(AFP) — Her name means “dreams” in Arabic and schoolteacher Ahlam is finally realising hers — returning to her beloved classroom after years of jihadist rule over her east Syria hometown. Perched on school benches in their bright coats, excited young boys and girls chant in unison as they count the cherries she has drawn in chalk on the blackboard.The Islamic State group overran large swathes of Syria in 2014, with the jihadists imposing their own rigid interpretation of Islam on residents. They opened their own schools, banning music and the arts, and dispensed brutal punishments to those who did not adhere to their ultra-conservative values. Ahlam says the jihadists tried to recruit her to teach in one of their schools in her hometown of Al-Shamatiyah, near Deir Ezzor city. She refused, opting to teach her children in secret at home and eking out a living from an orchard she tended to with her husband, an agricultural engineer. “I thought there would no … [Read more...] about AFP: 45,000 Children Return to School in East Syria After Assad Retakes Territory from Jihadists
By Bassem Mroue Published 3:08 pm, Saturday, April 7, 2018 Photo: AFP / Getty Images Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Syrian government forces advance toward the town of Douma, the last rebel enclave in the eastern Ghouta region outside the capital. Rebels, meanwhile, struck Damascus with mortars. Syrian government forces advance toward the town of Douma, the last rebel enclave in the eastern Ghouta region outside the capital. Rebels, meanwhile, struck Damascus with mortars. Photo: AFP / Getty Images Assad’s forces press offensive outside Syrian capital 1 / 1 Back to Gallery BEIRUT — Syrian government forces pressed their offensive against the last rebel-held town in eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus on Saturday under the cover of air strikes as shelling of civilian areas on both sides … [Read more...] about Assad’s forces press offensive outside Syrian capital
The Times of Israel reports: The Bashar Assad regime is preparing an offensive to retake southern Syria and the Syrian Golan Heights from rebel groups and has reportedly placed tanks and heavy artillery inside the demilitarized buffer zone on the country’s border with Israel. The step violates the Agreement on Disengagement signed in 1974 between Israel and Syria, which concluded the Yom Kippur War. Israel is expected to complain to the United Nations peacemaking force known as UNDOF, the Haaretz daily reported Thursday.The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has patrolled the buffer zone between Syria and Israel since 1974, a year after the war ended. For nearly four decades, UNDOF helped enforce a stable truce between the two countries, but the Syrian civil war has now spilled into the area, according to the report. Read more here. … [Read more...] about Report: Assad Regime Moves Tanks, Artillery to Buffer Zone with Israel
A picture taken on March 8, 2018 shows a Syrian child walking down a street past rubble from destroyed buildings, in the rebel-held town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta enclave on the outskirts of Damascus. HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP/Getty World Syria Fake News It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke.A British priest, an American student and a Scottish baroness, among others, were stuck at a border crossing. But the border in question is no joking matter; it’s the one that divides Lebanon from Syria. Skeptical of what they’d seen and heard in the Western media, these men and women had arrived here to learn the “truth” about the then-six-year-old Syrian Civil War.This was last year, and the group was one of hundreds of tourist delegations that have tried to come to Syria, many with permission from the regime. Its organizer? Andrew Ashdown, an Anglican vicar from Winchester, a small town in southern England. Since 2014, he’s visited Syria at least nine times … [Read more...] about Fake News Tourism in Syria: Westerners Search for ‘Truth,’ But Are They Assad’s Pawns?
AFP 21 January 2014 Police guard the Montreux Palace Hotel, site of the Syria talks. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP AFP 21 January 2014 22:57 CET+01:00 The future role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a "red line" for the government delegation in peace talks, the foreign minister said Tuesday on the eve of their opening. "The issues of the president and the regime are red lines for us and for the Syrian people," the official SANA news agency quoted Walid Muallem as saying shortly before his delegation arrived in the Swiss city of Montreux for the talks. … [Read more...] about Syrian envoys say Assad regime ‘untouchable’