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Libération, March 11, 2016

To mark the upcoming fifth anniversary of the start of the civil war in Syria, French daily Libérationrenamed itself Friday in Arabic, featuring a striking front-page image of children spinning on swings around a bomb.

Calling itself Tahrir ("Liberation" in Arabic) for the occasion of the March 15th anniversary next Tuesday, the newspaper is devoting its entire issue to the daily lives of Syrians during the ongoing war. This "Libé of Syrians" is entirely composed of pieces by Syrian authors, most of whom have fled to Turkey. Throughout the issue, Syrian journalists, as well as artists, doctors and writers explain how the conflict has changed daily habits, from religious and medical practices, while also influencing art and literature and touching almost every aspect of their lives.

French and Syrian journalists, Libération's editor-in-chief and members of NGO's, such as Reporters Without Borders, brought these stories together in order for the issue "not only to be written by Syrians ... but also dedicated to the entire Syrian community." An estimated 250,000 people have been killed since fighting broke out, and more than half the country's pre-war population of 23 million have been displaced.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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