3 weeks ago
1 month ago
2 months ago
3 months ago
In Focus: Syria in Ruins
While much of the world’s attention focuses on a possible war with North Korea, the war currently being fought in Syria grinds on. March of 2013 was a month of grim milestones in Syria. It marked two years since the start of hostilities; the number of war refugees passed one million; and it was was the bloodiest month to date, with more than 6,000 people killed. Neither the pro-Assad forces, nor the group of rebels opposing them have gained much ground recently, and little or no progress has been made by international agencies to halt the bloodshed. The following photographs come from across Syria, taken over the past six weeks, showing just some of the devastation in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Homs, Deraa, Idlib, and Damascus.
See more. [Images: AP, Getty, Reuters]
10 months ago
DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels
Nearly two years after the start of Syria’s popular uprising, the conflict has evolved into a slow-moving, brutal civil war with many players and no clear end in sight. Multiple rebel groups across the country continue to fight President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, using any weapons they can get their hands on. While the rebels are using many modern weapons, they’ve also come up with their own makeshift solutions. In these weapons workshops, anti-aircraft guns are welded to pickup trucks and armor shields are attached to machine guns and cars. Mortar shell nose cones are turned on lathes and explosives are mixed by hand. Homemade grenades are launched by jury-rigged shotguns or giant slingshots in the urban battlefields of Aleppo and Damascus. Gathered here are a few examples of the hand-built munitions of the Syrian rebels.
See more. [Images: AP, Getty, Reuters]
1 year ago
CFR Daily Brief on Syria
Daily News Brief
July 19, 2012
Syrian Government, Rebels Battle in Damascus
Violent clashes between the Syrian army and opposition forces (al-Jazeera) continued today in the capital of Damascus, a day after a suspected suicide bombing killed three of President Bashar al-Assad’s top military officers. It was the first such attack on the core of the Syrian regime, suggesting a potential turning point in the rebels’ sixteen-month anti-government uprising. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council (CNN) is set to debate and vote on a Western-backed resolution mandating new sanctions on Assad if he fails to halt his crackdown on the opposition, a move that Russia and China are expected to veto.
“After more than a year of being shelled by the regime’s well-equipped military and terrorized by gangs of pro-regime military thugs, the Syrian rebels’ attack was the equivalent of blowing up the Death Star: They not only decapitated the Assad regime’s top security officials, they sent a message that they could reach anyone—and any part of the country. Even if the belief that Assad could fall any day is overblown, it is clear that his hold on power is shakier than ever,” writes Mitchell Prothero for ForeignPolicy.com.
“What is clear is that any chance that the United States and other Western powers could still facilitate a diplomatic solution is rapidly fading, largely because of months of Russian intransigence. Everyone’s concern should be the thousands of Syrian civilians who have died at Mr. Assad’s hand and the thousands more still hounded by his security forces with helicopters and tanks,” says this New York Times editorial.
“Still, there is a long history of rebel groups breaching a capital city, or even killing top regime officials, and ultimately losing. Three of the bloodiest, nastiest civil wars of the 1990s saw days like today, and all three ended with the government staying in power and the rebels, for all their bombings and advances, defeated,” writes the Atlantic’s Max Fisher.
1 year ago
How About That of the Day: Personal emails obtained by Syrian opposition activists from two secret accounts over a period of nine months are said to have been penned by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma.
Among the many things they reveal — a duplicitous attitude towards promised reforms, detailed advice from Iran on handling the uprisings, and extravagant jewellery and furniture purchases — is perhaps the most enlightening piece of intel about Assad’s personality: He’s a Chris Brown fan.
According to The Guardian, which has pored over the thousands of emails, the Syrian tyrant used a secret iTunes account to purchase his very own copy of Chris Brown’s hit single “Look at Me Now.”
Other songs that tickled Assad’s fancy: “Don’t Talk Just Kiss” by Right Said Fred, “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order, and “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton, which Assad forwarded to his wife.
Perhaps the most telling song in Assad’s iTunes arsenal, however, is LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” which he bought back in January.
He is also on record as having purchased Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which clearly speaks to his inner Voldemort.
Inspired at the William & Mary Model UN conference, this is a recreation of a hand-made note made by the delegate of Syria on the Arab League committee.