3 February 2016
"No Way Out" by Luojie
By Frederik Johannisson via The Guardian
Bathed in fluorescent lights, the basement room in an Istanbul suburb is completely white. Between mountains of white fabric, Shukri carries clothing to and from the sewing stations and packs white jumpers in boxes. He is clenching a pair of scissors between his teeth looking every bit the seasoned worker, although he is only 12 years old.
By Stephanie Nebehay and Suleiman al-Khalidi via Reuters
A delegation from Syria's main opposition group arrived in Geneva on Saturday to join U.N.-mediated peace talks, demanding President Bashar al-Assad's government be made to comply with a U.N. resolution on humanitarian aid and human rights.
“We are keen to make this negotiation a success," opposition spokesman Salim al-Muslat told reporters as the delegation arrived from Riyadh, ending weeks of uncertainty about whether they would come and the talks would happen.
By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos via Los Angeles Times
Even as U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry taped a video appeal urging both sides “to make the most of this moment,” a series of suicide bombings outside Damascus on Sunday again dramatized the punishing wave of destruction and carnage that has overtaken Syria.Islamic State, the militant faction that emerged from the chaos of the Syrian conflict, took responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, which killed at least 50 and injured more than 100, Syrian state media reported.
Another 16 people have starved to death in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya since UN aid convoys reached it earlier this month, according to charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
By Julian Robinson via Daily Mail
Holland has announced plans for its jets to start bombing ISIS targets in Syria as part of the US-led coalition. A Dutch squadron of six F-16 fighter jets is already stationed in the region, but was so far been limited to striking positions held by the extremists in Iraq. The aircraft will now be active over Syria until July 1, targeting ISIS insurgent operations and training camps, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
By Leela Jacinto via France 24
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards has been recruiting Afghans, some by coercion, to fight in militias supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Friday.
Turkey has accused Russia of again violating its airspace and warned it would "face consequences" if such infringements continue.
The foreign ministry said a Russian jet flew into its airspace on the border with Syria on Friday. Moscow described the claim as "baseless propaganda".
By Akbar Shahid Ahmed via The Huffington Post
Analysts and Western officials believe Moscow is exacerbating the split to splinter the opposition to Assad and weaken U.S. influence in Syria.
"Russia will seek to drive wedges at any opportunity. Russia only cared about the inclusion of particular groups, like the PYD, when it became a convenient tool for undermining the peace talks," a Western diplomat told HuffPost.
By Robert S. Ford and Ali El Yassir via Middle East Institute
A senior administration policymaker recently told a gathering at the Center for New American Security that the administration would not support groups such as Nusra and Ahrar having influence in a future Syrian government...lumping Ahrar and Nusra together is intellectually sloppy, especially when they exhibit ideological and political differences. This is not to say that the United States has no differences with Ahrar... Nevertheless, the larger question is whether the United States should open channels for dialogue, however difficult the conversation will be. Talking is most certainly not giving military aid or arming. Our refusal even to talk with groups like Ahrar further reduces the little influence Americans still have in Syria...because Islamist groups like Ahrar strongly influence decisions about the fate of Syria, Washington will be left behind.
"Denmark Seizes Assets of Refugees" by Patrick Chappatte
Refugees in the West
By Erika Celeste via Voice of America
Since the civil war began, the U.S. has only allowed 1,500 Syrians to resettle within its borders, and Alhamoud's family is one of the lucky few.
Entering their home, one is struck by how typically American is seems. The kids are on their tablets or doing homework as Alhamoud cooks in the kitchen. But scratch the surface and you'll hear a harrowing and tragically common tale of how they escaped civil war with only the clothes on their backs.
Boat carrying Syrian refugees crashes during journey to Greece, killing at least 37 — including several children, babies
By Denis Slattery via New York Daily News
A boat carrying Syrian refugees attempting the short sea journey from Turkey to Greece struck rocks and capsized at dawn Saturday, causing at least 37 people to drown, among them several babies and young children.
By Ron Charles via CBC News
For many, it's not just the first year that's hard. According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for newcomers who have been here for fewer than five years is almost double what it is for people born in Canada. It's only after being here for 10 years that the unemployment rate for immigrants approaches that of the general population.
By The Associated Press via The New York Times
Jordan's prime minister warned Saturday that it will be "very, very difficult" to keep absorbing Syrian refugees unless his country receives significant economic aid and easier access to European markets.
Abdullah Ensour made the link between refugee admissions and aid in unusually blunt comments Saturday, during a visit to the Azraq refugee camp. He spoke ahead of next week's Syria conference where pledges of some $9 billion are being sought for 2016 to alleviate the fallout from the five-year-old civil war.
Thanks for reading!