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Fernande Van Tets

Amsterdam, Netherlands
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About Fernande
Experienced journalist able to do lives and reporting for print, radio and tv.  Regularly work for France 24 and Euronews. Back in the Netherlands after a decade abroad, including 2 years as a presenter and journalist at France 24 English in Paris and 5 years as a freelance correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon. 

Having seen the Syrian refugee crisis develop first hand when I was based in Lebanon between 2011-2015, I now continue to cover the refugee crisis in Europe.  I have reported extensively from the Middle East as well a along the entire Balkan route and Calais.

Other previous clients include the BBC, CBS, the Independent, Foreign Policy and the Economist.
Arabic German English
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Political Tsunami in the Netherlands: Far-Right Wins 37 Seats in the House of Representatives

23 Nov 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
Geert Wilders and his far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) have won 37 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives, marking a significant victory. The left-green coalition secured 25 seats, while the ruling liberal-conservatives (VVD) obtained 24 seats. The newly formed centrist party, New Social Contract, gained 20 seats. This election could lead to a major shift in the Netherlands' political landscape after 13 years of right-centrist rule under Mark Rutte. Wilders' party, known for its anti-immigrant and anti-Islam rhetoric, faces challenges in forming a coalition government. Wilders has expressed willingness to collaborate with other political forces, but it remains uncertain if he will find partners to join his government.

Netherlands: Is centrist Pieter Omtzigt the Dutch version of Macron?

21 Nov 2023  |  www.france24.com
Pieter Omtzigt, a former Christian Democrat MP who revealed a child benefits scandal leading to the downfall of Mark Rutte's government, has started a new political party in the Netherlands. His party is leading in opinion polls for the upcoming snap elections. Omtzigt's centrist anti-establishment stance is compared to French President Emmanuel Macron's rise to power with a new centrist party.

New party led by veteran MP dominates Netherlands elections

20 Nov 2023  |  www.euronews.com
The Netherlands is set for a snap general election following the resignation of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The newly formed NSC, led by Pieter Omtzigt, has emerged as a dominant force, focusing on good governance and social security while opposing further EU integration. The Labour Party and Green Left coalition, led by Frans Timmermans, is also a strong contender. With a record 26 parties running, forming a coalition government will be necessary. Omtzigt's popularity stems from his anti-establishment stance and role in exposing the child benefit scandal. Experts suggest that significant compromises will be required to govern effectively.

The Damascus regime tried for torture in The Hague by a UN court

11 Oct 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
The International Court of Justice in The Hague is hearing a case brought by Canada and the Netherlands against the Syrian regime for violating the Convention against Torture. Despite no Syrian representatives attending, evidence of torture, sexual violence, and forced disappearances since 2011 was presented. The case aims to halt these abuses and reveal the locations of detainees. This marks the first time Syria is held accountable in an international court. The case has received limited media attention due to concurrent global crises.

Syria does not appear at its trial at the UN International Court of Justice

11 Oct 2023  |  es.euronews.com
The Syrian government did not appear at the UN International Court of Justice, where Canada and the Netherlands accused it of violating the Convention against Torture. Representatives from both countries presented evidence of torture, sexual violence, and forced disappearances in Syria since 2011. Despite the absence of the Syrian government, the trial aimed to highlight these human rights violations. Protests occurred outside the court, and the case marks the first time Syria is held accountable in an international court. However, media attention was limited due to concurrent global crises.

Dutch government ends gas extraction in Groningen

02 Oct 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
The Dutch government has ceased gas extraction in Groningen due to earthquakes linked to the activity, impacting local safety and property. Despite the economic benefits historically contributed to the Dutch welfare state, public opinion shifted after a 2012 earthquake caused significant damage. A parliamentary inquiry earlier this year criticized the government's heavy reliance on gas extraction. Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged the direct link between earthquakes and gas extraction, stating the closure is crucial for safety. The field may be used one last time in case of an extremely cold winter.

Floating cows and giant storm barriers: How the Dutch plan to survive rising sea levels

18 Sep 2023  |  www.euronews.com
The Netherlands employs ambitious infrastructure like the Maeslant storm surge barrier, part of the Delta Works, to combat rising sea levels. The barrier, operational since 1997, closes automatically to protect Rotterdam and is expected to require alterations between 2060 and 2090 due to sea level rise. The United Nations reports that sea levels are rising at an accelerated rate, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute has revised its sea level rise predictions upwards. Dutch innovation also includes the world's first floating farm in Rotterdam, which is gaining international interest. These measures instill confidence in the Dutch as they adapt to the climate crisis.

Floating cows and giant storm barriers: How the Dutch plan to survive rising sea levels

18 Sep 2023  |  euronews.com
The Netherlands employs ambitious infrastructure like the Maeslant storm surge barrier, part of the Delta Works, to combat rising sea levels. The barrier, operational since 1997, closes automatically to protect Rotterdam and is expected to require alterations between 2060 and 2090 due to sea level rise. The United Nations reports that sea levels are rising at an accelerated rate, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute has revised its sea level rise predictions upwards. Dutch innovation also includes the world's first floating farm in Rotterdam, which is gaining international interest. These measures instill confidence in the Dutch as they adapt to the climate crisis.

In the Netherlands, storm surge barriers are being tested in view of climate change

18 Sep 2023  |  euronews
The Maeslant storm surge barrier in the Netherlands, which protects 1.5 million people and the port of Rotterdam, is expected to close more frequently due to rising sea levels. Designed for a 100-year lifespan, it has already accounted for a 50 cm sea level rise. The Netherlands, with a quarter of its land below sea level, faces increased risks as sea levels are rising twice as fast as in the 20th century according to the UN. The barrier is tested annually, drawing hundreds of spectators. Innovations like the Floating Farm in Rotterdam, which houses 40 cows and operates independently of logistics, are seen as essential. The concept, inspired by Hurricane Sandy's impact on New York, has garnered interest from Singapore and Dubai.

Can Amsterdam rid itself of its sex, drink and drugs reputation?

26 May 2023  |  france24.com
Amsterdam has implemented measures to transform its image, including banning cannabis smoking in the red light district, restricting alcohol sales, and planning to relocate sex workers to an erotic centre outside the city centre. These actions aim to address the concerns of residents who feel overwhelmed by tourists engaging in excessive drinking and marijuana use. The effectiveness of these measures in changing Amsterdam's reputation as a party destination remains to be seen.

The Balkan route: Refugees' harrowing journey to a better life in Europe

15 Mar 2023  |  The Independent
The article details the harrowing journey of refugees from the Middle East to Europe, focusing on their experiences as they travel through the Balkan route with the hope of reaching Germany. It highlights the plight of individuals like Amira from Syria, who is currently in Hungary facing challenges such as police defiance and the fear of being sent to camps. The journey involves crossing multiple borders, dealing with smugglers, and enduring overcrowded conditions. Despite the hardships, the refugees' determination to seek a better life in Europe is evident. The article also touches on the various nationalities of the migrants, the assistance and obstacles they encounter, and the strategies they employ to navigate their way through Europe, including the use of smugglers and the challenges of crossing the newly erected barbed wire fence on the Hungarian border.

Aid for Syria ends up in the pockets of the Assad regime. What can the UN do about it?

10 Jan 2023  |  parool.nl
Millions of Syrians require humanitarian aid, with the UN's ongoing operation being one of the largest in the world. Despite over 2 billion euros in aid in 2022, experts warn that much of it, distributed via Damascus, does not reach the intended recipients. A recent UN Security Council resolution aims to provide aid bypassing the regime. The Assad regime's approval requirements for aid partners have led to allies profiting, with some on sanction lists. Local workers estimate 60-80% of aid is lost to security services or sold by businessmen connected to the regime. Corruption allegations extend to the WHO in Syria, with accusations of bribing officials and mismanagement of medical aid.

Judges to rule in murder trial for 2014 downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine

17 Nov 2022  |  www.france24.com
A Dutch court is scheduled to deliver a verdict on Thursday in the murder trial of four men with ties to Russia, who are accused of mass murder in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. The flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, resulting in the death of all 298 passengers and crew.

On the hunt for Syrian war criminals hiding out in Europe

21 Jan 2022  |  www.france24.com
A former senior Syrian intelligence officer, Anwar Raslan, was sentenced to life in prison in Germany for crimes against humanity, including 4,000 counts of torture and the murder of 27 detainees. This landmark trial marks the first European conviction of a high-ranking Syrian regime official. The pursuit of justice continues as victims and lawyers seek to track down former torturers who have fled to Europe since 2013.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte set to reveal plans for new government

13 Dec 2021  |  www.euronews.com
The four parties involved in forming the next Dutch coalition in The Hague are expected to present their plans, following the elections that took place on March 17. Speculations suggest the announcement may include free childcare, increased military funding, and additional housing funds. An agreement is anticipated to be finalized and shared with the coalition parties, with a parliamentary debate scheduled if consensus is not reached. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is likely to be appointed mandator to form a new cabinet, with the full team's formal presentation expected in January.

Lebanon’s Christians take up arms in the face of ISIL threat

16 Jun 2021  |  The National
In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Christian villages near the Syrian border, including Ras Baalbek, are arming themselves against potential attacks from ISIL and Jabhat Al Nusra militants. Rifaat Nasrallah, leading a group of Christian fighters, describes the situation as living on a volcano. The militants, driven out of Arsal by the Lebanese army, have engaged in skirmishes and taken Lebanese security personnel hostage. The Christian militia, which began with around 60 men, has grown in number and is now training young men. Nasrallah, receiving support from Hizbollah, expresses concern over the possibility of a surprise attack by the militants. In Qaa, another Christian village, similar patrols and security measures are in place, with changes to Christmas celebrations due to safety concerns.

Traditional Calvinists in the Netherlands Refuse Vaccines and Safety Measures

12 May 2021  |  www.france24.com
In the Netherlands, a small group of traditional Calvinist Protestants, mainly in the 'Bible Belt,' strongly opposes COVID-19 vaccination and safety measures. Despite the virus's rapid spread in their region, leading to record cases, some members are beginning to reconsider their stance.

Syrian refugee turns page on war with Holland’s only Arabic bookstore

28 Jun 2017  |  Middle East Eye
Samer al-Kadri, a Syrian refugee, has opened the Netherlands' first Arabic bookstore, Pages, in Amsterdam, following the success of his initial branch in Istanbul. The bookstore aims to foster cultural understanding and community among the 64,000 Syrians in the Netherlands. Pages features a variety of Arabic, Turkish, and English books, and serves as a cultural hub with art from Syrian artists and a children's corner. Kadri's initiative is supported by several cultural funds and aims to preserve Syrian culture in exile. He plans to expand Pages to Berlin and Canada, with the ultimate dream of opening a branch in Damascus.

Trump visits Saudi Arabia, Kremlin shrugs

25 May 2017  |  al-monitor.com
Kremlin officials publicly displayed a benign attitude towards President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, which included a speech at an Arab Islamic American Summit criticizing Iran, meetings with regional leaders, and a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Despite the public stance, the Russian Security Council discussed the implications of Trump's visit while he was in Europe, particularly in relation to Russian Aerospace Forces' operations in Syria.

Russia remains unconcerned by Trump's anti-Iran rhetoric

21 May 2017  |  Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East
Russian media largely ignored US President Donald Trump's speech in Riyadh, focusing instead on his domestic challenges. Trump addressed leaders from over 50 Muslim countries, outlining US policy in the region. Russian experts, however, had significant commentary on the implications of the speech for US-Middle East relations.

Israeli right convinced Netanyahu will soon swerve left

01 May 2017  |  Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East
Senior members of the HaBayit HaYehudi party believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to cooperate with US President Donald Trump's efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace. This cooperation may necessitate a change in the coalition, as the current right-wing government may not withstand the required concessions. Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked are preparing for the possibility of moving to the opposition.

Can Syrian refugees become boon to Turkey's economy?

01 May 2017  |  Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East
With 3 million Syrian refugees under temporary protection in Turkey, the article explores the potential economic impact of their presence. A significant portion of these refugees are likely to stay, as indicated by a 2015 report from the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM). Scientific studies suggest that migrants have a limited impact on employment but can positively influence economic growth. An increase in cultural diversity is associated with a rise in GDP growth per capita, particularly in developing countries.

Dutch and Turkey Trading Blows

15 Mar 2017  |  www.vice.com
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated tensions with the Netherlands after Dutch authorities blocked Turkish ministers from campaigning in Rotterdam, leading to Turkey barring Dutch diplomats from landing. Erdogan made inflammatory remarks, calling the Dutch 'Nazi remnants, fascists,' and accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of supporting terrorism. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is seeking to de-escalate the situation but refuses to apologize. The incident has influenced the Dutch general election, with political parties supporting the government's stance and Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party using the issue to argue against Turkish integration in the Netherlands.

'I fear for the future': Voting in Dutch election enters final hours

15 Mar 2017  |  The Independent
Dutch voters are casting their ballots in a highly divided election with 28 parties competing for 150 seats. Geert Wilders' PVV and Mark Rutte's VVD are among the front runners, with the Christian Democrats and Green Left party also in contention. Voters express concerns over populism, immigration, and climate change. High voter turnout is reported, with many still undecided. The election is seen as crucial in determining the future political direction of the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders labels Turkey's President Erdogan a 'dictator' as he steps back in front of the cameras

09 Mar 2017  |  The Independent
Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), protested outside the Turkish Embassy in The Hague, calling President Erdogan an 'Islamist' and 'dictator'. Wilders criticized plans for Turkish political campaigning in the Netherlands and emphasized Dutch sovereignty. Despite leading in polls for months, Wilders' support has waned, with the Liberal VVD party and the Christian Democrats (CDA) gaining ground. The CDA proposed nationalistic education reforms, and the PVV's platform includes closing mosques and banning the Quran. With Dutch elections approaching, the political landscape is fragmented, and most parties refuse to consider a coalition with the PVV. The election is viewed as indicative of the populist wave in upcoming French and German elections.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders kicks off election campaign with anti-immigrant message

16 Feb 2017  |  www.vice.com
Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), has initiated his election campaign in the Netherlands with a strong anti-immigrant stance. Despite leading in polls over the Conservative (VDD) party, his popularity is waning, partly due to the 'Trump effect' where voters are concerned about the implications of electing a leader with similar traits to U.S. President Donald Trump. Wilders' campaign is unconventional, relying heavily on social media and avoiding much direct media engagement, with the exception of a few interviews where he has been challenged on his positions. With the elections approaching, voters are reconsidering the impact of their votes, and Wilders hopes to gain enough seats to compel other parties to form a coalition with the PVV.

Dutch Prime Minister releases an open letter wooing right-wing voters

24 Jan 2017  |  vice.com
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, seeking a third term, published an open letter in newspapers targeting right-wing voters and criticizing those who refuse to integrate into Dutch society. The letter is seen as a response to the rising popularity of Geert Wilders' right-wing Freedom Party (PVV), which leads in the polls with a platform focused on anti-immigration and anti-Islam policies. Rutte's Liberal Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is predicted to win fewer seats than PVV, but Rutte has ruled out a coalition with PVV. Meanwhile, left-wing parties, potentially led by Jesse Klaver of the Green Left (GroenLinks) party, are planning their own coalition. The general election is set for March 15.

Presenting the business bulletin live in the France 24 studio in Paris.

I regularly reported on the situation in Syria for France 24 between 2013 and 2016.

Greece hands out Christmas bonuses

09 Dec 2016  |  france24.com
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced a Christmas bonus for pensioners amidst protests. The European Central Bank plans to adjust its quantitative easing program and continue its bond purchases until the end of 2017. McDonald's is relocating its non-US headquarters from Luxembourg to the UK following an EU Commission probe into its tax arrangements. Additionally, there is a possibility of increased noise on US flights.

In August-September 2015 I followed migrants for two weeks along the entire migrant route, doing multiple lives a day as well as filming a daily report.

Want to help refugees? Go on vacation to the island that deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

26 Jan 2016  |  decorrespondent.nl
Lesbos, a Greek island, is experiencing a dual challenge with an influx of refugees and a decline in tourism, which is vital for the local economy. Despite a drop in tourist numbers, the island's residents, many of whom are descendants of refugees, continue to assist new arrivals, often at personal cost. The situation has led to a decrease in fishing activities and a significant loss of income for businesses reliant on tourism. However, the presence of volunteers and NGOs has provided some economic relief, and there are efforts to balance the needs of refugees with the revival of tourism. The island's response to the crisis has been so notable that a group of scientists started a petition to nominate the islanders for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Turkish City That Feels Like Syria

16 Oct 2015  |  www.thedailybeast.com
In Izmir, Turkey, a bustling migrant economy thrives as thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan pass through en route to Europe. The city’s Basmane neighborhood resembles Syria, with Arabic signs and life vests sold openly. Migrants, often heavily indebted, navigate a risky smuggling network to reach Greece, facing dangers such as faulty boat engines and the Turkish coast guard. Despite the perilous journey, many see no other option, driven by the hope of a better life in Europe.

The journey to exile, from Greece to France

18 Sep 2015  |  france24.com
The report follows Syrian refugees on their journey from Greece to France, highlighting their middle-class background and education, their desire to work, and their rejection of the victim label. It captures the European governments' responses to the crisis and the refugees' elation upon arrival, as well as the reporters' continued contact with them as they begin their new lives in Europe.

The journey to exile, from Greece to France

18 Sep 2015  |  www.france24.com
The report follows Syrian refugees on their journey from Greece to France, highlighting their middle-class background and education, their desire to work, and their rejection of the victim label. It captures the European governments' responses to the crisis and the refugees' elation upon arrival, as well as the reporters' continued contact with them as they begin their new lives in Europe.

Lebanon's Isis prison: A rare glimpse inside the jail from which terror attacks have been directed

08 Mar 2015  |  The Independent
The article provides a detailed look inside Roumieh prison in Lebanon, revealing how it has been used as an operations center for Isis. A raid uncovered extensive contraband, including mobile phones and computers, which facilitated communication with external terror networks. The prison houses 865 inmates, many of whom were arrested during the 2007 Nahr el Bared operation. Despite efforts to regain control, the risk of radicalization remains high. Family members of inmates claim their relatives are innocent, while the Lebanese government continues to negotiate with militant groups over the fate of kidnapped soldiers.

King Abdullah of Jordan promises his country will wage a 'relentless' war against Isis in wake of pilot's execution

05 Feb 2015  |  independent.co.uk
Following the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot Lt Muath al-Kasaesbeh by Isis, King Abdullah of Jordan has declared a 'relentless' war against the jihadist group. Jordan executed two prisoners linked to Isis's precursor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, with more executions imminent. The country has rallied in support of the King, with public sentiment strongly against Isis. The US is reported to be increasing funding to Jordan to combat Isis. The Arab world, including Al-Azhar in Egypt, has condemned the brutality of Isis, with calls for severe punishment of its members.

Leaked CIA role in killing of Hezbollah chief Imad Moughniyeh timed to undermine bluster

02 Feb 2015  |  The Independent
Media reports confirming the CIA and Mossad's involvement in the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah's Imad Moughniyeh are likely to have significant implications, according to Lebanese analysts. The revelations coincide with increased Hezbollah activity and recent conflicts with Israel. The news may challenge Hezbollah's recent morale boost from their attack on the IDF, highlighting the complex dynamics between the US, Israel, and Hezbollah.

CIA link 'will hurt Hizbollah morale'

31 Jan 2015  |  NZ Herald
Media reports confirming the CIA and Mossad's involvement in the 2008 assassination of Hizbollah's second-in-command, Imad Mughniyeh, are likely to impact Hizbollah's morale more than the revelations themselves. Lebanese analysts suggest that while Hizbollah has always been aware of CIA activities, the timing of these revelations coincides with increased Hizbollah activity and recent retaliations against Israel. The news may challenge Hizbollah's recent morale boost from their retaliatory actions.

Lebanese unrest over growing number of Syrian refugees leads to violence on the streets

05 Jan 2015  |  independent.co.uk
Lebanon is experiencing increased unrest due to the growing number of Syrian refugees, which has led to violence on the streets. The Lebanese authorities and the UN are spending £1.3bn to support communities affected by the influx, but local patience is waning. Lebanon is implementing new restrictions on Syrian entry, and the UNHCR is concerned about the potential impact on those fleeing violence. The refugee presence has strained local infrastructure and economy, with Lebanese perceiving Syrians as threats. The UN acknowledges Lebanon's capacity issues, with poverty and unemployment rising. Efforts to resettle refugees in Western countries are seen as insufficient, and some refugees, like Abdullah, consider returning to Syria despite the challenges.

Islamic State: Battle of Tripoli is won but hearts and minds are lost

29 Oct 2014  |  The Independent
The Lebanese army reclaimed Tripoli after four days of intense fighting against militants from Jabhat al-Nusra and Isis, resulting in 42 deaths and over 160 arrests. The conflict began with the arrest of Ahmad Mikati, an Isis recruiter, leading to retaliatory attacks by militants. Despite the army's success in restoring order, local residents express frustration over the army's actions and perceived double standards, particularly in comparison to Hezbollah's activities. The situation highlights the growing support for Islamist groups among disillusioned youth in Lebanon.

Islamic state: Stalemate in Lebanon as Islamists claim to have beheaded a second soldier

07 Sep 2014  |  independent.co.uk
Lebanese soldiers and policemen, including Ibrahim Moghait, were kidnapped by Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra after militants overran Arsal. Two soldiers have been beheaded, with protests erupting across Lebanon. The government is considering military options and seeking negotiations, with Qatar facilitating some releases. Families of the hostages are demanding the release of Islamists held since 2007, while experts doubt a military solution and anticipate concessions. Lebanon's justice minister's visit to protesters hints at potential agreement with militants' demands.

As Syria's civil war rages across the border, Lebanon's Baalbek festival defies the bombs among the temples of the gods

01 Aug 2014  |  The Independent
The Baalbek festival in Lebanon, located just seven miles from the Syrian border, continues to attract thousands despite the ongoing civil war in Syria. The festival, held among the Roman ruins, faced significant security challenges, including intense measures and performer cancellations. Organizers, led by Nayla de Freige, emphasize the festival's cultural significance and resilience. The event's success is seen as a barometer for Lebanon's stability, with hopes to revive tourism in the region. Despite a shift from its historical grandeur, the festival remains a symbol of cultural resistance and joy.

Iraq’s soldiers of misfortune vow to return

17 Jun 2014  |  Middle East Eye
Iraqi soldiers, driven out of Mosul by ISIL, are determined to return and fight for the city. The soldiers, motivated by both military duty and a call to arms from Shiite cleric Ali Sistani, face challenges including sectarian tensions and accusations of betrayal by their commanders. The Iraqi army is attempting to push back ISIL, but the situation remains uncertain, with Mosul still under ISIL control. The conflict has led to significant casualties and fears of increased sectarian violence.

Innocent, starving, close to death: One victim of the siege that shames Syria

15 Jan 2014  |  The Independent
Israa al-Masri, a toddler, became a symbol of the humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk refugee camp, Damascus, after dying from starvation. The camp, under siege for almost a year, has left at least 18,000 Palestinian refugees without adequate food or medical aid, leading to at least 50 hunger-related deaths since October. Residents are resorting to eating animal food, and women risk sniper fire to forage for plants. UNRWA's aid efforts have been obstructed, and the Syrian government has not granted permission for aid convoys, citing security concerns. The situation in Yarmouk is a stark contrast to nearby Damascus, and the international community, including the UN and Save the Children, has expressed grave concern for the civilians, especially children, trapped in the conflict.

The Art of Civil War

08 May 2013  |  Foreign Policy
The Syrian civil war has led to significant looting and smuggling of the country's cultural heritage, with stolen antiquities being used to finance arms purchases. The conflict has devastated Syria's archaeological sites and museums, with many artifacts being sold on the black market. Efforts by the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums and UNESCO to protect these cultural assets have been hampered by the ongoing violence. The demand for Syrian antiquities is high, particularly in Israel, Britain, the United States, and the Persian Gulf. The situation mirrors the post-invasion looting in Iraq, with experts predicting that the full extent of the damage will only become apparent in the coming years.

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