Article on political violence executed in the Aleppo province during 2013

Killing the dispensables: massacres perpetrated in the villages of Eastern Aleppo Province in 2013

Author: Josepha Wessels (Malmö University)
April, 2021

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

Abstract

In 2013, Aleppo province was engulfed in violence. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and affiliated Shi’a militias executed a campaign of massacres in the rural areas located on the eastern fringes of the province. The violence caused an exodus from this region, eventually dissipating local rural communities entirely. What can explain such extreme and brutal political violence perpetrated at a local level in the east Aleppo countryside throughout 2013? To find an answer, I analyse the personal accounts of those who witnessed the violence and YouTube videos.

Taken together, these sources provide a visceral description of the massacres—in particular the summary executions in the village of Rasm al-Nafl, as a case study of extreme violence in one of the poorest rural areas of Syria. Problematizing mono-causal sectarian explanations, I argue that a deeper non-sectarian complex of rurality and a process of subaltern othering in combination with opportunism, governmental retribution, and strategic military concern for territorial control in order to secure alternative supply routes to Aleppo, ultimately led to the eradication of life and cultural genocide in these rural areas.

Case Report on integration in Turkey

Case Report: Carsamba, Bursa, Turkey – Integration Concerns of Parents about Syrian Children

Authors: Zahid Mukayed & Ezgi Irgil (University of Gothenburg)
November, 2020

Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Introduction

This report focuses on the Turkish government’s treatment of refugees and Syrian children with the main focus on three concerns: potential statelessness, loss of the Arabic language and racism.

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CMES Research Seminar – The Missing Sense of Peace [in Syria and Yemen]. Diplomatic Approachment and Virtualization during the Covid-19 Lockdown.

Isabel Bramsen and Anine Hagemann present their article “The missing sense of peace [in Syria and Yemen]: Diplomatic approachment and virtualization during the COVID-19”

Abstract

With the unprecedented COVID-lockdown in 2020, many peace diplomatic efforts turned virtual. This represented a temporary loss of many of the usual practices of peace diplomacy and provided an opportunity to examine virtual diplomacy as all that was lost; the importance of physical face-to-face meetings. Based on interviews with parties and mediators involved in the peace processes of Syria and Yemen we analyze the affordances of virtual and physical meetings respectively.

Particularly, virtual meetings condition peace diplomacy in terms of broadening accessibility, putting confidentiality at risk, allowing for higher frequency of meetings, often disrupting interaction, but also in some instances equalizing it. Physical, meetings on the other hand allow for bodily presence, for spending extended periods of time together, for reconciliatory interaction and creating informal space.

Most importantly, the transition to virtual meetings demonstrated the missing sense of peace, a notion we develop to capture the visceral dimension of physical meetings, conceptualized to include understanding, togetherness and trust. We argue that neither virtual nor physical diplomacy should be discarded and discuss strategies of how to work around the missing sense of peace in virtual diplomacy and the potential of hybrid solutions exploiting the potential of both formats.

Presenters:

Isabel Bramsen (PhD) is Associate Senior Lecturer at Lund University, Department of Political Science and postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC), University of Copenhagen. She has published several articles on nonviolent resistance, violence, conflict resolution, emotions and the micro-sociology of peace and conflict. She is co-author of International Konfliktløsning (Samfundslitteratur 2016) and Addressing International Conflict: Dynamics of Escalation, Continuation and Transformation (Routledge 2019).

Anine Hagemann is a PhD candidate at the University of Copenhagen, on leave from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her research focuses on peacebuilding, Protection of Civilians, women’s involvement in peace negotiations and Nordic peace collaboration. She is interested in practice-relevant research and is a Danish diplomat with extensive field experience. She is co-author of New Nordic Peace (Nordisk Ministerråd 2019).

Please visit CMES event page for more information about speakers, abstract and registration for seminar. We hope to return to hybrid and physical seminars once the infection rate of COVID-19 has decreased.

UI paper on transitional justice in Syria

Addressing Atrocity in Syria: New Challanges for Transitional Justice

Authors: Ashi Al-Kahwati & Johanna Mannergren Selimovic
March 2021

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Abstract

By studying the war in Syria, this paper aim to contribute to the wider discussion on the role of transitional justice in societies transitioning from conflict, and specifically regarding how to understand and address continuities of violence across war and peace.

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CMES Research Seminar – The Development of the Theological and Political Aspects of Jihadi-Salafism.

Orwa Ajjoub presents his newly published report From Afghanistan to Syria: The Development of the Theological and Political Aspects of Jihadi-Salafism (financed by CMES and SASNET).

Here you can read the full report

Presenter:

Orwa Ajjoub is research associate at CMES and publishes regularly at different media websites, such as Middle East Institute, Syria Deeply, Aljumhuriya and others.

Discussant:

Nihad Jariri is a documentary producer based in the United Arab Emirates. Nihad is a prominent journalist in the Arab world with a particular interest in jihadism. She is also the host of the acclaimed and only Arabic language podcast focusing on jihadism Marsad al-Jihadia.

Please visit CMES event page for more information about speakers, abstracts and registration for seminars. We hope to return to hybrid and physical seminars once the infection rate of COVID-19 has decreased.

UI public seminar: The future of Syria: prospects for justice, peace and reconciliation.

What is the future of Syria and its people? Can peace be achieved, or will the fault lines of the conflict solidify with Assad maintaining his grip on power?

The war in Syria is now a decade old, with immense human suffering and destruction in its wake. More than 180,000 people have been killed, 11 million displaced, and more than 100,000 have been forcibly disappeared.

Since 2011 there have been efforts by the international community to negotiate peace but with little success. At the same, Syrian civil society actors and diaspora are pursuing ways to hold the government accountable for their crimes. Whether this is through a truth and reconciliation committee or an international legal tribunal depends on the political conditions and the support given by the international community.

Panel:

Aron Lund, Researcher at FOI in Stockholm and Fellow at The Century Foundation.

Dr. Johanna Mannergren Selimovic, Associate Professor in Peace and Development Research, School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University and Senior Associate Research Fellow at UI.

Laila Alodaat, MENA Director at Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Rouzbeh Parsi, Head of UI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Sign up here for the Zoom link

Webinar Global Media Representation of the Syrian City of Raqqa: a roundtable debate

On 11 December 2020, School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University hosted a panel debate to discuss the symbolism and media representation of the Syrian city of Raqqa, in various news and media outlets, films, books and series.

Raqqa city features in many different shapes and forms, for example in books such as the Road from Raqqa and here in Sweden a TV-series called “Kalifat” is partly situated in Raqqa city as the backdrop hotbed of jihadism and ISIS. Viewers do not actually get to know the city. In other words, everybody knows Raqqa nowadays but nobody actually knows the city and its people.

The aim of this panel to give a more in-depth and nuanced insight into this Syrian city that has become well-known globally. The roundtable is conducted by a panel of Syrian writers and journalists from Raqqa as well as scholarly media experts from Sweden.

Panel members:

• Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Dissident Syrian-Arab Writer from Raqqa, also called “the conscience of the Syrian Revolution”, author of 8 books on Syria
• Mazen Hassoun, Syrian Journalist from Raqqa, founder of “Al-Raqqa post”
• Hussam Eesa, Journalist from Raqqa, founding-member of “Raqqa is being slaughteredsilently”
• Josepha Wessels, author of “Documenting Syria: Film-making, Video Activism and
Revolution” K3, Malmö University, Sweden (moderator)

Global Media Representation of the Syrian City of Raqqa

Click here to watch the recorded event.

School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University is hosting a panel debate to discuss the symbolism and media representation of the Syrian city of Raqqa, in various news and media outlets, films, books and series. Raqqa city features in many different shapes and forms, for example in books such as the Road from Raqqa and here in Sweden a TV-series called “Kalifat” is partly situated in Raqqa city as the backdrop hotbed of jihadism and ISIS. Viewers do not actually get to know the city. In other words, everybody knows Raqqa nowadays, but nobody actually knows the city and its people. In order to reflect deeper on its media representation and the role of Raqqa, the roundtable discusses the following questions:

  • Why has Raqqa, a northern Syrian town, suddenly become world famous?
  • How is the city of Raqqa represented in the various global media and ISIS media outlets ?
  • Why was the city’s role in Islamic State media portrayed as the de-facto capital of the proclaimed Islamic State ?
  • What is Raqqa’s history, character, who are the Raqqans and what role did the city play in the Syrian uprisings?
  • What is the current situation of Raqqa in this post-ISIS period ?

The aim of this panel to give a more in-depth and nuanced insight into this Syrian city that has become well-known globally. The roundtable is conducted by a panel of Syrian writers and journalists from Raqqa as well as scholarly media experts from Sweden.

Panel members:

  • Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian Writer from Raqqa, author of 8 books on Syria
  • Mazen Hassoun, Syrian Journalist from Raqqa, founder of “Al-Raqqa post”
  • Hussam Eesa, Journalist from Raqqa, founding-member of “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently”.
  • Michael Krona, author of “The Media World of ISIS”, K3, Malmö University, Sweden
  • Josepha Wessels, author of “Documenting Syria: Film-making, Video Activism and Revolution” K3, Malmö University, Sweden (moderator)