Syria News Wire

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Singing for Syria in London

July 8th, 2011 · No Comments · Culture

It was explicitly apolitical. Sing for Syria was a charity event that gathered people from across the spectrum to raise money for Syrian refugees stranded in Turkey. Hundreds of people turned up at the west London venue to donate, listen to music and take part in an auction. £2000 was raised in the space of […]

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Is something changing?

June 28th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Media

Maybe this is a little optimistic, but… With foreign journalists allowed into the country, moving relatively freely (although with government minders accompanying them); with Michel Kilo and Aref Dalila allowed to take part in an opposition meeting; and with SANA reporting the following – has something changed? (Even the fact that their headline acknowledges that […]

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Bashar’s speech

June 20th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

It was his first speech for two months. Two months of chaos and uprising without a word from the president. In this long-awaited speech, there were leaks that Article 8 of the constitution, which states that the Baath Party is the ruler of state and society, would be modified or scrapped. It wasn’t. And many […]

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Makhlouf sells Syriatel

June 16th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Politics

Rami Makhlouf, the most important businessman in Syria, and a cousin of the president, is selling part of Syriatel. This is big news. It shows that the regime is belatedly recognising that he is the problem. Or, at least, he was the problem. Anger at Makhlouf’s domination of the economy was an early reason that […]

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Gay Girl in Damascus comes out…as a man in Istanbul

June 12th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Politics

For those of you who can’t access the original page, I’m reposting here. I don’t think he’ll be suing for breach of copyright. Apology to readers I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative vo?ce may have been fictional, the facts on th?s blog are true and not m?sleading as to the situation […]

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Activists admit the opposition has taken up arms

May 30th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Politics

Activists, who have been very careful to paint a picture of a peaceful Syrian uprising, have finally admitted that some protestors are armed. Of course, this does not justify the security forces’ crackdown, but it means that there is some truth to the crude state propaganda that we have been rejecting since March. It also […]

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Syria’s ‘general strike’ fails

May 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

As well as the sanctions, the other news is that the ‘general strike’ called for today has, by all indications, failed entirely. This was the first real test of the opposition’s reach. Could it convince the silent-middle to stay at home, a relatively safe form of protest? It seems not. And that would stand up […]

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Obama sanctions Assad

May 18th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Politics

Two big pieces of news tonight. First, in the past hour, the US has sanctioned Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad for the first time. He hasn’t been personally targetted until now. Vice-President Farouq Al-Sharaa is also being sanctioned. The other five officials on the list are: Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar, Defense Minister Ali […]

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Counting the cost: fewer deaths as Syrians protest

May 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Politics

Another Friday, another day of demonstrations across Syria. But unlike in previous weeks, the death toll was significantly lower (it has been falling week-on-week since April). Reports of six deaths make this the quietest Friday since March. It came a day after the president’s spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban promised an opposition leader that the security services […]

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Divisions in the Syrian regime?

May 13th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Politics

You wait weeks for a Syrian regime spokesperson, and then two come along at once. A New York Times reporter was granted access to the President’s closest aide, Buthaina Shaaban. She said she hoped the worst of the violence was over and that things would start to calm down. But then twenty four hours later something […]

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