Tag Archives: Bashar al-Assad

Turkey’s Limited Victory in Afrin

When Turkey began its campaign against the Kurdish canton of Afrin in northern Syria, undertaken in tandem with selected Syrian rebel groups, global condemnation followed.

Operation Olive Branch, as it is ironically called, met with fierce criticism from the beginning. Continue reading


New Rebel Coalition Joins Syria’s Splintering War

The Syrian Liberation Front (JTS), a newly formed insurgent coalition in northern Syria, was conceived in and exists for war.

Formed by an agreement between the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and the more ideologically flexible Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, JTS was bolstered by defections from other, smaller Islamist factions. Continue reading

Covering the Ground

Review – Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars by Jonathan Spyer

As the violence of the Syrian civil war increased, and as the Islamic State group (IS) crossed the Iraqi border, it was clear that the wars in these two countries would become the essential conflict of our times. Continue reading


Facile Talk

In the ways statesmen and the nations they lead interact with the rest of the world, gestures can almost match actions in importance. This is why, when some politicians make gestures, they are greeted with the affirmation normally reserved for action. Continue reading


Eastern Ghouta’s Doomed Ceasefire

In theory, in the middle of a ruinous civil war, a ceasefire is held to be a good thing. Ceasefires are meant to herald a cessation of hostilities. During the ensuing period, there ought to be a lull in violence; in this interval the dead can be buried, the wounded can be tended to, the ill given aid, and the hungry fed. Continue reading


It Is Not Too Late for the West to Stop the Carnage in East Ghouta. Here’s How

If one thing typifies the Syrian civil war and all its quotidian brutality, it is the prevalence of siege tactics. Like the war, sieges are protracted and grinding. They are more brutal than other forms of fighting, aping civil conflicts. And, as in sieges, in Syria the most horrific crimes can occur out of sight of the rest of the world, likely out of mind. Continue reading


Cutting Deals with the Islamic State

It is in retreat, defeated in its attempt to build a state. But the survival of the Islamic State group (IS) is assured. It’s assured because IS has effectively changed its strategy to one of insurgency, because it remains at home in the ungoverned spaces opened up by Syria’s civil war and present in Iraq’s less-populated provinces. Continue reading