Young Iraqi refugees in Syria are in touch with US kids thanks to a novel idea to bring them together via web chats and video conferences. From there, friendships have blossomed

Under the title 'Resistance in Iranian Cinema' a Week of resistance films kicked off on Sunday at Damascus-based Kindi Cinema. The week is held by Iranian Cultural Chancellery in Damascus in cooperation with the General Organization for Cinema in Syria and the Institution of International Festival for Resistance Films in Iran.

Syrian sweets are becoming so popular that they rival Turkish baklava and bring in $60 million in revenue from sales abroad.

Amid greater political stability and increased efforts to attract visitors, Middle East tourism is outstripping the markets in Asia and Europe. When it comes to the Middle East, more than a few people might be surprised to learn of the region's latest achievement: stature as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world.

United States President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell landed in Damascus on Thursday for his fourth visit since mid-2009. He came to brief President Bashar al-Assad about ongoing talks between Palestinians and Israelis, which he has called "impressive", arranged by the Obama administration.

The queen of Syria's morning drive-time radio plays Western rock and Arabic favorites. Honey al-Sayed opens her show — a mix of Arabic and English — with the words, "Good morning, Syria" and offers horoscopes, daily currency exchange rates and banter with truck drivers who call in to pass on the latest jokes.

Syria’s ancient capital is hardly the usual venue for an international band on tour. Partly due to its negative image in the West and partly because it is uncharted territory for foreign musicians, pop-loving Syrians have long been resigned to traveling to neighboring Lebanon or Jordan to watch their favorite international artists. Now that’s changing.

It is a blow to Syria’s soft power as well as its fledgling entertainment industry. With an extremely small theater and cinema scene, the Muslim dramas are the country’s primary cultural export. They have sparked debate at home and are enormously popular across the whole Arab world, broadening Syria’s cultural reach.