• Suad holds up a placard that says "ISIS prisons= regime prisons." Photography by Zaina Erhaim.
    Lone Protester Takes Stand on Raqqa Abductions

    By Zaina Erhaim* (Raqqa, Syria) – Suad stands alone for hours outside the headquarters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, holding up a sign bearing the brightly-coloured inscription, “No to kidnapping, no to detention, no to theft in the name of religion.”

  • Activists in the Muaddamiyyah suburb of Damascus say that seven-year-old Duaa is suffering from malnutrition.Credit: YouTube.
    Why the West is Wrong on Syria

    By Razan Zaitouneh Why does the West insist on dealing with our dead and injured as if they were less valuable than a Westerner – and as if our casualties don’t even deserve respect or compassion? After the chemical massacre in Syria’s two Ghoutas, we believed that the world would, at last, take our interests into account in one way […]

  • A detainee being beaten by Syrian Army soldiers. Credit: YouTube
    What to Expect in Detention

    Note from the editorial team: The writer of the following story shared his experience being arrested in 2012 with the Damascus Bureau. “Where are you from?” “From Suweida” “And Douma, you…” That’s when the beating started.

  • A picture of the founding conference of the coalition. Credit: Facebook.
    Will the National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces in Eastern Gh

    By Razan Zeitouneh Note: This report is the third in a series dedicated to the institutions set up by the opposition in the areas controlled by the opposition in Eastern Ghouta. You can read the first two reports here and here.

  • Abu Ali Khibbiyeh - Photo by Razan Zeitouneh
    A conversation with Abu Ali Khibbiyeh, Douma Shield Battalions Co

    Razan Zeitouneh There are many stories about Abu Ali Khibbiyeh. He is frequently reported to be dead, although these reports have turned out to be only rumours. Some say he has been reckless on the battlefield. Others praise his courageous and chivalrous nature.

  • An agreement between the local council of Erbeen and  armed groups. The leaders of armed groups pledge to abide by the local council's decisions and to consult with the council about any military decision that might affect civilians' lives. Photo credit: Erbeen local council
    Local Council in Erbeen: A Fighter’s Place is on the Front and

    By Razan Zaitouneh EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles on the new institutions in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition in the liberated Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus. These reports are designed to highlight the efforts of activists and local residents to fill the void created by the absence of state institutions. (Erbeen, Syria) — […]

  • An ice cream truck was turned into makeshift morgue - Photography by Razan Zeitouneh
    The General Authority for Civil Defence in Douma: Volunteers Doin

    By Razan Zeitouneh EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles on the new institutions in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition in the liberated Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus. These reports are designed to highlight the efforts of activists and local residents to fill the void created by the absence of state institutions. (Douma, Syria)- The […]

  • A broken icon inside the Harasta church. Photography by Razan Zeitouneh
    Harasta: A Gutted City

      By Razan Zeitouneh (Harasta, Syria) – The maze of roads winding through the ramshackle suburbs in what was once Damascus’s agricultural greenbelt is reminiscent of the capital’s old city; locals say any road in one particular area will often lead a traveller to the same destination as the other nearby roads. This once lush rural area, called Eastern Ghouta, […]

  • A cell in Homs central prison - Mukhtarat Min Al Thawra blog
    The Horrors of the Holding Cell of Death

    The Syrian security establishment’s detention centres are notorious.  I have read stories about them written by former detainees imprisoned before the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011, and heard first-person accounts from friends and relatives arrested following the demonstrations in March of that year. Having heard so many stories, and, as a journalist, I always wondered what it was […]

  • Activists and defectors use forged documents to get through regime checkpoint. Source: Facebook
    The Syrian Fraud Market saves lives

    “This is a big relief.” I repeated this sentence in numerous calls I made to extend my gratitude to those who facilitated my younger brother Jawad’s defection from the Syrian army. The ordeal took 21 days. After leaving his station on the Lebanese border, Jawad arrived at the Karkemich crossing in the Northern Syrian town of Jarablus on the Turkish […]

  • A demonstration against the Syrian regime staged in Istanbul by Syrian refugees - YouTube
    Syrian Activists in Istanbul Face Difficulties, Disillusionment

    As an activist living inside Syria, I imagined Syrians living in Istanbul sleeping in fancy hotels and living comfortably. Activists inside Syria have even come up with a name for this kind of activist — the ‘hotel opposition’. They are said to receive unconditional material and political support from certain international parties involved with the Syrian revolution.

  • Yarmouk Caught Between Shelling and Siege
    Yarmouk Caught Between Shelling and Siege

    I entered the Yarmouk refugee camp on foot, taking the bridge. I was accompanied by a young Syrian journalist and an aid worker who warned me: “If we don’t manage to get out before 2 p.m. we’ll become targets for the snipers spread out along the edges of the camp.”  It is not that the snipers abide by a strict […]

  • A "Freedom Card" for a  woman detained by the regime - Facebook
    A Sign from Deir El-Zor

    Ward al-Assi “Here lies the Deir of Hearts: Angels carry the sorrow of Syria.” This sentence, written on one of many Facebook pages dedicated to the Syrian revolution, caught my attention a few days ago while I was looking for news of my home city of Deir El-Zor. My curiosity pushed me to seek out the young activists behind the […]

  • Syrian refugees queuing at the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing
    Bab Al-Hawa: Legal Smuggling

    Rasha Rami I spent 17 hours with my family at the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing, but it felt like a lifetime. After crossing legally into Turkey, our three-month visa had ended, and so we were forced to return to the crossing in order to renew our papers. But according to a new Turkish law, no one is allowed to renew […]

  • A demonstration in Suwaida in June 2012 - Youtube
    Suwaida: Where’s Che Guevara?

    In mid-October, I returned to the city of Suwaida, to stay at a house I had last visited almost two years ago. The streets of Suwaida were quiet. People are still welcoming to strangers, but these days with an air of weariness, unlike the old way. That is true of most Syrians nowadays.

  • People in Kfar Nabel queue in front of a bakery managed by Al-Huda charity organisation. Credit: YouTube.
    Relief Organisations Replace Government Bakeries in Kfar Nabel

    By Hazzaa al-Adnan (Kfar Nabel, Syria) – In August, in the town of Kfar Nabel, around 50 people gathered one morning in front of Issam al-Dani’s corner store, which is licensed to sell government bread. The people massed there for almost two hours, dispersing only when the 48 year old informed the gathered crowd that the government bakery would not […]

  • Photoblog: Precarious Peace in Aleppo
    Photoblog: Precarious Peace in Aleppo

    Opposition-controlled areas in Aleppo experienced a state of relative stability in the past few months, as a number of displaced people returned and schools and shops reopened their doors. But the situation has become tense again in early October as clashes erupted between opposition fighters and regime forces.  These clashes, and shelling, have forced some of the families that returned […]

  • Pistols are displayed at a market in Qamshli. Photography by Vyan M
    Proliferation of Weapons in Qamishli Leads to Accidental Killings

    By Vyan Mohammad (Qamishli, Syria) – In early June, 16-year-old-Ahmad was killed when his five-year-old brother fired their father’s nine millimetre Star handgun. Ahmad used to live with his family in the Muwathafin neighbourhood in the city of Qamishli in the northeast of Syria. With his father at work, his mother had asked him to keep an eye on his […]

  • An injured man receives treatment in Kfar Nabl. Credit: YouTube
    Injured Syrians Die in Ambulances while en Route to the Turkish B

     By Hazaa al-Adnan (Kfar Nabl, Syria) – In June, a Syrian Army helicopter dropped an explosive barrel on a residential neighborhood in the Syrian city of Kfar Nabl. Four people died immediately in the resulting explosion, while seven were wounded. One of the wounded was eight-year-old Khaled al-Qasem. Khaled’s father, Mohammad, a 40-year-old construction worker, picked up his wounded son […]

  • A school damaged by the fighting between the oppsotion and government forces. Credit: YouTube
    Kfar Nabel’s Schools Re-Open Despite Shelling

    By Abdallah Kleido (Kfar Nabl, Syria) – School openings this fall in this town of 30,000 people began with a deep divide between the parents: some in favour of re-opening the schools and others opposed to the idea. The hesitation about reopening schools comes from fear about the security situation and the fate of the kids, who attend school in […]

  • Abu Wael, a paramedic from the town of Zamlka, says he chose the colour yellow for these masks because it reminds children of the cartoon character Sponge Bob.
    Residents of Eastern Ghouta Fear another Chemical Attack

    (Hamouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta) – Fear of another chemical attack is still present here in this town of  approximately 25,000 people outside Damascus. More than 300 people were brought to the medical centre here when the Eastern Ghouta region was subjected to a chemical weapons attack on August 21. 27 peopled died in Hamouriyeh’s medical center, just a few of the […]

  • Photoblog: Back to School in Opposition-Controlled Aleppo
    Photoblog: Back to School in Opposition-Controlled Aleppo

    The school year started in Syria in mid-September. Several schools in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo have been partially or completely destroyed. Charity organizations have started to rebuild some of the damaged schools, or tried to provide makeshift schools for Aleppo’s students. Photography by Zaid Mohammad

  • Photoblog: The Displaced from Salaheddine Quarter in Aleppo Return to Visit their Homes
    Photoblog: The Displaced from Salaheddine Quarter in Aleppo Retur

    Families that were displaced from the Salaheddine neighbourhood in Aleppo took advantage of a lull in fighting in early September to visit their homes under the supervision of the Free Syrian Army. Those who returned had the chance to meet the neighbours they had not seen since they left their homes. They also collected whatever personal items and furniture they […]

  • Photoblog: A Physiotherapy Centre with Modest Equipment in Deir El-Zor
    Photoblog: A Physiotherapy Centre with Modest Equipment in Deir E

    Sleiman al-Hayess is a physiotherapist who defected from the Syrian Army and returned to his native city of Deir El-Zor a year ago. He has rehabilitated an abandoned physiotherapy centre in the Sheikh Yassine neighbourhood, where he has treated more than 70 patients, who are both civilians and opposition fighters, suffering from muscular atrophy due to war injuries. Photography by […]

  • Students at the Institute for the Hearing Impaired in Raqqa in 2009. Credit: eRaqqa website.
    Disabled People in Raqqa without Care

    By Abdul Karim Jaafar (Raqqa, Syria) – Ali spends most of his time in front of the TV. His mother asks him to go out, but he refuses. “None of the neighbourhood boys notice me,” the 15 year-old yells. Ali, who was born blind, cannot see the TV, but he takes comfort in its sound. The blind child considers it […]

  • Jaramana Recovers from Bombings, Still a Haven for Displaced
    Jaramana Recovers from Bombings, Still a Haven for Displaced

    Karam Mansour Editors’ Note: The editorial team changed the names of interviewees for their safety. (Jaramana, Syria) – Fear and anxiety have reigned over the Damascus suburb of Jaramana since it became the frequent target of car bombs. According to Jaramana’s Red Crescent, 18 car bombs have exploded in the city during the past two and a half years, leaving […]

  • Salqeen’s Security Force Says It’s Committed to Fight Smuggling
    Salqeen’s Security Force Says It’s Committed to Fight Smuggling

    The residents of Salqeen in Idlib province have recently suffered from high prices on basic commodities like meat and fuel. The high prices are the result of smuggling. Smugglers ship cattle, tobacco and diesel to Turkey since they can get better prices there than in Syria. Prices for these items have skyrocketed, putting them out of reach of much of […]

  • A Syrian calls for the adoption of civil marriage. Credit: "Civil Marriage in Syria" page on Facebook
    Syrian Interfaith Couples Face Difficulties as Sectarianism Rises

    Editors’ Note: All names are pseudonyms. (Damascus, Syria) – Khaled and Mona married in Syria in April 2012. It was an unusual marriage: he is a Sunni Muslim and she is from the Ismaili sect. Still, their families accepted the intersectarian marriage. “The issue never came up in my family, and when my husband came to them to propose, they […]

  • Syrians line up for bread. Credit: Orient News
    The Eastern Ghouta: Where Animal Feed is Allowed but Bread Is For

    (Eastern Ghouta, Syria) – The line of buses and cars waiting to enter East Ghouta at the Syrian Army’s Mleha checkpoint on the road to Damascus, one of just two that remain open, stretches back nearly a kilometre. It’s 3pm, and those at the back of the line can expect to wait three to five hours before they can proceed […]

  • Syrian Opposition Security Apparatus Cracks Down on Cannabis
    Syrian Opposition Security Apparatus Cracks Down on Cannabis

    Cannabis cultivation has spread in opposition-controlled villages surrounding the northern Syrian town of Salqeen. Hash produced in these villages is often smuggled into neighbouring Turkey. Members of the recently formed security force in Salqeen say they are determined to put an end to the cultivation of cannabis.

  • An opposition fighter in Salqeen. Photography: Issam Abdulhamid
    Warring Factions Bring Chaos to Syrian Civilians

    By Issam Abdulhamid (Salqeen, Syria) – Tensions between Syrian rebel forces stationed in civilian areas are causing problems for residents, who say they risk being caught in crossfire or regime strikes.

  • Photoblog: Kafr Nabel’s Walls Are Painted with Fresh Life
    Photoblog: Kafr Nabel’s Walls Are Painted with Fresh Life

    After Kafr Nabel experienced severe destruction and its walls were covered with obscene scrawls that were an affront to common decency, a group of local youth came together to rejuvenate the walls and bring colour and life back to certain neighbourhoods as part of an initiative they called “Aish” (Life). The head of the campaign, Hassan al-Ahmad, 26, summarized it: […]

  • A square in central Damascus. Photo credit: Lens Young Dimashqi
    Accommodation Prices Skyrocket in Damascus

    Salam al-Saadi (Damascus, Syria)— Ahed left the Qaboun area on the outskirts of Damascus along with his wife and small child hoping to find a new place to live.  But he  ended up moving continuously between his parents’ and his in-laws’ home for four months while looking for a place to rent.

  • Photoblog: Saraqeb’s Walls Document the  Different Stages of the Revolution
    Photoblog: Saraqeb’s Walls Document the Different Stages of th

    (Saraqeb, Syria)—The walls of the city of Saraqeb in Idlib province reflect the reality of the Syrian situation in all its iterations over the past three years. After the outbreak of the protests, government forces stormed the city in March 2011, and the security crackdown escalated the summer of that same year, with military opposition forces beginning to organize that […]

  • Internally displaced women receive medication from the Syrian Red Crescent. Photo credit: Enab Baladi
    A Displaced Syrian Woman Turns Unfinished Building into Joyful Ki

    Mariam Abdullah* (Damascus, Syria) – Nawal, 35, used to run a kindergarten in the town of Daraya near Damascus before it was bombed, leaving her life’s work in ruins. She lived through a siege that left her hungry, sick and terrified until she fled in October 2013 with others to a safer area in the Damascus suburbs. She and her […]

  • The Hakawati regales the children with the tale of the prince, the princess and the sorceress, taken from popular Kurdish legend.
    Photoblog: The Kurdish Hakawati has Returned to Liven Up Qamishli

    (Qamishli, Syria) – In the darkness of constant power cuts in Qamishli, where children are unable to keep up with their favorite television shows and cartoons, the Sawishka group, an organization for social development, has come up with a new way to entertain children by reviving the tradition of the Hakawati, the figure most akin to an old grandfather who […]

  • These Bluecoat servers are believed to be used by the Syrian government to censor the Internet. Photo credit: Cybercov.
    Internet in Syria Hostage to Censorship and Intermittent Service

    Salam al-Saadi (Damascus, Syria)—Rami spends many hours every day trying to surf the Internet from his home in the suburbs of Harasta near the capital of Damascus. The twenty-something youth, a law student at Damascus University, complains of the “constant interruptions of network service, its slowness and lack of effectiveness.”

  • A request for permission for a demonstration presented to the Asayish forces in Qamishli - The Facebook page of the “Asayish Forces in Western Kurdistan”
    The “People’s Court” and Asayish Prisons: A Building Block

    Bakhtiyar Hassan* (Qamishli, Syria) – The People’s Court lies in the middle of the city of Qamishli on the road known as Amouda, occupying the ground floor of a three story building that bustles with residents on weekdays.

  • A resident of Khan Shaykhoun in Idlib province flees the fighting - YouTube/Orient News
    Opposition and Regime Forces Split Idlib Province after ISIS With

    Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria) – During the first few days of 2014, several demonstrations took place under the slogan “Bashar and ISIS are one… Down with ISIS and Assad” in areas controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now known as ISIS.

  • A large crater left by an air raid in the town of Bouleil in 2012 - YouTube/alfurat2freedom
    Emergency Relief Bakery in Al-Bouleil, Deir al-Zor, Tries to Solv

    Ahmad al-Bouleily * (Al-Bouleil, Syria) – Every morning, dozens of people line up in front of a bread distribution centre in the town of Bouleil in Deir Al-Zor province. Conversations move from military developments and opposition victories to complaints about how long they have to wait for their rations.

  • A poster held in Kfar Nabel during the commemoration of the revolution’s third anniversary. Photo credit: “The Banners of Occupied Kfar Nabel” page on Facebook.
    “No Compulsion in Religion:” Revolution Anniversary Commemora

    Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria)—Kfar Nabel resident Hassan al-Ahmad, 27, once a student at Aleppo University’s Faculty of Economics, put his studies on hold and joined the Syrian uprising in its second week, becoming one of its most outspoken activists through his work in the media, and also going on to head the organization “Aish,” which rejuvenates walls and […]

  • This man looks at what remains of his building.
    Photoblog: Death Under the Rubble in Aleppo

    Despite the staggering number of residents who have fled Aleppo in order to escape the terror of the Syrian government’s barrel bombs, there are many who have been unable to leave and are instead hunkered down, trying to survive. On Thursday, March 6, tragedy struck again, this time in Aleppo’s Sakhour neighbourhood, where two women and four children were found […]

  • Before embarking on the trip, the fishermen set out their nets.
    Photoblog: Deir al-Zor Fishermen Return to their Boats on the Eup

    Fishing the Euphrates river once provided a living to many inhabitants of the city of Deir al-Zor, but the past three years of warfare have made it almost impossible to continue fishing.  The river has become a no-go area since snipers took up positions on its banks, showing no mercy to any target. Shells are also routinely dropped on both […]

  • Sharia Court in Kfar Nabel: Doctrinal Provisions Do Not Receive Support from Armed Opposition
    Sharia Court in Kfar Nabel: Doctrinal Provisions Do Not Receive S

    Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria) – In January, diesel merchant Jamal al-Mahmoud, 36, turned to Kfar Nabel’s Sharia court in an effort to dissolve his business partnership following a disagreement with his partner. Mahmoud trusted the court; he believed it fairly imposed both discipline and order. “In court, I felt like the revolution had succeeded, as if I were […]

  • In the Hamra area in Damascus, Mohammad, the owner of a clothing shop, says that the Syrian flag is a national symbol that ought to be defended. February 2, 2014.
    Photoblog: The “National” Flag Covers Shop Shutters

    (Damascus, Syria) — In the regime-controlled areas of Damascus and its suburbs, the Syrian government’s red, black and white flag has been painted on the doors and shutters of commercial establishments. The campaign began with the convening of the first round of the Geneva 2 conference in January of this year. Opposition media reports that some shop owners have been […]

  • "Could we hope that our Egyptian friends take [steps] to stop the incitement against Syrian refugees?"
    Social Media Monitor: Activists Refuse “Incitement” a

    During the recent events in Egypt that the led to the ousting of President Mohammad Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood opponents have accused Syrian refugees of endorsing Egypt’s Islamists and taking part in violent demonstrations. These accusations have been made on mainstream and social media.   

  • Social Media Monitor: Syrians Divided Over Morsi’s Ousting
    Social Media Monitor: Syrians Divided Over Morsi’s Ousting

    The ousting of Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi on Wednesday, July 3, caused divisions among Syrians. In an interview with the government-owned daily Al-Thawra, President Bashar al-Assad declared that what happened in Egypt was “simply the fall of so-called political Islam.” He added that it was “the fall of the type of government with which the Muslim Brotherhood have tried to […]

  • "Breaking …hurtful… a criminal execution of a young man and two women in the Aleppo countryside by Al-Nusra Front"
    Social Media Monitor: Syrian Pound Reaches All Time Low

    The Syrian pound dropped to an unprecedented low on Monday, June 17, when the dollar was traded, for the first time, at around 200 Syrian pounds. A correspondent of The Damascus Bureau who lives in a government-controlled district of Aleppo reported that jewelers and owners of electrical appliances stores are now only accepting payments in dollar. Reuters also reported that […]

  • "…Did the Syrian revolution start in order to achieve noble goals such as freedom, dignity, justice, democracy, and citizenship, or in order to violate freedom, which is already violated…Where is Syria heading?"
    Social Media Monitor: A 15-year old executed for blasphemy

    Mohammad Qattaa, a 15-year-old who sold coffee on the street in the opposition-controlled Al-Shaar neighbourhood in Aleppo, was asked on Saturday, June 8 if he could give someone coffee on credit. According to reports, he replied, saying: “Even if [the Prophet] Mohammad descended on Earth, I wouldn’t sell on credit.” Militiamen abducted the young man and brought him back the […]

  • "There is still fighting on the outskirts of Qusair, especially in the countryside. As you know, Qusair is big and has many combat fronts. God willing, you will soon hear good news."
    Social Media Monitor: Government Forces Seize Qusair

    This video was published on Qusair Media Centre’s channel on YouTube on Sunday, June 2, two days before the city was seized by government forces. Rockets fall near the cameraman as he films. Two weeks after the battle began,  fighting in Qusair came to an end on the morning of Wednesday, June 5, when the Syrian government declared that its […]

  • Social Media Monitor: Opposition Supporters Denounce Hezbollah Interference
    Social Media Monitor: Opposition Supporters Denounce Hezbollah In

    The battle of Qusair continues to rage as government troops, backed by fighters from Hezbollah, advance slowly into the city under fierce resistance from opposition fighters. On Wednesday, May 29, government troops recaptured Dabaa military airport, which lies to the northeast of Qusair and was used by the rebels to launch counterattacks on the government’s offensive in the city’s north. […]

  • A photo published by The Coordination Committee in Raqqa on Facebook shows the preparation for the execution
    Social Media Monitor: Executions in Raqqa Anger Civil Activists

    On May 14, Islamist militiamen in the north-eastern city of Raqqa executed three prisoners who were alleged to be Alawite officers from the Syrian government’s army.  A YouTube video shows the execution, during which a speaker announces that it is in retaliation for the Banias massacre.  The speaker announced that the operation was in the name of the Islamic State […]

  • "Banias - A massacre at the hands of the minority that you wanted the Security Council to protect." A photo published by the Syrian Revolution 2011 page on Facebook.
    Social Media Monitor: Sectarian Tension Runs High after Banias Ma

    The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights declared on Thursday, May 16 that it has documented 145 killings in the massacre that reportedly took place in the coastal city of Banias on May 2. The massacre occurred as Syrian government troops and loyalist militiamen carried out a military operation on May 2 to seize certain districts of the city of […]

  • Social Media Monitor: A massacre near Damascus
    Social Media Monitor: A massacre near Damascus

     Social Media Monitor: A massacre near Damascus There were several conflicting reports about the death toll resulting from the military operation launched by Syrian government troops in Jdaidet Al fadel and Jdaidet Artouz, two suburbs southwest of Damascus. This military operation lasted for nearly six days and ended on Sunday, April 21. Several reports estimated 500 civilians died in the […]

  • A cartoon by artist Ayham Jumaa, shows the artist’s hope that the minaret of Al Omari Mosque in the city of Deraa will be rebuilt after the fall of President Bashar al-Assad – Facebook
    Social Media Monitor: The Minaret of Al Omari Mosque Destroyed

    The minaret of Al Omari Mosque in the city of Deraa, one of Syria’s oldest mosques, was destroyed by shellfire on Friday, April 12. The mosque is believed to have been built in the seventh century and has a symbolic value for opposition supporters because it witnessed the first protest in Deraa in March 2011. A YouTube video shows the […]

  • Social Media Monitor: Explosions in Damascus Continue
    Social Media Monitor: Explosions in Damascus Continue

    A huge explosion shook Damascus on Monday, April 8, killing 15 people and injuring dozens. The blast tore through the Sabe’ Bahrat Square near the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, and is the third explosion of this scale since the start of the 2013. The location of the explosion and heavy security in the area led many opposition […]

  • "It is difficult to know for sure [who was behind the shelling] of the University of Damascus. The regime could have done it in order to hit the popular base of the revolution. To be continued."
    Social Media Monitor: Damascus University under Fire

    Attacks by mortar shells have become an almost daily event in Damascus. On Thursday, March 28, mortars hit the Faculty of Architecture building at the University of Damascus, killing at least 15 students at an outdoor cafeteria. This marked the second major attack against a university in Syria this year: rockets hit the University of Aleppo in January, killing dozens […]

  • "Concentrate a little – why didn’t most of the known figures run for the post of interim prime minister?  Right – how didn’t I think of that?! Because [the interim prime minister] cannot be nominated for the position of prime minister after the regime falls" A cartoon by artist Juan Zero – Facebook
    Social Media Monitor: An American Citizen Elected Interim Prime M

    After several delays, members of the opposition National Coalition managed to elect an interim prime minister on Tuesday, March 19. The elected official Ghassan Hitto is a Kurdish Syrian who holds the American citizenship. Many opposition supporters made sarcastic comments about Hitto, like this man from Homs, who expressed his “joy” that the opposition has a new leader: The Norway-based […]

  • Social media monitor: Syrian Women’s Friday
    Social media monitor: Syrian Women’s Friday

    This year, the international women’s day had a special significance in Syria; it was a Friday, the day opposition supporters take to the street to demonstrate against the regime in a tradition they have kept since March 2011. The protests on Friday, March 8 were held under the title The Friday of the Syrian Rebel Woman. On that day, opposition […]

  • Social Media Monitor: Regime Loses Raqqa
    Social Media Monitor: Regime Loses Raqqa

    Crowds knock down Hafez al-Assad’s statue – YouTube The biggest news about Syria this week was perhaps the fall of the city of Raqqa in rebels’ hands on Monday, March 4. According to a video circulated on YouTube the governor of Raqqa Hassan al-Jalali and the head of the branch of the Baath Party in the province Suleiman al-Suleiman were […]

  • A village in Wadi al-Nassara in the Province of Homs. Credit: Wadi al-Nassara page on Facebook.
    Christian Villagers in Syria Face Dilemma about Taking up Arms

    By Mariam Abdullah* (WADI AL-NASSARA – HOMS PROVINCE) – This past July, around 50 frightened Christian villagers in a town in an area of western Syria known as the “Christian Valley” gathered in a hall next to the town’s orthodox church. The village priest stood before them, and peered at the tired and anxious faces in the crowd as they […]

  • Opposition Activists in Damascus Give Views on Peaceful Solution
    Opposition Activists in Damascus Give Views on Peaceful Solution

      (Damascus, Syria) – Negotiations around the Geneva II conference, which aims to bring the Syrian opposition and the regime into dialogue, have reached a critical stage: the decision on whether the conference will be held and under what conditions will be made soon. Reports indicate that the West is increasing pressure on the external opposition to attend the conference. […]

  • PYD fighters clash with Al-Nsura Front in Tal Abyad in September. Credit: YouTube.
    The Free Syrian Army and Armed Kurdish Parties: Perpetual Conflic

    By Raed Khalil* (Tal Abyad, Syria) – Clashes between rival militias have become the norm in the town of Tal Abyad and neighbouring villages. The battles usually pit the Kurdish faction, called the Force for the Protection of the People, against an alliance of Arab militias, composed of the Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist militia, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria […]

  • Demonstrators in Salqeen Give their Views on Military Strike, Political Solution
    Demonstrators in Salqeen Give their Views on Military Strike, Pol

    The Damascus Bureau asked residents of the opposition-controlled town of Salqeen in Idlib province to give their views on American military intervention and how to end the Syrian crisis. The interviewees participated in a demonstration on September 13, which was part of the weekly Friday demonstrations against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that started in 2011. The demonstration followed the initiation […]

  • A banner held during a demonstration in Homs late August. Credit: "Lens Young Homsi" page on Facebook
    Where Do Activists Stand between the American Strike and the Russ

    By Salem Nassif Some opposition activists regard Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s initiative to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, which followed the chemical weapon attack in Ghouta, as an opportunity to come to a solution that will at least lessen the suffering and death of Syrians. Others see the initiative as nothing more than yet another attempt to […]

  • Photo A poster advertises a rock concert in the Damascus neighbourhood of Maliki. Credit: "Lens Young Dimashqi" page on Facebook.
    After Talk of Strikes Subsides, Life Returns to “Normal” and

    By Raheel Ibrahim* (Jaramana, Syria) – Nour, 38, is preparing to travel from her neighbourhood of Jaramana, on the outskirts of Damascus, to her hometown in Tartous for her daughter’s Duaa’s wedding.  The wedding will finally take place at the end of September – it’s already been postponed twice: once in August, due to fighting between government forces and rebels […]

  • Syrian Media Address Potential Strike
    Syrian Media Address Potential Strike

    By Raheel Ibrahim* (Damascus, Syria) – Television presenter Rasha Kassar introduced the 30th episode of Suria Tatahawar (Syria Discusses) on the official Syrian satellite channel with the following words: “What is all this fuss about American statements and posturing that rational minds are describing as dangerous and tragic? Didn’t terrorists use Sarin gas in Spain, France and London? Didn’t the […]

  • Activists in Aleppo countryside prefer arming the opposition over military intervention
    Activists in Aleppo countryside prefer arming the opposition over

    Ayman Mohammed Talk has been circulating about the possibility of Western countries, and specifically the United States, staging a military operation against the Syrian government. However, since the beginning of the peaceful protests, most activists have been unified in their refusal of any direct external intervention. They see this as a war on the local, home-grown uprising to topple President […]

  • A recent meeting of the National Coalition. Credit: Facebook
    Noura al-Amir: From Solitary Confinement to the National Coalitio

    Yasmine Maree (Gaziantep, Turkey) – Syrian activist Noura al-Amir, 26, recalls the demonstrations of early 2011 in which she participated. “‘Oh Sniper Sniper…here are our necks and heads’ was not merely a silly chant,” Amir said. “Demonstrators were singing it knowing the snipers lurked in wait for them. It’s the revolution, the spark that started in Tunisia and lit up […]

  • Fliers distributed by the Syrian Army warn citizens not to “lose the opportunity” to be forgiven. Credit: Qara City media centre Facebook page.
    Regime supporters and opposition united in rejection of general a

    Note: The editorial team has changed the names of the speakers and withheld the identity of the author for their own safety. Since the start of the revolutionary movement in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has issued several general amnesty decrees in an attempt to contain the instability and preserve the regime. In the past, regime supporters have accepted and justified these […]

  • Opposition Bani Maarouf Battalion announcing their establishment; most of the division's members belong to the Druze sect —YouTube
    Does Syria’s armed opposition have room for non-Islamists?

    *Editor’s Note: Syrian government military forces have recaptured the village referred to in this story. The interviewees requested that The Damascus Bureau not publish the name of the village. The Damascus Bureau has also changed Tariq’s name for his own safety. Last winter, 34-year-old Tariq was a wanted man. The Syria’s feared security services sought his arrest for his active […]

  • An evening demonstration in Salamiyyah earlier this month - YouTube
    Peaceful Opposition Continues Despite Militarization

    Youssef Kanaan “We revolted against tyranny because it poisons and disregards our lives,” says the poet and writer Mohamad Dibo, 36, explaining why he stopped actively participating in the uprising after the initial peaceful protest movement devolved into war. “In a peaceful struggle, the probability of getting arrested is about ninety percent, with a ten percent chance of being killed,” […]

  • From Activist to Activist: Amer Mattar talks about the use of media in Syria
    From Activist to Activist: Amer Mattar talks about the use of med

    The third online talk of the series of online lectures of  ‘From Activist to Activist’ presented journalist and documentary filmmaker Amer Mattar. Mattar talked about the media in Syria and how it is being used during the revolution. You can watch the full video below.

  • From Activist to Activist: Hanadi Zahlout talks about the role of women in the revolution
    From Activist to Activist: Hanadi Zahlout talks about the role of

    Syrian writer and human rights activist Hanadi Zahlout discussed in the second online talk of ‘From Activist to Activist”, the role of women in the Syrian revolution. You can watch the full lecture in the following video.

  • From Activist to Activist: Rami Nakhle talks about the risks of sectarianism
    From Activist to Activist: Rami Nakhle talks about the risks of s

    Activist Rami Nakhle discussed in an online lecture the danger of sectarianism in Syria and how to counter it. You can watch the full lecture in the following video.

Videos

Opinions from Opposition-Controlled Town: No to a Diplomatic Solution

March 17, 2014, 4:07 pm

(Salqeen, Syria) — After the Geneva 2 talks, Damascus Bureau took to the streets of opposition-controlled Salqeen in Idlib province to survey public opinion on the feasibility of the diplomatic process in resolving the crisis in Syria. Strikingly, all those who spoke to the camera expressed their lack of faith in the possibility that negotiations between the opposition and the […]

Private Generators Provide Temporary Solution to Electricity Shortage in Idlib

February 25, 2014, 1:45 pm

The constant power cuts in the towns and cities of Idlib have pushed the citizens toward finding alternative sources of electricity. After losing hope that their electricity, which is generated by stations in areas under the control of the Damascus-based central government , would return, some of the citizens pooled their resources to buy massive generators in order to provide […]

Snowstorm Freezes Life in Idlib Province

January 7, 2014, 2:31 pm

Severe weather brings extra hardship for citizens suffering effects of conflict (Salqeen, Syria) – Snow was once a cause for joy in Syria, but the darkness of war and destruction that spread over most cities here has multiplied the harsh effects of the December storm. In the province of Idlib, shortages meant shops raised prices on all goods, with the […]

Eight Year-Old Who Lost Family Unable to Attend School

December 23, 2013, 5:47 pm

Eight-year-old Mustafa lost his entire family in December 2012 when government warplanes dropped explosive barrels on their house in the small town of Maarat Misreen in the northern province of Idlib. Mustafa now lives with his uncle Mahmoud, who’s too scared for his safety to send him to school. A report by Damascus Bureau correspondent Issam Abdel Hamid.

Syrian Opposition Security Apparatus Cracks Down on Cannabis

November 1, 2013, 11:19 am

Cannabis cultivation has spread in opposition-controlled villages surrounding the northern Syrian town of Salqeen. Hash produced in these villages is often smuggled into neighbouring Turkey. Members of the recently formed security force in Salqeen say they are determined to put an end to the cultivation of cannabis. A report by Damascus Bureau correspondent Issam Abdel Hamid.

Bustan Al Qasr Crossing

July 10, 2013, 5:54 pm

Dozens of Aleppans risk their lives every day as they commute between the government-controlled and the opposition-controlled parts of the city, taking the only pedestrian crossing that links the two parts. Government snipers target passersby, most of whom live on one side of Aleppo but work in another.

Bab Al-Hawa Camp Residents Suffer Dire Conditions

July 10, 2013, 5:53 pm

A visit that was done in May to the Bab Al-Hawa camp, located near the crossing on the border with Turkey, reveals the terrible conditions in which displaced Syrians live.  

Aleppans Complain of Armed Groups

July 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

Citizens of Aleppo who live in opposition-controlled parts of the city complain that armed groups in the city are not organized, which is a source of chaos and insecurity as undisciplined armed men roam the streets.

The Sharia Council in Aleppo attempts to fill the legal and security void

July 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

The Sharia Council in Aleppo was formed by several Islamist groups in the opposition-controlled part of the city and has taken over security and judicial duties in the city.

Opinions on Moaz al-Khatib’s Initiative from Idlib province

July 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

In May, the former head of the Syrian National Coalition proposed an initiative to end the conflict in Syria. It included allowing President Bashar al-Assad to leave the country with 500 people, but also putting members of the regime on trial. The following report assesses the views that people in Idlib Province have of this proposal and their thoughts on […]

Other News

Internally displaced women receive medication from the Syrian Red Crescent. Photo credit: Enab Baladi

A Displaced Syrian Woman Turns Unfinished Building into Joyful Kindergarten

on April 9, 2014, 2:32 pm / in Transition

Mariam Abdullah* (Damascus, Syria) – Nawal, 35, used to run a kindergarten in the town of Daraya near Damascus before it was bombed, leaving her life’s work in ruins. She lived through a siege that left her hungry, sick and terrified until she fled in October 2013 with others to a safer area in the Damascus suburbs. She and her […]

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The Hakawati regales the children with the tale of the prince, the princess and the sorceress, taken from popular Kurdish legend.

Photoblog: The Kurdish Hakawati has Returned to Liven Up Qamishli Evenings

on April 2, 2014, 1:33 pm / in Transition

(Qamishli, Syria) – In the darkness of constant power cuts in Qamishli, where children are unable to keep up with their favorite television shows and cartoons, the Sawishka group, an organization for social development, has come up with a new way to entertain children by reviving the tradition of the Hakawati, the figure most akin to an old grandfather who […]

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These Bluecoat servers are believed to be used by the Syrian government to censor the Internet. Photo credit: Cybercov.

Internet in Syria Hostage to Censorship and Intermittent Service

on April 2, 2014, 1:14 pm / in Transition

Salam al-Saadi (Damascus, Syria)—Rami spends many hours every day trying to surf the Internet from his home in the suburbs of Harasta near the capital of Damascus. The twenty-something youth, a law student at Damascus University, complains of the “constant interruptions of network service, its slowness and lack of effectiveness.”

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A request for permission for a demonstration presented to the Asayish forces in Qamishli - The Facebook page of the “Asayish Forces in Western Kurdistan”

The “People’s Court” and Asayish Prisons: A Building Block for Self-Rule in Qamishli

on March 28, 2014, 11:26 am / in Transition

Bakhtiyar Hassan* (Qamishli, Syria) – The People’s Court lies in the middle of the city of Qamishli on the road known as Amouda, occupying the ground floor of a three story building that bustles with residents on weekdays.

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A resident of Khan Shaykhoun in Idlib province flees the fighting - YouTube/Orient News

Opposition and Regime Forces Split Idlib Province after ISIS Withdrawal

on March 27, 2014, 11:01 am / in Transition

Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria) – During the first few days of 2014, several demonstrations took place under the slogan “Bashar and ISIS are one… Down with ISIS and Assad” in areas controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now known as ISIS.

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A large crater left by an air raid in the town of Bouleil in 2012 - YouTube/alfurat2freedom

Emergency Relief Bakery in Al-Bouleil, Deir al-Zor, Tries to Solve the Bread Crisis Amid Accusations of Corruption

on March 26, 2014, 4:48 pm / in Transition

Ahmad al-Bouleily * (Al-Bouleil, Syria) – Every morning, dozens of people line up in front of a bread distribution centre in the town of Bouleil in Deir Al-Zor province. Conversations move from military developments and opposition victories to complaints about how long they have to wait for their rations.

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A poster held in Kfar Nabel during the commemoration of the revolution’s third anniversary. Photo credit: “The Banners of Occupied Kfar Nabel” page on Facebook.

“No Compulsion in Religion:” Revolution Anniversary Commemorations Cause Controversy

on March 25, 2014, 1:06 pm / in Transition

Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria)—Kfar Nabel resident Hassan al-Ahmad, 27, once a student at Aleppo University’s Faculty of Economics, put his studies on hold and joined the Syrian uprising in its second week, becoming one of its most outspoken activists through his work in the media, and also going on to head the organization “Aish,” which rejuvenates walls and […]

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This man looks at what remains of his building.

Photoblog: Death Under the Rubble in Aleppo

on March 24, 2014, 4:00 pm / in Photos & Videos, Transition

Despite the staggering number of residents who have fled Aleppo in order to escape the terror of the Syrian government’s barrel bombs, there are many who have been unable to leave and are instead hunkered down, trying to survive. On Thursday, March 6, tragedy struck again, this time in Aleppo’s Sakhour neighbourhood, where two women and four children were found […]

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Before embarking on the trip, the fishermen set out their nets.

Photoblog: Deir al-Zor Fishermen Return to their Boats on the Euphrates River

on March 19, 2014, 1:32 pm / in Photos & Videos, Transition

Fishing the Euphrates river once provided a living to many inhabitants of the city of Deir al-Zor, but the past three years of warfare have made it almost impossible to continue fishing.  The river has become a no-go area since snipers took up positions on its banks, showing no mercy to any target. Shells are also routinely dropped on both […]

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Sharia Court in Kfar Nabel: Doctrinal Provisions Do Not Receive Support from Armed Opposition

Sharia Court in Kfar Nabel: Doctrinal Provisions Do Not Receive Support from Armed Opposition

on March 17, 2014, 7:02 pm / in Transition

Hazzaa Adnan al-Hazzaa (Kfar Nabel, Syria) – In January, diesel merchant Jamal al-Mahmoud, 36, turned to Kfar Nabel’s Sharia court in an effort to dissolve his business partnership following a disagreement with his partner. Mahmoud trusted the court; he believed it fairly imposed both discipline and order. “In court, I felt like the revolution had succeeded, as if I were […]

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