Syria

In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss riots in Egypt after a court in Cairo dropped its case against deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak, and about how a focus on counterterrorism has overtaken all hopes for democracy in the Middle East.

Then a conversation with literary critic Warren Motte about his work collecting tens of thousands of moments where characters gaze into mirrors.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presides over a meeting of more than 60 anti-ISIL coalition parties held on December 3, 2014, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
U.S. Department of State

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Cairo throughout the week after a court ruled Saturday evening to dismiss charges against ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising in Egypt.

Joshua Landis compares what he calls the “Great Sorting Out” in the Middle East to historical conflicts in Eastern Europe that also stretched across ethnic and religious lines.

Then Joshua and Rebecca Cruise talk with Matthew Barber. He was one of the first bloggers to write about the capture of thousands of Yazidi  women and girls as the minority community of northern Iraq was wiped out this summer.

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.

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