Russia says it will create a permanent naval base in Syria to help their ally. Russia already has an active air base in Syria which was effectively being used in the current conflict. Spokesperson:
By doing this Russia is not only increasing its military potential in Syria but in the entire Middle East. The necessary papers are ready and are in the process of being approved by different agencies. We hope we can ask you to ratify these documents soon.
Following a statement from UK Defence Minister Fallon, Russia defends its action in Syria.
Before launching into incoherent conjecture about Russia’s supposed responsibility for the situation in Aleppo in particular, and Syria in general, it is necessary to think – what has the UK contributed to this poor country? Where was the UK when ISIS nearly reached the Mediterranean coast, almost turning Syria into a terrorist caliphate, like Libya. After all, it was you who controlled the skies at the time. We delivered over 1000 liberated settlements, thousands of tons of humanitarian aid, and thousands of square kilometers freed from ISIS’ hold, to which peaceful life has returned. How many settlements have been liberated, how much humanitarian aid delivered, and how many square feet have been cleared of ISIS by the UK?
Conservative MP Mitchell, who will lead an emergency Commons debate on the situation in Syria, says British forces may join an international coalition that will defend Aleppo against alleged war crimes by Russian air strikes.
What we are saying is very clear. No one wants to see a firefight with Russia, no one wants to shoot down a Russian plane. But what we do say is that the international community has an avowed responsibility to protect and that protection must be exerted. If that means confronting Russian airpower defensively, on behalf of the innocent people on the ground who we are trying to protect, then we should do that…It’s not a declaration of war against Russia but it is an absolute declaration that we will seek to protect the innocent victims of these war crimes. I think that Britain should explore with its allies how it would enforce a no-fly zone. It is clearly not something we can do on our own but as part of a coalition of the willing to confront this appalling catastrophe we should certainly be willing to explore that and implement it if we are able to do so.
Islamic State claims responsibility for an attack on a traffic police post outside Moscow in which both attackers were killed, calling it revenge for Russia’s aerial bombing campaign in Syria. The militant group made the claim in a video in which the purported attackers say they want to take revenge for Russia killing Muslims in the Middle East.
A report by Amnesty says Russian airstrikes have killed at least 200 civilians. The group accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in civilian areas and says such attacks could constitute war crimes.Russia’s defence ministry dismisses the report as containing “fake information” and “trite cliches”.
Davutoglu criticizes Russia’s attack on Idlib in north-west Syria,, saying Syrian lands will not be part of “Russian imperialist goals.”
During a meeting with a delegation representing Chinese, Ukrainian, Norwegian and Austrian firms interested in investing in power generation, Syrian Minister for Electricity Khamis encourages foreign companies to invest in the electricity sector of his country, supporting the development process in Syria in its early phase of reconstruction, and providing all the necessary facilities, including procedural requirements.
Russia says the United States is ‘unprepared’ for including the Syrian government in international plans to counter extremist ISIS. Lavrov says he discussed Putin’s proposal on coordinating efforts against IS during a recent meeting in Qatar with Kerry.
I asked him if it wouldn’t be easier to reach an agreement, to sit down at the negotiating table and discuss everything with the involvement of the Syrian Army. Unfortunately, the Americans are unprepared for that.
Lavrov says he also expressed concern about a U.S. decision to provide air support for Syrian opposition groups fighting against Assad’s government. He said he warned Kerry that some ‘grave mistake,’ such as the accidental bombing of civilians, could
explode the situation to such an extent that nobody would be able to control it.
Lavrov also rejects allegations that the Assad government has undeclared stockpiles of chemical weapons. He says ‘groundless accusations’ must be avoided and gave his ‘guarantee’ that all the claims ‘will be double-checked.’
We have every reason to believe that the Syrian government will continue cooperating closely.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, Nusra Front, abducts five rebels believed to have been trained by the United States after raiding areas along the Turkish border. The militant group is now holding a total of 13 men from ‘Division 30.’ It is not immediately clear whether the five men abducted overnight had been on the new U.S. military training programme or on an existing, separate CIA-led program. Pentagon spokesperson says the United States remains committed to defending the Syrian fighters, including against the threat from Nusra Front. There is no official reaction from the Syrian government, but a source says:
[The U.S.] relayed a message to Damascus not to worry about these statements. It’s about hitting Al-Nusra hard, not the Syrian army.
Turkey and the US have agreed on the outlines of a plan to drive Islamic State out of a strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border, in a landmark deal that will draw Turkey further into Syria’s civil war and looks likely to increase the intensity of the U.S. air war against Isis. The YPG accuses Turkey of targeting its fighters inside Syria as they laid siege to Isis-held positions close to another key border crossing, the town of Jarabulus.
Assad sends a personal letter of congratulations to Iranian Supreme Leader, celebrating the occasion of a nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 world powers. Assad calls the nuclear agreement a turning point for Iran. Assad says in a message to Iran;
We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will support, with greater drive, just causes of nations and work for peace and stability in the region and the world…In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement, This deal provides clear recognition on the part of the world powers of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program
SOHR says that since June last year ISIS has executed over 2,150 people in Syria alone. This number includes over 1,300 civilians and nearly 530 Syrian government troops.
We believe that the real number of people that have been killed by IS is higher than the number documented by SOHR because there are hundreds of missing and detainees inside IS jails, and because there are dozens of Kurds who are still been missing since the beginning of IS attack on the countryside of Kobani in September 16.
Charges have ranged from insulting God (blasphemy), spying for the benefit of the Nusayri [Alawite] regime, sodomy and dealing and supporting YPG [Kurdish forces].
A report by the UN chief Ban to the Security Council lists five priorities for action including the lifting of sieges on 212,000 people, ensuring access to medical aid to all of Syria, and rebuilding the education system. He also says the 15-member council must address barrel-bomb attacks on civilians and ending the practice of denying services as a weapon of war. Ban says barrel bombs are used against civilians in Aleppo, where the United Nations is seeking to freeze fighting as part of peace efforts. Ban:
This conflict has become business as usual.
U.S. officials say the ISIS offensive on Kobani is concentrating the group’s manpower in a small area and presenting a target for air strikes. U.S. CentCom chief Army Gen. Lloyd Austin:
The enemy has made a decision to make Kobani his main effort…Now, my goal is to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. And if [the enemy] continues to present us with major targets … then clearly, we’ll service those targets, and we’ve done so very, very effectively here of late
White House Press secretary Josh Earnest says the administration sees the assault as an opportunity:
That has created a rather target-rich environment around Kobani for American and coalition air strikes that when they see clusters of fighters or they see depots of material or supplies that are critical to the success of those fighters, it’s easier to take them out.
Dempsey says strikes on ISIS in Syria will be different from the ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics of the Iraq War:
This won’t look like a shock-and-awe campaign because that’s not how Isil is organized.
The U.S. will work to ensure a Syrian chain of command is in place to lead forces against ISIS in what he says will be a persistent campaign.
Defense Secretary Hagel says that the U.S. is fighting a war against ISIS:
This will not be an easy or a brief effort … We are at war with Isil, as we are with al-Qaeda.
Officials in the House of Commons Library warn that airstrikes against ISIS in Syria may be difficult to justify under international law, despite Cameron’s view that the Assad regime is illegitimate and does not need to give permission for military operations. A briefing paper prepared for Members of Parliament:
Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.
The organizer of the British volunteer convoy that Henning was traveling with when he was kidnapped by ISIS militants says that he was dedicated to aid work in Syria. Bolton aid worker Kasim Jameel:
Alan is an amazing guy. He is the best of the best. He is my best friend and I am praying for him. He loved the cause so much that when he went to Turkey on holiday with his family, he had a big tattoo across his arm saying ‘aid for Syria’ – he was that dedicated. The cause had literally changed his life around – it meant that much to him.
Haines’s family issues a statement following his death. The aid worker, who spent 12 years with the Royal Air Force and served with the United Nations, has two daughters – Bethany, 17, and Athea, four, who lives with his Croatian second wife, Dragana. His brother:
David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family. He was, in the right mood, the life and soul of the party and on other times the most stubborn irritating pain in the ass. He would probably say the same about me. David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair. He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.
Pope Francis says that conflicts around the globe represent a third World War. During a Mass held at Italy’s largest war memorial, a Fascist-era monument where 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried, the pontiff appears to be referring to the recent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and Africa. The homily:
Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep … War is madness. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction … War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying. Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.
Kerry says the U.S. is not fighting a war against ISIS, but is engaged in a counterterrorism campaign. Commenting after Obama’s primetime speech indicates the government is considering expanding airstrikes into Syria:
Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order. And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action
Austrian authorities are concerned that 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic and 15-year-old Sabina Selimovic are inspiring other Austrian teens to join extremist groups after the pair allegedly ran away from their homes in Vienna to join ISIS. Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits says authorities are noticing an increase in such incidents after a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old are detained attempting to leave the country, apparently to travel to Syria. Marakovits:
If we can catch them before they leave we have the chance to work with their parents and other institutions to bring the youngsters out of the sphere of influence that prompted them to act in this way the first place. Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back.
The Obama administration says he will ask Congress to quickly authorize training and arming Syrian opposition forces in his prime-time speech on his anti-ISIS strategy due Wednesday night in Washington. The President will push forward on other areas of the anti-ISIS strategy without formal approval from lawmakers, potentially including widening airstrikes in Iraq and possibly expanding the air campaign to Syria. Following an hour-long meeting with congressional leaders, the White House says Obama told them he ‘has the authority he needs to take action,’ but will still welcome action from action from Congress that would…
…aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat.
An ISIS propaganda video shows at least three MIG-21 fighter jets captured in the seizure of al-Taqba airbase. The footage obtained by CNN shows fighters displaying the ISIS flag above the captured jets at the base, which was seized around two weeks earlier. The jets are not shown in the air, however CNN Arabic reports that several pilots were captured along with their planes and helicopters at al-Tabqa. It says a tweet from ISIS claims they are forcing the prisoners to train militants to fly the stolen aircraft.
The 22-member Arab League says that it will join the fight against ISIS, taking all necessary security measures and cooperating with international and regional efforts to combat the group. Secretary-general Nabil el-Araby:
What is needed is a clear decision for a comprehensive confrontation, militarily and politically.
He says the plan includes accepting international intervention:
While some Arab states object to allowing the Arab League to intervene in their internal crises, the floodgates are opened to foreign intervention, including militarily.
He also calls for the activation of an Arab defence treaty to allow for military action when needed, suggesting that military action could take place under the umbrella of an Arab League joint defense pact.
Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, says airstrikes in Syria won’t address the primary threat to the U.S. and could increase the risk factor:
The most significant threat we face from ISIS will be the return of foreign fighters to our shores, something an aerial campaign over Syria will do little to address. And in the absence of an immediate threat to our homeland from ISIS planners in Syria … the most profound consequence of U.S. airstrikes may be to give us greater ownership of Syria’s brutal civil war.
The U.S. leveraged potential military strikes and assistance to get Iraqis to jettison Nouri Al-Maliki and form an inclusive government, but the U.S. cannot work with the regime in Damascus:
Bashar al-Assad has gassed and dropped barrel bombs on his own people and teaming up with him would only further drive Sunnis into the arms of ISIS.
Instead the U.S. should take advantage of growing discontent among Assad’s backers – Iran and the Alawite tribe – to lessen the regime’s support.
If we discover an imminent threat to the United States emanating from Syria—and that day may come—the president would be right to attack it and he will enjoy Congress’ full support and authorization. But airstrikes now would only serve to harass, not defeat, ISIS. Let’s use the promise of American military assistance to replace, not reinforce, Assad, so that we may begin to see the outlines of an end to the Syrian civil war and with it, ISIS.
The International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) at King’s College London says it has talked to British militants fighting with ISIS who are growing disillusioned with the group’s aims and its infighting with rival opposition factions. One jihadist claiming to represent 30 British fighters with a group linked to ISIS says they would be willing to undergo deradicalisation and submit to surveillance if they were assured of avoiding jail terms on their return. He tells ICSR:
We came to fight the regime and instead we are involved in gang warfare. It’s not what we came for but if we go back [to Britain] we will go to jail. Right now we are being forced to fight – what option do we have?
ICSR director Peter Neumann believes up to a fifth of British jihadists could be looking for a way to disengage from the fighting in Syria:
The people we have been talking to… want to quit but feel trapped because all the government is talking about is locking them up for 30 years.
A Syrian translator for the charity that David Haines was working with says he was taken in March 2013 by ‘professional gunmen’ who targeted the vehicle in the hopes of gaining Western victims. Haines was in the final hours of a three-day tour to assess locations for new refugee camps in the north of Syria for the Paris-based Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) when he was abducted with the organisation’s Italian coordinator, Federico Motka. Details of the abduction have previously been kept secret until ISIS threatened Haines this week in a video containing the execution by beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff.
Lebanese Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi proposes dividing refugees from the Syrian conflict by political alliance and deporting them:
What is at stake now is the proposal that refugees who trust the regime return to the areas under regime control, and those who have faith in Nusra Front and ISIS go to the regions under their control.
Azzi says the option of setting up camps for the refugees similar to the ones existing in Jordan and Turkey is no longer relevant. The remarks come after protests by the families of security personnel kidnapped by ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda.
A Pentagon spokesman says that around 100 American fighters are ‘operating inside Syria,’ and the U.S. government believes that several of them have joined ISIS. Col. Steven Warren:
We believe there are maybe a dozen that are with ISIL
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says the U.S. is sure of securing international support in the fight against ISIS from European nations concerned that radicalized jihadis who have traveled to the Middle East could return home and create a domestic terror threat. In an interview with CNN:
I absolutely do believe that there will be a coalition of countries from the international community, from here in NATO, also from the region where many of the neighbors have stepped up and said they want to be a part of that type of effort
While the U.S. has yet to commit to airstrikes in Syria there are many other ways partners could contribute:
Intelligence. Law enforcement. Lots of ways for nations to step up to the plate and be a part of this coalition
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s senior members urge Obama to authorize strikes against ISIS in Syria. Panel chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member:
Target them and target the terrorist training camp where they’re bringing thousands of fighters from around the world, putting them through training over a period of weeks to teach them how to conduct terrorist activities. Those camps and the munitions should be targeted as well.
Amnesty International says ISIS is carrying out ‘a wave’ of ethnic cleansing in Iraq. A statement says the group have:
…launched a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, carrying out war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities.
It says several mass killings took place in Sinjar in August:
Two of the deadliest incidents took place when IS fighters raided the villages of Qiniyeh on 3 August and Kocho on 15 August. The number of those killed in these villages alone runs into the hundreds. Groups of men and boys including children as young as 12 from both villages were seized by IS militants, taken away and shot.
Senior Crisis Advisor Donatella Rovera:
Instead of aggravating the fighting by either turning a blind eye to sectarian militias or arming Shi’a militias against the Islamic State as the authorities have done so far, Iraq’s government should focus on protecting all civilians regardless of their ethnicity or religion. The people of northern Iraq deserve to live free from persecution without fearing for their lives at every turn. Those ordering, carrying out, or assisting in these war crimes must be apprehended and brought to justice.
A Scottish-born girl is reported to have have moved to Syria and has disseminated jihadi messages via Twitter. The ‘@Umm Layth_’ Twitter account believed to be operated by is currently suspended. A tweet in June apparently supporting the Lee Rigby murder, Boston Marathon bombing and Fort Hood, Tx., shootings:
Follow the examples of your brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston. If you cannot make it to the battlefield, then bring the battlefield to yourself.
A 19-year-old female from Scotland was reported missing to us by her family in November 2013. Inquiries are ongoing in relation to her whereabouts and we are supporting her family.
Human Rights Watch cites ‘credible evidence’ that ISIS has used cluster munitions in at least one location in northern Syria in recent weeks. Local Kurdish officials and photographic evidence show the extremist group used cluster munitions on July 12 and August 14 during fighting around the town of Ayn al-Arab – known as Kobani in Kurdish – in Aleppo governorate near the northern border with Turkey. A statement:
The use of cluster munitions by non-state actors such as the Islamic State shows the urgent need for Syria and all nations that have not yet done so to join the ban on cluster munitions and destroy their stockpiles
Merkel says in a speech to the Bundestag lower house that ISIS now controls an area in Iraq and Syria that is half the size of Germany:
The far-reaching detribalization of an entire region affects Germany and Europe … When terrorists take control of a vast territory to give themselves and other fanatics a base for their acts of terror, then the danger rises for us, then our security interests are affected
Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council, says ignoring the threat of ISIS could allow the group to seize Lebanon:
The terrorist threat on Lebanon is actual, real and continuous. And whoever doubts or underestimates [this threat] is either ignorant or negligent, and he harms the high national interest of Lebanon … ISIS’s decision has been announced. Their pretended slogan is to create the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, which includes Lebanon.
He proposes a “tripartite” force to protect the country consisting of the military, the public and the “resistance”:
Whoever denies Hezbollah’s role in protecting [Lebanon is] oblivious to the truth.
Luay al-Khateeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar, estimates ISIS is earning $2 million a day in oil revenues in Iraq and much more in Syria. The Iraqi fields are only producing half of the 80,000 barrels a day they are rated at, black-market crude is selling at $25-$60 a barrel:
From Syria they could be making double or even triple that.
Estimating the Syrian revenues is difficult since most of the oil is sold to the Bashar al-Assad government, which doesn’t disclose oil use figures, but the regime’s struggle means consumption is likely very high:
It’s a war of survival for the Syrian regime and they have no choice but to buy the oil — even though they know the money is going into ISIS hands.
Obama says that his administration hasn’t yet developed a strategy to combat ISIS, as speculation mounts that the U.S. will bomb ISIS in Syria. To reporters:
I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.
Malaysian, Australian and British women are traveling to the Middle East to perform jihad al-nikah to boost the morale of ISIS fighters. Unnamed Malaysian intelligence official:
These women are believed to have offered themselves in sexual comfort roles to ISIS fighters who are attempting to establish Islamic rule in the Middle East. This concept may seem controversial but it has arisen as certain Muslim women here are showing sympathy for the ISIS struggle.
The official says a Malaysian woman in her 30s went to Turkey in December and met up with middlemen to complete the journey to Syria via land routes, while a Malaysian woman in her 40s linked up with the militants in April. Intelligence exchanged with other countries revealed that Sunni Muslim women from Australia and the United Kingdom have also joined up with ISIS.
British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Peter Westmacott tells CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley his government is not currently considering adding to U.S. air power in Syria. On cooperation with the U.S.:
…we are in this together, and we need a joint operation to really push back against this barbaric behavior. We mean what we say on that.
However when questioned by Crowley on whether this could include British airstrikes:
It is not now contemplated.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says ISIS has seized the Sha’ar gas field east of Homs, killing at least 90 of the men guarding it and losing 21 of its fighters in a “wide assault” from several directions. It says a further 270 guards, government forces and militia members loyal to Assad are missing, taken prisoner, wounded or killed. Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman:
Since the beginning of the year there have been clashes between the Islamic State and the regime in some areas, but these are the largest.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says that about 150 Australians are fighting in Syria:
In Syria, it seems that over a period of time they have moved from supporting more moderate opposition groups to the more extreme, and that includes this brutal extremist group ISIS
Radicalized fighters could pose a domestic threat:
We are concerned that Australians are working with them [ISIS], becoming radicalized, learning the terrorist trade, and if they come back to Australia, of course it poses a security threat. I’ve canceled a number of passports on the advice of intelligence agencies.
On a visit to Lebanon, Secretary of State Kerry declares the Syrian election meaningless and says it will have no impact on U.S. policy. Kerry says the United States continues to support a political solution to the Syrian crisis and announces a contribution of $290 million in humanitarian aid.
The elections are non-elections. A great big zero. Nothing has changed between the day before the election and after.
ISIS calls on its fighters to destroy rival opposition groups in an audio message from spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani:
Crush them totally and kill the conspiracy at birth
A warning to the rebels:
None of you will remain, and we will make of you an example to all those who think of following the same path
U.N. envoy Annan meets with Assad in Damascus during a mission trying to bring a halt to fighting and arrange talks between the two sides to end the country’s conflict. Assad tells Annan that any political dialogue is doomed to fail
as long as there are armed terrorist groups that work to spread anarchy and destabilize the country,
The regime blames terrorists acting out a foreign conspiracy for the uprising, not protesters seeking change. The opposition rejects dialogue, saying it is impossible to talk to Assad’s regime.
King Abdullah becomes the first Arab leader to openly say President Assad should stand down, urging Assad to begin talks on an orderly transition of power and warning there will be more of the same if whoever replaces him does not change the status quo.
If Bashar has the interest of his country [at heart] he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life. That’s the only way I would see it work and I don’t think people are asking that question.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad warns that foreign intervention in his country’s violent uprising could trigger an earthquake that would burn the whole region.
Any action against Syria will have greater consequences [on those who carry it out], greater than they can tolerate. First, because of Syria’s geopolitical location and second [because of] Syrian capabilities. They know part of it but they do not know the other parts and they will not be able to afford the results.
Assad says calls for his resignation by US and EU are not even worthy of a response, adding that he is appointed by the Syrian people, not by the West.
The Committee to Protect Journalists issues a statement expressing its concern for around 20 journalists believed to be held by ISIS:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, still held captive by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has repeatedly kidnapped, killed, and threatened journalists in the territories over which it holds sway.
CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney:
Local and foreign journalists already knew that Syria was the world’s most dangerous place to be a reporter before the beheading of James Foley brought that knowledge to the general public. The members of the Islamic State who murdered him use violence and intimidation to silence all independent reporting in the areas they control. Despite that, Syrian and foreign reporters like Jim Foley are prepared to put their lives at risk, in an attempt, in the words of another U.S. journalist killed in Syria, Marie Colvin, to ‘bear witness.’