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Falling off the edge: Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Alice Rothchild on

Alice Rothchild visits a church in Amman that has gained a regional reputation for caring for refugees from Syria and Iraq, many of whom fled ISIS atrocities and are afraid to return. “Forty percent of the women are widows and many refugees have experienced unimaginably severe and chronic trauma from abuse.”

‘Follow the Women’ bike tour visits Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon

Colleen McGuire on

Follow the Women was founded in 2004, and this year 120 women from the United States, England, Iran, Italy, Jordan, China, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, France, Germany, Belgium and Cyprus biked all over Lebanon visiting Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps, not-for-profit foundations, former prison camps, cafes, schools and even a micro-brewery and soap factory.

Almost 1 million Syrian children can’t go to school

Nisrine Makkouk and Leila Rafei on

In Lebanon, one of the countries that has been most burdened by the Syrian refugee crisis, public schools are strained to the limits. Schooldays operate on a two-shift schedule—the first half of the day is for Lebanese children (and some Syrians if space permits), and the second half is for Syrian children. Still, half of all Syrian refugee children in Lebanon don’t go to school at all.

Syrian death tolls and the kinder gentler jihadists

Donald Johnson on

The answer to a failed intervention is, more intervention. And to justify such a policy, the interventionist media cite low civilian casualty figures in the Iraq war, and now appears to be grossly undercounting civilian deaths caused by rebels in Syria.

‘Either Assad or we’ll burn the country’ – An excerpt from ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’ (Update)

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami on

Read an an excerpt from the new book ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’ by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami. The book tells the story of how Syrians took to the streets in 2011 to demand the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and the political and humanitarian nightmare still unfolding today. This excerpt explores how the regime responded with overwhelming violence to the initial non-violent protests, and the choices facing grassroots activists as the revolution militarized.

Banksy’s bold statement on Syrian refugees

Annie Robbins on

World-famous British artist Banksy has made a bold statement about refugees in his latest artwork depicting Steve Jobs, the visionary CEO and cofounder of Apple, on a wall in “The Jungle” refugee camp outside the port city of Calais in northern France. The piece is simply titled “the son of a migrant from Syria.”

Syrian and Palestinian refugees can be helped by better representation on TV and in film

Susan Youssef on

Help support filmmaker Susan Youssef make her new film ‘Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf’: “Our screens are a reflection of our society. We need an honoring of Syrian and Palestinian life as equal as our own as Americans and Europeans. Supporting media by Arabs and Muslims about Arabs and Muslims is one way that we can instigate the process of healing and hope.”

In a parallel universe where I am a Syrian refugee

Maurice Ebileeni on

Maurice Ebileeni reflects on his family’s history of becoming Palestinian citizens of Israel during the Nakba instead of refugees in Lebanon or Syria. Aylan el-Kurdi tragic death has made him realize how easily he could be a refugee attempting to flee Syria now if his family had only made a different choice decades ago.

New Yorkers take action on Syrian crisis

Sarah Aziza on

While thousands demonstrated in support of Syrian refugees across Europe on Saturday, a crowd of over 200 New Yorkers gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square on Saturday to show they are tired of feeling their own community was neglecting the issue. “People in the United States seem to feel that the Syrian crisis is Europe’s problem,” says 25-year-old Syrian American Nader Atassi, who helped organize a pro-refugee rally. “We’re here to say it’s a human problem, and we want our government to do more to help.”

The U.S. has responsibility for Syrian refugees because we started destructive wars

Roland Nikles on

What is the alternate history where Al Gore is elected President in 2000? What is the alternate history where the United States does not launch two destructive 10 year wars in the Middle East in 2003? How much of the current refugee problem in the Middle East and North Africa is traceable to our actions in these wars?

Retired Jordanian intel chief reveals ‘crazy proposal’ to expel fleeing Syrian refugees to Saudi Arabia

Dan Cohen on

Last week, speaking at the Israel Defense conference on “Intelligence, Terror and Special Forces”, retired Jordanian army General and former Chief of Intelligence Mansour Abu Rashid unveiled what he called a “crazy proposal” to open a corridor to push fleeing Syrian refugees through Jordan into Saudi Arabia. The plan received the most boisterous applause of the two-day conference from the crowd of mostly Israeli military-intelligence officials.

Interminable Nakba: Syrian Palestinians return to the unknown

Ahmad Diab on

Like other Syrians, Syrian Palestinians are collateral damage to both the Syrian regime’s bombing and the international approach that chooses to manage the disintegration of Syria. The crisis of Al-Yarmuk has unearthed trans-generational memories of the 1948 Nakba, kept alive by the obduracy of second- and third-generation refugees now witnessing their camps – their neighborhoods – disappear like those of their grandparents.

Kerry’s Syrian illusion

Marc H. Ellis on

Is Kerry pursuing regime change in Syria or is he posturing for the world community? Kerry should get off his anti-Iran soapbox and get on with helping to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

Infographic: How the Syrian crisis created a disaster for Palestinian refugee children

Visualizing Palestine on

The large scale displacement of the longstanding Palestinian refugee population in Syria has been little mentioned in media coverage. This infographic highlights the challenges faced by Palestinian refugee children from Syria, from displacement to school closures, emergency education provision and the simple uncertainty over whether they will have access to education.

Syrian chemical weapons deal puts pressure on Israel to sign weapons treaties

Annie Robbins on

John Kerry landed in Israel yesterday after meeting with with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to iron out a deal over Syria’s chemical weapons disposal. Although the trip to Israel was hyped in some quarters as “a personal mission to try to achieve a long-elusive peace deal between Israel and the PA”, Barak Ravid reporting in Haaretz zeros in on a topic we discussed earlier, Will Kerry ask Israel to ratify chemical weapons treaty, with Syria plan afoot?

Shady PR operatives, pro-Israel ties, anti-Castro money: Inside the Syrian opposition’s DC spin machine

Max Blumenthal on

During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria on September 3, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain both cited a Wall Street Journal editorial by Elizabeth O’Bagy to support their assessment of the Syrian rebels as predominately “moderate,” and potentially Western-friendly. What Kerry and McCain neglected to mention was that O’Bagy had been recently hired as the political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a little known outfit that functions as a lobbying arm of the Syrian opposition in Washington.

Why has Israel closed its doors to Syrian refugees?

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein on

Israel once prided itself on taking in Vietnamese boat people in the late ’70s. We are refugees ourselves, declared the Israeli Prime Minister. But in the Syrian case, when hundreds of thousands are filling refugee camps in several neighboring countries, Israel has a firm Not In My Back Yard policy. Not very neighborly.