16 February 2016
"Assad Geneva Talks" by Emad Hajjaj
By Karen DeYoung via The Washington Post
The United States, Russia and other powers agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war, to take place within the next week, and immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday.
By David E. Sanger via The New York Times
If executed, the agreement, forged by the International Syria Support Group, would mark the first sustained and formally declared halt to fighting in Syria since the civil war began in 2011, early in the Arab uprisings. But even a formal cease-fire would be partial — it excludes the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and the Nusra Front, both designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations — and highly fragile.
By Borzou Daragahi and Sarah Dadouch via Buzzfeed News
In the besieged Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, regime officials line their pockets by charging exorbitant amounts for exit fees, tolls, and international aid while residents starve and suffer.
By Max Fisher via Vox
It's no secret that political discourse tends to oversimplify and distort complex foreign policy issues. That's especially a problem during campaigns, when candidates are more focused on attracting voters with appealing rhetoric than on articulating sober-minded policy proposals. That means proposing too-easy-to-be-real solutions, downplaying trade-offs, caricaturing disagreements, and, especially, ignoring hard truths.
By Ewen MacAskill via The Guardian
The US defence secretary has refused to rule out Saudi Arabia sending ground troops into Syria, but added that it was just one option and there were other ways the Saudis could contribute to the fight against Islamic State.
By Siobhan O'Grady via Foregin Policy
U.S. Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Washington’s operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, sparred with the Russian Ministry of Defense’s official Twitter account after Moscow claimed U.S. planes struck Aleppo on Wednesday. Washington maintains they are not operating over Aleppo, a rebel-stronghold likely to soon be overrun by forces loyal to strongman Bashar al-Assad.
By Reuters via Daily Star Lebanon
NATO ships are on their way to the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece crack down on criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe, the alliance's top commander said Thursday.
By Agence France-Presse in Ankara via The Guardian
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to send the millions of refugees in Turkey to EU member states, as Nato agreed to deploy ships to the Aegean Sea to ease the migrant crisis.
By James Traub via Foreign Policy
That afternoon, in the cafeteria in the back of the Migration Agency building, I met with Karima Abou-Gabal, an agency official responsible for the orderly flow of people into and out of Malmo. I asked where the new refugees would go. “As of now,” she said wearily, “we have no accommodation. We have nothing.” The private placement agencies with whom the migration agency contracts all over the country could not offer so much as a bed. In Malmo itself, the tents were full. So, too, the auditorium and hotels. Sweden had, at that very moment, reached the limits of its absorptive capacity.
By Fabrice Balanche via The Washington Institute
The Assad regime's Russian-aided military campaign and the onset of spring augur another mass refugee flow into the EU, and the only surefire way to stop it is by addressing the root of the crisis inside Syria.
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