Weekly media digest

Palestinian poetry, a potentially harmful Russian UN veto, and a Syrian grandmother told to leave Denmark

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.

11 June 2021

Illustration by Rami Khoury

Syria: Russian veto would shut down last aid lifeline (Human Rights Watch)

“Millions of Syrians risk losing access to lifesaving aid, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, if Russia vetoes reauthorizing the only remaining UN aid corridor from Turkey into opposition-held northwest Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The United Nations Security Council should reauthorize full cross-border operations into the region and authorize a resumption of aid flows from Iraq to northeast Syria when the Council’s current resolution expires on July 10, 2021.” Read more

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The jihadist (Frontline)

“Over most of two decades, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani’s life has been a roadmap of Islamist militancy in Iraq and Syria. Designated a terrorist by the United States, the powerful Syrian militant now seeks a new relationship with the West. In his first interview with a Western journalist, the former Al Qaeda commander tells FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith his fight is with Syrian President Assad, not the U.S.” Watch

Inside the troubled repatriation of Iraqis from Syria’s al-Hol camp (The New Humanitarian)

“More than 380 Iraqis were quietly repatriated last month from Syria’s al-Hol camp to northern Iraq – a test case for the future of up to 30,000 compatriots languishing in the notorious facility, which contains both supporters and victims of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.” Read more

My Palestinian poem that “The New Yorker” wouldn’t publish (LA Review of Books)

“For the past few years I have rarely “submitted” my work to publications and mostly responded to editors who solicited my work. I live Palestine in English. But in my heart Palestine is Arabic. And Palestine in Arabic does not need to explain itself. Despite setbacks, disasters, revolving conspiracies against it, Palestine in Arabic is self-possessed. It is exterior to English yet born internationalist and shall remain so — neither thinking it is the center of the world nor surrendering to the imperial center as the primary source of its future liberation. Palestine in Arabic is where the overwhelming sacrifice is made. Palestine in Arabic dreams, lives in and with more than 15 hundred years of literary, intellectual, and ecumenical traditions, belongs to 10 thousand years before that. History does not end for Palestine in Arabic.” Read more

Denmark: Refugee grandmother told to return to Syria (Al Jazeera)

“Earlier this year, as the Danish government made a controversial decision to declare parts of Syria safe enough to return to, her application for residence was rejected and she was called in for an interview.

Kassem, 66, was nervous but hopeful.

Two months later, however, she was informed that her residency permit was revoked because the Danish government considered that security in Damascus, the capital of Syria, and surrounding region had improved enough that those areas could be called home again.” Read more

The world forgets Syria at its extreme peril (Financial Times)

“It seems to take unconscionably long to learn even basic lessons from this tragedy.

The World Health Organization, a UN agency, has just elevated Bashar al-Assad’s government to its executive board. In the decade until this February, this murderous regime attacked and in many cases destroyed about 600 hospitals and clinics, driving physicians physically underground.” Read more

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad