Collaborating Authors

Lives in limbo: Why Japan accepts so few refugees

Al Jazeera

Tokyo, Japan - When Jamal, a 25-year-old Syrian, was granted refugee status in Japan, one of the first things he did was go back to playing football. "Soccer is my dream, you know, to be professional," says the Syrian refugee, who joined two Tokyo football teams. While at university in Damascus, Jamal played in the 1st division of the Syrian football league, but never felt he could progress. Even before the war, the Bashar al-Assad government was "controlling everything, even the national team", he says. "If I was still in Syria, I wouldn't have the choice to become professional," says Jamal, who only wants to reveal part of his name.

Bombing campaign leaves Aleppo hospitals overwhelmed as U.N. meets over Syria

Los Angeles Times

At least 26 civilians were killed in renewed government airstrikes on the contested city of Aleppo, Syrian activists said Sunday as the United Nations Security Council convened an emergency meeting on the spiraling violence in Syria. At the start of that meeting the U.N.'s top envoy to Syria accused the government of unleashing "unprecedented military violence" against civilians in Aleppo. Staffan de Mistura said Syria's declaration of a military offensive to retake rebel-held eastern Aleppo has led to one of the worst weeks of the 5½-year war with dozens of airstrikes against residential areas and buildings causing scores of civilian deaths. He said the offensive targeting civilians with sophisticated weapons, including incendiary devices, may amount to war crimes. Medical workers and local officials reported airstrikes on neighborhoods throughout Aleppo's rebel-held eastern districts as an announced government offensive entered its fourth day.

Salah tackle turns up in Syrian law school exam

BBC News

The tackle which forced Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah to leave the pitch 30 minutes into the Champions League final last week has featured as a question in a law exam, it's been reported. Syrian pages on Facebook circulated images from the General Penal Code exam sat by first-year students at the University of Damascus. The question reads: "Sergio Ramos injured Mohamed Salah in the 2018 European Champions League final. Naturally, Ramos cannot be held to account for this action from a criminal law perspective due to four conditions that make the use of violence justified in sports. The question seems to have been met with good humour and sporting rivalry from most students, with the opposition Enab Baladi website saying that some described the teacher who set the exam as a "defeated Barcelona fan" - Barcelona's fierce rivals Real Madrid won the final in Kiev after their 3-1 victory over Liverpool.

Syria's 'moderate rebels' to form a new alliance

Al Jazeera

A new military alliance of rebel groups in northern Syria aims to consolidate military control over Idlib province, the western part of Aleppo province and parts of Latakia province, according to a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander. Two sources from FSA have confirmed to Al Jazeera that the new military operation room, under discussion, will be supported by the "Friends of Syria" - a coalition of the US, Turkey, Western European and Gulf states - which have supported the Northern Front's operations room, known by its Turkish acronym MOM. The commander said that the rebel forces will fight against the Syrian regime in northern Syria. He denied media reports that their goal would be to attack Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham, a Salafist alliance dominated by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS, formerly known as al-Nusra Front) which formally renounced its affiliation to al-Qaeda in 2016. The FSA commander confirmed that the funding and logistical support for rebel factions in northern Syria which the CIA froze in February have been restored to a certain extent.