Weekly media digest

October 2, 2020

Here are the news, features, investigative piece and long-form essays we're reading this week.

02 October 2020

The colors of Kobane (by Ferhad Khalil, 2014)

On the ‘boom’ of Syrian literature in Berlin (Arablit)

“In the last five years, there has been a “boom” of Syrian literature translated into German that has been noted by numerous writers, translators, and publishers. While no concrete data about the scope of this boom exists, this intense interest in Syrian writers is felt across Berlin.

But what limitations have come with this interest?”

Nagorno-Karabakh: at least three Syrian fighters killed (The Guardian)

“At least three Syrian opposition fighters have been killed in skirmishes in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Guardian has learned, confirming earlier reports of foreign involvement in the battle between Armenian and Azerbaijan over the territory and increasing fears it may spiral into a wider regional conflict.”

'Phantom force': Young Afghans fighting in Syria face uncertain future (Middle East Eye)

“The Afghans, some as young as 14, were flown in from Iran, where they had lived as refugees. In Iran, these young men were told they were being sent to carry out their Islamic duty and protect the shrine of the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad in Damascus.

After a quick visit to the shrine of Zaynab bint Ali, the men were immediately put on patrol in the capital or sent off to the front lines, where they were told they would be fighting the Islamic State (IS) group.”

Opioid abuse in Syria seeps into Turkish borderlands (The New Humanitarian)

“Dr Sulaiman Haj Ibrahim was working for Syria Relief and Development, a Syrian NGO, in 2018 when a young man came to his hospital in the city of Azaz, northwest of Aleppo, desperately seeking help to get off drugs. 

The patient was taking the opioid painkillers tramadol and dextropropoxyphene for injuries sustained during an airstrike in his hometown of Eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus. His leg had been amputated; he walked with crutches and had undergone reconstructive surgeries that required medication to ease the pain. He was hooked and he knew it.”

Syrian Cassette Archives

“SYRIAN CASSETTE ARCHIVES is a forthcoming multifaceted project that aims to archive, preserve and share the substantial collection of audio cassettes that archivist Mark Gergis acquired in Syria between 1997 and 2010. The collection currently contains over 400 audio cassette-tapes from what can be called Syria’s cassette-era. Collecting these audio-artifacts reflects decades of on-site research and personal connections with Syrian music shops, producers and musicians.”

Syria’s forgotten displaced aren’t equipped to fight the pandemic (Foreign Policy)

“The Syrian regime aims to restrict humanitarian assistance to areas outside of its control, such as Shehba, which is under Kurdish authority. The restrictions leave those sheltering there with limited access to basic supplies and medical care, and have placed them especially at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 tick up—with many likely not officially recorded—now is the time for the international community to act in Shehba.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad