Weekly coverage round-up (May 27 - 31)

A quick English summary of our Arabic news coverage this week. 

“Washington looks to overturn Astana equation” (27 May, 2019). For years now, the three powers with the most influence over the course of events in Syria have been Russia, Turkey, and Iran, who as well as backing the key military actors on the ground were the co-sponsors of the so-called Astana political process. Today, however, Washington appears to be moving to disrupt this equation, seeking to induce Moscow and Ankara to squeeze Tehran out of the picture. For more, see our full report (Arabic).

 

“The Syrian economy as reflected in its currency” (28 May, 2019). Battered by years of war, the Syrian pound had somewhat stabilized in 2017 after reaching an all-time low in May 2016. 2019, however, has seen it plummet once again, as a result of crippling international sanctions, heavy sovereign debts to Russia and Iran, and an almost total paucity of foreign exchange, among other factors. Like the Syrian economy in general, there appear to be no prospects for improving the pound’s value without the kind of meaningful long-term political transformations that the regime and its international allies resolutely oppose. For more, see our full report (Arabic).

 

“Syria’s declining health situation” (29 May, 2019). More than fifty children have died in Damascus and its surrounding countryside in recent months due to the spread of an illness doctors have been unable to identify. The symptoms of this malady begin with fever and lack of energy, followed by kidney failure, coma, then death, according to a mother with whom Al-Jumhuriya spoke who lost her two-year-old son to it. The epidemic adds to a host of diseases that have surged in Syria in recent years, including previously eradicated or contained ones such as tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, malaria, meningitis, and hepatitis. For more details, see our full report (Arabic).

 

“The blood of Idlib’s people speaks” (30 May, 2019). The Assad regime has spent a month trying without success to advance past the small but strategic opposition-held town of Kafr Nabuda on the border between Hama and Idlib provinces. The episode demonstrates what Syria’s rebels are still capable of, despite years of crippling setbacks, when given a modest amount of new weaponry and ammunition, and a free hand to act, by their international backers. For a full English translation of this article, see here.