In Denmark, fears grow among Syrian asylum-seekers as residence permits are revoked (NPR)
“In 2019, Danish authorities issued a report stating that the security situation in some parts of Syria had ‘improved significantly.’ Last year, that report was used as justification to begin reevaluating hundreds of Danish residence permits granted to Syrian refugees from the area around and including the capital Damascus.
Now some of those refugees are being told, officially, that their time in Denmark is up.” Read more
The folkloric stories behind Kurdish secularism (Newlines Magazine)
“The specific mythical narratives that shape the Kurdish identity cannot easily be merged with any others in the neighbourhood, even those with which there is a common religious denominator. Rarely would a Kurdish fighter compare himself to, say, Khaled ibn al-Walid, the Arab Muslim commander who conquered Damascus from the Byzantines in 634. Far more inspiring to a Kurd would be a battle cry such as: ‘Stand firm, O descendants of Emîr Xan Lepzêrîn!’ or ‘Do not retreat, O children of Darwish Avdi!’” Read more
Who are you without people? (LA Review of Books)
“In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, in its carousel of loneliness, longing, and confusion that touches us all in equal and unequal measure, my friend, the writer Golan Haji, sent me this poem as solace. ‘People,’ by the Syrian poet and artist Munther Masri, was collected in Masri’s The Echo that Made a Mistake (2011). People have always asked what poetry is. ‘People’ is a poem that needs no historical occasion to illuminate an answer to this timeless, insatiable question. And yet, in these eventful days, the answer is a poem for the people, of the people, and by them, written in the past by a solitary poet who comes from the future.” Read more
Special report: A collapsing economy and a family feud pile pressure on Syria's Assad (Reuters)
“Through Syria’s 10-year civil war, Makhlouf had helped Assad evade Western sanctions on fuel and other goods vital to his military campaign. He was part of the president’s inner circle, accused by the United States of exploiting his proximity to power to enrich himself ‘at the expense of ordinary Syrians.’ His business empire spanned telecoms, energy, real estate and hotels, looming large over Syria’s economy.
But now the two men were locked in a battle over money.” Read more
Assad’s long reach: The Syrian Arab Air Force at war (Global Public Policy Institute)
“In the early hours of 7 April 2017, a senior pilot and squadron commander of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) prepared to take off from Shayrat Air Base in central Syria. This flight marked his third mission carrying lethal Sarin in just over two weeks. The pilot’s precise routine set off alarm bells for the opposition activists who had tuned into Syria’s radio towers in anticipation of the near daily air-raids
A few hours later, at least 89 civilians had been killed in Khan Shaykhun.” Read more
They ‘bombed my dream’: Denmark strips some Syrians of residency status (The New York Times)
“Since the Danish immigration services said in 2019 that they deemed Damascus and its surrounding areas safe, they have reviewed the residence permits of 1,250 Syrians who, like Ms. al-Asseh, left their country during its civil war. The authorities have now revoked or not extended the residence permits of more than 250 of them.
In doing so, Denmark has become the first European Union country to deprive Syrian refugees of their asylum status, even as Syria remains shattered.” Read more