This week, a new US non-profit organization – Open Hands Initiative – started its first project in Syria. Disabled children from the US will meet with their Syrian counterparts in Damascus, producing a comic book featuring a disabled hero, while an American music producer will work with Syrian artists to record material to promote abroad.

Syrian Minister of Tourism, Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa has discussed with his Venezuelan counterpart Alejandro Fleming means of bolstering the tourist relations between Syria and Venezuela. Talks also dealt with the possibility of exchanging tourist delegations and expertise in a way that contributes to the formation of an integrated tourist system between the two countries.

July 7, 2010

[Syrian President Bashar] Assad's balanced position was a surprise. Instead of getting up and cursing Israel for its "aggression" against a Gaza-bound flotilla in May, he acted like a responsible neighbor by trying to calm the dispute.

President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad met on Monday members of the Syrian community in Venezuela in the presence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez...The President said that Venezuela has always treated Arab immigrants as if they were its sons, giving them all rights, and it has never treated them on the basis of race or religion.

When two young State Department officials took a delegation of Silicon Valley executives to Syria recently, they billed it as a chance to use the promise of technology to reach out to a country with which the United States has long had icy relations.

Throughout the world, few things are more precious than a safe and abundant water supply. A country that can help another nation improve the availability and quality of water is likely to win friends, regardless of how the respective governments get along.

Up until very recently, Syria had its eyes firmly fixed on the spoils to be offered by the United States and its western allies. Today, the same may not be so true. For several years Damascus has been hoping to realign with the West and welcome famous politicians and diplomats to the “new” Syria.

The state of war between Israel and Syria, begun in 1973, prevents their citizens from meeting in person, but recently they have started to come together online. is a new website that brings together Syrian and Israeli bloggers, journalists and academics to discuss the stalled peace process.