A military defector recounts his remarkable journey from the Assad regime’s army to a rebel brigade in Homs—via Palmyra prison—to exile in Idlib and, finally, menial labor in Turkey, where he still searches for the dignified life he hoped the revolution would bring him.
Will there still be lemons on the tree of our house in Douma next year? wonders this displaced resident. If so, who will eat them?
For over 100,000 civilians expelled from Eastern Ghouta, their new homes in official shelters bear striking resemblance to the regime’s fearsome detention centers.
A former inmate at Syria’s Adra Women’s Prison recounts the struggles, deprivations, and occasional pleasures of food in the notorious jail.
Having expelled whole communities en masse from numerous Syrian cities and towns, a new law now allows the Assad regime to confiscate their properties, rendering their displacement permanent and radically transforming the country’s demography.
In Iraq in the 1990s, the UN came up with an “oil for food” program. In Eastern Ghouta today, the international community is sponsoring a new formula: water in exchange for dignity, writes Osama Nassar from the besieged enclave.
A former political prisoner under Hafez al-Assad recalls the “impossible stage” on which inmates covertly performed plays in one of Syria’s most notorious penitentiaries.
The Coalition’s battle against ISIS in Raqqa is over, but the war between civilians and explosives left by the latter is only getting started, with the death toll of 300 growing daily as desperate amateurs risk their lives to clear homes for a paltry fee.
The takeover by rebels of the regime’s most strategic remaining position in East Ghouta adds a new vulnerability on the fringes of the capital.
In 2013 in Ma’arrat al-Nu’man, a statue of the famous local-born 11th-century poet al-Ma’arri was decapitated by jihadists as a symbolic threat to their moderate rivals. Today civil society activists have restored the site as a fledgling cultural center, imperiled by the same jihadists now effectively besieging the city.
Displaced Damascenes fear “reconstruction” is a fig leaf for the permanent transformation of their former home neighborhoods—and their exclusion therefrom.
Al-Jumhuriya travels to Zabadani, west of Damascus, where fears abound regarding reconstruction plans envisaged by the regime.