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Syria

Who Will Listen To The Suffering Syrians?

Mar 23, 2017

Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul, a Syrian psychiatrist, writes poetry that reflects his deep longing for a lost homeland.

"Poetry and art is another way to cope," he says, "we are all grieving in our own ways. The country is no longer the one that I left and it still haunts me in my dreams." (Click here to read one of his poems.)

The first Syrian refugees have arrived in Seattle since President Obama announced the U.S. would take at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke talks with KUOW immigration reporter Liz Jones about the potential impact of President Trump's new executive order on immigration. It temporarily bars citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from being issued new visas to enter the United States. The revised order eliminates Iraq from the list of banned countries, and it no longer requires an indefinite ban on Syrians.

An ISIS-claimed car bomb exploded near the Syrian town of al-Bab, killing at least 51 people in an area that Turkish-backed rebels recently seized from Islamic State militants.

At least 34 of those killed were civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group. Witnesses told Reuters that the bomb went off in the village of Sousian, five miles north of al-Bab, at a rebel checkpoint crowded with people who had fled the fighting and were preparing to return to their homes.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his way to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Feb. 23 national holiday was once known as Soviet Army and Navy Day, and Shoigu, dressed in the uniform of a general, came to boast about the Russian military's latest achievements.

"We tested 162 types of contemporary and modernized weapons in Syria, which showed a high level of effectiveness," Shoigu said. Only 10 weapons systems performed below expectations, he added.

On January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order that halted the arrival of immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. The order indefinitely banned refugees from Syria. Lama Chikh came to the Seattle area from Damascus, Syria. She lives in Shoreline with her husband and two children.

Surprise and a desire for retaliation are some of the reactions to President Trump's temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

This Syrian mother does not know when her family will be reunited again. Click through for more photos taken by her 11-year-old daughter, Alaa.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

This week was meant to be a reunion for the Al Halabi family. They’re Syrian refugees who live just south of Seattle. Two grown children, still in Turkey, were set to fly here Monday. One of them is almost seven months pregnant.  But the president’s immigration ban means they’ll remain separated indefinitely.


KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Syrian families in Washington state are devastated to learn about a new ban on fellow refugees seeking to come here.

After a presidential campaign that divided the country on immigration, some of the most fervent anti-refugee advocates say their views and agenda have now moved into the mainstream under President Donald Trump. His appointments, including top White House advisers and his nominee for attorney general, are powerful allies who support suspending the U.S. refugee resettlement program — the largest in the world — or an outright ban on accepting refugees from "terror-prone" countries.

Cari Conklin is helping to throw a birthday bash for Syrian refugees in the Seattle area.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

More than 200 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Washington state. And this New Year’s Day, many in the Seattle area plan to gather for a special party. It’s an important date, but not why you might expect. 


Agreement Reached On Syria Cease-Fire

Dec 29, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in Moscow that the Syrian government and Syrian opposition forces have agreed to a nationwide cease-fire to begin at midnight local time.

The Syrian army said the agreement excludes the Islamic State as well as Jabhat Fateh al Sham — the group formerly known as the Nusra Front — and all groups linked to them. Turkey's foreign ministry said the agreement excludes groups the U.N. deems terrorist organizations.

Evacuations continue from east Aleppo, as remaining rebels and civilians wait in freezing weather for transportation out of the city.

The end of the evacuations may be coming soon: NPR's Alice Fordham reports that regime forces might be entering the tiny enclave that has been held by rebels as early as Thursday evening.

The fall of eastern Aleppo to the forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a foregone conclusion for weeks now. The question was whether civilians and fighters would be allowed to leave.

Rita Zawaideh of Salaam Cultural Museum
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Bill Radke talks with Rita Zawaideh, who runs the humanitarian nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle, about the current struggles of Syrian people in Aleppo. 

Evacuations of embattled eastern Aleppo, which began Thursday after days of efforts to negotiate a cease-fire, have come to a halt.

Thousands of civilians and fighters have already been evacuated from the rebel-held enclave: Some 3,000 civilians were evacuated in the first few convoys, along with more than 40 wounded people, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday.

The aid group anticipated it would take days to fully evacuate east Aleppo.

After years of devastating war, days of increasing desperation and the collapse of one cease-fire, evacuations are underway in besieged eastern Aleppo.

Live images on Syrian state TV showed ambulances entering the rebel-held enclave on Thursday morning to evacuate the wounded. Aid groups confirm that evacuations have begun — despite reports of a brief burst of gunfire targeting ambulances.

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