Weekly media digest

Military offensive on Daraa, starting anew in southern Turkey, and a 'year from hell' in Lebanon

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.

30 July 2021

Illustration by Rami Khoury

Syria: Assad shells former opposition stronghold Deraa (The Guardian)

“Deraa al-Balad and its surrounds, a district of Deraa city in the southern province of the same name, was targeted with heavy weaponry in tandem with a ground push on three axes from two Syrian army divisions and allied Iran-backed militias early on Thursday morning, in a large offensive which continued throughout the day.” Read more

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A photographer watched Syria’s children while their government bombed them (The Intercept)

“In 2011, when the conflict began, Khabieh was compelled to begin taking photographs not because he wanted to be a photographer, but because he was uniquely situated to document his own community and the horrors it was enduring. As an insider whose photographs were soon distributed throughout the world, Khabieh became a photojournalist who refused to look away as his country began to burn around him. He took photographs of his friends, relatives, and community as they succumbed to bombings, chemical attacks, and the immiseration of blockades and a ruthless war of attrition.” Read more

A new Syria in the south of Turkey (Newlines Magazine)

“With the emergence of the Islamic State group and the massive bombing campaigns mounted by Russian and Syrian forces, the Syrian civil war reached a peak in violence between 2014 and 2015. That’s when the exodus from the country intensified. In total, 6.6 million left Syria; 1 million reached Europe, and several other hundreds of thousands fled to Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

The vast majority, however, went to Turkey, where today around 3.6 million Syrians live, mostly spread out in the southeastern Turkish provinces, north of the border in Sanliurfa, Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Kilis, and Hatay.” Read more

Syria’s ‘bread crisis’ in graphs (The New Humanitarian)

“In the stiflingly hot summer of Syria’s eleventh year of war, people across the country are facing fuel shortages and rising food prices, alongside an inflation rate that has been soaring for nearly two years. But the impact of this economic implosion isn’t hitting all Syrians equally.” Read more

Syrian doctor charged in Germany with crimes against humanity (The Guardian)

“A Syrian doctor has been charged in Germany with crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing people in military hospitals in his homeland and killing one of them, German federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe said in a statement that Alla Mousa, who came to Germany in 2015 and practised medicine before he was arrested last year, was accused of 18 counts of torturing people in military hospitals in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus. The allegations include charges that Mousa tried to make people infertile.” Read more

Fighting between Syrian forces, rebels escalates in south (Associated Press)

“Clashes between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters in the country’s southern province of Daraa escalated this week, with reports saying three civilians were killed there on Thursday, as well as eight government troops and five rebel fighters.

The violence is one of the most serious challenges to a 2018 tenuous deal between the two sides, negotiated by Russia.” Read more

Lebanon’s year from hell: a diary (Financial Times)

“At 6pm on August 4 2020, I was at home in Beirut, working on an article about Lebanon’s faltering banking system. Without warning, I felt the world shudder. Assuming it was an earthquake, I ran to a door frame, bracing for the walls to collapse. Instead, the back windows of my apartment exploded outwards in a hail of glass.

In the momentary quiet that followed, I noticed papers fluttering through the air from the office building opposite. Then I heard our building’s caretaker scream for his son.” Read more

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