Near & Middle East

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s new military operation on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria aims to carve out a “secure zone” 30km (18.6 miles) deep into Afrin, to secure its southern border from what it claims is a terror threat. (More…)

Dear Ahed,

I write to confess that I love you.  Although you are sitting in Ofer military prison and might not be too happy, I want to persuade you that I am your own true love.  Prison may give you time to think about where your affections can best be directed.  You will come to love me too. (More…)

The popular image of the Iranian Revolution in the United States focuses on stereotypical bearded mullahs, an exotic and backward oriental society, and the seizure of the US embassy by frenzied masses. While it is true that Iran is a theocracy, there is another story, of brave and dedicated revolutionaries who sought the establishment of a socialist state. (More…)

EASTERN GHOUTA/BEIRUT – Abu Kamal’s farm in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus used to house rows of tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers. But now the 50-year-old farmer tends exclusively to rows of sacks, hung from his ceiling, where he grows mushrooms. (More…)

Bassel, a photojournalist from Homs, has documented what he calls the “intentional destruction” of his city, the third largest in Syria, over two years of siege and battles. He says he has noticed a pattern: Certain buildings with no military value have been targeted. (More…)

It should come as no surprise as a secularist, atheist and a communist that I am opposed to the religious theocracy that currently governs Iran. The governing theocrats hijacked the popular revolution of 1979 led by communists, workers and students. (More…)

As world powers push ahead with diplomatic attempts to end the war in Syria, any potential political settlements must address the key component of power distribution, according to Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. (More…)

BEIRUT – The same day that President Vladimir Putin declared victory over the so-called Islamic State, the militant group launched a surprise offensive against government forces in Deir Ezzor province, killing up to 31 pro-government fighters in the following three days. (More…)

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…)