Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek review – bold portrayal of besieged people (The Guardian)
“Samar Yazbek, Syrian author of The Crossing, turns to fiction to explore the futility and barbarity of war. Planet of Clay is narrated by Rima, a mute girl from Damascus who, afflicted by the desire to walk wherever her feet take her, is tied to her mother’s wrist. She loses herself in books, drawing and the secret planets in her head.” Read more
Will Syria’s disappeared ever find justice? (openDemocracy)
“It is difficult to grasp the sheer magnitude of enforced disappearances in Syria. According to recent estimates, since 2011 over 150,000 Syrians have been disappeared or arbitrarily detained (out of a total population of around 17 million), most of them by the regime. By comparison, during the Argentinian military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, the estimated total of desaparecidos was 30,000 (Argentina had a population of around 27 million at the time).” Read more
Month of fighting in Syria's Daraa displaces 38,000: UN (AFP)
“Fighting between government forces and former rebels in the Syrian province of Daraa has displaced more than 38,000 people over the past month, the United Nations said Tuesday, as truce talks falter.
Daraa, retaken by government forces in 2018, has emerged as a new flashpoint in recent weeks as government forces tightened control over Daraa al-Balad, a southern district of the provincial capital that is considered a hub for former rebel fighters.” Read more
Deadly siege: Syrians trapped in Deraa after regime attacks (Al Jazeera)
“The southern Syrian province of Deraa has recently witnessed the fiercest fighting between rebels and regime forces since 2018. A subsequent ceasefire brokered by Russia remains shaky, while cut-off Syrians continue to suffer.
At least 15 civilians were killed in an artillery attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces at the end of July when the Syrian military and Iran-backed militias attempted to violently subdue Deraa, considered the birthplace of the 2011 uprising.” Read more
9 short stories by Syrian women, in translation (Arablit)
“For most twentieth-century Syrian women writers (Colette Khoury, Nadiya Khust, Ulfat al-Idilbi, Najiya Thamir) their work seems to be available only in print anthologies, if at all. There are also key short-story writers, such as Widad al-Sakakini (who was born in Lebanon but spent most of her life, 1913-1986, in Syria) who don’t seem to have been translated. However, there is a wider variety of work in translation by younger Syrian writers, particularly Rasha Abbas and Shahla Ujayli.” Read more