Tag Archives: Shabiha

His Country: A Syria Blighted and Wronged by Assad

Review – My Country: A Syrian Memoir by Kassem Eid

Kassem Eid’s memoir opens with a mournful preface. The author, a Syrian who has faced the full force of his country’s recent history, accepts he cannot escape its suffering. Eid says he has fled across continents, travelling as far as he can. He has lived as hard as he can, yet he cannot forget. He cannot suppress the bitter memories of which he is the custodian. Continue reading

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‘Kneel or Starve’: Damascus’s Brutal Ultimatum to the Population of Eastern Ghouta

Under siege for almost five years, the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, in Syria’s Damascus governorate, faces liquidation by the regime of Bashar Assad.

The regime, aided by Russian planes, began a campaign in February to conquer Eastern Ghouta. Within days, hundreds of civilians were killed in air attacks. Continue reading

Of Tyranny and Violence

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

Calculated Brutality in Syria’s Civil War

Charles Lister’s book The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency, contains many calculated uses of brutality by both the Assad regime and other actors, most notably ISIS and other Salafi-jihadist organisations such as the Nusra Front. What is surprising is not the nature of the violence itself – which is to be expected in a civil war of this nature – but rather the fact of its careful cultivation.  Continue reading