Near & Middle East

ISTANBUL – Um Farouk almost drowned on her first trip from Turkey to Greece. The 47-year-old Syrian refugee said it was a “miracle” Turkish soldiers rescued her and 40 others from a boat that capsized in the Aegean Sea last year. Within a week, she tried the dangerous trip to Europe a second time with her son. (More…)

TBILISI – International actors have been positioning themselves to exploit new realities in Syria and solidify their involvement in rebuilding the country. Among the usual cast of world players, however, a new contender has emerged: Chechnya. (More…)

With Islamic State (ISIS) on the retreat in parts of northern and eastern Syria, activists and civil society organizations are refocusing their efforts on counter-extremism and establishing deradicalization programs, hoping to erase the militants’ entrenched ideology. (More…)

Homs, Syria – Akram al-Khoule and his 7-year-old son hold hands as they stare at the once familiar primary school building, now demolished, looted of its contents and stripped of its identifying markers. (More…)

After establishing a presence in northern Idlib and western Aleppo over the past month, Turkish troops and Turkey-backed rebels are now looking to expand their area of control along the border by moving further east into Aleppo’s countryside, a rebel spokesman told Syria Deeply. (More…)

Raqqa, for me, was a window into freedom. The Syrian government arrested me in 2011 for photographing protests and posting them on social media. I was detained for nine months and released in mid-2012, but I did not return to my hometown of Deir Ezzor. (More…)

BEIRUT – Nationality was a controversial topic in Syria even before the influx of foreign fighters, the fleeing of 5.2 million people from the country and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement for Syrian nationals. (More…)

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Dozens of Syrian opposition groups merged last month to form a unified army, at a time when rebel factions are increasingly divided and have suffered a string of defeats at the hands of pro-government and extremist forces. (More…)

There are signs all over the world that the national question is still unsettled. The spectacle of police trying to block the Catalan referendum has clarified this much in Spain. But it’s far from the only example. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish people have voted for independence. (More…)

AIN Al-ISSA – In a dank and dingy room in a camp for internally displaced persons in northern Syria, a striking woman wearing mascara and a long black chador steps through a broken door frame. (More…)

DAMASCUS – According to the Syrian government, the worst of the war is over. New businesses are opening, domestic tourism is booming and investors are slowly trickling back into the country. (More…)

Author Joseph Daher examines the Syrian government’s reconstruction strategy and warns that Assad will use rebuilding to reward foreign allies and consolidate power around a small core of Syrian elite. (More…)