Dossier: Syria

Paolo Dall'Oglio (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Abduction in Syria of Paolo Dall'Oglio

A voice of peace in a wilderness of violence

The Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio was abducted eight months ago in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. There has been no trace of him since. A popular figure in Syria, the priest has been a consistent champion of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. He was one of the few members of the Church to align himself with the opposition right at the start of the uprising against Assad in March 2011. By Claudia MendeMore

Supporters of the neo-fascist CasaPound movement in Italy (photo: imago)

The Syrian conflict

A red-brown alliance for Syria

Neo-Nazis, Stalinists, Catholic fundamentalists and pacifists may seem like strange political bedfellows, but they have found common ground in a diffuse brand of anti-imperialism. This left-wing/right-wing alliance's online campaigning and its active support for the Assad regime have led to a lack of solidarity with the Syrian people not only in Italy but elsewhere in Europe too. By Germano MontiMore

Tammam Azzam's "Freedom Graffiti" (photo: The Ayyam Gallery)

Syrian painter and digital artist Tammam Azzam

"I, the Syrian"

"I, the Syrian" is the title of an exhibition by Tammam Azzam that was held in Beirut and London in early 2014. Selected works from his project now feature in various international art exhibits. Martina Sabra met and spoke with the Syrian painter and digital artist in BeirutMore

A peaceful demonstration against the Assad regime in Kafranbel (photo: Reuters)

Non-violent resistance in Syria

Sowing the seeds of democracy

There is no nation-wide democracy movement in Syria, but there are local initiatives that are defying the war, strengthening civil society and preparing the ground for a free and pluralistic political system, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Children playing in the kindergarten for traumatised children in Manshia, Syria (photo: Laura Overmeyer)

Syrian refugee children

A lost generation in the making

In the Jordanian village of Manshia, a German NGO has set up a kindergarten for traumatised Syrian refugee children. Here, they can leave their horrible past behind and learn how to be children again. Laura Overmeyer visited the kindergartenMore

A poster with an image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian flag (photo: Reuters)

Book review: "The Wisdom of Syria's Waiting Game"

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How to stay in power against the odds

In her book "The Wisdom of Syria's Waiting Game", Bente Scheller analyses Syrian foreign policy since the Assad dynasty came to power in 1970. She believes that the special relationship between domestic and foreign policy is key to understanding Syria's power apparatus. By Martina SabraMore

Russia's President Putin, right, greets Egypt's General Al-Sisi (photo: Reuters)

The Crimean crisis

The Near East: scene of a new Cold War?

The Crimean crisis could mark the beginning of a new confrontation between East and West. Not only is there already talk of a second Cold War, there are already signs of it in the Near East. A commentary by Nora MüllerMore

Poster for the film "Ladder to Damascus" by Mohammad Malas

Mohammad Malas's film "Ladder to Damascus"

Between dream and disaster

In his new film, "Ladder to Damascus", the renowned Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Malas has succeeded in portraying the whole tragedy of the Syrian conflict without depicting any scenes of violence. By Charlotte BankMore

Screenshot with the logo of the Syrian Writers Association

Syria's opposition writers

Fighting oppression and censorship

Syrian writers in exile have founded a new association. Their aim is to continue their country's rich literary tradition and to use the pen to fight for political and cultural change and freedom of speech in Syria. By Joseph CroitoruMore

A political poster hanging in a market in Lebanon (photo: Ben Knight)

Hezbollah in Lebanon

How Hezbollah is paralysing Lebanese politics

There are few countries in the world where domestic affairs are as affected by regional calamities as Lebanon. With Hezbollah still fighting across the border in Syria and the country's two biggest political alliances at loggerheads about the situation, the government in Beirut is in deadlock. By Ben KnightMore

Cover of the book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" (source: Steidl-Verlag)

Book review: "Contemporary Artists – Arab World"

Perceptions of reality

The book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" shows how different Arab artists have reacted to the upheaval in their countries. By Kersten KnippMore

Pictures of Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad leaning against a wall outside the Russian embassy in Damascus waiting to be used in a pro-Assad demonstration (photo: Muzaffar Salman/AP/dapd)

Interview with Stefan Meister

"The Syria crisis is legitimising Putin"

Russia's backing of Bashar al-Assad and his regime is a geopolitical game, says Stefan Meister, expert in Russian foreign and security policy. Above all, however, Vladimir Putin is benefitting domestically from his Syria policy. The confrontation with the West is making him a key figure in world politics. Interview by Jannis HagmannMore

Members of the Syrian opposition (photo: Getty Images)

Syria after the Geneva II peace talks

In a political vacuum

The Syrian author Talal al-Maihani believes that the vicious circle of violence in Syria can only be broken by the emergence of a new opposition force that truly represents the political will of a majority of SyriansMore

Serious rioting on Tahrir Square in Cairo (photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

The political consequences of the Arab Spring

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Some revolts just take longer

Civil war in Syria, a military regime in Egypt ... at first glance, it seems as if the Arab Spring has gone off the rails. But the battle is not over yet: 2014 will be a decisive year for change in the Arab world. An essay by Karim El-GawharyMore

A demonstrator and opponent of the new government in Cairo prepares to throw a Molotov cocktail at security forces in Cairo (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Three years after the Arab uprisings

Tyranny has gone unpunished

The revolutions that swept across the Arab world in 2011 could have failed for any number of reasons. However, the fact that their consequences now threaten to drag entire nations into chaos and rehabilitate tyrannous rulers three years after they were unceremoniously ousted is almost worse than if there had been no uprisings in the first place. By Günther OrthMore

Anti-Assad graffiti in Istanbul (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Civil war in Syria

No peace with Assad and al-Qaida

Bashar al-Assad is no bulwark against terrorism. On the contrary, he is a beneficiary of the Syrian conflict. As long as he continues to destroy his country, the jihadists will flourish in the chaos. Only his departure can unite Syrians in the fight against al-Qaida and bring peace to the nation, writes Kristin HelbergMore

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