This privacy policy was last updated on December 21, 2017.

Thank you for visiting, a media destination for news and information. Shout! News Inc. ("Shout!," "we," "us" and "our") is committed to protecting your privacy. We have prepared this Privacy Policy to describe our practices regarding the Personal Information (defined below) we collect from users through the websites on which this Privacy policy is displayed (each, a "Site") and in connection with services and content made available by us through the Sites and our third party distributors Facebook and Apple News (collectively "Services"). This Privacy Policy does not apply to our interactions with you outside of the Services (e.g., if you call our offices by telephone). Capitalized terms not otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy have the meanings given in our Terms of Use located at (the "Terms").

This Privacy Policy will apply whether you are a "Visitor" (which means that you simply browse the Services) or an "Authorized User" (which means you have registered to use the Services). Visitors and Authorized Users are individually referred to as a "User" and collectively as "Users".

User Consent. By submitting Personal Information through our Services, you agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy and you expressly consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

A Note to Users Outside of the United States. Your Personal Information may be processed in the country in which it was collected and in other countries, including the United States, where laws regarding processing of Personal Information may be less stringent than the laws in your country. By using the Services you agree to such processing.

Information We Collect. "Personal Information" means information that allows someone to identify or contact you, including, for example, your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, as well as any other non-public information about you that is associated with or linked to any of the foregoing Information. "Anonymous Information" means Information that is not associated with or linked to your Personal Information. Anonymous Information does not, by itself, permit the identification of individual persons. We collect Personal Information and Anonymous Information, as described below through the Services.

Information You Provide to Us.

  • Registration. When you register to become an Authorized User and open an account (an "Account") we collect your name, email address and a password.
  • SNS Login. If you prefer, you may logon as an Authorized User by using social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Google or LinkedIN) (each an "SNS"), in which case we will receive from the SNS only the information that you authorize us to receive from the SNS.
  • Profiles. The information collected during registration is used to initiate a personal profile. You may be able to add to your personal profile by providing additional information. As described in more detail below, we may add to your profile based on your interactions with the Services.
  • Reporter Communications. As a news organization, we encourage you to communicate directly with our reporters through email and other means. Unless you communicate with reporters through the email address team(at) these communications are Personal Information, on the record, and may be used by our reporters publically and as otherwise provided in this Privacy Policy.
  • Information Collected from Others About You. We may receive Personal and/or Anonymous Information about you from third parties. We may add this information to the information we have already collected from you via the Services and use it as contemplated by this Privacy Policy. You may contact us at team(at) to request the removal of this information from our database.
  • Feedback. If you provide us feedback or contact us via e-mail, we will collect your name and e-mail address, as well as any other content included in the e-mail, in order to send you a reply.
  • Tips. Shout! is a news organization. We encourage Users to provide us tips about news and stories. You may do so at team(at) When you submit a tip to team(at), you do so anonymously as we do not associate the tip information with any Personal Information. Any tips you provide are used by our editorial team on background and we verify the information in accordance with our editorial policies before publishing any such information. To be clear, we are not under any obligation to use any tips that are received at team(at)
  • Other Information. We may also collect Personal Information in other ways within the Services, where we state that Personal Information is being collected. For example, as part of a survey, competition, sweepstakes or contest.

Information Collected via Technology.

  • Log Files. As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), operating systems, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, administer the Site, track users' movements around the Site, gather demographic information about our user base, and better tailor our Services to our users' needs.
  • Cookies. Like many online services, we use cookies to collect information. "Cookies" are small files that a website or its service provider transfers to your computer's web browser that enables the website's or service provider's systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We may use Cookies to help us understand your preferences based on previous or current activity with the Services (as further described below in the section on advertising) and compile aggregate data about traffic and interaction with the Services so that we can offer better experiences and tools in the future. If you decide that you no longer wish to accept Cookies from our Services, then you can instruct your browser, by changing its settings, to stop accepting Cookies or to prompt you before accepting a Cookie from the websites you visit. If you turn Cookies off, you won't have access to certain features and some of our Services may not function properly.
  • Pixel Tags. We use "Pixel Tags" (also referred to as clear gifs, web beacons, or web bugs). Pixel Tags are tiny graphic images with a unique identifier, similar in function to Cookies, that are used to track online movements of users. In contrast to Cookies, which are stored on a user's computer hard drive, Pixel Tags are embedded invisibly in web pages. Pixel Tags also allow us to send e-mail messages in a format users can read and they tell us whether e-mails have been opened. We may use this information to reduce or eliminate messages sent to a user.
  • Do Not Track Signals. Some web browsers may transmit "do not track" signals to the websites and other online services with which your web browser communicates. There is no standard that governs what, if anything, websites should do when they receive these signals. We currently do not take action in response to these signals.
  • Collection of Information in Connection with Advertising.
    • Through the use of Cookies and Pixel Tags, we may associate your activities on the Services with certain interests or characteristics. Based on your interests, demographic information and /or your Profile, we may serve you advertising and content through the Services that is likely to be of the most interest to you.
    • Advertisers that advertise on the Services may use Cookies and Pixel Tags to learn more about your interests. In addition, we may use third parties to assist us in selecting and serving advertisements through the Services – and these third parties may also collect information about your visits to this and other websites using Cookies, Pixel Tags or other technologies. Information collected by advertisers and these third party companies may be used by them, among other things, to deliver advertising targeted to your interests on websites and in applications that are not affiliated with us. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, you may so by visiting or, or if you are located in the European Union
  • Analytic Services. We use third party analytics services such as Google Analytics ("Analytics Services") to help analyze how users use the Services. The Analytics Services use information generated by Cookies or other technologies about your use of our Site and Services to compile reports on user activity, which we use to improve our Services. Analytics Services may transfer information to third parties where required to do so by law or where such third parties process information on their behalf. Each Analytics Service's ability to use and share information it collects is restricted by its Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. By using our Site and Services, you consent to the processing of data about you by Analytics Services in the manner and for the purposes set out above. For a full list of Analytics Services, please contact us at flavius(at)

Use of Your Personal Information

General Use. In general, Personal Information you submit to us is used either to respond to requests that you make, or to aid us in serving you better. We may use your Personal Information in the following ways:

  • Facilitate the creation of and secure your Account on our network;
  • When you create an Account, you may receive an e-mail from us to verify ownership of the email address provided when your Account was created
  • We may use your e-mail address information to provide you with administrative email notifications, such as Services updates
  • Provide the Services you request
  • Provide improved administration of our Site and Services
  • Respond to your inquires and other requests
  • For fraud protection and/or to verify your identity; and
  • Customize the content and advertisements you see based upon your interests and Profile
  • Send newsletters, surveys, offers and other promotional materials related to our Services and for the benefit of our advertising and marketing partners.

Creation of Anonymous Information. We may create Anonymous Information records from Personal Information by excluding information (such as your name) that make the Information personally identifiable to you. We use this Anonymous Information to analyze request and usage patterns so that we may enhance the content of our Services and improve Site navigation. We reserve the right to use and share Anonymous Information for any purpose.

How Do We Share Your Personal Information? We disclose your personal information as described below and elsewhere in this Privacy Policy.

  1. Third Party Service Providers. We may share your personal information with third party service providers to: (i) provide you with the Services; (ii) facilitate creation of Accounts; (iii) provide technical support; and/or (iv) provide other services to us.
  2. Affiliates and Corporate Restructuring. We may share your Personal Information with our parent company, subsidiaries, joint ventures, or other companies under a common control ("Affiliates"), in which case we will require our affiliates to honor this Privacy Policy. We may also share some or all of your Personal Information in connection with any merger, financing, acquisition or dissolution transaction or proceeding involving sale, transfer, divestiture, or disclosure of all or a portion of our business or assets. In the event of an insolvency, bankruptcy, or receivership, personal information may also be transferred as a business asset. If another company acquires our company, business, or assets, that company will assume the rights and obligations regarding your personal information as described in this Privacy Policy.
  3. Social Networking Sites. Some of our Services may enable you to post content to SNSs, such as Facebook or Twitter. If you choose to do this, we will provide information to such SNSs in accordance with your elections. You are solely responsible for your use of such SNSs and it is your responsibility to review the terms of use and privacy policy of the third party provider of such SNSs. We will not be responsible or liable for: (i) the availability or accuracy of such SNSs; (ii) the content, products or services on or availability of such SNSs; or (iii) your use of any such SNSs.
  4. Other Disclosures. Regardless of any choices you make regarding your personal information (as described below), we may disclose Personal Information if it believes in good faith that such disclosure is necessary (i) in connection with any legal investigation; (ii) to comply with relevant laws or to respond to subpoenas or warrants served on us; (iii) to protect or defend our rights or property or those of our Users; and/or (iv) to investigate or assist in preventing any violation or potential violation of the law, this Privacy Policy, or our Terms of Use.
  1. Your Choices Regarding Your Personal Information Newsletters and email. We will periodically send you newsletters and e-mails that promote the use of our Services. When you receive newsletters or promotional communications from us, you may indicate a preference to stop receiving further communications from us and you will have the opportunity to "opt-out" by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in the e-mail you receive, by terminating your Account or by contacting us directly (please see contact information below). You may also limit the communications you receive from us through your account settings feature within the Services. Even if you opt of receiving marketing related messages, we will continue to send messages regarding the administration of the Services.
  2. Correcting, Updating or Deleting Your Personal Information. You can correct, update or delete some of your Personal Information by re-registering and/or editing your profile via the Services. We will use commercially reasonable efforts to honor requests to delete personal information. We may retain an archived copy of your records as required by law or for legitimate business purposes.
  3. Changes to This Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time for any reason. We will notify you of any changes to our Privacy Policy by posting the new Privacy Policy here and we will change the "Last Updated" date above. You should consult this Privacy Policy regularly for any changes.
  4. Questions and Feedback. We welcome your questions, comments, complaints and concerns about this Site, the Services, this Privacy Policy and/or our privacy practices regarding information we collect from users of the Site and Services. If you would like to report any security violations to us, or otherwise have any feedback or questions pertaining to our Site, Services and/or Privacy Policy please contact us at: flavius(at), or Shout! News, 1133 15th Street, NW, Floor 12, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005.
Show Comments ()
"Checkpoint zero," marking the frontline just outside the city of Manbij, Syria, June 20, 2018 (Flavius Mihaies)

Report: Why Syria's Manbij matters beyond the Islamic State

Last June I visited "checkpoint zero," marking the frontline just outside the city of Manbij, Syria, where an Islamic States-claimed suicide attack killed four Americans on a routine patrol last Wednesday.

"Checkpoint zero" is manned by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the alliance of Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Syriac Christian militias and other forces created in 2015 to defeat the Islamic State.

However, there isn't the Islamic State on the other side of the frontline that "checkpoint zero" defends, but fellow Syrians; rebels backed by the Turkish military. The Euphrates Shield, as Turkey named them.

They are there to prevent Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces from expanding further west of the Euphrates and toward the border with Turkey--a scenario the Turkish government considers as a threat because of what it claims is an existential link between the Kurdish fighters in Syria and the PKK in Turkey, who has been engaged in a bloody armed struggle with the Turkish state.

The Kurds and their Syrian Democratic Forces allies said they have every reason to fear that Turkey and allied Syrian rebel forces will act in Manbij the same way they did in Afrin, a Syrian city further north, where Turkish-backed rebels reportedly committed exactions against the local population.

Jonathan Farmer was a decorated soldier (US Army)

Top 3 Syria war news - January 21, 2019

  • Three of the four Americans killed in the Islamic States-claimed suicide attack in Manbij, Syria, last Wednesday have been identified: Jonathan Farmer, a soldier, Shannon Kent, a sailor, and civilian and former Navy Seal Scott Wirtz, the BBC reported. The fourth victim of the explosion is an unnamed contractor, according to US Central Command. President Trump met with their families at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware during the weekend.
  • A suicide bombing hit a U.S.-Kurdish-backed Syrian Defense Forces convoy in northern Syria today, making it the second suicide attack to target American troops in five days. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says two U.S. soldiers were injured and five of their Syria Democratic Forces escorts were killed. The convoy was driving on the road of al-Hasakah – al-Raqqah near al-Shaddadi area. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, CNN said.
  • In an unprecedented move, Israel confirmed latest attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. Israel's acknowledgment of its strikes reflect a shift in policy, with the country increasingly taking responsibility for specific attacks in Syrian territory after years of ambiguity, the New York Times said. The Israeli military said the targets included sites in Syria of the Iranian Quds Force, the branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
An armoured vehicle, part of a US army convoy patrolling near the city of Tall Tamr, in the northwestern Syrian province of Hasakah on January 16, 2019 (DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Amb to Syria: “The Iranians understand” that if American soldiers are killed Trump will abandon Syria

Before I left for Manbij as an independent journalist last June I talked to Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria.

The big picture: On Wednesday an Islamic State-claimed suicide attack killed four Americans, including two soldiers, on patrol in Manbij, Syria.


  • "[President] Trump has been consistent about what he says about Syria. He does not want to keep American forces in Syria, he does not want to get too involved in it."
  • "If there is an incident where ten or fifteen American soldiers are killed, it becomes a political issue in the U.S., and Trump will abandon Syria. The Iranians understand that."
  • "We don't know who is responsible" for the death of Army Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar. Mr Dunbar, who was killed in an IED attack March 30, 2018, was the last U.S. soldier to die in Syria prior to Wednesday's attack. Also in Manbij.

Go deeper:

What will the President do?

Two U.S. troops killed in Syria attack claimed by Islamic State

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses during the American Commemoration Ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery in Paris, France, on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Getty Images)

What will the President do? ​

News media are pondering whether President Trump will reconsider his plan to withdraw troops from Syria following the suicide attack that killed four Americans, including two US soldiers, on patrol in Manbij yesterday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

So far, U.S. officials said there were no plans to reverse Syria pullout decision, CNN reported.

The attack emboldened critics of President Trump's assertion that the Islamic State had been defeated in Syria, which was the reason invoked when he announced the troop withdrawal on December 19. They hope he will halt or reverse his decision.

"I hope the President will look long and hard at where he is headed in Syria," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said.

But the President will certainly weigh in the possible consequences of any further American casualties in Syria. More American deaths will inevitably lead the public to demand that the troops be withdrawn.

What's next: In fact, yesterday's attack could paradoxically comfort President Trumps in his decision to pull out troops from Syria. And with the 2020 presidential election approaching, the President will not want to see more American casualties in the news.

Scene of the attack in Manbij, Syria, on January 16, 2019 (Getty Images)

Two U.S. troops killed in Syria attack claimed by Islamic State

Three U.S. soldiers have died in Manbij alone since America sent troops to Syria in 2015

The bomb attack took place in the town of Manbij, controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, while U.S. forces were conducting a routine patrol, officials said and Reuters reported.

This would be the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015.

Photos and footage on social media show a large explosion on a busy street and wreckages that include human remains.

Three U.S. soldiers have died in Manbij alone, so far. A total of four lost their lives since 2015, when the U.S. sent troops on the ground in Syria.

Graduation of new Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) members at a camp in the countryside of the northern Idlib province, Syria, on August 14, 2018. (OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Can an al Qaida-affiliated militia stay in control of Idlib?

Last week, al Qaida-affiliated Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militia network increased its control of the city and province of Idlib in northwestern Syria, at the expense of Turkish-backed fighters.

The Turkish government listed HTS as a terror group in August 2018 and last weekend carried out counter-terrorism operations against the group's alleged members in cities throughout Turkey, AFP reported.

Yes, but Abu Muhammad Al Julani, HTS leader, expressed his support for Turkey's military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. Al Julani is a U.S. government wanted terrorist.

"HTS can not afford losing Idlib despite their in-fights with other groups. The only side that can protect them at this point will be Turkey," says Yousif Ismael from the Washington Kurdish Institute.

If HTS was to succeed and reposition Turkey from nemesis to potential tacit ally, it could make the task of reconquering Idlib harder for the Syrian regime and potentially give an al Qaida-affiliated group a say in Syria's future.

However, a preferred outcome for the Turkish state is for its allied armed groups to retain control of Idlib. The response to HTS' avances toward Turkey would therefore be a fin de non-recevoir.

Syria's conflict news you should know - January 14, 2019

  • Al Qaida-affiliated Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham militia network increased its control over the city and region of Idlib in northern Syria. Consolidation of territory control and fighting forces will help the Islamist-majority in control solidify their hold and render the task of reconquering Idlib harder for the Syrian regime.
  • The Turkish government continued pushing back against U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton's statement that "the U.S. military would only leave Syria if Turkey guaranteed the safety of Kurds there," he said on his trip to Turkey last week. Sources said Turkish military is amassing more troops at the border with Syria, raising the prospect for an attack into Syria, in the region currently under the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces control.
  • Former veteran with combat experience in Iraq and current Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, announced her intention to run for US president. A member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, she stood out for her position on the ongoing conflict in Syria, arguing against the U.S. removing President Bashar al Assad from power. She visited Syria last year.

Syria's conflict news you should know - January 11, 2019

  • U.S. military has begun Syria withdrawal process…Well, not so fast. Today's initial media reports said that the U.S. military began the process for withdrawing its 2,000 troops in Syria. The Pentagon later said it has begun withdrawing equipment but not troops.
  • "The U.S. military would only leave Syria if Turkey guaranteed the safety of Kurds there," U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton said, on his trip to Turkey this week, prompting a harsh Turkish diplomatic backlash.
  • Russian troops arrived near Manbij, the Manbij Military Council announced today. Earlier this week, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces--to which the Manbij Military Council is affiliated--said they were in talks with Russia on the future of northern Syria and their safety from a Turkish military attack.
  • Scoop: at this year's CES, the world's largest consumer electronic trade show that just ended in Las Vegas, I spoke with technology and social impact entrepreneurs with experience working with Syrian refugees in neighboring countries as Jordan as well as in Syria. They said they want an end to the armed conflict and stability, seemingly less obsessed about the "Iran threat" and the Assad-must-go focus prevailing in Washington.

What Trump's Syria policy means for Syrians

We are about three weeks into President Trump's announcement that he will withdraw American troops from Syria and I caught up with Sameh, the young engineer from Damascus who is developing alternative and sustainable way of farming that could help bring food security to local populations in Syria. His story was published by the Atlantic Council last November.

Sameh told me what he thinks American troops pulling out of Syria means for his country and the future of his agriculture project.

  • "A crazy turn of events for an area [northern Syria] everybody around me took for granted was going to be under the protection of the U.S.."
  • "We don't know who's going to be in control [of northern Syria], which has been a recurring problem with the Syrian revolution…Since 2011 there has been too many people and too many parties involved, each with their own agenda for Syria. Islamic groups, fighters who don't have religion, fighters backed by Arab Gulf countries gulf and who follow their orders, groups backed by Turkey…Each come with their own propaganda."
  • Three main opposition fighting groups are left in Syria. "Islamic groups, like HTC, groups backed by Turkey, and in between the Muslim Brotherhoods who lost in Ghouta and southern Syria and might have joined groups backed by Turkey and therefore support Turkey's policy in Syria…and the Kurds."
  • The U.S. might be taking a stand for the Kurds and delaying withdrawal. "According to a recent statement [by the Trump administration], the U.S. wants to make sure that the Kurds are not going to be killed. What is the meaning of this big statement? Will the U.S. give weapons to the Kurds or seek an agreement with Turkey? Are they going to leave one single military base in northern Syria, perhaps near the oil wheels, around which Kurdish fighters would relocate?
  • "My agricultural project [initially planned for northern Syria] is in wait and see mode. But we are still working on building the prototype, here in America."
Flavius Mihaies

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

But "if there is an incident where 10 or 15 American soldiers are killed, it becomes a political issue in the U.S. and Trump will abandon Syria. The Iranians understand that," last U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told me.

With President Donald Trump's announcement to withdraw American troops from Syria on December 19th, analysts and American media have deemed the presence of about 2000 troops in northern/eastern Syria controlled by the U.S.-allied and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces either as:

  1. Wholly insufficient compared with the number of troops and military assets from the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces, or,
  2. In the word of Hagar Chemali, a former spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations, on CNN yesterday: "a very low-cost effort. You have about 2000 troops in areas that have already been liberated. They're there to make sure that things are rebuilt, that refugees can go back. And we know that ISIS is not completely defeated."

"Only" 2000 troops, but boots on the ground is not the full story about American military capability in Syria. On February 8, 2018, an attempt by pro-Syrian government forces to attack territory controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and where American troops were present was met with devastating American and coalition airstrikes and repelled, the New York Times reported. U.S. troops on the ground typically collect intelligence and call in airstrikes.

Characterizing American presence in Syria as a "very low-cost effort [...] in areas that have already been liberated," is equally inaccurate and misleading. As I saw the day of my arrival in Manbij last June, American troops go in patrols in groups of three Hummvees and go on foot patrols as well, reportedly. This makes them vulnerable to attacks. One U.S. soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in Manbij on March 30th. Army Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar was the fourth service member who has died in Syria since the U.S. sent troops to Syria in 2014.

"If there is an incident where 10 or 15 American soldiers are killed, it becomes a political issue in the U.S. and Trump will abandon Syria. The Iranians understand that," Robert Ford, the last U.S. ambassador to Syria, told me in May.