August 20, 2016

Dear Readers,Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. We’ve rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis. But first, here is a brief overview of what happened this week:The week saw several firsts in the now five-year-long Syrian conflict, which, as unbelievable as it may seem, have further complicated the war and worsened the situation on the ground.For the first time since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Syrian government warplanes bombed Kurdish-controlled areas in the northern Hasaka province. At least 13 people were killed in airstrikes on positions in northeast and northwest Hasaka.The Syrian government’s allies also made unprecedented moves this week. On Tuesday, Russia used an Iranian air base for the first time to strike targets in Syria, while a top Chinese official visited Damascus and announced that it was open to intensifying its military partnerships in Syria with both Russia and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government.As shifts took place on the diplomatic front, clashes on the ground continued. Fighting has been steadily increasing in the opposition-held province of Idlib as the battle for Aleppo, just 56 kilometers (35 miles) away, intensifies. Several opposition factions originating from Idlib launched an offensive on government forces last week to break a government siege on eastern neighborhoods in Aleppo, and forces allied with the Syrian government have been retaliating.According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, dozens of airstrikes have hit Idlib since last weekend: Airstrikes on Wednesday killed at least 25 people, at least five children died from aerial bombardments on Tuesday, and on Friday at least six people, including at least one child, were killed in airstrikes in the southern Idlib neighborhood of Khan Shekhon. On Monday, a suicide bombing targeted a bus carrying opposition fighters, killing 25 people and injuring at least 25 others.Meanwhile in Aleppo, opposition forces attacked an army base and residential district in the northwestern part of Aleppo city after detonating car bombs in the area. Rebel groups then attacked government positions in the southwest of the city, in a cement factory near a route that opens up into eastern Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.The Battle for Aleppo is ongoing, with some 2 million people inside the divided city at risk of siege and living under intense airstrikes and shelling.

Weekly Highlights:

Educational Reform for Syrians Must Not Ignore the Country’s Children

Humanitarian solutions to the education crisis facing Syrian children are largely ignoring those most in need, argues Middle East writer and researcher James Denselow. Children inside Syria are being overlooked.

Syrian refugee children sit on the ground as they listen to their teacher inside a tent, the home of a refugee family that has been turned into a makeshift school, at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern town of Kab Elias, Lebanon. AP/Bilal Hussein, File

My Days in Damascus Entry 4: Getting Permission

Farah, a young woman living in Syria’s capital city, writes about the obstacles and discrimination she faced as a young, single woman trying to rent a studio apartment in Damascus.

A stray cat in an alleyway in the center of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Farah

Diabetes Patients Battle for Insulin in Syria

In the second installment of our series on chronic illnesses in Syria, we explore the diabetes crisis across the war-torn country and the constant struggle to obtain the insulin needed to treat the disease.

Rada Hallabi, 4, who is sick with diabetes, lies on a blanket in a refugee camp on the border with Turkey, near Azaz village, Syria, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. AP/ Manu Brabo

Additional Reading:

For new reporting and analysis every weekday, visit www.newsdeeply.com/syria.
You can reach our team with any comments or suggestions at info@newsdeeply.org.

Top image: A screenshot from a video shows five-year-old  Omran Daqneesh, who was pulled from the rubble of a bombed building, bloodied and in shock, after an airstrike in Aleppo. Aleppo Media Center

Author: Shelby Vcelka