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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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Syria

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why [Updated]

“After four-plus years of fighting, Syria’s war has killed at least hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. And, though it started as a civil war, it’s become much more than that. It’s a proxy war that has divided much of the Middle East, and has drawn in both Russia and the United States. To understand how Syria got to this place, it helps to start at the beginning and watch it unfold.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Over a year ago I posted a previous version of this video highlighting the complexities behind the Syrian war.  Much has happened since then and this updated version adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  

 

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Video: Step Into a Refugee Camp

The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of the largest Syrian camps in the world. In the fall, we visited the camp live with our audience. Here’s what we heard from the refugees and from you.

Source: www.nytimes.com

If you want to humanize the massive refugee crisis, and have lives and stories to connect to statistics, this 11 minute video shows what life is like in a refugee camp, and goes into the hopes, dreams, and life stories of the refugees. 

 

TagsMiddleEast, Jordan, Syria, political, refugees.

Aleppo Is Falling

How Assad and Russia achieved a major victory at a devastating cost

 

Reports from Aleppo have been particularly harrowing for the past month, as Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have squeezed the remaining rebels out of the eastern portion of the city. The collapse seemed to come all at once, with fighters loyal to Bashar al-Assad making more territorial gains in the city’s rebel enclaves since mid-November than they had in the previous four years since the opposition first seized it.

As the offensive reached its final stages this week, the United Nations received reports of massacres of civilians; a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights said women and children had been shot trying to flee.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

During the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels, ISIS has taken advantage of the situation to recapture Palmyra. 

 

Tags: Syria, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin

Source: www.youtube.com

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

Introducing ISIS

“The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it’s classroom safe despite the source). 

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Unraveling the situation on the ground in Syria is much like opening a Russian nesting doll, it’s a battle, inside of a battle, inside of a battle. A complex series of local, regional, and global rivalries all playing out on the battle grounds of Syria, turning the country in a wasteland. It’s created a nightmare for the millions of non-combatants forced to flee, and those stuck within the borders. What started as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cracking down on Arab spring protesters in early 2011, quickly escalated into a civil war. Regional rivals Iran, and Saudi Arabia then got involved sending aid to differing sides. Soon, as a result of the rise of ISIS, the west and Russia chose to intervene. Lost in the greater game of Geo-politics is the sad, slow death of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring. As Marc Lynch laments in ‘How Syria ruined the Arab Spring’, all of the momentum was lost and forgotten when Al-Assad resorted to force and Syria became a pawn in regional and global geopolitics.

 

Tagsop-ed, Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Middle East.

Looting and Conflict: The ISIS Antiquities Pipeline

“Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, ISIS has looted ancient sites, using the plunder to help finance its operations.”

Source: www.nationalgeographic.com

This short comic-book style interactive from National Geographic is incredibly well-done and very engaging.

 

Tags: National Geographic, Syria, political, terrorism, ISIS, historical.

Iraq’s Current Devolution

“A radical fringe Islamic group names ISIS is fighting to establish a extremist Islamic state in Iraq and Syria…and beyond. They control eastern Syria, western Iraq, just took control of Iraq’s 2nd largest city of Mosul and are advancing on the capital Baghdad.  In this podcast, the professor John Boyer outlines just a few of the contributing factors to why this significant event is taking place, the geographic/historic background of the state, and the consequences for the future of the region.”

Source: www.youtube.com

If you haven’t yet discovered John Boyer, a.k.a. the Plaid Avenger,  I recommend exploring his site.  He has numerous resources for world regional geography and current global affairs.  His colorful persona is highly entertaining for college age-students as his class attracts over 3,000 students each semester (you can decide for yourself whether that personality works for you and your classroom).  This particular ‘plaidcast’ discussion focuses on Iraq’s current devolution and possible total collapse. 

Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsborders, colonialism, devolution.

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