Weekly Media Digest (May 31)

Curated Reading List

SyriaUntold brings you a new edition of our digest. We want to share with you the features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we read and thought would interest you.

01 June 2019

(Ailsa Johnson, 2018)

An independent media platform advancing critical perspectives on Syria and Syrians.

From Jabhat al-Nusra to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, what has changed? (The Conflict Archives)

“From JN to HTS, the group went through considerable ideological and political shifts. First by distancing itself from ISIS and pledging an oath of allegiance to AQ after establishing ties with other armed groups, and creating a local incubator that stood behind it regardless of its ideological affiliation.”

Fires, Reduced Prices Disappoint Northern Syria’s Hopes for Record Harvest (SyriaDirect)

“Last year, the region’s agriculture sector took a major hit after tonnes of cotton and maize were damaged by a cotton worm, the spread of which was aided by ineffective pesticides, unawareness among farmers and climate change. According to statistics obtained by Syria Direct, some 17,000 acres of wheat and barley have been burned in Raqqa province this year, leading to an “estimated $6 million in losses.””

For residents of Syria's last rebel-held province, no place is safe as military offensive ramps up (CNN)

“According to UN figures, Idlib province is home to over 1.1 million of Syria's 6.1 million internally displaced people. The refugee camps, many of which are near the border with Turkey, are overcrowded and don't have the capacity to take the tens of thousands now seeking safer ground.”

Syria’s oil crisis: No easy way out for Assad (Al-Jumhuriya)

“With the Syrian regime’s access to Iran’s oil blocked, its main problem becomes not to evade US sanctions, which is quite possible, but rather to allocate $200 million a month for oil imports. This is well beyond Syria’s current financial capabilities and requires the aid of its allies.”

Exclusive: Islamic State suspects sent by U.S. from Syria to Iraq (Reuters)

“While the fate of thousands of IS fighters captured in Syria remains unresolved, the roughly 30 suspected foreign jihadists were transferred to Iraq in 2017 and 2018 after they were captured by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to Iraqi court files, U.S. detention records, intelligence and judicial sources as well as people familiar with the matter.”

How One Man Survived Syria’s Gulag (The Nation)

“At Branch 215, Omar would be assigned the task of moving 30 to 40 corpses daily to the “isolation room.” He had to write a number on the victims’ foreheads, and on a piece of paper the number and name of the prison facility where the victim had perished.”

Pluralism Lost in Syria’s Uprising ( The Century Foundation

"Syria’s mainstream opposition failed to articulate an inclusive definition of citizenship and an inclusive alternative that could allay the fears of minorities, secularists, and other sectors of the society—including Sunnis, who opposed the Assad regime but failed to see a place for themselves in the future envisioned by the armed opposition. Regime violence, repression, and international support best explain the Assad regime’s resilience, but the opposition’s own platform still bears scrutiny."

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