Weekly Media Digest June 12, 2020

SyriaUntold brings you the latest edition of our digest. We want to share with you the news, features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we're reading this week.

12 June 2020


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

Syrians fear hunger as record devaluation sparks protests (Agence-France Presse)

“Umm Ahmed and her family have survived years of war, but now the mother of five is terrified uncontrolled devaluation of the Syrian pound will prevent her from feeding her children.

‘Since the war started, we've tasted all sorts of suffering,’ said the 39-year-old, displaced three times by fighting in the rebel stronghold of Idlib.

‘I think hunger will be among the next.’”

Syrian protesters raise rare anti-Assad chants amid economic plunge (The Washington Post

“About a dozen young Syrian men spread out their arms, clutched one another's shoulders to form a circle and began jumping up and down. As they did, they raised a chant that had rarely been heard before in their southern Syrian city of Sweida: a demand for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

Their protest on Sunday was the first of three in recent days that have drawn dozens of Syrians into Sweida’s streets to voice their anger at the government, which they blame for the stunning collapse of the country’s economy after years of civil war.”

Will more Syria sanctions hurt the very civilians they aim to protect? (War on the Rocks

“In Washington, policymakers and Syrian-American groups have praised the law as a step toward accountability for the Assad government’s crimes. Yet, without robust safeguards and a far more coherent overall U.S. policy, we fear the Caesar Act risks falling into a trap, hurting the very civilians it aims to protect while largely failing to affect the Syrian government itself.”

Syria's Assad removes prime minister as economic hardship grows (Reuters)

“Arnous, 67, currently minister of water resources, was born in Idlib and had served in a long succession of government posts, including governor of Deir Zor province that borders Iraq and Quneitra province in southern Syria.”

Caesar Act: Lebanon weighs impact of US sanctions as economy nosedives (The New Arab)

“Though political ties are frozen, Lebanon and Syria maintain economic relations. The war-torn country still sells electricity to its smaller next-door neighbour, while the latter is seen as Damascus' "gateway to the outside world", through its banks and remittances from seasonal workers. Trade - particularly through smuggling - has been a profitable venture for merchants on both sides of the border.

However, when it comes to the potential repercussions of the Caesar Act on Lebanon, Hezbollah, already facing sanctions from Washington DC, almost immediately comes to mind.”

Battle of the Syrian charity giants: Asma al-Assad versus Rami Makhlouf (Middle East Institute

“Charities are useful fronts for all sorts of activities in Syria, but above all perhaps, they are vehicles of control. The Assads have long understood that the biggest danger to their rule comes from within, from a civil society that rejects their governance — never more so than today.” 

Syrian witnesses speak (Branch 251 -- Syrian Atrocity Crimes on Trial

“Last week in court was special: Syrian survivors spoke as witnesses for the first time. One of them, Feras Fayyad, tells us about his experience testifying in court and opening up about being sexually violated at Branch 251. We talk to two experts who tell us more about sexual violence in international cases and how the Syrian regime has used it as a weapon of war against its own people.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad