SyriaSource|Amplifying Syrian voices

15 of the remaining doctors in eastern Aleppo have written a desperate plea to President Obama, begging him to act to stop the bombs and to protect the 300,000 people who remain in what was Syria’s largest city. The appeal comes after opposition troops lifted a month-long siege during which pro-government troops cut the city off from food, water and medical aid for more than a month. 

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On July 28 the Nusra Front changed its name to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and its commander, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, showed his face for the first time on television and laid out five priority points for the group: establishing God's religion and the Sharia, uniting the opposition to liberate Syria and destroy the regime, protecting the Syrian jihad, serving Muslims and alleviating their suffering, and realizing peace, security, and stability in Syria.

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Thousands of Syrians in besieged areas across the country from all sides of the conflict fight daily to secure a livelihood and fulfill their basic needs using makeshift means, some which stand out for their spirit of innovation. Whereas some fortunate areas have been able to overcome the blockade through autonomous production initiatives and establishing systems that store and distribute provisions equally among the people, other areas have failed to break the blockade for a number of reasons, the most important being an absence of sufficient supplies amid rising population numbers.

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As a result of Syria’s five-year-long civil war, the country has suffered great humanitarian and economic losses. The war has set the country back decades in terms of economic, social, and human development. Here, some of these losses will be summarized, using a working IMF report: “Syria’s Conflict Economy.”

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On Monday June 27, Eight suicide bombings struck the predominantly Christian town of al-Qaa on the Lebanese border with Syria. Lebanese security officials believe the attacks to be the work of the Islamic State (ISIS), though the terrorist organization has not claimed responsibility. Whether or not ISIS is responsible, the attacks reflect a shift in terrorist tactics in Lebanon.

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The city of Maarat al-Num’an in Idlib Province is continuing its revolt against the Syrian regime and extremist groups like the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s arm in Syria, and Jund al-Aqsa group. The dynamics between Nusra trying to impose control and Sharia law on the city, and the locals resisting it, give insight into the armed group’s complex position as a group that locals respect for its military prowess but reject for its extremist ideology.

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