Weekly media digest

Ceasefire in Daraa, a drying Euphrates, and the Syrian artist recreating home in miniature

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.

02 September 2021

'Desert': drying Euphrates threatens disaster in Syria (AFP

“Syria's longest river used to flow by his olive grove, but today Khaled al-Khamees says it has receded into the distance, parching his trees and leaving his family with hardly a drop to drink.

‘It's as if we were in the desert,’ said the 50-year-old farmer, standing on what last year was the Euphrates riverbed.” Read more

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Truce reached in Syria’s Daraa after months of fighting: Reports (Al Jazeera)

“A halt in fighting was announced on Wednesday after Russian generals offered a new plan that appeared to meet some of the rebel demands to involve the Russian military police in patrolling Daraa al-Balad – a southern district of Daraa city – while allowing for the first time a Syrian army security presence in the stronghold.” Read more

As U.S. completes Afghan withdrawal, American allies in Syria watch warily (The Washington Post)

“As U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan, precipitating the chaotic collapse of its government, another American ally watched warily and hoped that its fate will be different.

The painful memories of an earlier American military drawdown are still fresh for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria.” Read more

A Syrian artist remakes the home he cannot visit (The New Yorker)

“The architect and artist Mohamad Hafez strides through his studio and pauses to gaze out the window, hands in his pockets. The space brims with objects, and he lists them for the filmmaker Jimmy Goldblum: ‘My dried plants, my miniature furniture, Christmas ornaments, shells, paints, nails, stones.’ From a wall of shelves teeming with appliances and trinkets he pulls down a small knob. ‘Here is a radio switch,’ he says, ‘but what I see in it is an exploded engine.’ What he sees in these objects, where others might see junk, is everything. He uses them to build worlds from his memory, re-creating and reimagining sites from the Syria of his boyhood years.” Read more

Men from Daraa disappear near Syrian embassy in Beirut (The National)

“Five former rebel fighters who fled Syria's southern province of Daraa have gone missing near Syrian embassy in Beirut last week, their relatives and friends told The National.

One of the men has not been heard from since he visited the embassy on Tuesday, while four others went missing on Friday. All five arrived in Lebanon illegally through smuggling routes in hopes of travelling on to another country, and disappeared shortly after collecting their passports from the Syrian embassy, said activists, relatives and a researcher at Amnesty International.” Read more

Gaza’s toll: After four wars, Gaza families struggle with the cost (Associated Press)

“Here, down a narrow lane called Al-Baali, just over a mile from the heavily fortified border separating northern Gaza and Israel, cinderblock homes press against each other before opening to a modest courtyard below the Nassirs’ perch.

Until this neighborhood was hammered by the fourth war in 13 years between Israel and Hamas militants, the Nassirs often sipped coffee by a window, watching children play volleyball using a rope in place of a net. Other days, the couple looked out as relatives pulled fruit off the yard’s fig and olive trees.” Read more

Tales of fumbling in the dark (L’Orient Today)

“Once in bed, Nina and Maurice, who are in their sixties, patiently try to fall asleep. It is a trying task on a sultry August night. Despite the wide-open windows and doors, there’s barely any wind, and the mosquitoes are having a blast.

Suddenly midnight strikes and a symphony of electronic clicks breaks the silence of the neighborhood, followed by screams of joy and a string of lights illuminating one after another.” Read more


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