Tag Archives: Damascus

Liberators or Occupiers?

The fourth anniversary of the start of the battle for Raqqa has just passed, during which time the city was recaptured from the Islamic State (IS).

Raqqa had been IS’ Syrian capital, and it took over four months for the liberators, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to wrest back control of the city in October 2017 with international support.

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The Professor and the Spy

A while ago, eagerly and secretly, a professor at Edinburgh University began a correspondence over email with a man he thought was a Russian spy. ‘Ivan’, as the spy eventually took signing himself, wanted to thank the professor, Paul McKeigue, for his sterling efforts on matters of mutual interest. Those efforts, Ivan assured the professor, were appreciated by the boys in his office in Moscow.

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Syria’s Civil War at Ten

Syria’s unending civil war is now a decade old. It has revealed the how willing and capable the regime of Bashar al-Assad is to use the fruits of cruelty to retain power. The war continually sinks to new depths. The catalogue of human suffering, affecting so many millions, becomes harder to hear and time goes on. Upon being told about this war, some become restless, while other eyes glaze over.

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Syria’s War on Doctors

One of the most brutal and most shocking features of Syria’s civil war is the way doctors and health centres have been targeted.

Throughout the war, the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its allies have attacked hospitals in rebel areas as part of a strategy to destroy popular resistance by rendering civilian life impossible. Continue reading

Assad’s People, Accused of Torture, Begin Trial in Germany

This week, Germany began attempts to prosecute two Syrians who, prosecutors allege, committed crimes against humanity on behalf of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading

The Syrian Regime Still Has No Qualms About Attacking Journalists

Journalists and fixers associated with Britain’s Sky News recently came under fire in Syria. This was not an accident nor was it brief, as video recorded by the crew as they scrambled to escape injury and death attests. No one was killed, but an activist travelling with the party was injured by shrapnel. Continue reading

The European Union Sanctions Syrians Linked to Regime Reconstruction

The European Union has announced, last week, the extension of sanctioning of some people affiliated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, noting that these ‘prominent businessmen are making large profits through their ties with the regime and are helping to finance the regime in return’ and were ‘supporting and benefiting from the Assad regime’. Continue reading

Past Glories

All nations look to their pasts, often as much as to their futures. National history combines elements of myth with the familiar, and provides stories which animate and galvanize. History can unify. It can awe. And the lustre of civilization past can obscure or beautify a present which is less edifying. Contemporary improprieties can be well hidden among ancient stones. Continue reading

The Rojava Reconquista

With the fall of Daraa and the end of rebel rule in Syria’s southwest, observers are beginning to talk more definitely about the conclusion of the country’s civil war. Advocates of the regime of Bashar al-Assad have claimed the conflict was close to ending consistently.

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Foreign News

And, just like that, Boris Johnson is no longer foreign secretary. The initial appointment of one of the most prominent advocates for Britain leaving the European Union to Theresa May’s cabinet was seen by some to be a stroke of tactical skill from the prime minister – this when she was still an incipient titan in the process of dominating British politics for a generation, rather than the dead woman so many now see walking. Continue reading