As negotiations continue in Geneva, international observers and analysts struggle to comprehend the violence of the Syrian conflict. But how do Syrians themselves make sense of the horrors that have befallen their country? Since 2012, I have carried out open-ended interviews with more than 250 Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The people I meet vary by age, class and region, but the large majority oppose the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite their differences, I find that their individual stories coalesce into a clear collective narrative. This narrative highlights many themes, from hope to resilience to crushing disappointment with a world that has abandoned them. One of the most central themes, I argue in a new article for Per...
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