Author Archives: Sam Heller

VICE News: “US-Backed Rebels Struggle to Fend Off Islamic State Offensive in Northern Syria”

New from me at VICE News: The U.S. and Turkey backed rebels to take ISIS-held Aleppo – it hasn’t worked. Inside the frustration and recriminations in north Aleppo, where rebels are now fighting just to survive. https://news.vice.com/article/us-backed-rebels-struggle-to-fend-off-the-islamic-state-offensive-in-northern-syria  

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RFE/RL’s “Under the Flag” Blog: “Al-Qaeda’s Ayman Al-Zawahri Plays Politics”

New from me on al-Qaeda chief Aymen al-Zawahiri’s last message and its intended Syrian audience. (Hint: Not Nusrah.) http://www.rferl.org/content/al-qaeda-al-zawahri-plays-politics/27746829.html

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Abu Ali al-Anbari: “They came to die.”

Below is a translated snippet from jihadist evangelist and fundraiser Abdullah al-Muheisini’s testimony case against ISIS’s irreligious conduct and the events leading to January 2014’s explosion of fighting between Syria’s rebels and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Al-Muheisini’s … Continue reading

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VICE News: “‘The Regime Can’t Be Trusted’: Inside Syria’s Aleppo as a Shaky Truce Begins”

New from me and Avi Asher-Schapiro at VICE News: Aleppo has a new truce, but only after weeks of bloodshed. We spoke to survivors on both sides, plus reps of local rebel brigades and Jabhat al-Nusrah who talked about the … Continue reading

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War on the Rocks: “The Tangled Web of the Syrian Jihad”

New: I review Charles Lister’s The Syrian Jihad for War on the Rocks. The Tangled Web of the Syrian Jihad

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The Daily Beast: “One Kurdish Neighborhood in the Crossfire”

New from me on The Daily Beast: While most of Syria got a ceasefire, Aleppo’s Kurdish al-Sheikh Maqsoud got two months of violence. Rebels and Kurdish forces each claim the other started the running battle on the edge of the … Continue reading

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VICE News: “Syrian Fighters Say the Ceasefire Is Getting Shakier and Shakier”

New from me on VICE News: Syria is caught in a sort of half-war limbo. The internationally sponsored ceasefire remains in effect nationwide, but isolated clashes across the country seems to be escalating, and there are fears that a battle … Continue reading

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