Author Archives: Sam Heller

Jabhat al-Nusrah Media Official: “A comment on David Ignatius’s article in the Washington Post”

Below I’ve translated the response from Abu Ammar al-Shami, head of Jabhat al-Nusrah’s media office, to David Ignatius’s July 19 Washington Post article. Abu Ammar’s rebuttal of Ignatius is a demonstration of the political trap the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate has … Continue reading

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Addendum on the Twitter Account Attributed to Khaz’al al-Sarhan

After the publication of my recent article on the New Syrian Army for The Century Foundation, New Syrian Army commander Khaz’al al-Sarhan has denied that the Twitter account in his name with which I corresponded belonged to him. A full accounting … Continue reading

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The Century Foundation: “Suppose America Gave a Proxy War in Syria and Nobody Came?”

New from me for the Century Foundation: Last Wednesday, the New Syrian Army—America’s best, maybe only, hope to challenge the self-proclaimed Islamic State in its east Syrian stronghold—launched a daring attack on the heart of Islamic State territory. By Thursday, … Continue reading

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War on the Rocks: “Russia Is in Charge in Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield and Negotiating Table”

New from me at War on the Rocks: Russia has leveraged its September 2015 military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime to establish itself as the central military actor in Syria’s war. Russia has, in turn, used its military … Continue reading

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The Daily Beast: “The Home of Syria’s Only Real Rebels”

New from me on The Daily Beast: Syria’s northwest Idlib province is a tense, sometimes scary place, pulled between Islamist and jihadist factions vying for control but too intertangled to really fight each other. Now Idlib – for better or … Continue reading

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RFE/RL’s “Under the Black Flag” Blog: “Al-Qaeda Speaks The Language Of Syrian Sectarianism”

New from me on RFE/RL’s “Under the Black Flag” blog: Jabhat al-Nusrah’s top religious official makes an appeal for jihad in Syrian terms – and it turns out that when al-Qaeda wants to tap into an indigenously Syrian sentiment to … Continue reading

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On Ahrar al-Sham and Elitism

A follow-on note on my War on the Rocks piece today about Ahrar al-Sham deputy leader Ali al-Omar’s recent lecture, and what it means for how Ahrar presents and understands itself:

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