Weekly Media Digest (June 22)

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.

22 June 2019

Wissam Jazairi, 2012

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

There is a Rotten Stench Coming from Lebanon (openDemocracy)

Walid Houri writes about the recent racist remarks made by Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil on Twitter. Bassil advocates for the Lebanese supremacy and calls for boycotting businesses that employees Syrian refugees. Houri argues that these remarks triggered vigilante-style attacks by the youth of Bassil's party against Syrians in the country.

"Bassil’s call to arms resulted in a campaign by the youths of his political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) who descended on shops and businesses who employ Syrian labour. Subsequently, hoards of Lebanese fascists went on filming, humiliating, bullying and terrorising one of the most vulnerable segments of the Lebanese labour force."

New Notifications Declare Dead Hundreds in Syrian Security Services’ Detention Facilities (Syrians for Truth and Justice)

A new report by Syrians for Truth and Justice reveals that the regime has notified families of detainees from Hama city of their death while in prison. The civil registry in Hama has handed out 700 death certificates since the beginning of 2019. 

“At the dawn of 2019, STJ documented the reception of death certificates by countless families in Hama province, held by the Syrian government, which are proof of the death of their detained relatives. These certificates have been there, in the civil registry directorate, for many years, as the families and relatives of victims reported.”

One Year After Reconciliation, Why are Southern Syria’s Residents Paying out of Pocket for Public Services? (Syria Direct)

Walid Al Nofal reports about the lack of basic services the residents of Daraa and its neighbouring towns are suffering. The rebels surrendered these areas to the Syrian regime in 2018, with Russia acting as a mediator and guarantor of the surrender terms which included restabilising services and infrastructure. A year on, residents have to rely on themselves for electricity and clean drinking water, and fundraise to reopen schools.

“The situation in Inkhil resembles that of neighboring cities and towns. Already suffering from economic woes including the collapse of the Syrian lira, the loss of natural resources to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and the mortgage of key state institutions to allies Russia and Iran, Damascus has proven unable to provide essential services in the territories it regained in southern Syria in mid-2018.”

Fleeing Syria, These Child Refugees Become Child Laborers (National Geographic)

The National Geographic reports about the prevalence of child labor among Syrian refugees in Turkey. More than 3.6 million Syrians live in turkey today, half of them are children, yet only 590,000 attend school. As 70% of Syrian refugees in Turkey live under the poverty line, many children have become the breadwinner of their families.

"By the time Xunava first sat behind a sewing machine, three years ago as a 13-year-old, she already had survived warplanes, helicopter gunships, barrel bombs, and armed men roaming her Aleppine neighborhood. She remembers the day five rockets slammed into the bakery where her father, Khalil, worked. Shrapnel peppered his head, slicing his left wrist and blinding his left eye. It was October 22, 2012."

Syrian Refugees Have Become Pawns in Their Host Nations’ Politics (The Washington Post)

Gerasimos Tsourapas's research studies the tactics of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and how they exploit the plight of the Syrian refugees they host to secure their own political and economic interests. He coins the term "refugee-rent" in describing these tactics.

"There are arguably two main types of refugee-rent-seeking behavior. States may adopt back-scratching strategies that rely on interstate cooperation. Or states might choose a blackmailing approach based on coercion. The former, involving pleas for international assistance and appeals to norms and international law, are in sharp contrast with the latter, which frequently entail threats of unilateral action."

How The Assad Regime Used Child Rape As A Weapon Of War (Zero Impunity

All warring sides in Syria have detained children and used rape as a tactic to demoralize and defeat their opponents. Zero Impunity reports about the suffering of Nora who was arrested by the Syrian regime as a hostage to force her father to turn himself in.

"It pains Fatima to continue.
“Nora told me, ‘He took me. And he raped me. He slept with me.’ Nora screamed, she tried to flee, she struggled to escape his grasp.”
“He then gave her a small yellow pill and gave her a shot in her right arm. He hit her so hard that her head started spinning.”
The next morning, the little girl woke up in an interrogation room. She was covered with blood and several officers were standing around her. Why was there blood there? she wondered. What happened? Nora has no idea what these other men did to her.
“She remembers seeing the man who raped her,” says her mother. “But she has no idea what the others did to her.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad