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The Ten Most Important Developments in Syria in 2015

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis. I wrote a post for Syria Comment last year listing the top events of 2014 and what to look for in 2015. So here’s another one—a very long one, in fact. It has been compiled in bits and pieces over a few weeks but was finalized only […] The post The Ten Most Important Developments in Syria in 2015 appeared first on Syria Comment.

The Syrian National Resistance: Liwa Khaybar

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Liwa Khaybar, featuring the Syrian flag used by the regime and a scorpion (hence the inscription “al-‘Aqrab”- “The Scorpion”- referring to the leader of the group). The moniker of “resistance” (muqawama) is common to pro-Assad militias (e.g. Show More Summary

Judge’s Tirade Bodes Poorly for Independent Music Producers in Iran

An Appeals Court judge has admonished collaborators of a popular music site for ignoring repeated warnings that they were operating illegally and having ties with Iranian singers abroad opposed to the Islamic Republic. Mehdi Rajabian,...Show More Summary

Highest Ranked Woman in Iran’s Government to Sue Extremist Publication

The Iranian government’s most senior female official plans to take legal action against an extremist publication for comparing her to a prostitute. The weekly Ya Lesarat, the mouthpiece of the shadowy, semi-official vigilante group Ansar-e...Show More Summary

Activist’s Health Worsens in Prison As She Awaits Appeal Hearing

A prolonged delay in hearing children’s rights activist Atena Daemi’s appeal against her 14-year prison sentence is causing a serious deterioration in her health, particularly as she has not been able to leave prison for the past eight months to receive specialized medical treatment. Daemi’s mother, Massoumeh Nemati, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in […]

Cartoon 132: Santa and the New Visa Waiver Restrictions

Touka Neyestani ponders who will be caught by the US’s new visa waiver restrictions (H.R. 158), which unfairly and indiscriminately target Iranian and three other nationalities for new visa requirements.

Retired Professor, 71, Held in Disease-Ridden Ward, Daughter Says

The daughter of prisoner of conscience Mohammad Hossein Rafiee fears her elderly father is in danger of attracting serious diseases, including HIV, because of a health epidemic in Ward 8 of Evin Prison. “According to Article 100 of the Prison Regulations, the authorities have a duty to prevent contagious diseases. But unfortunately some inmates are HIV […]

The Death of Zahran Alloush

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis Rebel sources report that a missile hit a gathering of Islam Army leaders in the Eastern Ghouta region today, killing several of them, including Mohammed Zahran Alloush. Some reports also say that...Show More Summary

Death Sentence Against Spiritual Center Founder Rejected

Family Hopes for Taheri’s Release at End of Prison Term in 2016 With the lifting of the death sentence against spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri, his family is hoping for his release at the end of his prison term in mid-spring 2016. “Saeed Khalili, one of my brother’s lawyers, has seen the Supreme Court’s verdict […]

Popular Iranian Poet Arrested for Third Time amidst Hardline Crackdown against Artistic Community

The well-known Iranian poet Mohamadreza Haj Rostambegloo was released on bail from Karaj’s Central Prison last week, following his third arrest by the authorities in Iran in the last six years. His mother, Maryam Soltani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he was freed on December 20, 2015, after posting 700 […]

Kurdish News Editor Released on Bail after 60 Days in Prison

Hassan Sheikh Aghaei, the editor of a Kurdish-Persian news site, was released on two billion rials (about $67,000) bail on December 6, 2015, after 60 days in detention in Mahabad Prison, 30 days of which he spent in solitary confinement. Sheik Aghaei’s arrest and detention takes place within a crackdown by hardliners against independent journalists […]

Quwat al-Jalil: A Pro-Assad Palestinian Syrian Militia

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Quwat al-Jalil. On the top is a quotation from Qur’an 22:39, a classic verse used to invoke the concept of defensive jihad: “Permission [to fight] has been granted to those who are being fought because they have been wronged. Show More Summary

No Bail Set or Appeals Court Date as Child Rights Activist Waits in Prison

Imprisoned children’s rights activist Omid Alishenas has been refused bail while waiting for the Appeals Court to hear his case. “Seven months have passed since Omid was sentenced in the preliminary court but the Appeals Court has not yet convened,” Omid Alishenas’s mother said. We have made several requests to release him on bail until […]

Rouhani and Judiciary Clash over Ban on Publishing Images of Former President Khatami

The Rouhani administration and the hardline-dominated Judiciary in Iran are engaged in an increasingly direct confrontation over the ability of Iranian media to publish images of the former (1997-2005) reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Show More Summary

“The Assyrians of Syria: History and Prospets” by Mardean Isaac

“The Assyrians of Syria: History and Prospects” by Mardean Isaac mardean.isaac@cantab.net for Syria Comment, 21 December 2015 This article will explore the situation of Assyrians in Syria. The first section deals with the origins of Assyrians in Syria, the Assyrian identity, and the condition of Assyrians under the Assad regime. Show More Summary

After 20-Day Hunger Strike, Imprisoned Teacher Activist Released on Temporary Medical Leave

The teachers’ union activist Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi was allowed to leave Evin prison on December 16, 2015, on temporary medical leave after a 20-day hunger strike to protest his nine-year prison sentence. Two days earlier, Mahmoud Habibi, a member of the Teachers’ Association’s board of directors, told a labor rights website that Langroudi’s health had […]

Cartoon 131: Choice, Force, and Infiltration

After nearly four decades of tight control on state media such as the Iranian radio and television programming, Friday prayer pulpits, educational curriculum, unabated censorship of the press, books, films, all artistic forms, and the...Show More Summary

Commentary: Khamenei’s New Letter to Western Youth is Case Study in Hypocrisy

Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has written a letter addressed to youths in Western countries and, as he did in an earlier similar letter, he scolded the West on a number of issues of which the Islamic Republic is itself woefully guilty. His preaching has thus resulted in far more scrutiny of his hypocrisy inside […]

Underground Music Distributors Await Appeal Decision for Six Years in Prison

Two musicians and a filmmaker who were jointly sentenced to six years in prison and fined 200 million rials (about $6,650) each for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state,” are awaiting a ruling by a Tehran appeals court, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Mehdi Rajabian, a musician […]

Elections for Assembly of Experts Puts Spotlight on Future of Leadership in Iran

Although Iran’s Assembly of Experts has the power to select or depose the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, it has never been seen as an influential body. The image of this popularly elected body of Islamic jurists and scholars that generally comes to mind for the average Iranian is a rubber-stamp chamber full of very […]

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