Aerial bombing has forced hundred of thousands of refugees out of Aleppo in recent weeks. The razing of the city is brutal, but it might be part of a larger, even more sinister scheme.
These charts should give pause to any dictator considering an Internet blackout
The Syrian city of Aleppo briefly regained access to the Internet yesterday, ending an information blackout that lasted well over a month. As of this afternoon, though, it looks like the city is back offline. During the brief window of access, people on the ground issued celebratory tweets even as fighting continues in the city, one of the main battlegrounds of Syria's civil war.
What I see in this incredible photo from Syria
In a broken Syrian city, symbols of life’s resilience—and America’s predicament
Whether or not the United States intervenes in Syria’s civil war, one thing about the current situation won’t change: Those of us outside Syria’s borders will never be entirely sure what’s happening within them. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, and legacy media outlets have, understandably, sent fewer and fewer of their reporters into harm’s way. This means that if journalists and policymakers in western countries want information from a source other than Bashar al Assad’s regime, they have to take it from citizen journalists, nearly all of whom are activists who openly support the opposition.
On a Monday in late February, I received a Facebook message from a Syrian activist notifying me that a demonstration was due to start in half an hour in a heavily guarded section of Damascus. The occasion was a funeral, and so the protest was likely to be large. “Two of the five martyrs are children, and funeral processions for children are always big,” the message explained. I took a cab to the Kafr Sousa district, an area that is home to many government buildings, and walked for 20 minutes, until I came upon about 75 casually dressed men toting machine guns.
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. I. Last November a protester on the outskirts of Damascus held up to the cameras a placard that mocked the people of Aleppo: “URGENT! ALEPPO REBELS—IN 2050!” It was hardly heroic, the caution of Aleppo, particularly against the background of a rebellion that had scorched Deraa and Hama and Homs and Banias and so many unheralded Syrian towns.