Making Friends with a Murderer: Normalising with the Assad regime

Last week, the Palestinian group Hamas announced  that they would reconcile with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.The announcement marks a change in the policy of the Palestinian group, who in 2012 offered support to the Syrian rebels that were seeking to throw Assad from office. Since then, Assad has re-established, with Russian and Iranian help, some sort of control over Syria, and secured his future. To reach this point, approximately half a million Syrian died, and tens of thousands were thrown in the regime prisons. The recent announcement by Hamas, followed similar moves by Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on the Syrian opposition to normalise with the Assad regime, sparking anger and consternation among Syrian groups in the north of the country. This week on The New Arab Voice we asking why are the likes of Hamas and Turkey moving back to Syria and what does this mean for the revolution and those that continue to struggle for a life free from cruel and barbaric control.We’re also looking at a different form of normalisation: the travel bloggers have secured Syrian regime sponsored  visas, and have produced videos that are normalising the idea of a Syria ruled over by the brutal Assad regime. On this episode, we speak with Joseph Daher (@JosephDaher19), academic and researcher at the European University Institute (@EUI_EU) and the author of Syria After the Uprisings: The Political Economy of State Resilience; and with Ayman Abdel Nour (@aabnour) the founder of the Syrian Christians’ Initiative for Rights and Dialogue.This podcast is written and produced by Hugo Goodridge. Theme music by Omar al-Fil. Other music by Blue Dot Sessions. To get in touch with the producers, follow then tweet us at @TheNewArabVoice or email

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De vastes manifestations ont récemment eu lieu dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie, tant dans les zones contrôlées par le groupe djihadiste Hay’at Tahrir Sham (HTS) que dans celles gérées par l’armée turque, pour protester contre les déclarations du ministre turc des affaires étrangères, Mevlut Cavusoglu, appelant à la réconciliation entre le régime syrien et l’opposition.

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Syria’s education system is crumbling but Assad is only interested in peddling propaganda

In the last decade there has been a shocking decline in Syrian students, and for those still in school the rising cost of learning is unsustainable, yet the regime’s response is further divestment and poorer quality of teaching, writes Joseph Daher.

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Erdogan and the Syrian opposition: Failing the Syrian people once again

Joseph Daher warns that despite the Syrian official opposition’s claims, Turkey’s normalisation with Assad and its targeting of Syrian refugees reinforce that Erdogan is no ally when it comes to honouring the objectives sought by the 2011 uprising.

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Beirut port blast 2 years on: Lebanon’s political system lacks a unified strategy

Two years on from the Beirut port blast, Joseph Daher argues that life in Lebanon has become even more difficult for the people. The outcomes of Lebanon’s elections in May, a key event since the tragedy, failed to provide any meaningful change.

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Exacerbating the Contradictions


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely the most significant historical event since the US invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, with immeasurably devastating consequences. In addition to its catastrophic humanitarian impact in Eastern Europe, Russia’s war has already made a significant impact on geopolitics and global capitalism itself. It has forced states throughout the world to respond to US pressure to sanction and condemn Russia. The interruption of Russian energy exports and Russian and Ukrainian grain exports have dramatically driven up the price of gas and food throughout the world. 

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The enemy of my enemy : Hamas and the Syrian regime

Prospects of reconciliation between the Syrian regime and Hamas movement, encouraged by Teheran, have been increasingly mentioned in the media since the end of 2020. Now, it seems, the tightening of relations may be accelerating.

While senior Hamas officials and cadres loudly voiced their support for the Syrian revolution in the first years of the uprising, officially, Hamas maintained a neutral position. But, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt following the fall of Mubarak, and popular support for the Syrian revolution among Palestinians, made it impossible for the Hamas leadership to follow the requests by the Syrian regime, to simply vocalise a “political solution” to the conflict, as Hezbollah did.

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Water scarcity, mismanagement and pollution in Syria

This study examines the impacts of water scarcity and pollution on the agricultural sector and the population in Syria. It also explores the consequences of the destruction of and damage to water infrastructure caused by the war. Alongside this, the study analyses the rising cost of both drinking and non-drinking water for the population.

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Turquie, menaces d’invasions et fuite en avant nationaliste

Depuis l’invasion russe de l’Ukraine, le gouvernement d’Ankara a multiplié les actions sur la scène politique étrangère et les menaces contre le nord-est de la Syrie. Une tentative de masquer les problèmes intérieurs et gagner en popularité à une année d’élections cruciales en Turquie. 

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Joseph Daher est professeur affilié à l’Institut européen de Florence, où il prend part au projet Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria, et enseigne à l’université de Lausanne. Il est notamment l’auteur de Hezbollah, un fondamentalisme religieux à l’épreuve du néolibéralisme (Syllepse 2019) et Syria after the Uprisings, the Political Economy of State Resilience(Pluto Press et Haymarket, 2019). Dans cet entretien fleuve, il revient sur la genèse, les caractéristiques et les évolutions du régime Assad. Un régime qui, par sa position stratégique au Moyen-Orient, a longtemps bénéficié de la faveur des grandes puissances. Enfin, il évoque la guerre qui touche la Syrie depuis 2011 : l’échec de la révolution syrienne, la responsabilité du régime dans le basculement de la révolte en guerre civile puis internationale, la défaite de l’opposition et de ses soutiens étrangers.

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