May 2019

All posts from May 2019

Is Marota City the Type of Reconstruction Syrians Need?

by Edwar Hanna and Nour Harastani on May 14, 2019


Marota City is a new construction project that was launched by the Syrian government in Damascus in 2012. This project is presented as part of a more modern, aspirational ‘master plan’ for urban development to move away from the traditional patterns of informality in housing that had developed over generations. This paper elaborates on the issue of Housing, Land and Property rights (HLP) in the conflict and post conflict periods in Syria, particularly concerning reconstruction and informal settlements. As reconstruction policies tend to ignore informal ownership systems and are based on proving ownership through documentary evidence only, millions of people are losing their rights to a just, sustainable and inclusive reconstruction process.

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Edwar Hanna and Nour HarastaniIs Marota City the Type of Reconstruction Syrians Need?
Courtesy of Mohamed Kahil

Burial and Reburial: Aleppo’s Dead between Documentation and Disappearance

by The Aleppo Project on May 10, 2019

Interview with Dr. Mohamed (Abu Jafar) Kahil, founder and chief medical examiner of the Forensic Authority in Eastern Aleppo.

Aleppo Municipality in regime-held areas has opened and moved cemeteries of victims killed by the regime since the bombardment of Eastern Aleppo districts, four and half years ago. From July 2012 until December 2016, the regime displaced the entirety of eastern Aleppo’s population, estimated by one million and a half. After more than two years, not more than a fifth of the displaced have managed to return.

As part of a research by The Aleppo Project[1], we interview Dr. Mohamed Kahil on the (re)burial of those who have been killed and the conditions in which the Forensic Authority in Aleppo was established. Being an expert in forensics and founder and chief medical examiner of the Forensic Authority, he talked to us about the challenges of documentation during burial and the procedures for dealing with unidentified bodies. We discussed regime’s attempts to rebuild some public parks while moving the relics without media coverage in order to conceal their crimes, and the difficulty this poses for the displaced to recognize the bodies of their families. We drifted to discuss the efforts to commemorate the anniversary of some massacres done by the regime.

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The Aleppo ProjectBurial and Reburial: Aleppo’s Dead between Documentation and Disappearance
Shatila Palestinian refugee camp near Beirut, where many Syrians moved after the onset of the conflict. Photo by Yahya al-Abdullah.

Syrian Students in Lebanon: Challenges to Return

by Yahya Al-Abdullah on May 3, 2019


The question of refugees’ return is one of the major issues addressed in conflict resolution literature. People usually flee to the nearest safe location at the time of conflict because when refugees abandon their homes, they hope to return as soon as possible. That is why the question of refugees’ return is inextricably linked to geographical proximity. For this reason, countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are hosting the majority of Syrian refugees.[1] in the Middle East, while countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda are hosting large numbers of African refugees. This blog will focus on the case of young Syrian students who arrived in Lebanon after the uprising in 2011 and still live there. Specifically, it will address challenges and barriers that prevent these refugees from returning home and will examine the Lebanese reaction to the presence of these Syrian refugees.

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Yahya Al-AbdullahSyrian Students in Lebanon: Challenges to Return