16 February 2016

Breaking Update

"Assad Geneva Talks" by Emad Hajjaj

U.S., Russia and other powers agree on ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria

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.

And More...

U.S. and Russia Announce Plan for Humanitarian Aid and a Cease-Fire in Syria

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.

Inside Syria

Here’s How Syria’s Regime Is Profiting From People Under Siege

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.

Proxy Politics

"The Good Ones and the Less Good Ones" by Marian Kamensky

14 hard truths on Syria no one wants to admit

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.

US will not rule out Saudi ground troops being sent into Syria

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.

Moscow and Washington Are Tweet-Fighting Over Who Bombed Aleppo

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.


"Why the Refugee Crisis" by Marian Kamensky

NATO launches sea mission against people-smugglers

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.

Turkish president threatens to send millions of Syrian refugees to EU

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.

The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth

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.

The Worst of the Syrian Refugee Crisis Is Coming for Europe

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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