SyriaSource|Amplifying Syrian voices

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Ten million Syrians do not have enough food to eat, according to Oxfam. Rising food insecurity is a result of regime force and armed group tactics to put pressure on local populations and circumstantial situations outside of any one party’s control. Deliberate or not, civilians are struggling to secure basic staples such as bread and sugar. The main drivers of food insecurity are deteriorating government finances, use of food blockades to target civilian populations and fighters, destruction of agricultural infrastructure, and disruption to food transport.

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Hezbollah stands helpless following the explosion at its headquarters based in al-Dahieh (the southern suburbs of Beirut) on November 12. For three years, while fighting in Syria, it has been alternating between sectarian and nationalistic justifications to legitimize its actions therein, but now finds the fighting in the heart of its territory.

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Having executed an abomination in Paris while promising more to come, the leaders of the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or Da'esh) in Syria may well have expected the West to shake off its lethargy and build a coalition of ground combat forces to hunt them down and kill them. But perhaps they acted with the expectation of impunity. Perhaps they have taken the measure of the West and decided they could survive enhanced air attacks and strike again. They may be right.

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ISIS is recruiting a new wave of combatants into its ranks following the joint forces’ advances into Raqqa province and to assert its control over larger swaths of the northern outskirts of Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that between January and August 2015 1,100 children under the age of sixteen have been recruited by the Islamic State (ISIS). A Syrian Human Rights Committee report states, “Most of them take part in non-killing activities, assisting elder fighters in a logistical manner, such as transferring ammunition, preparing meals, cleaning munitions and machines, whilst others assist with guarding patrols and barriers.”

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The countries and organizations attending the second round of Syria talks in Vienna, now calling themselves the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), gave short shrift in their written statement to those Syrians most in need of their support: the victims—past, present, and future—of the Assad regime's relentless program of mass homicide. Buried in a pile of prose were the following words, "The ISSG also reaffirmed the devastating effects of the use of indiscriminate weapons on the civilian population…. The ISSG agreed to press the parties to end immediately any use of such indiscriminate weapons." And in the post-conference press conference the issue of civilian protection was raised by no one, including the press.

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