Dossier: Syrian Civil War

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

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

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

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

Poster for the documentary film “Not Who We Are” by Carol Mansour (source: Forward Film Production)

Documentary film: "Not Who We Are"

Lost time in Lebanon

The stigma of being refugees, the lack of privacy and an uncertain future – these are just some of the problems that Syrian women face in Lebanon. The renowned filmmaker Carol Mansour tells their stories in her touching documentary "Not Who We Are". By Jannis HagmannMore

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in November 2013 (photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy

The bewildered kingdom

The political changes wrought by the Arab Spring in the region, the prospect of increased oil supplies from deposits outside Saudi Arabia and the possibility of an historical rapprochement between the Saudis' long-term ally (US) and their arch enemy (Iran) have been a game-changer for Saudi Arabia in recent years. Mai Yamani takes a closer look at how the kingdom is reacting to these developmentsMore

Volker Perthes (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Interview with Volker Perthes

"It's time for a ceasefire"

Middle East expert Volker Perthes is calling for a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict to allow civil society to recover, which could in turn curb the growing influence of the Islamists. Diana Hodali spoke to himMore

Bashar al-Assad (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

International policy on Syria

The rehabilitation of Assad

Above all, the West wants stability in Syria. Because he has managed to sit out everything that has happened in recent years, the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad seems to offer this very stability. But accepting the kind of stability Assad offers would mean having to forget the atrocities committed by his regime. A commentary by Bente SchellerMore

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