Our coverage of Syria

Pueblo, Protection Gear

US Demands Syria Destroy Chemical Weapons Lickety-Split, But Says It Needs Decades to Safely Eliminate Its Own Chems

The US is demanding, in negotiations at the UN, that all Syrian chemical weapons, stocks and production facilities be eliminated by June 30 of next year.  This has an element of hypocrisy, because the US itself has been incredibly slow about eliminating its own stocks of chemical weapons.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to Syria as having one of the largest chemical stockpiles in the world. But the US and Russia both still have stocks of chemicals many times as large. Syria’s neighbor Israel, which refuses to admit it has the weapons and has yet to ratify View article …

How War Reporting in Syria Makes a Larger Conflict Inevitable

We get major-media reports from Syria with increasing frequency. What’s wrong with these reports are that they are generally devoid of power analysis.

This recent New York Times article, for example, headlined “Neighbors Said to Be at Violent Odds in Syrian Crackdown,” is based almost solely on accounts of refugees interviewed in Lebanon. Here’s the lead paragraph:

Sunni Muslims who have fled Syria described a government crackdown that is more pervasive and more sectarian than previously understood, with civilians affiliated with President Bashar al-Assad’s minority religious sect View article …

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Idlib

US Exit Marks Syria Endgame

It has been a spectacular two weeks in Syria. The US has largely exited “this long-bloodstained sand,” as President Donald Trump called it, abandoning its local Kurdish allies to the Syrian regime, Turkey and Russia. Turkey has effectively started to mend its ties with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, ushering in a fraught-with-uncertainties endgame of the brutal civil war now in its eighth year.



Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deal with the US last week and more recently a deal View article …

The Grim, Relentless March to War with Syria

Polls show Americans overwhelmingly reject any form of US military intervention in Syria’s civil war, with as little as 4% support for an invasion.  Peace protests have sprung up, with further demonstrations planned this weekend ahead of a likely war vote in both houses of Congress next week.


Even active military service members have asserted a resounding rejection of this

conflict, some photographing themselves holding signs in front of their faces to avoid retaliation.  Images posted to Twitter, Facebook and the wider web state that, View article …

Syria, The Movie: Monsters and Defectors

There’s an underlying problem with reporting about Syria: The media continue to treat as human rights violations what is actually authority clamping down on people it considers, rightfully or not, revolutionaries or terrorists.

You might disagree with that government. You might find that government repressive, even odious, and want those involved in the uprising to succeed. But to call yourself reasonably objective you would have to admit that all governments respond with force when their survival is threatened. And, because they have the army and its might, they use it. View article …

Chaotic Haggling Follows Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan

National Security Adviser John Bolton received a cold shoulder in Turkey on Tuesday as he attempted to reduce the impact of President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw from Syria.


The diplomatic confrontation appeared to reinforce old fault lines between NATO’s largest and second-largest armies. Yet it also highlighted new policy differences among contending forces inside each of the parties. Attempts to mitigate the extent of Russia’s and Iran’s victory in Syria appear central to the strategy of both.


Bolton, who was

Rush to Judgment in Syria?

The images are simply horrifying: blue-lipped children lying side by side with their bodies twisted grotesquely from neural spasms; a disconsolate father clutching his two dead babies, their faces blue from poisoning — just a few of the more than 70 victims of what just about everyone agrees was an atrocious chemical attack that took place in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday.


Much of the available evidence points toward the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the perpetrator. Yet — all the more so after the swift and unexpected US military escalation which Russian Prime Minister View article …

‘Syria’s Torture Machine’: British Documentary Offers Cause For Concern In More Ways Than One

A recent documentary by Channel 4 (UK) has brought to light what it describes as “a production line of torture” that is taking place on “an industrial scale” in Syria. Jonathan Miller, Channel 4’s foreign affairs correspondent, investigates footage taken from thousands of videos circulating online, with the aim of determining whether or not there is prima facie evidence of widespread and systematic torture being carried out by the Syrian state on its own people. But the true significance of this film may well run deeper than that.

The film View article …

Everything They’re Telling Us About Syria….is False?

Friday, we read in the New York Times and elsewhere about one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most important supporters and allies having defected. The impression one gets is that Assad’s government is in a state of collapse— and this gives credibility to those pushing for Assad to turn over power.

But what the media are not mentioning is that Brigadier General Manaf Tlass did not defect directly from the Assad inner circle. He had already fallen into disfavor early in the View article …

Serena Shim

Serena Shim: The Life and Unexplained Death of a Syria War Reporter

Two days before her death in 2014, Serena Shim, an American reporter from Michigan, stood on the same Syrian border that Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels recently crossed on President Recep Erdogan’s orders to drive out the Kurdish militia that Turkey considers “terrorists.” 


These same Kurds led the successful international fight against the Islamic State (IS) in northeast Syria.

Turks Press Locals to Report Her Movements

Shim was fearful. She had recently reported for the Iranian-backed Press TV about Turkey’s role in smuggling IS fighters into Syria on World Food Programme trucks. In View article …

Syrian Refugees

Cries From Syria, a Scorching Documentary

The ongoing carnage in Syria is impossible to ignore for anyone who makes the least effort to keep up with world news. Yet it is hard to react with sustained outrage to an ongoing tragedy so remote. Or perhaps it is simply too painful for us to contemplate — especially if we feel there is nothing we can do about it.

But film can bring the reality home like nothing else. Several recently released documentaries warrant high praise for doing just that. One is Cries from Syria, which I saw during the Sundance Film Festival — jarringly up close, in View article …