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Photo Essay: Stranded in Sweden by Matilde Gattoni and Matteo Fagotto
Once they were respected and successful, they had money and power. Now they’re broke, roaming like ghosts in a foreign land.
These are the stories of 12 young Syrian men who used to be rich businessmen, global professionals and members of prominent families. They sacrificed everything to escape war and reach Sweden, the only country granting them permanent residence.
Far from discovering the paradise they dreamed about, some now lead an invisible life in bleak suburbs and remote villages, isolated and unable to find work. Cut off from their loved ones, they are stuck in a limbo between a comfortable life they cannot forget and a tough, new reality. Some of the people asked to keep their faces out of the photos, to protect their families still in Syria.
It did not take long for the infant to die. A half hour after her parents brought her into the makeshift emergency room lit by hazy flashlights, she was gone.
The 26-year-old doctor, a third-year resident, worked frantically over her lifeless body. He had not slept for a day, but he was determined to save her life. The doctor, who goes by just the name Dr. Hamza, lost the battle.
After a few minutes’ resuscitation, the girl died. The doctor wrapped a triangular cloth around the small corpse. Her mother slumped on a chair, in shock. Her father paced the room.
They had not yet named her. This baby did not die of shrapnel wounds or a sniper’s bullet. She died from a respiratory illness.
According to the charity Save the Children, the majority of children’s diseases in Syria-measles, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses-are treatable.
"When I see a wizened dead baby," said one U.N. officer. "I think: did they really die of starvation? Or did they die of some horrible disease? Or even a treatable one they can’t get drugs for?"
Sixty percent of the hospitals in Syria are damaged or destroyed; half the doctors have fled the country. Medicine is heading backward several centuries.
Banksy + Adam Townsend => video memorial of the Syria conflict, on its third anniversary.
"Jihad is the best tourism," a young Dutchman who calls himself Chechclear posted on his Tumblr. He was riding a camel, grinning, his face filtered into an Instagram haze. Chechclear is one of an estimated 1,700 Europeans fighting in Syria. He’s part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which Al-Qaeda has just officially disowned, and seems to be having the time of his life. He documents his adventure for adoring fans across several social media platforms.
This is the reality of modern jihad, where the faithful chronicle their response to the cause in real time. But if Europeans like Chechclear are living out their Call of Duty fantasies, they do it at the expense of Syrian lives. In the territory it holds in Syria’s North, ISIS is imposing its harsh interpretation of sharia law with torture and beheadings. Its Western fighters are tweeting selfies in the ruins.
In Syria, the battle for territory waged on the ground is matched by a battle for meaning waged on the Internet. Whether they’re Kurds carving out an independent state, revolutionaries or TEDx organizers sympathetic to Assad, Syrians use Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to tell their stories. It’s contested ground, filled with both propaganda and truth. Posting can be deadly. Both the Assad regime and ISIS target citizen journalists for arrest. In the embattled Lebanese city of Tripoli, I interviewed an aid worker who, at the start of the revolution, smuggled memory cards over the border that contained footage of demonstrations. Once he was in Lebanon, he’d upload the footage to Facebook. Assad had blocked access to the Internet once. Activists were terrified he’d do it again.
America’s role in the world is steadily shrinking-and that’s nothing to celebrate.
For this week’s Newsweek cover story, “The Puny Superpower,” James P. Rubin says the diplomatic debacle over Syria reflects a profound transformation that appears to be taking place in American foreign policy. It’s a transformation that he fears we will regret.
How do you think President Obama handled the Syria crisis this past week? Is America’s foreign influence waning?
Nine months after rebels launched their surprise offensive into Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and commercial capital remains a vital battleground in its grinding civil war. Once considered a stronghold for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo is now mired in a deadly stalemate, as rebel and regime forces wage daily battles and Assad’s warplanes sow terror overhead. Photojournalist Yusuf Sayman ventured to Aleppo’s front lines for three days in early April and returned with these searing portraits of the rebels’ desperate fight.
This is a fascinating photo essay.
The woman @LaurenBushTweet @FEEDProjects is here for @WomenintheWorld— Souad from Syria, a mom being helped by the World Food Programme @WFP
The growing cycle of violence in Syria is preventing life-saving food aid from reaching many of the millions of vulnerable Syrians in need.
WFP reached close to two million people in March with food assistance in Syria but continues to face enormous challenges reaching all parts of the country, particularly Aleppo and Idlib.
The situation is particularly critical in conflict zones and some opposition-held areas where WFP has limited access and where millions of people are believed to be in acute need.
WFP reached 1.7 million people inside Syria in February, about 500,000 of them were in opposition-held areas. WFP needs US$19 million every week to support its Syria response, which is aiming to feed 2.5 million people inside Syria and close to one million refugees in neighboring countries.
If you’re not watching the Women in the World livestream right now, well, you should probably check it out! Some fantastic live journalism going on right now. Up now: Syria.
Grim news from Syria, as seen on the Times and The Huffington Post this am, per Reuters: “At least 65 people, apparently shot in the head, were found dead with their hands bound in a district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Tuesday, a pro-opposition monitoring group said.” It’s unclear as to who did it, or why they were shot.
Another look at Syria’s web traffic drop-off, from Google, which reports: “All Google services inaccesible.”