The battle for the city of Idlib. We’ll get insight on the latest cruel chapter in Syria’s long civil war.
Joshua Landis, Syria specialist and professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma. (@joshua_landis)
Josie Ensor, U.S. correspondent for The Telegraph. Previously, she spent four years covering the war in Syria, based out of Beirut. (@Josiensor)
From The Reading List
Josie Ensor’s Charity Recommendation List
- Basmeh and Zeitooneh Foundation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
- Save the Children
- Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
The Telegraph: “My memories of Syria, where the world collectively lost its humanity” — “Every year in my job covering Syria, I told myself that at least the next one couldn’t possibly be worse than the last. But each year seemed to outdo itself.
“Along with colleagues posted in Beirut, I discovered there were somehow always new depths to plumb, even greater misery to report, as the war went on.
“Lebanon is the hardest of postings. You spend most of your time covering a place that is just a few hundred miles away but largely impossible to access, and that creates a cognitive dissonance. You watch videos of dead and dying children, file your story in time for deadline and then meet your friends for late-night cocktails in one of Beirut’s many bars.”
Syria Comment: “Nikolaos van Dam on Syria, Assad, the Opposition, Refugees, Kurds, Terrorism, & the Future of the Middle East: Preface to the Arabic edition of Destroying a Nation: The Civil War in Syria” — “As there has been such a high demand for an Arabic translation of my book Destroying a Nation: The Civil War in Syria, which appeared less than a year ago, I am glad that it now appears for the first time in Arabic in an updated and extended version.
“The fact that it appears some seven years after the start of revolution and war in Syria provides an opportunity to look back at developments in Syria with some more knowledge and insights of what has actually happened. From the very beginning of March 2011, the Syrian Revolution has been a highly controversial subject because of completely opposing and conflicting views among the warring parties concerned. My aim is to look at the developments with some more distance, instead of choosing sides, and following the motto of Albert Einstein that ‘you can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created’.
“The Syrian Revolution that started in 2011 did not come out of the blue, but was a result of decades of developments under Ba’thist rule since 1963. The year of 2011 has become a very important turning point in Syrian history because the wall of silence and fear was broken for the first time among large sections of the Syrian population, as they rose massively against the Syrian regime. And even though Syrian history as a result might be divided into a period before and after 2011, it would be better to say that modern Syrian history has been marked by various important turning points, of which the 2011 revolution is just one, albeit a very important one which will be described extensively in this book.
“There were, of course, more turning points in the period after Syria became independent in 1946, after the French had left the country when their mandatory power ended. I will mention here only three: 1963, 1970, 1976-1982, next to the fourth of 2011.”
The Telegraph: “Exclusive: Syrian forces deliberately shot elderly women” — “Syrian government forces deliberately shot elderly civilians in the rebel-held north-west and sought out Turkish military posts for attack in direct violation of a ceasefire deal, intercepted radio communications shared with The Telegraph reveal.
“President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is regularly accused of targeting non-combatants in the nine-year war, but there is rarely evidence to prove the attacks are premeditated.
“The recordings reveal how soldiers from the Syrian army’s 25th Division, a notorious elite special mission force known as the Tiger Forces, opened fire on what they identified to be a group of old women.”
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.