Syria Watch Weekly Update: Battle Resumes in Eastern Aleppo

November 18, 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 an overview of what happened this week:The Syrian government resumed its aerial campaign on Aleppo, targeting the eastern, rebel-held side of the city for the first time in more than two weeks. Up to Thursday, at least 70 people have been killed since the offensive began and hundreds more have been injured.Airstrikes on Aleppo were reported to have hit hospitals, a blood bank and several ambulances. According to Doctors Without Borders – Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), all eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been targeted at least once, including the Bayan Children’s Hospital. Only 32 doctors remain to treat the roughly 250,000 people who remain in eastern Aleppo, MSF reported.Russia said it was not participating in the bombing of eastern Aleppo. However, it did fire cruise missiles from Tu-95MS airplanes, targeting the so-called Islamic State and the former al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham elsewhere in Syria, according to Reuters. On Tuesday, Russia also targeted several Syrian provinces, including Homs and the largely opposition-controlled Idlib.The situation has deteriorated quickly in eastern Aleppo as food supplies dwindle. “People are only getting about 15 percent of what they need,” Brita Hagi Hasan, president of the city council for opposition-held Aleppo, told Reuters.Food production all across Syria hit a record low this week, according to the World Food Program (WFP). Wheat output has dropped sharply between 2011 and this year and there are far fewer cattle, sheep, goats and poultry in the country.As the war economy in Syria wreaks havoc on food production and agriculture, the European Union and United States put further sanctions on the country’s financial sector. An additional 18 Syrian officials were hit with E.U sanctions on Monday, including Syria’s central bank chief and finance minister.The following day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed new legislation sanctioning the Syrian government that would target anyone who does business with the transport, telecommunications or energy sectors. The bill was passed in an attempt to quell atrocities in Syria.“Something needs to jolt this crisis out of its bloody status quo,” said Eliot Engel, the leading Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee. “This bill would give the administration more tools to do so. If you’re acting as a lifeline to the Assad regime, you risk getting caught up in the net of our sanctions.”Weekly Highlights:

Pixels of War: One Student’s Path to Photography in Eastern Aleppo

In the second installment of “Pixels of War,” our diary series on Syrian photographers, Yehya Alrejjo recounts how the Syrian uprising and war transformed him from a student of chemistry into a photographer with the opposition in the besieged and contested city of Aleppo.

Buildings destroyed by airstrikes in eastern Aleppo. Yehya Alrejjo

How the White Helmets Have Evolved During the Civil War

Over the past three years the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer operation active in eight of the country’s 14 provinces, has had to adapt technically and emotionally in order to continue doing one of the hardest jobs in the conflict.

Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, search for victims amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a government forces airstrike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Bustan al-Basha in the northern city of Aleppo, on October 4, 2016. AFP/ THAER MOHAMMED

Male Refugees in Lebanon Face Abuse and Neglect Alone

Single men are not often the priority for refugee assistance programs, but they are vulnerable in their own ways. Federica Marsi reports on the difficulties that lone Syrian men in Lebanon face in accessing aid and protecting themselves from exploitation.

I belong to no country, nowhere. I build my home and my world wherever I am. My home country is my relation with the place where I live at the moment and the accumulation of memories there. ©Joe Saade

Additional Reading:

Top image: A Sukhoi-33 aircraft is about to take off from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser to hit armed groups in Syria with bombs and missiles. Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation via AP

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Author: Shelby Vcelka

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