News in Images

  • KRAK CLEANUP: As the Syrian war continues just as fiercely despite being well into the first week of Ramadan, at least one 12th century building is getting a makeover.

    Here, the cleanup begins after months of fighting for Krak des Chevaliers, one of the world’s most intact Crusader castles located outside of Homs city. Centuries-old stone buttresses hang above as a member of the cleanup crew sweeps debris.

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  • yarmouk

    YARMOUK SOS: As the Muslim world moves into the fourth day of fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, the residents of the Yarmouk camp have to worry about a more deadly lack of food: Starvation.

    This photograph, published on social media Wednesday and hashtagged with the line “Save Yarmouk Camp,” shows two women in the sprawling mini-city south of Damascus drinking soup from buckets against the wall in the hot summer sun.

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has not been able to send aid to Yarmouk Camp for a month, reported Jordanian news agency Asabeel, despite a truce signed two weeks ago between combatant factions in the camp and the Syrian regime.

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  • PARADE CHARADE? In a show of force, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), newly rebranded as the Islamic State, parades a Scud missile on Monday around A-Raqqa city, the heart of its newly declared Caliphate.

    The military demonstration, celebrating the organization’s official announcement of the formation of an Islamic Caliphate on Sunday, included tanks, heavy weaponry and howitzers, among other weapons, reported pro-opposition news agency Syria Mubasher Monday.

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  • Embedded image permalink

    CONSTRUCTING A CALIPHATE: With the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) donates thousands of cooking-gas cylinders to the people of Deir e-Zor city, where ISIS is battling regime and rebel forces for control.

    “The people until now do not recognize an Islamic state,” Jihan a-Ahmed, a resident in Deir e-Zor who lives under ISIS control, told Syria Direct, adding “a caliphate must be elected by the people, the people will not accept a caliphate that comes from outside of Syria.”

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  • Nenava

    RADIO SILENCE: Ever since the Iraqi government shut down social media websites - and in some regions the internet entirely – two weeks ago following the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham’s (ISIS) seizure of Mosul and other parts of the northern Nineveh province, information coming from Iraq has been unreliable.

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    صورة من المسيرة في معان

    ISIS TRENDING: Rallies for the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) extended beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria and moved into new territory over the past week: Lebanon and Jordan.

    In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, dozens of men waved black and white flags bearing the ISIS emblem on Tuesday as they marched in support of terror suspects who were recently arrested in the city, Lebanese television channel Al Jadeed reported.

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  • Soccer HOMS V. GOLAN: The Khalid Ibn Waleed Homs Stadium in Homs city embraced soccer for the first time in three years on Monday in a match between the Homs-based Karama Club and the visiting Golan Club.

    It was the first official game to be played in the stadium since mid-2011, when it was closed due to protests in Homs, still known among the opposition as the “capital of the revolution.”

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  • Yarmouk cleaning

    CLEANUP CREW: Warring factions in Yarmouk camp agreed over the weekend to a truce that would re-open the camp, not only to allow in food and supplies, but also thousands of residents who fled the intense battles and the regime’s encirclement of the camp starting in December 2012.

    "We reached an agreement on Saturday that ensures the exit of all combatants from the camp under the auspices of the Syrian state and the PLO, and the combatants agreed to the conditions,” the Palestinian Liberation Organization announced through its ambassador in Damascus, Anour Abdalhadi. The agreement will reportedly empty the camp of fighters and arms, end the suffering of residents and allow for the return of displaced persons.

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  • Syrians crossing Jordan's border

    GO EAST: It is an unceasing exodus: every day, scores of displaced Syrians flee to to the dusty outpost of Ruwaishid, Jordan after struggling across the desert and through searing heat.

    For Syrians, many arriving from Daraa, Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, the journey is a dangerous one. On their way south, the Syrians must travel through dozens of government checkpoints in regime-held Suweida, then present themselves to smugglers, who, for a fee, take the groups into the desert and closer to the Jordanian border.

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  • FROM IRAQ WITHOUT LOVE: An Iraqi soldier crouching in full uniform sends a message in a social media post on Tuesday to the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the Al-Qaeda offshoot that captured Mosul, Tikrit and Tel Afar in Iraq last week.

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Reports

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Happy Ramadan until August 4

July 7, 2014 Best wishes to everyone for a happy Ramadan from all of us at Syria Direct. Will IS capture Deir e-Zor? Will the regime regain Aleppo? Will the truce... Read more

A conversation about jihad

July 3, 2014 Dr. Nelly Lahoud is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the US Military Academy at West Point as well as Senior Associate at the Combating... Read more

The making of a refugee

June 19, 2014 Photographs by Syria Direct's Amjad Tadros HADALAT, JORDAN: They lined up on the other side of the border, exhausted, carrying what was left of their possessions in small plastic... Read more

Editorial: On the unchecked ascent of ISIS

June 12, 2014 The fall this week of Mosul to the Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham, a transmutation of Al-Qaeda, is not where the story of the modern Islamic caliphate... Read more

Rebels: Waer truce talks suspended

June 9, 2014 By Osama Abu Zeid and Elizabeth Parker-Magyar Negotiations between rebels and the regime in the encircled Homs district of al-Waer, the last remaining opposition-held neighborhood of Homs, have been... Read more

As elections underway, campaign ads reflect a nation divided

June 3, 2014  By Alex Simon AMMAN: Tuesday’s presidential elections were held amidst a raging civil war and deep nationwide polarization, with Damascus touting the poll as a major step for Syrian... Read more

Interviews

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Jaish fighter: Medaa victory comes ‘at a cost’

July 3, 2014 The rebel group Jaish al-Islam captured the strategic village of Medaa in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta from the Islamic State (IS)... Read more

Waer rebels divided over peace talks

July 2, 2014 Since embattled rebel fighters negotiated a settlement with the Syrian regime in early May that guaranteed safe passage out of Old Homs, negotiations... Read more

Nusra-led rebels regroup in northern Homs

July 1, 2014 A coalition of rebels including Jabhat a-Nusra and Ahrar a-Sham, stormed the town of Um Sharshouh in early June, located 10km to the... Read more

Dispatch from Deir e-Zor: ISIS uses bread to garner support

June 30, 2014 The oil-rich eastern province of Deir e-Zor has witnessed ongoing clashes between the regime and opposition fighters led by Jabhat a-Nusra and... Read more

Former Iraq ambassador: Tribes stronger than ISIS

June 26, 2014 Nawwaf al-Fares was the first Syrian ambassador appointed to Iraq (2008-2012) following an official rupture in relations after Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003. High-ranking... Read more

Iraqi rebel leader calls for US support ‘against Maliki’s injustice’

June 25, 2014 Western media outlets covering the advance of Iraqi rebels this month through the Sunni-majority provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, and Salah a-Din have focused... Read more

News Roundup

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Syria Direct: News Update 7-3-2014

Regime forces in decisive Aleppo battle Regime forces advanced farther into the industrial city in Aleppo's Sheikh Najjar district Thursday, as fighting continued between rebels and... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 7-2-2014

Jaish al-Islam captures East Ghouta from IS Jaish al-Islam captured the strategic village of Medaa in East Ghouta from the Islamic State on Tuesday, reported the... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 7-1-2014

Jaish al-Islam: ISIS kidnaps, kills fighters Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) captured 25 Jaish al-Islam fighters Monday in East Ghouta, according... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 6-30-2014

Tentative ceasefire in Waer Rebels and regime forces have reportedly agreed to a 20-day ceasefire in the embattled neighborhood of Waer in Homs city, with a... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 6-26-2014

Al-Maliki welcomes Syrian attacks against militants on Iraqi land Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki welcomed air strikes from the Syrian army against militants on the Syria-Iraq... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 6-25-2014

Regime targets ISIS headquarters in A-Raqqa The Syrian regime continued its offensive on the ISIS-controlled city of A-Raqqa Wednesday, carrying out seven air raids that resulted... Read more