Last revised on December 21, 2017

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.

  • Registration
    • 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").
    • 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! News 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.
    • Registration Data. In registering an Account on the Site, you agree to (a) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by the registration form (the "Registration Data"); and (b) promptly update the Registration Data to keep it true, accurate, current and complete. You represent that you are of legal age to form a binding contract and not a person barred from using the Site under the laws of any applicable jurisdiction. You are responsible for all activities that occur under your Account. You may not share your Account or password with anyone, and you agree to notify Shout! News immediately of any unauthorized use of your password or any other breach of security. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, not current or incomplete, or Shout! News has reasonable grounds to suspect as much, Shout! News has the right to suspend or terminate your Account and refuse any and all current or future use of the Site. You agree not to create an Account on behalf of someone other than yourself or if you have been previously removed by Shout! News.
    • 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.
  • Access to the Site
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Ownership. All IP rights, including copyrights, patents, trade marks, and trade secrets, in the Site and its content are owned by Shout! News or Shout! News's suppliers. Neither these Terms (nor your access to the Site) transfers to you or any third party any rights, title or interest in or to such IP rights, except for the limited access rights set forth in Section 2.1. Shout! News and its suppliers reserve all rights not granted in these Terms.
  • 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.
  • Third-Party Links; Release
    • 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.
    • 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."
  • Disclaimers
  • THE SITE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS-IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS, AND SHOUT! NEWS (AND OUR SUPPLIERS) EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, ACCURACY, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. WE (AND OUR SUPPLIERS) MAKE NO WARRANTY THAT THE SITE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON AN UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE BASIS, OR WILL BE ACCURATE, RELIABLE, FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL CODE, COMPLETE, LEGAL, OR SAFE. IF APPLICABLE LAW REQUIRES ANY WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE SITE, ALL SUCH WARRANTIES ARE LIMITED TO NINETY (90) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF FIRST USE.
  • SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
  • Limitation on Liability
  • TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, IN NO EVENT WILL SHOUT! NEWS (OR OUR SUPPLIERS) BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, COSTS OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE PRODUCTS, OR ANY INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARISING FROM OR RELATING TO THESE TERMS OR YOUR USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE, EVEN IF SHOUT! NEWS HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. ACCESS TO, AND USE OF, THE SITE IS AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK, AND YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DEVICE OR COMPUTER SYSTEM, OR LOSS OF DATA RESULTING THEREFROM.
  • TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY CONTAINED HEREIN, OUR LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING FROM OR RELATED TO THESE TERMS (FOR ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER AND REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF THE ACTION), WILL BE LIMITED TO A MAXIMUM OF FIFTY US DOLLARS (U.S. $50). THE EXISTENCE OF MORE THAN ONE CLAIM WILL NOT ENLARGE THIS LIMIT. YOU AGREE THAT OUR SUPPLIERS WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY OF ANY KIND ARISING FROM OR RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT.
  • SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
  • 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.
  • General
    • 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.
    • Dispute Resolution. PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Copyright/Trademark Information. Copyright © 2017, Shout! News. 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.
    • Contact Information:
    • Shout! News, 1133 15th Street, NW, Floor 12, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005
    • Telephone: 202-370-1437
    • Email: team(at)shout.news
Show Comments ()
Pope Francis attends an audience with President of Iraq Barham Ahmed Salih at the Apostolic Palace on November 24 2018 in Vatican City Vatican (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope Francis to plan first ever papal trip to ​Iraq

Pope Francis said on Monday he wants to travel to Iraq next year, which would be the first ever papal trip there, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: Iraq's conflicts since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the spillover from the Syrian war have led to a dramatic decrease in the country's Christian population.

What's happening: Iraqi Christians trace their presence back to Christianity's founding, and they preserve ancient customs including the Aramaic languages, which some Christian villages in Iraq and Syria still consider their mother tongues. Caught between repressive, apathetic or hostile governments and a Sunni Islamist insurgency, Iraq's Christians have suffered persecution, death and exile.

  • Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, there were 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.
  • Today, the number is about 200,000, according to the documentary Christian in the Mirror, which premiered in Washington, DC on June 10, 2019.

Between the lines: The first papal trip to Iraq is all but certain, despite Pope Francis' willingness. In 2000, the late Pope John Paul wanted to visit the ancient Iraqi city of Ur, traditionally held to be the birthplace of Abraham. But negotiations with the government of then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein broke down and he was unable to go, Reuters reported.

What's next: If Iraqi Christians all but disappear, the loss for Iraq goes beyond the immediate loss of life to the identity of the country. Iraq will no longer be seen as a culturally diverse society, home to ancient religions and rich cultures.

Go deeper: Syrian Christian Perspectives on the War

A general view shows the Syrian flag flying in front of the Syrian Saint Sarkis Church for Armenian Orthodox as Armenians celebrate Christmas in Damascus on January 6, 2015. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Exclusive: Syria war is driving Armenians back into exile

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Armenia sent a team of experts to Syria to help clear mines and provide medical assistance. That this team will be based in Aleppo in northern Syria is no coincidence. Before the war, Aleppo was home to 110,000 ethnic Armenians, one of the world's largest Armenian diasporas.

The big picture: About 22,000 ethnic Armenians have moved to Armenia since the start of the war in 2011. An additional 12,000 headed to Europe, America and Russia. Most are from Aleppo and some from the area controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria, Alexandre Goodarzy, the chief of mission for Syria at SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, a non-governmental organization providing relief services in Syria, told Shout! News.

Details: The neighborhood where ethnic Armenians live in Aleppo is called Midan. While in the Syrian government-controlled western Allepo, during most of the war Midan sat on the front line with rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo. But the territorial demarcation of Midan was also disputed by Kurdish armed forces on the northwest side of the neighborhood and by al Qaida's affiliated Jabhat al Nusra on the northeast side. Therefore, Midan's inhabitants were being shelled by both Kurdish forces and Jabhat al Nusra.

As a result, from all the Christian communities in Aleppo, ethnic Armenians suffered the most from shelling and bombardments.

Why it matters: Ethnic Armenian numbers decreased considerably because of the war. Their presence in Aleppo dates back many centuries. But Midan's Armenians came as a result of the genocide that took place during last century's two World Wars. There presence increased Allepo's population by 25%.

The impact: Bringing ethnic Armenians back to Syria will be a challenge, Goodarzy from SOS Chrétiens d'Orient said. They will likely not return, and those in Armenia might not stay either, because of the catastrophic economy there, he said.

A veiled woman living in alHol camp which houses relatives of Islamic State group members sits next to her child in the camp in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on March 28, 2019. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

These are the latest countries to repatriate their Islamic State-affiliated citizens

It is estimated that the Syrian Democratic Forces have custody of more than 9,000 foreign citizens affiliated with the Islamic State. They are from around 60 other countries.

United States

Two American women who were detained for Islamic State links in Syria have been repatriated to the U.S. together with their six children, the second such transfer between the two countries since the defeat of the terror group's caliphate, the Independent reported.

France

Last month, France repatriated five young children from camps in northern Syria, which are home to tens of thousands of Islamic State families, French media reported.

Why it matters: Repatriation of women and children affiliated with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has been the least controversial. Children of foreign Islamic State fighters in Syria are "among world's most vulnerable" and should be brought home, says the United Nations.

Yes, but: Government officials from the Islamic State-affiliated citizens' countries of origin worry about the security risk these children can pose. For example, the British government has so far refused to repatriate any of its citizens who went to join the Islamic State, citing security fears. Shout! News learned of similar security concerns from a Belgian diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.


Clockwise from top left, French nationals Vianney Ouraghi, Salim Machou, Mustapha Merzoughi, Brahim Nejara, Leonard Lopez, Yassine Sakkam, Kevin Gonot and Fodil Tahar Aouidate, all sentenced by a Baghdad court to death for joining the Islamic State. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Iraq condemns French Islamic State supporters to death

Iraqi terrorism courts sentenced 11 French citizens and one French resident to death for support of the Islamic State, the New York Times reported. The French government claimed it reiterated its opposition to capital punishment to the Iraqi government. However, prominent French defense lawyers signed a letter that blasted the government, saying it violated the constitution by risking the execution of its citizens.

Driving the news: The fate of citizens from France and other Western countries in Iraqi courts where they face the death penalty for joining the Islamic State is under scrutiny. Should those Western countries that ban capital punishment pressure Iraqi courts to try to get death sentences commuted?

Why it matters: There could be more cases to come. There are some 450 French citizens in camps in Syria who joined the Islamic State, according to France's Foreign Ministry.

What they're saying: Judge Ahmed Mohamed Ali, who heard all 12 cases, said that the French who joined the Islamic State played a special role by legitimizing the organization in the eyes of the world, and that what it did in Syria reverberated in Iraq. "[The Islamic State] wanted to be an international organization and thousands of Syrians and Iraqis joined it," Mr. Ali said. "That had an impact on Iraq." "The foreigners — the Belgians, the French — they came and created legitimacy for this organization."

Go deeper: What will the President do?

Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Sajid Javid (Getty Images)

As the Syrian conflict drags on, UK bans its citizens from Syria

Under a new law, British citizens going to terror hotspots face 10 years in jail, The Guardian reported. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 creates a criminal offense of entering or remaining in "designated area" overseas.

The designated areas: So far, the British government has yet to identify designated areas. Asked by the House of Commons which areas were being considered, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said his designation will be subject to parliamentary debate and approval:

"Of course we are [looking at designated areas]. In anticipation of the Bill becoming an Act, we had already commenced some work on that. It would not be appropriate at this point for me to say which areas we looked at specifically—for an area to be designated, it has to come before the House and it has to be the will of the House to designate that area, and I do not want to prejudge that."

Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary later mentioned Syria, with a focus on the city of Idlib and the north-east region. It is not clear whether areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces will be included or not.

Details: In an explanatory note, the Home Office said that the act will not be retrospective, but a person already in a designated area at the time of designation will have to leave the area within one month. The law also contains a number of exempted purposes for traveling to designated areas, such as humanitarian aid and journalism.

The big picture: 900 individuals of national security concern from the UK have travelled to engage with the conflict in Syria, the Home Office said. About 40% of these individuals are still in Syria.

Interviews
Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian democracy and human rights advocate, exits the Canadian embassy on August 8, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Amanda Voisard/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Interview: The Syrian Army disappeared completely

Radwan Ziadeh, a scholar and human rights activist who founded the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria told Shout! News that only a liberal democracy can work for Syria and accommodate the country's various religious and ethnic communities.

Mr. Ziadeh is a critic of what he sees as the current Syrian Kurds leadership's "imagined identity." Syria's 8% Kurdish minority can't replicate northern Iraq's self-governance, where the Kurds make up one third of the country. From the late 1960s onward, Mr. Ziadeh said, Syria's Kurds went through persecution, indiscriminate Arabisation and an extreme policy that forbade the use of their language and the celebration of their holidays. Yet, they have significantly contributed to Syria's political life, notably by providing seven presidents and prime ministers. There will be no room for identity politics if Syria's Kurds are granted full rights.

Highlights from the interview:

  • The international community is lacking a common response to the 5 to 6 million Syrians displaced by the war. In this vacuum, recipient countries have come up with their own policy, which is adversely affected by the rise in populism and is beyond the capacity of any country.
  • Syrian refugees who return home are not safe. Out of the 400 refugees who recently returned to Syria from Germany, 35 are missing, for example. In addition, studies show that refugees settle in their host country past the third year.
  • Only a liberal democracy can accommodate the religious and ethnic communities that make up Syria, such as the Druzes, Armenians, Kurds and Assyrian Christians.
  • There won't be any successful mechanics the international community can design to attract the Syrian government to deal with the opposition. Why would the regime negotiate now when it never negotiated in hard time. There isn't any rationality in its approach anyway.
  • The Syrian Army disappeared completely. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, local militias leaders where given full power to suppress the opposition by any means and at any cost: barrel bombs, siege, crimes based on gender and ethnicity. This policy empowered local leaders. They have proven that they could suppress the opposition and will not accept to negotiate their power away.
  • The U.S. has become irrelevant in the resolution of the conflict. The kind of U.S. strategy required for Syria right now can't be developed by the Trump administration. The Secretary of State can't initiate a long-term strategy without the risk of being reversed or challenged by the president's tweets. As a result, the U.S. strategy continues to be in limbo, leaving the initiative to Russia and Iran.
Analysis
(Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.S. to leave a residual military force in Syria

Trump administration's special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey claimed at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that the president had never intended a comprehensive troop withdrawal, but instead to leave a residual force in northern Syria.

Why it matters: Jeffrey's statement is another departure from President Trump's order, announced in December, that all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria would leave, since their mission to destroy the Islamic State caliphate, in his view, had been achieved.

  • Jeffrey claimed since the U.S. could not get other members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State to agree to replace all of American forces in northeast Syria, the president decided to slow down the withdrawal and leave a residual force.
  • Yet, Jeffrey also said the administration wants other coalition members to bear the cost of stabilizing Syria: "We are shifting the focus from an exclusively American funded largely American boots on the ground to a more balanced one...It is burden sharing."

The big picture: Both the Obama and Trump administrations have sought to prevent its Kurdish partners from establishing an independent state in Syria. They also have had to take into consideration the position of Turkey, another ally in the fight against the Islamic State, for whom Syrian Kurdish forces are one and the same with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a group designated as a terrorist organization by both Ankara and Washington. Nevertheless, Jeffrey said in the hearing that the United States would stand by its Kurdish allies in northern Syria, as evidenced by the residual U.S. force to remain in Syria.

Go deeper: Interview: Trump left a tripwire military presence in Syria

News
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 team@shout.news

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 team@shout.news