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].


Safe Zones

In the most basic terms, safe zones are “areas designated by agreement of parties to an armed conflict in which military forces will not deploy or carry out attacks,” according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). In some cases, they can also include “no-fly” zones, which would bar all parties from using the airspace for operations. In theory, a safe zone is a pocket of safety surrounded by conflict in an otherwise hostile environment.

In principle, safe zones are meant to provide protection for civilians, but in the case of Syria they have been considered for a multitude of other reasons – including returning refugees, stopping the flow of civilians fleeing to neighboring countries and enabling foreign or local powers to exert control over an area.

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