Lebanon’s Refugee Policies Exacerbate Winter Weather Conditions

A tent near the Lebanese town of Zahle, winter 2015. Source: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations   In early January, Lebanon’s refugee camps were devastated by a winter storm named “Norma.” Though Syrian refugees in Lebanon have been forced to cope with difficult winter conditions in the past, this winter has been particularly […]

Syrians Arrested, Killed Under Reconciliation Agreements

  As the Syrian government continues to promote its narrative that the conflict is winding down, truces that the government refers to as “reconciliation agreements” have become an increasingly common method to reassert control over opposition-held areas. Such agreements supposedly provide a method for peaceful reintegration of communities into government control. However, an ongoing campaign […]

A New Constitution is Not the Solution for Syria

The leaders of Germany, Russia, Turkey and France participate in a press conference in November, where they endorsed the prompt creation of a constitutional committee. Source: the Kremlin   In late November, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura announced that he would delay his resignation to make one final push to create a constitutional committee. […]

Russia’s Twitter Campaign: Influencing Perceptions of the Syrian Conflict

  In the era of “fake news,” it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish falsehoods from reality, a problem that modern technology has only exacerbated. The Syrian conflict has fallen victim to this phenomenon, as a wealth of information has been generated online originating from all sides of the conflict that includes both false information […]

Revitalizing Civil Society Engagement in the Geneva Process

UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura addresses the press in January 2018. Source: UNIS Vienna   When the UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura first decided to form a Civil Society Support Room (CSSR) in 2016, many human rights organizations, including SJAC, were excited to have the opportunity to participate. Civil society organizations […]

Despite Promises, The Recruitment of Children Continues in Syria

Child soldiers undergo demobilization in Syria, June 2014. Source: Geneva Call   While Russia and the Syrian government promote the narrative that the Syrian conflict is winding down, fighters remain active on the ground, putting civilians, including women and children, at continued risk of harm. The fighting has also meant that the issue of child […]

Report Release: Opportunities and Impediments to Civil Society – Criminal Tribunal Engagement

  Over the past two years, Syrian civil society organizations (CSOs), including SJAC, have been working with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to build a framework for collaboration. While there are many benefits of CSO collaboration with international criminal justice mechanisms (ICJMs), historically, close cooperation has been relatively rare. As a result, little […]

De Mistura’s Mistakes: What the New UN Special Envoy Should Learn from the Past Four Years

UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura during the Munich Security Conference in 2017. Source: Wikimedia   On November 1st, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen to the position of UN Special Envoy for Syria. As the international community prepares for Staffan de Mistura’s departure from the position at the […]

The World Must Not Ignore ISIS’s Crimes Against the Druze

A group of Druze-Americans participate in a ‘Free the Hostages’ protest at the White House in Washington, DC. Photo by SJAC.   On July 25, ISIS attacked the Druze region of Sweida in southwestern Syria, leading to the deaths of over 200 people and the kidnapping of 30 civilians. While the initial attack was covered […]