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June 13th, 2011

SYRIA – A military assault on the northern Syrian border town of Jisr al-Shughour during the weekend caused a mass exodus to Turkey.

  • The Syrian army has regained control of Jisr al-Shughour.
  • Eyewitnesses accuse Syrian forces of destroying fields, firing at unarmed civilians and cutting phone lines.
  • Amid the assaults is heavy resistance as some soldiers in the Syrian military are questioning their orders, defecting and fighting back.
  • Opposition groups remain defiant against President Bashar al-Assad despite military offenses.

(Original sources:  The Guardian, AP, The New York Times, BBC, CNN, al-Jazeera, and TIME Magazine.)

Analysts available for comment:

Iason ATHANASIADIS is a photojournalist, documentary film-maker and international lecturer working on the intersection of the Eastern Mediterranean with the Arab, Persian and Turkic Middle East and Central Asia. He has covered some of the contemporary region’s signature crises, including the 2011 Arab revolts, the 2010 Afghan surge, the Greek economic crisis, the 2009 Iranian pro-democracy movement, the 2006 Lebanese war, the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the passing of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in 2000. Iason has lived in Cairo, Damascus, Sanaa and Tehran. He is currently based between Istanbul and Kabul.

CONTACT: iason.athanasiadis@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Languages: Arabic, English, Greek, Persian

Abdallah SCHLEIFER is a veteran journalist who has covered the Middle East for American and Arab media for more than thirty years. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the American University in Cairo. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has praised Professor Schleifer as “a great bridge-builder between cultures”, saying “we Middle East correspondents are something of a fraternity and Abdallah has always been a credit to our little club. He is intensely independent, honest, and a wonderful explainer about both Islam and the Arab world.”

CONTACT: abdallah.schleifer@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Language: English

Fadi HAKURA is a Turkey expert and associate fellow at Chatham House, the UK’s leading foreign policy thinktank. He regularly comments for the international media on all aspects of Turkish politics, foreign and security policies, including EU accession issues and Turkey’s regional relations. Mr. Hakura has been a guest lecturer on EU-Turkey relations at University College London since 2005.

CONTACT: fadi.hakura@theglobalexperts.org

Location: West Europe

Languages: Arabic, English, French

Hugh POPE is the Turkey/Cyprus Project Director for International Crisis Group, the conflict-prevention organization. Based in Istanbul, he writes reports on EU-Turkey relations, Cyprus and Turkey’s ties with its neighbors. Until taking up this post in 2007, Pope was a foreign correspondent for 25 years, most recently spending a decade as a Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

CONTACT: hugh.pope@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Language: English

Elazar BARKAN is Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights, and Professor of International and Public Affairs, at Columbia University. Professor Barkan’s research interests focus on the role of history in contemporary society and politics, with particular emphasis on the response to gross historical crimes and injustices, and human rights. In addition Professor Barkan is founding Director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation at the Salzburg Seminar. The IHJR promotes reconciliation in societies divided by historical conflicts and human rights abuses.

CONTACT: elazar.barkan@theglobalexperts.org

Location: North America

Language: English

Mehmet AYDIN, Ph.D. is one of Turkey’s Ministers of State, responsible for overseeing the Directorate of Religious Affairs. He has taught philosophy of ethics, politics and religion at universities in Erzurum, Ankara and Izmir, Turkey, and served as Dean in the Faculty of Theology at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir from 1993-1999. Professor Aydin’s scholarly contributions have focused on various philosophical and religious topics as well as on broader cultural issues, human right policies, and dialog, among many others.

CONTACT: mehmet.aydin@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Languages: Arabic, English, French

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