Syrian Civil War

September 2014 - September 2015

Henry Jeanneret, Samantha Giuntini, Lauren Craige

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There are many important things in this map. One of these significant qualities includes the title because it shows the meaning of the map and what the reader is looking at. Another would be the detailed key because it shows what the reader should look out for and gives meaning to what is shown on the map. Lastly, another important feature is the date because without it, these airstrikes could’ve been from 50 years ago and be irrelevant.

The map was created by the Institute for the Study of War Research Team. I think that this map was drawn to better understand Russian Airstrikes in Syria, in regard to where they’ve occurred, where the airbase are located, as well as who controls what territories.

The fact that it was written by the Institute for the Study of War Research Team, it implies that they are studying the Russian airstrikes in Syria and want to gain and gather more information about it. The map allows them to do so. Additionally, at the bottom righthand corner it reads “Updated 30 SEPT 2015 12:30 EDT”, meaning that this map has been updated and probably will be again because of newly accurate and available information.

The map adds more detailed information about the Russian airstrikes. I knew about the recent airstrikes and how horrifying they were, but I didn’t know anything about which areas were ISIS controlled and where in relation to other controls did the airstrikes occur. The map provides a great visual for those wanting to learn more about the airstrikes without reading a whole long article, making the map much more convenient.

According to other information I have found (such as BBC), there are no Russian Airbases in Homs City or at the Hamam Equestrian club. The only thing I could find closest to an airbase was an ammunition depot located near Hama.

What were the results from these air strikes? Were there casualties/injuries? Which airstrikes were the most deadly? Does Syria have airbases in this area, and if so where? How does the research team know that this information is 100%, or at least accurate enough to publish online? Why is there a black colored airbase? If it is intentionally on the map, why is there no key or what is its importance?


Why do the Russians feel the need to be involved with the Syrian crises? Is there any benefit?

Why is Russia lying about where/what they are bombing?

Some open ended questions

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Political Cartoon

This cartoon is referring to the United States arming Syrian rebels to fight back against ISIS and the US' struggle in arming those who are actually interested in assisting the US cause.

This cartoon targets the United States, largely the Obama Administration, indirectly. The cartoonist is trying to illustrate the difficulty the Unites States is encountering when arming Syrian rebels because their motives turned out to be different from those first discussed with the US.

The cartoon solely features these Syrian rebels. The rebels are portrayed stereotypically; they have a headscarf, camouflage fatigues, and military boots. The headscarf covers their faces and they are completely covered by their clothing except for their hands. Due to the negative stigma that accompanies Middle Eastern people, it is likely that the first reaction to the drawing of the rebels is a negative one. There are 8 rebels pictured that look exactly the same.

However, each rebel represents a different Syrian rebel group. This is largely to reinforce the fact that each rebel group appears the same on the outside, but are actually different. This makes it very difficult to distinguish one from the other. There is also a gun with a red dotted line and a pair of scissors next to it. The one gun represents all of the weapons the United States provided the rebel group(s). The dotted line and scissors indicates that cartoon is supposed to be a game/activity and the gun should be cut out ant placed in the hands of the correct Syrian rebel group.

The title of the cartoon is "Today's Picture Puzzle: Arm the Right Syrian Rebel Group". Each rebel is also labeled with the name of the group they represent. The title makes light of the situation, almost making the arming of rebels seem like a game.

The message of the cartoon is that it was very difficult for the United States to arm Syrian rebels who were genuinely interested in assisting the US cause to fight back against ISIS. The difficulty was largely due to the fact that each rebel group appears the same on the outside, but is actually different, making it very difficult to distinguish one from the other.


Why does the US feel that arming Syrian Rebels is the only solution to the problem?

Why is the focus on creating more war instead of helping the millions of Syrian refugees who asylum and assistance?

News Article - Syria conflict: Russia air strikes stepped up

Russia’s Intervention In Syria

The headline of this article is, “Syria Conflict: Russia air strikes stepped up”. This title does apply to the content of this article but there are other descriptive words that could have better summed up the underlying message behind this article. Another title could be, Russia Bombs Syria but whom are they really fighting? This title is more appropriate for the content of the article because it states what is happening in Syria currently and it covers some of the discussion that follows in the article.

A sentence that was used in the article that was very politically charged was when the author was paraphrasing something that Alexei Pushkov, who is the head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s parliament, said, “the US only “pretended” to bomb IS, and promised that Russia’s campaign would be much more effective”. Is this an appropriate assertion to make so early into their involvement in the Syrian crisis? Can the Russian government really guarantee that they will do any better then the US on this matter?

The only sources that are included in this article are those of politicians and important people in various governments.

The first video that is included in the article is very interesting in its relevance to the article. This video provides a contrast to what was written in the article regarding whom the Russian’s are truly targeting with these air strikes. The video comments that the there is no terrorist activity in the region in which the Russian’s have been bombing. The captions that go along with all of the pictures relate the media back to the article. Most of the pictures and captions contrast the article and try to persuade the reader that the airstrikes on Syria are a bad call on Russia's part.

This entire article for the most part complies with common sense, however, it is very confusing how the author switches between the Russian’s opinion on who they are bombing and everyone else. This switching is not very organized and very confusing to read. If the author had organized the article so that the Russian’s view was at the beginning and the opposing views were at the end it would make this article an easier read.

The only statistic that was included in this article was of how many Syrians were killed, injured, or misplaced in the Syrian conflict thus far. This data concludes that there was a serious disrupt in the Syrian populations during this Syrian conflict.

Overall, this article did a good job of representing Russia’s involvement in the conflict. However, the author at times seemed very biased. Especially when discussing the airstrikes the author would often make the Russian’s sound like they were making the wrong decision in bombing Syria. Does this bias represent the views of BBC as a whole or is it the author’s opinion?


Russia says they are fighting against ISIS, but how is the killing of innocent Syrian civilians fighting against ISIS?

Why is Russia wasting their resources on destruction of residential areas?

Does Assad care about the lives of all the Syrians who have been displaced? Or is he only focused on remaining in power?



Beauchamp, Zack. "Syria's Civil War: A Brief History." Vox. VoxMedia Inc., 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Political Cartoon:

Varshalomidze, Tamila, and Ali Younes. "Cartoon War over Russia's Role in Syria." Al Jazeera English. Al Jazeera Media Network, 07 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.


Gardener, Frank. "Syria Conflict: Russia Air Strikes Stepped up." BBC News. BBC News, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.