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TOPIC: idlib


Idlib Nightmare: How Syria's Lingering Civil War Is Blocking Earthquake Aid

Across the border from the epicenter in Turkey, the Syrian region of Idlib is home to millions of people displaced by the 12-year-long civil war. The victims there risk not getting assistance because of the interests of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, reminding the world of one of the great unresolved conflicts of our times.


Faced with a disaster of the magnitude of the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, one imagines a world mobilized to bring relief to the victims, where all barriers and borders disappear. Unfortunately, this is only an illusion in such a complex and scarred corner of the world.

Yes, there's been an instant international outpouring of countries offering assistance and rescue teams converging on the disaster zones affected by the earthquakes. It is a race against time to save lives.

But even in such dramatic circumstances, conflict, hatred and competing interests do not somehow vanish by magic.

Sometimes, victims of natural disasters face a double price. This is the case for the 4.5 million inhabitants of Idlib, a region located in northwestern Syria, which was directly hit by the earthquake. So far, the toll there has reached at least 900 people killed, thousands injured and countless others left homeless in the harsh winter.

The inhabitants of Idlib, two-thirds of whom are displaced from other regions of Syria, live in an area that is still beyond the control of Bashar al-Assad, and they've been 90% dependent on international aid... which has not been arriving.

To put maximum pressure on these millions of people, the Syrian government and its Russian ally have gradually restricted the ability to get humanitarian aid to them.

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The Fall Of Idlib, No Safe Place Left In Syria

The camera pans across families waiting around with their luggage and children. Men stand with rifles slung over their shoulders, ready to board the evacuation buses north.

Migrating birds pass overhead. "Where are they going, do you know?" asks a voice, from the man holding the camera. "Every year, they go to their homes and then they come back."

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An Unlikely Success Story For A Kid's Magazine, In Syria

SARAQEB — Zaytoun and Zaytouna relies on games, stories and illustrations to make life in Syria's war zone a bit more bearable for kids. Launched in July 2013, the four-page magazine started as a modest project with a team of three people using a small printer and circulating it to a limited number of children.

Today, says magazine director Sumar Kanjo, the team includes over 10 writers and 10 illustrators, and Zaytoun and Zaytouna has become a cultural pillar in Saraqeb and other areas under opposition control. In addition to the paper edition, the magazine is launching a website and a Facebook page.

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Marijuana Cultivation Financing Syrian Rebels

Four years into Syria's conflict, cannabis has become an unlikely key source of financing for a number of groups in the opposition-held north. It's used mostly to buy weapons.

Jabal al-Zawiya in the province of Idlib is a mountainous area close to the Turkish border. Once famous for growing olives, it is now used to grow pot. Farmers here say the plant grows quickly, and yields higher revenues than olives.

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Dr. Aref Rifai*

Five More Years? More Than Ever, Syrians Preparing For Protracted War

IDLIB – On my trip to northern Syria a week ago, I asked my hosts lots of questions.

Will the Syrian regime be able to recapture the liberated areas inside Syria? Are you better off with the regime returning to your area, or with the rule of the others, including those run by civilians, the Free Syrian Army or the al-Qaida-backed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?

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Three Westerners Killed By Syrian Forces



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