Dossier: Syrian Civil War

US President Barack Obama speaking in the White House about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq, 7 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

The Middle East policies of Europe and the US

Mistakes must not be repeated

For years, the West's foreign policy approach to the Middle East has been short sighted and counterproductive. A shrewd blend of involvement and restraint in the region is now required. However, where there is a threat of genocide at the hands of terrorists or regimes, civilians must be protected using all available means, writes Kristin HelbergMore

A Syrian family sitting outside a home for asylum seekers run by the Central Authority for Foreign Residents in the German state of Brandenburg (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Book review: Stefan Buchen on Syrian "escape helpers"

Germany's new public enemies?

Germany is proud of its culture of democracy and the rule of law. But how proud should it be of the way it treats those who help Syrian refugees threatened by starvation and mass murder at home to enter the country? In 2013 and 2014, several German-based Syrians have been tried in court for helping their compatriots to flee to Europe. Stefan Buchen has written a book about the matter. By Martina SabraMore

General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Brigade. Photo: Faresnews

Portrait: Qassem Soleimani

The man who pulls the strings

Iran is battling Saudi Arabia for regional supremacy in the Middle East, and is steadily expanding its sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Behind the scenes, Qassem Soleimani is a key figure who has had more influence on Iran's foreign policy over the last twenty years than almost anyone else. Martina Sabra reportsMore

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian conflict and the advance of ISIS

Assad and the myth of the lesser evil

Assad has used chemical weapons and laid waste to entire neighbourhoods and regions with barrel bombs. However, in the West, fears of what ISIS Islamists could achieve loom so large that Syria's dictator continues to be seen as a smaller part of the problem. By Bente SchellerMore

The Lebanese journalist and political scientist Abdel Mottaleb El-Husseini. Photo: private

Interview with the political scientist Abdel Mottaleb El-Husseini

Lebanon: "A mixture of vacuum and volcano"

A million Syrian refugees, a catastrophic economy and increasing domestic hostility towards Hezbollah: the war in Syria is pushing neighbouring Lebanon to the limit. Mona Sarkis spoke to the Lebanese journalist Abdel Mottaleb el-Husseini about the current political situation in his countryMore

US Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in Baghdad. Photo: Reuters

The Iraq crisis and the West

The ugly new order in the "Fertile Crescent"

Iraq is in the grip of a devastating inner-Islamic religious war. The conflict has an inherent dynamic that cannot be stopped by presidential wishful thinking or a hurried visit to Baghdad by US foreign minister John Kerry. Stefan Buchen commentsMore

President Bashar al-Assad visiting the Christian town of Maalula (photo: dpa)

Syrian Christians and the Assad regime

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"Assad is only protecting himself"

Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad likes to present himself as a champion of his nation's religious minorities, in particular the Christians. But increasing numbers of Syrian Christians in exile are resisting this narrative. By Martina SabraMore

The Syrian-born writer Rafik Schami (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Interview with Rafik Schami

Defending the Assad kingdom

According to renowned Syrian-born writer Rafik Schami, Assad's survival concept is quite straightforward: to keep his clan in power at any price. He is being aided in this endeavour by the West's indecisiveness towards his regime. Interview conducted by Eren GüvercinMore

Portraits of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad (photo: DW)

Syria and the Ba'ath regime

Assad and the post-eternity era

Assad and no other. Assad is no one. He is a nebulous being soaked in blood and trampling on corpses, a man who claims to be president of a republic that no longer exists, writes Elias Khoury in his essayMore

Diala Brisly (photo: Diala Brisly)

Interview with the Syrian artist Diala Brisly

Art is a luxury in Syria

Civil war has ravaged Syria and many of its ancient cultural treasures. Syrian artist Diala Brisly, who left Syria about a year ago and now lives and works in Istanbul, says that although very few artists are still working in Syria, the country's art scene is flourishing abroad. Interview by Susanne DicklMore

Pro-Assad election posters in Damascus (photo: Reuters)

Presidential election in Syria

No Holds Barred

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad intends to have himself confirmed in office for a further seven years in early June. The regime's propaganda machinery is running flat out in advance of the election. Since the beginning of the revolution, the Syrian powers-that-be have been working hard to turn both domestic and international public opinion in their favour. By Martina SabraMore

Rosa Yassin Hassan (photo: DW)

Book review: Rosa Yassin Hassan's "Guardians of the Air"

Nine months of suffering, hope and fear

While Assad's regime seems more firmly ensconced than ever, and Syria seems to have descended into an apparently endless and brutal civil war, the novel "Guardians of the Air" by Rosa Yassin Hassan, a Damascus-based writer, provides an insight into the difficult lives of those directly affected by violence and displacement. By Volker KaminskiMore

Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo in Istanbul (photo: Ozen Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian opposition groups

Time to join forces

The well-known Syrian opposition figure and journalist Michel Kilo believes that only a national alliance of all rebel groups can break the terrorism perpetrated by the organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the Assad regimeMore

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

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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

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