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Monday, September 30, 2013

Focus on Syria Project sees some ignored in crosshairs of war

Arab Spring
FOS sheds light on humanitarian situation, suffering of some civilians
Excerpt, editing, end comment by Carolyn Bennett

Stories and news on the humanitarian crisis in Syria ─ this is some of what Focus on Syria has to say about itself and its motives.


Because “two years after the start of the Syrian crisis, the international public is not yet informed enough about the gravity of the conflict and its devastating impact on Syrian society and the life of the people,” FOS steps in to help. Media “have reported on political and military events in Syria but little attention has been given to the humanitarian situation and the sufferings of civilians.”

In contrast with wars of the past, “civil societies of the world have been mobilized only in a marginal way.”

“An independent initiative of world citizens deeply worried about the human disaster and feeling solidarity with all the different components of the Syrian people” forms the rationale for establishing the Focus on Syria Project (headquarters unclear: England, France, Middle East Diaspora)

Focus on Syria Project
Their goal is “to contribute to putting the Syrian crisis ─ and particularly its humanitarian consequences ─ on the agenda of international public opinion.” To meet with Syrians in need, listen to their stories, document their situation, publish and spread information; raise awareness and mobilize.

Focus on Syria comprises a network of journalists, photographers, and aid workers “engaged in their field work on the Syrian crisis; and other people with a specific interest on Syria and its current situation.”

Others join the network by sharing and publishing their material on the crisis and contributing their efforts in raising awareness among other people. Others join by supporting organizations that provide assistance to the Syrians.
Refugees Kenya

Refugees Somalia
Refugees Yemen
Tormented in
Regional Refugees
Syria, Lebanon
Jordan, Egypt,
Iran,  Iraq, Turkey

Beyond Syria: 2011 – present
prisings (initiated without Western interference)

Syrian rally for dialogue


The Syrian civil war or Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis ─ begun on March 15, 2011 with popular demonstrations becoming nationwide by April 2011 ─ is an ongoing armed conflict between forces loyal to the government and protesters demanding the end of the dominant party that has ruled since 1963 and the resignation of the country’s president whose family has held the presidency since 1971. These demonstrations were part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring.

Clashes with police Protesters in Bahrain
run for cover

The  uprising in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain also begun in 2011 is a sustained campaign of civil resistance, a series of demonstrations, demanding greater political freedom and equality for the majority Shia population and an end the monarchy of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The Bahrain uprising is part of the revolutionary wave of protests in the Middle East and North Africa following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia. [Bahrain is home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the U.S. government sides with the oppressive monarchy, family dynasty, against the struggle of the people of Bahrain]

Yemenis protest
their government and
U.S. drone attacks

Simultaneous with Tunisia and Egypt’s revolution, the Yemeni uprising, also begun in 2011, is an ongoing demonstration against unemployment, economic conditions, and corruption including their government’s proposals to modify Yemen’s constitution; and demands for the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. [The U.S. sides an oppressive government and drone attacks the people.]


The “Arab Spring,” begun on December 18, 2010, is a term given to a revolutionary wave of nonviolent and violent demonstrations and protests; riots and civil wars in the Arab world.

Uprisings so far have left rulers out of power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen.

Civil uprisings continue in Bahrain and Syria.

Major protests have broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan.

Minor protests have occurred in Mauritania (on the Atlantic coast of Africa forming geographic and cultural bridge between the North African Maghrib ─ including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia ─ and the westernmost portion of Sub-Saharan Africa); Oman (southeastern coast of Arabian Peninsula); Saudi Arabia; Djibouti (northeast coast of Horn of Africa); Western Sahara (territory occupying an extensive desert Atlantic-coastal area of northwest Africa); and Palestine/Palestinian Authority (eastern Mediterranean region comprising parts of modern Israel and Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West/ PLO is governing body of “emerging” Palestinian autonomous regions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip)

Outside the Arab world there have been protests by the Arab minority in Iranian Khuzestan (southwestern Iran bordering Iraq on the west, April 2011); border clashes in Israel (May 2011); and conflict involving weapons and Tuareg fighters returning from the Libyan civil war into Mali; and sectarian clashes in Lebanon described as spillover violence from the Syrian uprising, and regional Arab Spring.

All protests have shared similar techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches, and rallies, as well as the effective use of social media to organize, communicate, and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and Internet censorship.

Given the vast reach of uprisings, conflicts, violent foreign interference, and the widespread suffering of people displaced inside and outside their countries and of refugees on both sides of the Mediterranean and across Asia, west to east, one wonders whether FOS (the so-called Focus on Syria organization) is actually concerned, especially as it does not disclose its central location; or it is merely another based-in-the-West “Friend of Syria” interference with selfishly sinister motives.   

Sources and notes

FOCUS ON SYRIA PROJECT, http://www.focusonsyria.org/the-project/

Wikipedia notes on uprisings

Wikipedia collage image of Arab Spring: Clockwise from top left: Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo (Egypt); Demonstrators marching through Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis (Tunisia); Political dissidents in Sana’a (capital of Yemen); Protesters gathering in Pearl Roundabout in Manama (capital land largest city of Bahrain)  ); Mass Demonstration in Douma (Syria); Demonstrators in Bayda (Al-Bayda, south central Yemen town)


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