Near & Middle East

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…)

After being forced to flee eastern Aleppo in December, Wissam Zarqa moved to Idlib. Although the insurgent-held province is not known as a bastion of democracy, Zarqa will always remember it as the place where he voted in his first democratic election. (More…)

AFTER SIX YEARS of conflict and extended exposure to trauma, Syria is in the throes of a mental health crisis, according to Chicago-based physician Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American trauma specialist and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). (More…)

President Bashar al-Assad’s allies in Lebanon have continued to challenge Beirut’s muddled policy of disengagement with the Syrian state – so far without any repercussions. (More…)

Umm Omar had not seen her youngest son, Ali, in three years before he was killed by a US-led coalition airstrike on Raqqa city. He is just one of the roughly 500 people who have reportedly been killed by coalition airstrikes on ISIS’s former Syrian stronghold since June. (More…)

In 2004, King Abdullah of Jordan warned that a “Shia Crescent” of Iranian-led movements and governments would begin to dominate the northern Middle East. His predictions were quickly echoed by regional leaders, from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to defensive Persian Gulf monarchs, and an American security establishment overly focused on Tehran’s influence in a number of regional capitals.  (More…)

In Damascus, war profiteers are leveraging the scarcity of burial spots in the capital to rent out graves as one would apartments, charging as much as $1,000 per year for a plot of land. (More…)

Ahrar al-Sham’s decision to replace its top command this week offers a glimpse at how the outgunned rebel group is adjusting to the ascendancy of al-Qaida-linked factions in Syria, and the changing nature of the insurgency against president Bashar al-Assad. (More…)

Civilians and activists once detained by the Syrian government for joining 2011 protests against President Bashar al-Assad are again facing arbitrary detention and torture in secret jails. But this time, their captors are Syria’s hard-line militant groups. (More…)