Friday, July 10, 2020
    Written by Jack Bettar Spread across fertile mountains, between olive and pistachio groves, and across windswept limestone hills, sits an assortment of ancient ruins, some mysterious, but all precious not just to Syria’s history but to the history of humankind in general. In the Aleppo and Idlib governorates (provinces), there can be found unique and rare insights into life more than...

Sanctioning Syria

Written by Chris Ray, this article was first published by Monthly Review Online, 10 January 2020 Sanctioning Syria By Chris Ray The United Nations was willing to pay for doors, windows and electrical wiring in Alaa Dahood’s apartment but not for repairs to her living room wall torn open by a mortar strike. That was deemed to be ‘reconstruction’—an aid category forbidden...

Ode to Damascus

Written by Chris Ray, this article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jan 25, 2020 as "Ode to Damascus".   It may seem like an unlikely holiday destination, but as peace returns to Syria, the struggling nation hopes tourists will too. By Chris Ray Tourism in Damascus, Syria Nour Neema at the Sah al-Naum hotel, which...
Written by Alex Ray and first published in Middle East Eye, 26 May 2019 The capital's green spaces symbolise how many are trying to revitalise the environment amid the blood of war. By Alex Ray in Damascus 26 May 2019  Fareed Notafji sips the sweet, strong labourer’s tea as we sit in front of the guard shed at the SEA Environmental Garden in Damascus. When...
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Video, September 2019. Susan Dirgham. On the way to Beit Jabri.   In the introduction to her book 'Damascus: Hidden Treasures of the Old City' (Thames & Hudson, 2001), Brigid Keenan begins, My husband, a diplomat, was posted to Syria in 1993, and I went with him. Very soon, like Isabel, wife of the famous British Consul Richard Burton a hundred and...
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This video interview with Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim took place in a Damascus cafe on 22 September 2019. It wasn't the best environment to discuss a serious subject, and I had no external microphone for my mobile phone, but we made do. Susan Dirgham (For a transcript of the interview, please go to the bottom of this page.*)    During the worst years of...
14 October 2019 Last month, I was in Damascus for just 8 full days. I had a journalist's visa which ensured I had the chance to interview some distinguished Syrians as well as some 'ordinary' Syrians, all of them impressive people, and most of them women.   Most evident was the fact that the war has led to women in Syria finding...

Six weeks in Syria

Born and raised in Australia, Leo (Soltan) Alhalabi identifies both as a proud Aussie and a proud Syrian. On visits to Syria, he has noted the love and support people show each other in moments of celebration and crisis. Most of Leo’s extended family still lives in Syria. Leo is CEO of LGT Tutoring and is a former Victorian, Australian...
by Leslie Hemphill “You are welcome”, or “You are family” were words we heard so often in Syria when we travelled with daughter-in-law Ghada on three visits to stay with her parents and family in Damascus. Ghada was one of six children raised in a little house - really a two-storey apartment.  It was possible to climb out a window onto...
"Each civilized person in the world should admit that he has two home countries: the one he was born in, and Syria." – André Parrot, (1901 – 1980), archaeologist specializing in the ancient Near East; director of The Louvre “Had Syria not assumed pariah status in the eyes of some, the Grand Colonnade of Apamea would be considered among the ‘100...