Joshua Landis, the Director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the ever reliable Syrian Comment blog, has an admirably detailed top ten list of developments in the war-torn Arab Republic during the course of 2015.
10. The Death of Zahran Alloush.
9. The Failure of the Southern Storm Offensive.
8. Operation Decisive Quagmire.
7. Europe’s Syria Fatigue vs. Assad’s Viability
6. The Vienna Meeting, the ISSG, and Geneva III.
5. The Donald.
4. The Iran Deal.
3. The Continuing Structural Decay of the Syrian Government.
2. The American-Kurdish Alliance.
1. The Russian Intervention.
If you want to know what was really happening in Syria over the last twelve months, and what is likely to happen in the coming months, take a few minutes to read Landis’ article. In related news, the long suspected fate of Ruqia Hassan, a well-known Syria journalist-blogger, has been confirmed. From the UK’s Guardian newspaper:
“Islamic State militants murdered a journalist who wrote about daily life in occupied Raqqa, having accused her of being a spy, activists have confirmed.
Ruqia Hassan, 30, was killed in September, but news of her death became widely known this week after Isis claimed on social media that she was still alive.
Writing under the pen name Nissan Ibrahim, Hassan’s posts described life for residents of Raqqa, Isis’s Syrian stronghold, and the frequent coalition airstrikes against the group.
Hassan studied philosophy at Aleppo University and later joined the opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad when the revolution began in Raqqa. She refused to leave after Isis entered the city.
Hassan had been placed under surveillance by Isis and was held in August, accused of being in contact with the “sahawat”, a derogatory term used by Isis to refer to the Free Syrian Army, whom it considers traitors.”
Two more articles worth a read for a wider understanding of events in Syria and its neighbours: