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‘We’ve been forced to take up arms’: Idlib civil society workers turn to factions in wake of US funding freeze - Syria Direct
Abdul Kareem quickly found a job with hardline Islamist coalition Hay’at Tahrir a-Sham (HTS), the dominant faction in Idlib and formerly Al-Qaeda’s Syrian counterpart Jabhat a-Nusra. HTS was designated a terrorist organization by the US government in May.

“I’m fundamentally opposed to all of their policies,” says Abdul Kareem, who now serves on the faction’s police force, “but I need money to provide for my children.”

Two other former URB employees who spoke with Syria Direct found positions within Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions. All three men now carry a weapon on a daily basis. They asked that their real names be withheld in this report, fearing repercussions from local rebel groups.

The sudden shift from office jobs to frontlines reflects the fragility of a nascent Syrian civil society movement that often hinges on shrinking pools of foreign aid—and the potential for armed groups with deeper pockets to fill the void left behind by funding cuts.  

“Searching for a job in the north is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” says Muhammad al-Ali, a 27-year-old native of Kafr Nabl. “We’ve been forced to take up arms in order to survive.”

Until recently, al-Ali’s voice was a staple of the local news coverage broadcast by Radio Fresh. But after the funding freeze, he says he grudgingly accepted a position as a liaison officer with a Free Syrian Army faction, taking advantage of a personal connection to another officer.

“I never imagined that one day I’d leave my job, join an armed group, carry arms and head to the frontlines,” the father of two says. “I was forced to do so in order to provide for my family.”
civil_society  localGovt  Idlib  recruitment  FSA  JabhatAl-Nusra  Mar15  foreign_aid  TrumpAdministration 
yesterday by elizrael
Rebel Infighting Affects Free Police in Idleb - Zeitoun, April 19, 2018
The members of the Free Police have faced major risks carrying out their security work, thanks to air bombardment and the general spread of weapons – all of which have reduced the agency and limited its tasks to the point that it has nearly vanished at many points.
Mar15  Idlib  police  localGovt  Judiciary  internal_struggle 
18 days ago by elizrael
Opposition authorities in Daraa ban sale of wheat to government-held Syria as ‘severe’ flour crisis looms
However, one Washington-based USAID official told Syria Direct on Tuesday that the flour distribution program is gradually drawing down its operations but is set to continue until March 2019.

The USAID-funded food assistance project has supplied southern Syria with 121,000 metric tons of flour, all purchased in neighboring Jordan, since it began in 2013, says the USAID official.

The USAID-funded project supplied nearly half of Daraa’s flour over the past four years, a-Radawi says, with local production and external sources making up the other half.

A-Radawi’s Grain Institution, along with other opposition-run authorities in Daraa province, are now scrambling to secure as much of this year’s local wheat crop as possible in preparation for the end of the USAID project by halting the sale of wheat to government territory and stockpiling as much of the local crop as possible.
Mar15  Daraa  USAID  food  trade  smuggling  localGovt 
4 weeks ago by elizrael
Ghouta is now in Idlib… Who is next? | SyriaUntold, June 6, 2018
When the exhausted residents of Eastern Ghouta arrived in Idlib, they were surprised by a warm and well-organized welcome. Syrian charities and associations were quick to spring to action but they were not the only ones helping out. Local residents also gave a hand.
Damascus  IDPs  solidarity  Idlib  Mar15  NGO  localGovt  aid 
4 weeks ago by elizrael
Turkish Hands Redraw the Economic Map of Aleppo's Countryside - Enab Baladi, Jan 19, 2018
Interestingly, residents in the area prefer Turkish authorities take over the administration of the region, whether in terms of security, economy or reconstruction, according to a poll in the region, according to Jazmati.
hidden  Turkey  Aleppo  Mar15  localGovt  BufferZone 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
Elections in Kurdish-held northern Syria postponed with no date set - Syria Direct, Jan 8, 2018
But Self-Administration authorities released an online statement on Thursday postponing the third round of elections, originally slated for January 19, citing “restricted” preparation time. It is unclear when the elections will now occur.
Mar15  Rojava  elections  localGovt 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
Women Are Free, and Armed, in Kurdish-Controlled Northern Syria - The New York Times, Feb 24, 2018
Kurdish leaders are aware of the discontent, but say the changes they are bringing are long overdue and are gaining acceptance, especially among younger Arab women.

“Most men don’t accept it, but we speak to women and try to make society understand why it is not good, for instance, to have more than one wife,” said Isam Abdul Qader, an Arab member of the Manbij Women’s Council, another organization that advocates women’s equality. It also sends teams of women door to door in neighborhoods and villages, where they ask to come in and explain to the women their new rights.

“Many men don’t let us in at first,” said Hana Sharif, a Kurdish council member. “We just go back two or three times. Little by little, it is working.”
Mar15  PYD  feminism  Rojava  localGovt 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
Why the Syrian regime has been targeting civilian infrastructure - The Washington Post
In a new article, we argue that a crucial component of the Assad regime’s wartime success has been its strategic use of aerial bombardment. Bolstered by its allies, especially Russia, the Assad regime has consistently targeted public infrastructures in opposition-held areas, including bakeries, hospitals, markets and schools. Media outlets, policy experts and international aid organizations have written about the humanitarian and military dimensions of such raids at great length. Yet they overlook the key political logic underpinning these systematic attacks.
localGovt  Mar15  poli-sci 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
مبادرات وتحذيرات لالتزام «هدنة الجنوب» السوري... وإبعاد إيران | الشرق الأوسط
في موازاة ذلك، بعثت دمشق مقترحاً عبر وسطاء إلى دول إقليمية تضمّن: انسحاب «حزب الله» وميلشيات إيران 25 كيلومتراً بعيدا من خط فك الاشتباك من هضبة الجولان المحتلة، وفق ترتيبات تسمح بوجود مجالس محلية في بيت جن وقرى في الجولان المحرر والبحث عن إمكانية إحياء اتفاق فك الاشتباك بين سوريا وإسرائيل لعام 1974 الذي يتضمن منطقة محايدة ومنطقة منزوعة السلاح وأخرى محدودة السلاح يراقبها نحو 1200 عنصر من «قوات الأمم المتحدة لفك الاشتباك» (اندوف).
Mar15  localGovt  Quneitra  Hizbollah  IranianProxy  Assad  Israel  diplomacy  Russia  Iran  TrumpAdministration 
7 weeks ago by elizrael
Women Are Free, and Armed, in Kurdish-Controlled Northern Syria - The New York Times, Feb 24, 2018
Women were immediately given the right to divorce, previously a right reserved to men; to inherit property on an equal basis with men; and to keep their children and their homes in a marital breakup. Gone were long-observed Shariah law provisions that gave a woman’s testimony in court only half the weight of a man’s.
Still, the Women’s House in Manbij right away began aggressively counseling wives whose husbands married a second time that they could divorce, and walk away with the children, the house and half of any property. The result has been some 200 divorces in the past year, mostly in cases of polygamy and underage marriage, said Widat Hayat an Arab woman and a sociologist who heads the research department at the Women’s House. It is an unprecedented number.
Mar15  Rojava  female  localGovt  Arabs  women_rights 
8 weeks ago by elizrael
What Happened to the Local Councils that Were Forcibly Displaced? - Enab Baladi
He added that the suggestions include the transformation of the Ghouta Local Councils into committees that directly work under Rural Damascus Governorate Council, which will remain active in the displacement areas in Northern Syria, providing that these committees spread in the areas in which Ghouta’s people have settled down, or to give them the names of Ghouta cities and towns, so that the people would automatically be able to follow the council carrying their area’s name.
localGovt  Mar15  IDPs  Damascus  Aleppo 
11 weeks ago by elizrael
Iraqi PM To Campaign In Kurdistan Too, But His First Move Falls Flat | Niqash
One local media outlet reported that al-Abadi had done a backroom deal with the Kurdish authorities about the money. Instead of sending the cash to the provinces to be paid out as it was originally intended, he had agreed to send it to the regional authorities, in order to curry favour with them and get their support for his bid as prime minister. Some of the Iraqi Kurdish parties had been getting closer to his rivals for the job.

Which is why at the next set of demonstrations protesting the lack of salaries, participants also criticized al-Abadi. “What happened to your promises, Haider?” their signs asked.
Iraq  KRG  salaries  localGovt  PublicSector  protests 
march 2018 by elizrael
The Commune System: A Look at Local PYD Governance in Northeastern Syria - Atlantic Council, Mar 12, 2018
Local autonomy might seem like an easy sell to people who have survived a brutal, seven-year war. However, the hundreds of communes active since 2015 have failed to garner popular support because most have fulfilled only their administrative functions like distributing humanitarian aid, and relaying service requests to higher authorities, according to author interviews with two commune residents and two Kurdish journalists. The economic, security, and other committees, which might give communities real decision-making power, have sat idle while the PYD exercises control over municipal government.

“My area’s commune is mostly there for appearance’s sake...the only thing they did was distribute fuel for the winter, bread, and gas,” a Kurdish former teacher, who requested anonymity when discussing politics, told Syriasource from northern Raqqa province. “The real decisions belong to The People’s House [the area’s TEV-DEM office]—the People’s House will use the commune as a cover [for its decisions],” she said.
“The goal of these communes is to bind the citizen to a specific political orientation,” said a Syrian Kurdish political analyst based in Turkey, who, like other critics of the commune system interviewed for this story, requested anonymity. “In order to get bread, you need to adhere to this [PYD-led] administration’s policies.”
Communes’ security committees sometimes include PYD loyalists who act as the party’s “eyes in the neighborhoods,” according to the second journalist. They gather information such as: “Who lives in the neighborhood? Anything strange going on? Politically, who do people support?”
Mar15  localGovt  PYD  Rojava  aid  Intelligence_community  surveillance 
march 2018 by elizrael
Turkey Reshapes Rural Aleppo’s Economic Map - Enab Baladi, Jan 13,2018
It is surprising that the area’s citizens prefer to give the Turkish authorities the responsibility of the area’s administrative file, at the levels of security, economy and reconstruction, according to a survey conducted in the area. Jazmati confirmed that a mutual trust has formed between Syrian citizens and Turkey after the latter tried to enhance security in the area, in addition to people’s lack of faith in the existing Syrian administrative authority, including the Syrian Interim Government and the executive authorities, which failed to prove efficiency on the ground.
Mar15  BufferZone  Turkey  trade  Aleppo  localGovt  hidden 
january 2018 by elizrael
شبكة بلدي الإعلامية | مصدر لبلدي نيوز: الشيخ يقدم استقالته من "الإنقاذ" بسبب خلاف مع "تحرير الشام"
وتكلم "الشيخ" في عدة محاور أهمها، الجانب العسكري وإفشال مشروع جيش الإنقاذ الذي كانت تنوي الحكومة تشكيله، إضافة إلى ملف العلاقات الخارجية وكيف أفشلت الهيئة إقامة علاقات مع الجانب التركي، وملف الخدمات والتجاذبات مع الحكومة، وغيرها من الملفات، وفق المصدر.
Mar15  JabhatAl-Nusra  internal_struggle  localGovt 
january 2018 by elizrael
A power struggle over education emerges between rival opposition governments in Idlib province - Syria Direct
The SSG announced its control over FAU approximately three weeks ago and appointed a new president of the university. In response, the interim government moved the headquarters of Free Aleppo University from Idlib province to the west Aleppo countryside town of Bashqateen.
education  JabhatAl-Nusra  Mar15  localGovt  SNC  protests 
january 2018 by elizrael

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