Dear Deeply Readers,

Welcome to the archives of Syria Deeply. While we paused regular publication of the site on May 15, 2018, and transitioned some of our coverage to Peacebuilding Deeply, we are happy to serve as an ongoing public resource on the Syrian conflict. We hope you’ll enjoy the reporting and analysis that was produced by our dedicated community of editors contributors.

We continue to produce events and special projects while we explore where the on-site journalism goes next. If you’d like to reach us with feedback or ideas for collaboration you can do so at [email protected].

My Commitment to Syria, to You

One year ago, my team came together to build Syria Deeply, a platform dedicated to spreading knowledge about the state of Syria’s conflict. We were a volunteer army, an impassioned group of journalists and technologists dedicated to helping explain the Syria crisis to a U.S. audience.

Written by Lara Setrakian Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes

It’s an audience that doesn’t get enough foreign news or direct contact with the world.

For an issue as complicated and highly consequential as Syria, we wanted to focus our talent and energy on consistent coverage, helping the crisis make sense to our readers. We hoped that ultimately, in a moment of crisis, our work would help generate a more informed public. LSetrakian

Last week made it clear we’re not there yet. Watching the news coverage and opinion columns doubled my dedication to this project. The analogies we heard in the national conversation, equating Syria to Iraq in 2003 and Lebanon in 1983, were overblown. The risks posted by Islamist extremists and regional ripple effects are real, but misunderstood. The story of Syria itself – the story of people who want peace and a stable future – was left untold.

That was humbling for us to watch. Whether or not the U.S. ends up leading a strike on Syria, we deserve to have an informed national and international debate. That would be one based on facts, not fears, and a logic grounded in today’s realities, not rooted in our angst over repeating past mistakes.

We have one week before the issue goes before the U.S. Congress. We will be going all-out to produce reporting and insight that helps our readers see the headlines in context. We’re producing backgrounders, podcasts and on-the-ground reports with our network of Syrian contributors. Beyond that, I am personally committed to doing everything we can to bring the full picture to light until the crisis is over.

As messy and complex as the situation seems, there are solutions in Syria. For two and a half years the Syria crisis has been like a bill that went unpaid, with consequences mounting higher and higher. We’ve always had interests at stake, we just weren’t paying close enough attention to see them. We, in the press, weren’t doing enough to make them clear.

At Syria Deeply, we don’t take a position for or against U.S. military action. But we do know this conflict well enough to say that any good outcome – for Syria and for the world – will require a profound engagement and resolute follow through. The international community, especially, the U.N., will have to play an active and consistent stabilizing role. For two and a half years, under the weight of war, Syria has been disintegrating. It needs help pulling itself back together again.

The international community already owns this crisis. On a moral level, it owns the responsibility for collective leadership; on a practical level, it owns the results and repercussions as they spread beyond Syria’s borders. One of the earliest lessons I learned, in covering and observing the Middle East, is that there is no ignoring a problem in that region. We’ll ultimately have to confront it, in a more deadly and complicated form.

It’s never fun to take on a wicked problem, one that’s grown so complex that the pieces are constantly moving. But as a global citizen, you have a stake in the outcome. And the bill does have to be paid. I’m going to be doing my utmost to make help you make sense of what’s going on. That way, whatever happens next, you’ll be able to process what it means to you, and to the world we share.


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