Syria

An Iraqi Yazidi girl with her family at the Newroz refugee camp in Syria, on August 15th.
Rachel Unkovic / DFID - UK Department for International Development

In the Iraqi province of Kurdistan, women of the Yazidi ethnic minority are disappearing. At the most recent count, between 6,000 and 7,000 women and girls have been kidnapped, and many of those have been enslaved.

When Matthew Barber visited northern Iraq earlier this year, his goals were to conduct research and learn Kurdish. When he arrived he was faced with an enslavement crisis unfolding all around him and he knew that being an American academic gave him resources he could use to help.

A refugee camp in Syria's northern city Aleppo, December 2013
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation / Flickr

In recent years, millions have been killed or forced to flee their homes due to instability and violence across Iraq and Syria. Among these victims are many ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis.

Rebecca Cruise talks with Joshua Landis about air strikes against the Islamic State, and how Syria’s neighbors are affected by millions of refugees.

Later, Suzette Grillot's recent interview with the 2014 Neustadt Prize for International Literature winner Mia Couto. Shortly after the country’s independence from Portugal, the Mozambique Liberation Front asked him to suspend his medical studies and work as a journalist.

People walk on rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was barrel bombs dropped by government forces in Aleppo's Dahret Awwad neighborhood January 29, 2014.
Freedom House / Flickr

On Tuesday the United Nations announced a new plan to freeze fighting in the besieged northern Syrian city of Aleppo. If it’s successful, it will be implemented in other areas throughout the war-torn country.

U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said unlike previous attempts at broad-based ceasefires, the narrow focus of this one may actually lead to the de-escalation of violence. The only real solution to the ongoing conflict, though, will be a political one.

Joshua Landis provides an update on the attacks by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants near the Turkish border, and the Syrian government’s ability to focus on battling rebels because the United States is devoting its energy to combating ISIS.

Later, a conversation with Ron Burton. He’s a Norman resident who just finished a year-long term as the president of Rotary International.

Islamic State members claim these twin explosions on October 8 in southeastern Kobani was not caused by airstrikes but was executed by the suicide bomber Abu Talha al-Ansari.
Karl-Ludwig Poggemann / Flickr

On Friday UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned that hundreds of civilians will likely be massacred if Kobani falls under the control of ISIS. The UN announcement came after weeks of intense fighting between ISIS and besieged Kurdish forces in the Syrian city.

Despite international calls for intervention, Turkey has refused to allow its military or its Kurdish citizens to go fight to defend Kobani. Located on the border between Syria and Turkey, the city is home to 250,000 people.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014.
Pete Souza / The White House

Syria, Russia, and Iran have condemned the plan to lead a broad coalition against the Islamic State President Obama outlined Wednesday night, stating that without a UN resolution U.S. action in Syria would be an act of aggression and in violation of international law.

Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis discuss the turmoil in Iraq caused by ISIS. Rebecca Cruise reports on state of Ukraine and its possible cease fire with Russia.

Later in the program, an interview with Boston College Near East Historian and political scientist Franck Salameh about the many dialects of Arabic and the future of teaching it.

Joshua Landis updates Suzette Grillot on the situation in Syria, and they talk about the rise of the Islamic State and this week’s murder of journalist James Foley.

Later, a conversation about the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal with Noel Maurer, Raisa Banfield, and Julie Greene.

Pete Souza / The White House

The beheading of American journalist James Foley this week is the latest in a series of brutal attacks in Iraq and Syria perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The killing comes in response to President Obama's decision to provide aerial and tactical support to Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga as they attempt to retake areas seized by IS in recent weeks.

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