians.

One vital aspect of the internationalization of the conflict has been the flagrant violation of international law. Combined with the failures of the UN Security Council and the UN-mediated peace process, the war in Syria is now taking place completely outside of the international system. The following is an analysis of the actions of three of the major international actors in the conflict, and the United Nations, which has failed to avert the crisis.

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The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a Syrian-led and multilaterally supported nonprofit that envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law. SJAC collects, analyzes, and preserves human rights law violations by all parties in the conflict — creating a central repository to strengthen accountability and support transitional justice and peace-building efforts. SJAC also conducts research to better understand Syrian opinions and perspectives, provides expertise and resources, conducts awareness-raising activities, and contributes to the development of locally appropriate transitional justice and accountability mechanisms. Contact us at info@syriaaccountability.org.

This email was sent to dmcrane@law.syr.edu
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Syria Deeply: The ‘bloodiest days’ in Eastern Ghouta, and U.S.-led coalition clashes with pro-government forces in Deir Ezzor

Syria Deeply
Feb. 9th, 2018
This Week in Syria.
Welcome to Syria Deeply’s weekly summary of our coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Coalition targets pro-Assad forces: The U.S.-led coalition said it thwarted an “unprovoked attack” by pro-government fighters on a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in Deir Ezzor province after midnight Wednesday. An unidentified U.S. official told CNN that some 500 pro-government forces were involved in the offensive on the SDF base, located 5 miles (8km) east of a “deconfliction” line in the Khusham region, east of the Euphrates River.

Pro-government forces “were likely seeking to seize oil fields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh from 2014 to 2017,” the unidentified U.S. official told CNN, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The U.S. said at least 100 pro-government fighters were killed in the attack. Syrian state media said only “dozens” were killed and wounded by the strikes. An unidentified commander fighting in the military alliance supporting President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters that seven members of the pro-government forces were killed and 27 injured. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at more than 20. No U.S. troops and only one SDF fighter were injured in the confrontation.

It was not immediately clear whether the force comprised mostly Syrian troops or Iranian-backed militias.

Syrian state media said that “popular” fighting units were behind the attack, suggesting that it was not orchestrated by Syrian troops. An unidentified Hezbollah official told the Associated Press that pro-Assad forces known as the Popular Committees, as well as the Syrian National Defense Forces, came under attack by coalition forces.

Syria’s foreign ministry sent a letter to the United Nations on Thursday, calling the attack a “war crime” and demanding that the international community “condemn this massacre and hold the coalition responsible for it,” according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Washington tried to ease tensions on Thursday, with Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White saying in a news briefing that the U.S. was not “looking for a conflict with the regime.” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the attacks were defensive and limited in nature, also dismissing claims that the U.S. was stumbling into a broader conflict in Syria, Reuters said.

Hundreds killed in East Ghouta: Syrian government attacks killed more than 228 people in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus since Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday, according to Agence France-Presse.

At least 80 people were killed in airstrikes on Tuesday alone, making it “the highest civilian toll in Syria in nearly nine months, and one of the bloodiest days for Eastern Ghouta in several years,” SOHR director Rami Abdulrahman told AFP.

The besieged suburbs, which are designated as a so-called de-escalation zone by Russia, Turkey and Iran are home to some 400,000 people who are trapped with almost no access to food and medicine.

“There is a misperception that the de-escalation areas have resulted in peace and stability. If anything, these have been serious escalation areas,” U.N.’s assistant secretary-general and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Panos Moumtzis said, according to the the Guardian.

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CIVIL SOCIETY

The Story of Kfr Nobol Hospital: ‘41 Minutes of Hell’

After the first airstrike hit near the hospital, those inside knew they would soon be targeted, writes Nadi Al Dairi, the Syria country director for Hand in Hand. The next 41 minutes were ones of fear.

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

How De-Escalation Zones in Syria Became a War Management Strategy

Nine months into the de-escalation agreement, the deal has helped the Syrian government seize additional territory and widen its control rather than reduce violence in the designated areas, experts said.

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Analysis: Russia’s Failure at Sochi Means More War for Syria

Having failed to achieve tangible progress at the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue in Sochi, Moscow will instead be forced to rely on military means to achieve its goals in Syria, according to journalist and analyst Neil Hauer.

973ab3c3-9b8d-4a6d-9ac8-50621f4257fe.png EDITOR’S PICKS

Community Insight

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HEALTH

‘No Light at the End of the Tunnel’ in Eastern Ghouta: Sparrow

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Alessandria Masi,  Managing Editor of Syria Deeply

Amid unprecedented pressures on healthcare facilities in Eastern Ghouta, and the repeated failure to deliver life-saving aid, time is running out to improve the humanitarian situation and mitigate misery in the Damascus suburb, says medical researcher Dr. Annie Sparrow.

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CIVIL SOCIETY

The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria’s Northern De-escalation Zone

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Hashem Osseiran,  Deputy Managing Editor of Syria Deeply

The government’s ongoing offensive on Idlib province has already displaced thousands of civilians, many of whom previously fled violence in other areas, writes Cole Bockenfeld of the International Rescue Committee.

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DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Understanding America’s Endgame in Syria

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Samer Abboud,  Associate Professor of international Studies, Arcadeia University

Washington’s recently outlined policy for Syria is unlikely to be able to change the battlefield, protect its allies, or alter the policies of regional states, says Syria researcher and professor Samer Abboud.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via email, Twitter or Facebook.