The liberation of Raqqa by the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the military power of the Global Coalition confronting the Islamic State group (IS), was never going to be easy. Continue reading
Heart-rending images come out of the Syrian war with such regularity that one would almost be forgiven for becoming inured to their horror. This is how global callousness sets in, and there are reasons for it.
But a series of photographs which were propagated last month challenged this collective emotional hardness. They documented the young life of Sahar Dofdaa, a terribly emaciated infant born in East Ghouta, which has been under siege by forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2012. Continue reading
Syria’s war has been brutal even by the normal standards of a civil conflict.
Half a million are thought to have died, while many thousands have ‘disappeared’ into prisons which are known to be sites of mass murder; millions have fled Syria, and millions more have been internally displaced within the country. Continue reading
The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading
The brutality of the war in Syria is known: its cadences well-established. Regime barrel bombs and chemical weapon attacks, Russian air strikes, and the many outrages committed by the Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) – all of these combine together in the mind.
This cruelty occurs in the open. But worse – if that were possible – is that which is hidden away in regime prisons, locked away with the prisoners. Occasionally, news escapes the confines of these places of suffering. Continue reading