US Military Report on Civilian Casualties Fails to Address Syrian Concerns

A US Department of Defense (DOD) report from April 2018 on the US military’s process for assessing civilian casualties (CIVCAS) was partially declassified and released to the public in early February. The United States has previously been criticized for its extremely low estimates of civilian casualties in Syria and the large discrepancies between its estimates […]

What Does the Marie Colvin Case Mean for Syrians?

  Last week, a U.S. District Court issued a judgement ordering the Syrian government to pay $302.5 million to the family of slain journalist Marie Colvin, sparking considerable discussion among Syrians about the meaning and implications of the court order. War correspondent Marie Colvin was one of the only foreign journalists reporting out of the […]

What is the Caesar Bill?: The Potential and Limitations of US Congressional Action on Syria

The US Congress has recently taken up a series of bills regarding the Syrian conflict. Ultimately, most foreign policy decision-making power resides in the Executive Branch. However, Congress also has some foreign policy influence, such as the ability to call for sanctions and appropriate funds including setting restrictions on foreign funding that can be signed […]

Syria’s #10YearChallenge: Best Practices for Reconstruction

The Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo in 2006 (source: Flickr) and 2013 (source: Wikimedia)   Over the last few weeks, a meme has spread on social media asking Facebook users to compare a photo of themselves from ten years ago, with one from today. Among Syrians, the photos provided a stark reminder of how much the […]

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 […]