5 March 2016



U.N. Seeks to build peace talks on Fragile Syria Truce

By Lisa Barrington Jr. via Reuters Online

A total of 135 people were killed in the first week of a partial truce in Syria in areas covered by the deal, a monitoring group said on Saturday, highlighting its fragile nature just days before the United Nations attempts to reconvene peace talks.

Inside Syria

Syria rebels battle ISIS for control of Iraq Crossing

By Reuters via The Daily Star Lebanon

Western-backed, Syrian insurgents were battling ISIS for control of a key border post with Iraq on Saturday, a day after the U.S.-backed fighters seized control of the crossing, activists said.

Syrians resume peaceful street protests

via Deutsche Welle

For the first time in years, hundreds of Syrians nationwide used a ceasefire to resume anti-government protests. Waving the three-starred flag that has become the uprising's emblem, demonstrators in Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa and Homs called for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.


"Why don't refugees in Europe stay in their first country of Arrival?" via The Guardian

Notes on the Syrian Exodus "Epic Scale, inconceivable until you witness it"

By Richard Flanagan via The Guardian

Booker prize winner Richard Flanagan visits Lebanon, Greece and Serbia to report on the plight of the 5 million Syrians fleeing their country. ‘Forced to choose between life and death,’ he writes, ‘they choose life’

The EU-Turkey Refugee deal and the Kurdish Issue

By Ebubekir Isik via AlJazeera English

If the EU's and Turkey's joint action plan on refugees is to fail, the union is expected to be more vocal and critical of Turkey's engagement with its own Kurds as well as the Kurds in the region. Meanwhile, the EU has been turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Turkey.

Burning Down the Jungle of Calais

By Arthur Goldhammer via Foreign Policy

French authorities began removing residents from the southern portion of the so-called “Jungle of Calais,” a refugee camp that has long served as a way station for a shifting population of several thousand migrants hoping to reach England via the Channel Tunnel, whose entrance is nearby.

Conflict Analysis

When Syria’s enemies and allies spoke about federalism

By Iqraa Fadil in Al Sifr via Mid East Wire

Why are the Europeans and the Americans advising the Iraqi Kurdistan to postpone the referendum over the independence? If the referendum does take place, the Kurdish territory will gain some solid borders and the clashes with the rest of Iraq will cease.

Syria's fragile truce: too many holes to last

via The Economist

The “cessation of hostilities” has brought some relief, but means different things to different people.

Proxy Politics

Putin's Syria Campaign is a win-win for most Russians

By Yezid Sigah via AlJazeera English

Nearly 60 percent of Russians support airstrikes in Syria, a recent poll found, as a week-old ceasefire holds steady.

Iran's Diplomatic Dance on Syria

By Reese Erlich via Foreign Policy- War in Syria

Tehran says it backs the Syrian cease-fire — but only if it can still hammer “terrorists” the West sees as the valid opposition to Assad.

What the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections mean for the Middle East

By John Hudak via The Brookings Institute

The 2016 campaign, however, has provided a seemingly endless supply of shock and confusion.The candidates and the issues they are discussing will have far reaching effects, not just for American public policy but for leadership and policy throughout the world, especially the Middle East.

"Staggering" by Rick MCkee

Failure to Protect:Syria and the UN Security Council

by Dr. Simon Adams

The Responsibility to Protect is an international norm, but it does not possess independent agency. The failure to end atrocities and protect civilians in Syria is not a failure of R2P, but of the imperfect actors and institutions charged with its implementation.

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