PRIVACY POLICY

This privacy policy was last updated on April 27, 2019.

At Shout! News we respect your data

This privacy policy was last updated on April 19, 2019.

1 big thing: How Shout! News treats your data

To best serve you, Shout! News (as in Shout! News Inc., the company that runs www.shout.news) uses some of your data to create a better news platform. We want to be respectful and transparent about how we do that.

Why it matters: We want to build an indispensable platform for people to get smarter, faster on the world, their industry, and their workplace. Knowing certain things about each of you will help us do that better, and support our advertisers who make our services possible. But this doesn't serve as a decree to collect your data without bounds, so we strive to be extremely respectful with what we collect and are constantly pushing ourselves to a higher standard with regards to privacy.

Go Deeper:

First, how do we get information?

  • When you register for newsletters (your email address and topics you're interested in).
  • When you contact us or our reporters. However, we do not collect any information about you when you submit a tip through Shout! News email address editorial@shout.news.
  • When you complete a survey or enter a contest.
  • When you visit our website, we use cookies, pixel tags and other technology to understand how you interact with Shout! News. This information doesn't tell us who you are, but we can use it to tailor content and advertising we display to you during your visit. We can also use it to, for example, tell Facebook that one of its users also reads Shout! News.
  • We also get information from data providers. If you register with Shout! News, we may ask a data provider to tell us more about you. For example, if you also registered on another news site and allowed that site to share your information with data providers and others, the data provider will share those details with us. We also get anonymous data, like our readers' income bracket. Data providers also may give us names and email addresses of new consumers who may be interested in hearing about Shout! News, and we reach out to those consumers to tell them about our services.

So here are some of the key things Shout! News does with your data:

  • First and foremost, we use your information to get Shout! News services to you, including to send you newsletters and respond to your inquiries.
  • We remove anything that makes information personally identifiable (like your name) to make anonymous information for statistics. Which articles are users visiting most? How do they get to those articles? Do users that come directly to our homepage return the next day?
  • We help advertisers understand who views their ads on Shout! News. How many users viewed the ads? What were those users' estimated income ranges (we get these estimates from a vendor)? Did users' engagement with the ads vary based on where the ad was placed on the website, mobile app or in a newsletter?
  • If you register with Shout! News, we may market our services to you based on a combination of the information you provide to us, the information we collect via cookies and other technology, and information about you we may get from data providers. We also use cookies and pixel tags on our sites to tailor advertising and content we display to you on Shout! News.
  • We partner with social media platforms to market new Shout! News products to you. For example, we might ask Facebook to monitor our website to identify Facebook users who also read Shout! News. We could then ask Facebook to advertise a new economics newsletter to Facebook users who read an economics article on Shout! News in the last week. When we do this, Facebook does not share your personal information with us.
  • We may share your information with our partners (like your email address if you access Shout! News through a partner's services) and service providers (but only to help us run our business, like to manage our subscribers' email addresses). We may also share your information as part of a transaction (like a merger) or bankruptcy, or in connection with legal issues or violations of this Privacy Policy or our Terms of Use.

What we don't do:

  • Track your location.
  • Track your activity on sites that are not owned by Shout! News.
  • Sell personally identifiable information to any third parties.
  • Store a long history of your data such as your last 3 jobs or places of residence.

Remember, you have choices.

  • You can always opt out of any newsletter or promotional email by clicking "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of the email. We might still send you some important emails, like responding to you by email if you send us a request or comment.
  • If you don't want your browser to accept any cookies, you can change your browser settings, BUT the Shout! News services may not function properly. FYI, Shout! News does not respond to any Do Not Track signals that your browser may send.

The bottom line: The majority of the data that we use is statistical information about the use of our website, mobile apps, newsletters and other services. We also use your personal information to market our services to you – if you registered on Shout! News or if we received your contact information from a data provider. If we change our data practices, we'll let you know by updating this Privacy Policy.

For our readers outside US:

Shout! News is a US-based news organization, so we apply US law to our privacy practices. This means that wherever you are in the world, this Privacy Policy will apply to the information you provide to us or we collect when you read Shout! News.

Contact us: Feel free to contact us with your questions, requests, comments, or concerns at editorial@shout.news, or Shout! News, 2055 L Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036.

TERMS OF USE

Last revised on April 27, 2019

Thank you for visiting shout.news, a media destination for news and information. Shout! News ("Shout!", "we", "us" and "our") operates websites (each a "Site") and services made available through the Sites (collectively, the Site and such services, the "Services"). Certain features of the Services may be subject to additional guidelines, terms, or rules, which will be posted in the Services in connection with such features. All such additional terms, guidelines, and rules are incorporated by reference into this Agreement.

These Terms of Use ("Agreement") set forth the legally binding terms for your use of the Services whether you are simply a "Visitor" (which means you are just browsing the Services) or an "Authorized User", which means you have registered to use them. Collectively, Visitors and Authorized Users are referred to as "Users" or individually as a "User" or "you". By accessing or using the Services, you are accepting this Agreement (on behalf of yourself or the entity that you represent) and you represent and warrant that you have the right, authority, and capacity to enter into this Agreement (on behalf of yourself or the entity that you represent). you may not access or use the Services or accept the Agreement if you are not at least 18 years old. If you do not agree with all of the provisions of this Agreement, do not access and/or use the Services.

These terms require the use of arbitration to resolve disputes and limit the remedies available to you in the event of a dispute as set forth in section 8.

  1. Registration
    1. Registering Your Account. In order to access certain features of the Services, you may be required to become an Authorized User. An "Authorized User" is a user who has registered an account on the Services ("Account"), or has a valid account on a social networking service ("SNS") through which the user has connected to the Services (each such account, a "SNS Account").
    2. Access Through a SNS. If you access the Site through an SNS, you may link your Account with SNS Accounts by allowing us to access your SNS Account, as permitted under the applicable terms and conditions that govern your use of each SNS Account. You represent that you are entitled to grant Shout! NewsMedia access to your SNS Account without breach by you of any of the terms and conditions that govern your use of the applicable SNS Account and without obligating us to pay any fees or making Shout! News subject to any usage limitations imposed by such third-party service providers. You have the ability to disable the connection between your Account and your SNS Accounts at any time by [accessing the "Settings" section of the Site]. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SNS ACCOUNTS IS GOVERNED SOLELY BY YOUR AGREEMENT(S) WITH SUCH THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS, AND WE DISCLAIM ANY LIABILITY FOR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION THAT MAY BE PROVIDED TO US BY SUCH THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS IN VIOLATION OF THE PRIVACY SETTINGS THAT YOU HAVE SET IN SUCH SNS ACCOUNTS.
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    4. Your Account. You have no ownership or other property interest in your Account, and all rights in and to your Account are and will forever be owned by and inure to the benefit of Shout! News.
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    1. License. Shout! News grants you a non-transferable, non-exclusive, revocable, limited license to access and use the Site solely for your own personal, noncommercial use. You acknowledge and agree that Shout! News will have no obligation to provide you with any support or maintenance in connection with the Site.
    2. Certain Restrictions. The rights granted to you in this Agreement are subject to the following restrictions: (a) you will not license, sell, rent, lease, transfer, assign, distribute, host, or otherwise commercially exploit the Site or any content displayed on the Site; (b) you will not modify, make derivative works of, disassemble, reverse compile or reverse engineer any part of the Site; (c) you will not access the Site in order to build a similar or competitive website, product, or service; and (d) except as expressly stated herein, no part of the Site may be copied, reproduced, distributed, republished, downloaded, displayed, posted or transmitted in any form or by any means. Unless otherwise indicated, any future release, update, or addition to the Site's functionality will be subject to these Terms. All copyright and other proprietary notices on the Site (or on any content displayed on the Site) must be retained on all copies thereof.
    3. Modification. Shout! News reserves the right, at any time, to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Services (in whole or in part) with or without notice. You agree that Shout! News will not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension, or discontinuation of the Site or any part thereof.
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  3. Indemnification. You agree to indemnify and hold Shout! News (and its officers, employees, and agents) harmless, including costs and attorneys' fees, from any claim or demand made by any third party arising out of (a) your use of the Site, (b) your violation of these Terms or (c) your violation of applicable laws or regulations. Shout! News reserves the right, at your expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter for which you are required to indemnify us, and you agree to cooperate with our defense of these claims. You agree not to settle any matter without Shout! News's prior written consent. Shout! News will use reasonable efforts to notify you of any such claim, action or proceeding upon becoming aware of it.
    1. Third-Party Links; Release
      1. Third-Party Links. The Site may contain links to third-party websites and services and/or display advertisements for third parties (collectively, "Third-Party Links"). Such Third-Party Links are not under our control, and we are not responsible for any Third-Party Links. We provide access to these Third-Party Links only as a convenience to you, and we do not review, approve, endorse, or make any representations with respect to Third-Party Links. You use all Third-Party Links at your own risk and when you click on any of the Third-Party Links, the applicable third party's terms apply, including the third party's privacy and data gathering practices.
      2. Release. You release and forever discharge the Shout! News (and our officers, employees, agents, successors, and assigns) from, and hereby waive and relinquish, each and every past, present and future dispute, claim, controversy, demand, right, obligation, liability, action and cause of action of every kind and nature (including personal injuries, death, and property damage), that has arisen or arises directly or indirectly out of, or that relates directly or indirectly to, the Site (including any interactions with, or act or omission of, other Site users or any Third-Party Links). IF YOU ARE A CALIFORNIA RESIDENT, YOU HEREBY WAIVE CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 1542, WHICH STATES: "A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR."
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    4. Term and Termination. Subject to this Section, these Terms will remain in full force and effect while you use the Site. We may suspend or terminate your rights to use the Site (including your Account) at any time for any reason at our sole discretion. Shout! News will not have any liability whatsoever to you for any termination of your rights under these Terms, including for termination of your Account. Even after your rights under these Terms are terminated, the following provisions of these Terms will remain in effect: Sections 2.2-2.4, 3 -8.
    5. General
      1. Changes. These Terms are subject to occasional revision, and if we make any substantial changes, we may notify you by sending you an e-mail to the last e-mail address you provided to us (if any), and/or by prominently posting notice of the changes on our Site. In the event that the last e-mail address that you have provided us is not valid, or for any reason is not capable of delivering the notice described above, our dispatch of the e-mail containing such notice will nonetheless constitute effective notice of the changes described in the notice. Any changes to these Terms will be effective upon the earlier of thirty (30) calendar days following our dispatch of an e-mail notice to you (if applicable) or thirty (30) calendar days following our posting of notice of the changes on our Site. These changes will be effective immediately for new users of our Site. Continued use of our Site following notice of such changes will indicate your acknowledgement of such changes and agreement to be bound by the terms and conditions of such changes.
      2. Dispute Resolution. PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS.
        1. Any and all controversies, disputes, demands, counts, claims, or causes of action (including the interpretation and scope of this clause, and the arbitrability of the controversy, dispute, demand, count, claim, or cause of action) between you and Shout! News and our employees, agents, successors, or assigns, regarding or relating to the Site or these Terms will exclusively be settled through binding and confidential arbitration.
        2. Arbitration will be subject to the Federal Arbitration Act and not any state arbitration law. The arbitration will be conducted before one commercial arbitrator with substantial experience in resolving commercial contract disputes from the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"). As modified by these Terms, and unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties in writing, the arbitration will be governed by the AAA's or JAMS's rules for commercial arbitration and, if the arbitrator deems them applicable, the procedures for consumer-related disputes.
        3. You are thus GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO GO TO COURT to assert or defend your rights EXCEPT for matters that may be taken to small claims court. Your rights will be determined by a NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR and NOT a judge or jury. You are entitled to a FAIR HEARING, BUT the arbitration procedures are SIMPLER AND MORE LIMITED THAN RULES APPLICABLE IN COURT. Arbitrator decisions are as enforceable as any court order and are subject to VERY LIMITED REVIEW BY A COURT.
        4. You and we must abide by the following rules: (1) ANY CLAIMS BROUGHT BY YOU OR US MUST BE BROUGHT IN THE PARTIES' INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING; (2) THE ARBITRATOR MAY NOT CONSOLIDATE MORE THAN ONE PERSON'S CLAIMS, MAY NOT OTHERWISE PRESIDE OVER ANY FORM OF A REPRESENTATIVE OR CLASS PROCEEDING, AND MAY NOT AWARD CLASS-WIDE RELIEF, (3) in the event that you are able to demonstrate that the costs of arbitration will be prohibitive as compared to costs of litigation, we will pay as much of your filing and hearing fees in connection with the arbitration as the arbitrator deems necessary to prevent the arbitration from being cost-prohibitive as compared to the cost of litigation, (4) we also reserve the right in our sole and exclusive discretion to assume responsibility for all of the costs of the arbitration; (5) the arbitrator will honor claims of privilege and privacy recognized at law; (6) the arbitrator's award will be final and may be enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction; (7) the arbitrator may award any individual relief or individual remedies that are permitted by applicable law; and (8) each side pays its own attorneys' fees and expenses unless there is a statutory provision that requires the prevailing party to be paid its fees' and litigation expenses, and then in such instance, the fees and costs awarded will be determined by the applicable law.
        5. Notwithstanding the foregoing, either you or we may bring an individual action in small claims court. Further, claims of infringement or misappropriation of the other party's patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret will not be subject to this arbitration agreement. Such claims will be exclusively brought in the state or federal courts located in Arlington, Virginia Additionally, notwithstanding this agreement to arbitrate, either party may seek emergency equitable relief before the state or federal courts located in Arlington, Virginia in order to maintain the status quo pending arbitration, and hereby agree to submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction of the courts located within Arlington, Virginia for such purpose. A request for interim measures will not be deemed a waiver of the right to arbitrate.
        6. With the exception of subparts (1) and (2) in Section 8.2(d) above, if any part of this arbitration provision is deemed to be invalid, unenforceable or illegal, or otherwise conflicts with the Agreement, then the balance of this arbitration provision will remain in effect and will be construed in accordance with its terms as if the invalid, unenforceable, illegal or conflicting provision were not contained herein. If, however, either subparts (1) and (2) in Section 8.2(d) is found to be invalid, unenforceable or illegal, then the entirety of this arbitration provision will be null and void, and neither you nor we will be entitled to arbitration. If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration, the dispute will be exclusively brought in state or federal court in Arlington, Virginia.
        7. Notwithstanding any provision in this Agreement to the contrary, if we seek to terminate the Dispute Resolution section as included in these Terms, any such termination will not be effective until 30 days after the version of these Terms not containing the agreement to arbitrate is posted to the Site, and will not be effective as to any claim of which you provided Shout! News with written notice prior to the date of termination.
        8. For more information on AAA, its Rules and Procedures, and how to file an arbitration claim, you may call AAA at 800-778-7879 or visit the AAA website at http://www.adr.org. For more information on JAMS, it's Rules and Procedures, and how to file an arbitration claim, you may call JAMS at 800-352-5267 or visit the JAMS website at http://www.jamsadr.com.
        9. Any and all controversies, disputes, demands, counts, claims, or causes of action between you and Shout! News and our employees, agents, successors, or assigns, regarding or relating to these Terms or the Site will exclusively be governed by the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, without regard to its choice of law rules and without regard to conflicts of laws principles except that the arbitration provision will be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods will not apply to these Terms.
      3. Export. The Site may be subject to U.S. export control laws and may be subject to export or import regulations in other countries. You agree not to export, reexport, or transfer, directly or indirectly, any U.S. technical data acquired from Shout! News, or any products utilizing such data, in violation of U.S. export laws or regulations.
      4. Disclosures. Shout! News is located at the address in Section 8.8. If you are a California resident, you may report complaints to the Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Product of the California Department of Consumer Affairs by contacting them in writing at 400 R Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, or by telephone at (800) 952-5210.
      5. Electronic Communications. The communications between you and Shout! News use electronic means. For contractual purposes, you (a) consent to receive communications from Shout! News in an electronic form; and (b) agree that all terms and conditions, agreements, notices, disclosures, and other communications that Shout! News provides to you electronically satisfy any legal requirement that such communications would satisfy if it were be in a hardcopy writing. The foregoing does not affect your non-waivable rights.
      6. Entire Terms. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and us regarding the use of the Site. Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not operate as a waiver of such right or provision. If any provision of these Terms is, for any reason, held to be invalid or unenforceable, the other provisions of these Terms will be unimpaired and the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed modified so that it is valid and enforceable to the maximum extent permitted by law. Your relationship to Shout! News is that of an independent contractor, and neither party is an agent or partner of the other. These Terms, and your rights and obligations herein, may not be assigned, subcontracted, or otherwise transferred by you without Shout! News's prior written consent, and any attempted assignment, subcontract, or transfer in violation of the foregoing will be null and void. The terms and conditions set forth in these Terms will be binding upon assignees.
      7. Copyright/Trademark Information. Copyright © 2019, Shout! News Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks, logos and service marks ("Marks") displayed on the Site are our property or the property of third parties. You may not use these Marks without our prior written consent or the consent of such third party.
      8. Contact Information: Shout! News, 2055 L Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: 202-37-1437 Email: editorial@shout.news
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A young Yazidi student attends a class in the Newroz refugee camp in Syria, near the Faysh Kabur border with Iraq. May 18, 2015. Tens of thousands of mainly Yazidis have fled to Syria since Islamic State militants captured Sinjar and other northern Iraqi towns in August 2014. (Flavius Mihaies/Shout! News)

Children of Yazidi women raped by ISIS men banned from community

1. The offspring of Yazidi women captured, raped and impregnated by Islamic State fighters have been barred from joining the community in Iraq, the Media Line reported. Islamic State fighters murdered thousands of Yazidi men, forced young boys to join their ranks and abducted Yazidi women to use as sex slaves. Those children born to female captives have been the subject of fierce debate in the community, which recognizes children as Yazidis only if both parents are members of the sect.

2. Both prisoners Israel set to release, following the return of the body of Israeli soldier, ask not to be returned to Syria, Haaretz reported. One of the two, an accused drug smuggler, refuses to go back to Syria where he says authorities persecute him, while the other, a Fatah operative, requested to be placed in Hebron where he wishes to get married.

3. Astana process: Syria talks end without deal on key constitutional body. The Syrian government and armed opposition groups have failed to agree on the makeup of a constitutional committee during two-day talks in Kazakhstan that were led by Russia along with Iran and Turkey, Al Jazeera reported.


Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters stand by a pick-up truck near the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria. February 11, 2019 (Reuters)

The stakes of Syria's gas shortage

Syria's acute gas shortage is a stark sign of the daunting challenges the country will face in post-war reconstruction. A step up in economic sanctions imposed by the United States are partly responsible for the crisis.

Details: A Shout! News source in Damascus describes unprecedented scenes of cars and people waiting for petrol in lines spilling into the streets. The wait has been counted in days with drivers leaving their cars in the line at night to sleep and coming back to take their spot in the morning. This energy crisis is even worse than what the country experienced during the war, the source says.

The big picture: The U.S. dialed up its sanctions against Iran and the Syrian regime lost access to supply from the oil field captured from the Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

  • The Trump administration aims to drive Iran's oil exports to zero by ending sanctions waivers on May 2. It also asked the Sissi government in Egypt to close the Suez Canal to Iranian oil tankers supplying Syria.
  • Concurrently, the Syrian regime lost access to oil supplied by the Islamic State when the jihadist group lost access to oil field captured by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by American and coalition's airpower. It is unclear whether the SDF will resume supply to Damascus, which the U.S. will most likely oppose.
  • The source in Damascus does not exclude the Syrian government's role in exacerbating the gas shortage, as a mean to enrich those close to the regime.

So far, Iran found a way around the increased economic sanctions by supplying oil from Iraq through trucks at the Baghouz border crossing, Shout! News learned. Freed from the Islamic State last month by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the village of Baghouz sits along the Euphrates River at the Iraqi border in eastern Syria. Iran is considering building a railroad on that supply route.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Please email editorial@shout.news

Sri Lankan local people pray near to St Anthony Church on April 23, 2019 evening in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At least 321 people were killed with hundreds more injured after coordinated attack on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo as well as at Batticaloa in Sri Lanka. Based on reports, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks while investigations have shown that the attack was carried out in retaliation for Christchurch mosque shootings last month. Police have detained 40 suspects so far in connection with the suicide bombs, which injured at least 500 people as the blasts took place at churches in Colombo city as well as neighboring towns and hotels, including the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand. (Atul Loke/Getty Images)

Islamic State 2.0: A global platform

Today's news roundup

1. The Islamic State relaunches as a global platform and the Sri Lanka bombings were a preview of its future, Charlie Winter and Aymenn al-Tamimi say in The Atlantic. In fact, Winter and al-Tamimi argue, the Islamic State has been ideologically strengthened by its failed proto-state, which the jihadi group claims was a way to build a global platform that would ensure the movement's future by mobilizing tens of thousands of supporters.

2. Syria's gas shortage has worsened. A Shout! News source in Damascus describes unprecedented scenes of cars and people waiting for petrol in lines spilling into the streets. The wait has been counted in days with drivers leaving their cars in the line at night to sleep and coming back to take their spot in the morning. This energy crisis is even worse than what the country experienced during the war, the source says.

3. Amnesty criticizes U.S.-led coalition's 'indiscriminate' actions in Raqqa, against the Islamic State, which killed about 1,400 more civilians than the U.S. military has acknowledged. Amnesty International produced names of more than 1,000 people reported killed from June to October 2017 in the northern Syrian city, NPR reported.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Please email editorial@shout.news

Heatmap of allegedly recent Islamic State's attacks published by the jihadi's group supporters on messaging app Whatsapp. April 24, 2019 (Shout! News)

Heatmap of recent Islamic State's attacks

Under the rallying cry of baqiya ("remaining", in Arabic, one of the most common adjectives associated with the Islamic State, says analyst Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi), Islamic State's supporters on social media are circulating a heatmap of what they claim are the jihadi group's attacks in Syria, Iraq and neighboring countries in the last three months.

Note that it includes the Palestinian territory's Gaza Strip.

The militarily defeated group fans are also claiming there were other attacks outside the region, especially Africa.

Go deeper:

Israel's Syria map

Interview: "ISIS wives" want to go to Turkey instead of home

Fighters purportedly from the Syrian Democratic Forces' newly formed Armenian unit (Syrian Civil War Map)

Syrian Democratic Forces to announce an Armenian unit

Today's news roundup

1. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will announce the formation of an Armenian battalion. The unit is to consist of 50 fighters, Massis Post, an Armenian-American community newspaper, reported. The region under SDF control in northern Syria includes an Armenian community.

The new unit's insignia features an Armenian National Flag (Red-Blue-Orange} and Mount Ararat:

2. Jordan-Syria ties stumble over fate of Jordanian detainees, Al-Monitor reported. The two countries exchanged parliamentary visits in what was seen as a positive sign of a warming of bilateral ties, late last year. This recent development reflects the reality that Jordanian-Syrian ties have a long way to go before normalization.

3. Islamic State kills regime fighters across Syria, Reuters reported. These attacks reflect that although the Islamic State lost its last territorial enclave in Syria at Baghouz near the Iraqi border last month to U.S.-backed forces, it still has fighters holding out in the remote central desert and capable of striking.

Interviews
A U.S. Army base outside Manbij, ,Syria. June 21, 2018 (Flavius Mihaies/Shout! News)

Interview: Trump left a tripwire military presence in Syria

Michael M. Gunter, a professor of political science who has written extensively on the Kurds told Shout News in an interview that the small remaining American military presence in Syria serves as a tripwire to deter any hostile intents toward the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in control of northeastern Syria.

Highlights from the interview:

  • "The U.S. will not leave the Kurds like Nixon and Kissinger did." American forces left in Syria serve as a deterrent should Turkey, Syrian regime forces and their Iranian allies backed by Russian airpower attempt to sweep through the territory that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces control in northeastern Syria. A situation akin to the Cold War tripwire, where a small U.S. military force in Europe signaled America's commitment to an armed response to a Soviet attack.
  • A miscalculation in Turkey's high risk adventure in Syria could reverberate in President Erdoğan's presidency. While there are no serious contenders today, a Turkish military embarrassment by in Syria could create an opening and lead to President Erdoğan's removal from power.
  • "Syria's Kurds are much more noticeable today, and in a much better position than they were ten or twenty years ago, in a brighter position than they have ever been in modern times."
  • "Turkey is the power Syria's Kurds will need to get along with", despite a rhetoric that portrays Turkey "as evil" relayed by the media in the West. Historically, in the region nobody is 100% enemy with each other. Today's loss are tomorrow's wins. This long view of the conflict is largely absent in the media coverage of the war in Syria, but key to understand the conflict.

Go deeper: Syria's 2000 American troops: Strength is not in numbers

Exclusive
Syrian Pound exchange rates at a currency exchange office in Damascus, Syria. August 12, 2015 (Flavius Mihaies/Shout News)

Syria's Assad is at risk of winning the war but losing the peace

As the Syrian civil war enters its ninth year, the news media is abuzz with stories about President Bashar al-Assad's victory on the battlefield. Yet, Syrians in government-controlled territory are increasingly expressing discontent with the president as living standards in the country continue to deteriorate even as the conflict winds down, the Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: Syria's president is at risk of winning the war but losing the peace if he fails to address a crippling shortage of fuel and electricity, provide jobs for the men returning from the front lines, and stabilize the Syrian currency. These challenges are compounded by inefficiencies and corruption amongst his government.

What Syrians are saying:

A Damascus-based worker for a non-governmental organization in an interview for Shout! News claimed that Syrians feel they have been betrayed by their government. They acknowledge, however, that the central government's control of territory outside the capital has weakened due to the partial devolution of state and military power to local authorities as a measure to fight the war. Local warlords emerged as a result.

"Military men don't behave like military anymore," the man said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Access to public services, as water, has been privatized by local strongmen and offered for a fee, he complained. He mentioned the example of a village he visited recently where public access to water is now run by someone close to the local strongman.

"Today's living standards are worse than during the war," but Western countries' sanctions against the Syrian regime are also responsible for their deterioration, the man said.

Illustration: Shout! News Visuals

Programmatic propaganda in action in Syria's conflict: #OperationOliveBranch

The ongoing conflict in Syria blends conventional warfare with social media manipulation operations to influence public opinion, according to research.

The backstory: In January 2018, Turkey launched a military operation, code-named Olive Branch, in an around the northern Syria's city of Afrin.

Key findings: There is a social media manipulation dimension to Turkey's war in Syria. The Turkish state or pro-Turkish state elements sought to influence public opinion on the conflict, backing up the Turkish state message in a computer automated manner and orchestrated campaign connected with the Twitter hashtag #operationolivebranch.

The details: Research identified two ways the Turkish state or pro-Turkish state elements sought to influence audiences perception on Twitter.

  • Automated Twitter accounts that pose as journalist and political account: Two high-volume automated accounts, one that poses as a journalist/blogger @PelinCiftek, and the other a political profile AkPartiNet. At the time of the research these two accounts were tweeting at a rate of 465 tweets per day (on a seven day average) and sharing the same content from twenty two other accounts. These two accounts at first glance have nothing in common nor appear to be connected. Yet, research found they were operating in concert with the identical volume, timing and tweets themselves. These two accounts were created within one month of each other, and have nearly an identical tweet to like ratio, and following to follower ratio.
  • A network of automated amplifiers. These seemingly two unrelated (not directly connected) accounts are highly programmatic, and serve as the hubs of a tightly connected network that is amplifying the Turkish government message on the war in Afrin and other issues. This serves as an example of computation propaganda in action. Our research highlights how this network operates in a computer automated manner. Additional automated Twitter accounts amplifying the Turkish government's message about the war in Afrin and other issues. Research concluded these are likely government approved proxies or messengers (if not, it's highly improbable this content and network would exist) whose tweets are relayed by the two accounts above. At the time of the research it was noted that these ten accounts have a daily tweet average to classify them as cyborgs.

The big picture: Turkey's military operation in the conflict in Syria is the first invasion by Turkish ground forces into a sovereign nation since the Cyprus conflict in 1974.

Go deeper: A recent study by Oxford University shows widespread use of social media tactics by governments to shape public discourse and spread misinformation.

This analysis was first posted on Medium, including research findings and methodology.

News
A man standing in a church in Kobane, Syria. April 3, 2019 (Reuters)

Islamic State's violence drives Syrians toward Christianity

Today's news roundup

1. Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State, Reuters reported, referring to Kobane, in northern Syria. The Evangelical movement is the beneficiary, not the traditional Eastern churches. Converts say the experience of war and the onslaught of the Islamic State claiming to fight for Islam pushed them to distance themselves from Islam.

2. Astana process moves forward: Kazakhstan will host new peace talks on Syria, backed by Iran, Russia and Turkey in effort to reach a political settlement for the conflict on April 25 and 26, The New Arab reported. The United Nations and Jordan are expected to attend as observers.

3. Gas shortage plagues Syria. U.S. sanctions are partly in blame, this thread on Twitter discussed. Yet, Reuters pointed to the halt in Iranian credit. Tehran is itself the target of U.S. sanctions reimposed since President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers.

News
Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan share Christmas greetings on December 24, 2018 in Bkerke, Lebanon. (CNS photo/ Mychel Akl, courtesy Maronite Catholic Patriarchate.)

Lebanon's Maronite Church deplores U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan

Roundup of top Syria conflict news - April 18, 2019

1. British taxpayers will pay for legal aid to Islamic State's bride Shamima Begum. The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp, the BBC reported. Ms Begum played an active role in the Islamic State's reign of terror as a member of the "hisba", which punishes those found flouting the group's laws on how to dress and behave, The Independent reported.

2. Associated Press published a map of the military campaign against the Islamic State from the group's greatest territorial gains in 2014. Gray shows areas occupied by the IS and allied groups.

3. Maronite bishops in Lebanon deplored the U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan in a statement released at the end of the Bishops' monthly assembly, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation reported.