I feel really bad that I don’t really know what’s going on in Syria, who’s fighting who, what the background is, what I should be hoping will happen. Is there a good explainer anywhere so I can get up to speed and at least know what the news is on about?



I fear I need a more basic starting point. I understand that terrible things are happening, but I don’t really know why.


A year old, but this is a useful primer



So Assad, in charge, and awful. Backed by Russia.
ISIS - obvious shitcunts.
Moderate rebels trying to take down Assad - backed by UK and US.

And at the moment in Aleppo it seems like Assad is ruthlessly purging the moderate rebels?


Pretty much. Although there are a whole heap of disparate groups under the ‘moderate rebels’ umbrella, some not at all moderate.

This is good too


The US has also backed the PKK/YPG, who aren’t necessarily working together with the same interests as the rebels within Aleppo.


and Assad is backed by Russia but arguably of equal importance is Iran


Is it also now a proxy war between the US and Russia?


I’m not really sure it is. Lots of interests at play in the region and they don’t all fall within either US or Russian influence.


apparently some of the first evacuees have been taken to ‘safety’ (not safety at all, just the countryside) and this will take several days.


does nobody else just feel a bit baffled by many of the responses?

I’m seeing loads of people posting on my timelines about how western military intervention wouldn’t help (duh) and that there are no ‘good guys’ in this (civilians?). people falling over each other to avoid criticising the powerful state actors responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of civilians.


Is this video broadly right tho?


Yeah that’s actually a good summary according to my understanding (which is not at all expert). As the video shows, the conflict is regional and it’s not a simple case of Russia backing Assad and the US opposing him and them clashing as a result.


What’s interesting/sick is that you would think beseiged civilians/murdered children would be pretty clear cut but a lot of BTL comments under various articles are horrifically cruel. To the effect of here come more immigrants/how many are terrorists/they look pretty healthy for beseiged etc.

Pretty despairing stuff not helped/actively fostered by a totally indifferent political and media scene.


There’s a lot of very obvious Russian or pro-Russian astroturfers at work in every article with comments switched on. This iteration of Putin’s Russia is a really worrying proposition.


I’m sitting in on a course on displacement in the Middle East next term and putting together some pre-reading. These are a few lists I’ve come across in case anyone else is interested.


thought this article was good