Understanding Turkey since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire has proven difficult for westerners. The decaying magnificence of the Ottoman years was a vivid adornment to past debate. Nineteenth century diplomatists like David Urquhart defended the Sublime Porte as a reasonable counterbalance to Russia, and publicity-minded moralists like Gladstone decried Ottoman atrocities, all while the empire became more visibly moribund and threadbare. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Elizabeth Tsurkov
Turkey’s Syrian Fighters in Libya
Libya’s civil war is defined by foreign intervention. The Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, representing the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, is supported by Russian and Sudanese mercenaries, French weapons and the goodwill of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Continue reading
Idlib, on a Knife-Edge, Awaits Its Destiny
In the last Syrian rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkey is more influential than the Syrian government. But Turkey’s position has never been entirely secure. Run by Syrian rebels and Islamists, Idlib is the last part of Syrian territory not run by a foreign state or President Bashar Assad. Idlib’s people are not happy with their present rulers and protest against them, but they fear the government and its allies. Continue reading
The al-Hol Refugee Camp and Grave Humanitarian Challenges
At the end of September, in the section of the al-Hol refugee camp in north-eastern Syria that houses foreigners, Russian women – supporters of the Islamic State – severely beat two Turkistani women, apparently because their victims refused sharia indoctrination. Continue reading
In Memoriam: Abdelbasset al-Sarout
The death of Abdelbasset al-Sarout has elicited a great tide of grief in Syria which has been echoed and felt across the world. At his death, Sarout was 27 years old. He had fought against the regime of Bashar al-Assad for almost a decade, and had served as a symbol of defiance and hope for as long. Continue reading
Daraa Protests Show the City Remains Outside the Regime’s Orbit
Last week, demonstrations took place in the southern Syrian city of Daraa to protest something symbolic.
In the former heartland of Syria’s revolution, protesters gathered on March 10 to oppose the refurbishment of a statute depicting Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syria’s hereditary president, Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading
Ceasefire Sees Jihadists Cement Grip over Idlib
The conflict between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its enemies has slowed in Idlib, halted by a precarious ceasefire. But fighting between groups in the province is subject to no such regulation. Rebel factions and jihadists continue to tussle for control of the province. Continue reading
The United States Wants Russia to Evict Iran from Syria. It Won’t Work
US President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, in a summit that has been likely since Trump entered office last year.
They will discuss Syria. Russia and the United States have interacted inconsistently there. Where once it was thought that Trump would follow the Russian line on Syria’s civil conflict, events have proven more complex. 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