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Showing posts from October 29, 2014

Dead or alive? Fate of iconic Kurdish female fighter ‘beheaded by ISIS’ wrapped in mystery

Female Kurdish fighter known as ‘Rehana’ (Image from Twitter user / @PawanDurani)




Reports about the beheading of a young female Kurdish warrior known as ‘Rehana’ who fought for Kobani and reportedly killed scores of jihadists have sparked controversy. Other reports by people who claim to have contacted her say she is alive.

A young girl, wearing military gear and holding a gun, has become an Internet sensation after a picture of her showing a victory salute went viral.


@NYDailyNews: "The sharp shooter #YPG worrier #Rehana " pic.twitter.com/f7cZT1LXM0

— Siyar (@yabanciyork) October 28, 2014

The photo was posted on Twitter by Kurdish journalist Pawan Durani with a caption reading: “Rehana has killed more than 100 ISIS terrorists in Kobani".

On October 26, Rehana’s supporters were shocked by “unconfirmed” reports claiming that she had been kidnapped or executed by Islamic State jihadists, who may have beheaded her.


#Breaking: #ISIS claims to have beheaded young #Kurdish#heroine

The New York Times’ Impressive Collection of Iraq/Syria Maps

As long-time readers of GeoCurrents may have noted, I have rather mixed feelings about the New York Times. I am often critical of Times articles and columnists, and I find the newspaper’s coverage of world events too spotty and incomplete to be satisfying. But I also start off every morning with the print edition, and I can’t imagine doing otherwise. Sometimes I find the Times truly impressive. A case in point is a current on-line series of maps, photographs, and satellite images called A Visual Guide to the Crisis in Iraq and Syria. I have reproduced a few of the images here — the rest are worth a look as well.



A few words are in order about why I chose these particular images, even though several of them are out of date. In regard to “A Closer Look at Mt. Sinjar,” the detail is simply astounding: one dot for every vehicle! TheTime’s hybrid map-satellite-images, such as “Encroaching on Baghdad,” are innovative, informative, and visually arresting. A somewhat similar map, “U.S. Strike…

Michael Izady’s Amazingly Detailed Map of Ethnicity in Syria (and the Syrian Armenians)

Most maps that show the distribution of ethnic groups within particular countries are relatively simple, depicting a few discrete populations within large, contiguous blocks of territory. The distinguishing characteristics of such groups are rarely specified. A good example of such a useful yet overly simplified map is the Washington Post’sportrayal of Syria posted here. This map reduces the complex mosaic of Syria to three groups, two based on religion (Sunni and Alawite) and the other primarily on language (Kurd). But as most Syrian Kurds are Sunni Muslims, the portrayal is somewhat misleading. A better key would have labeled the tan color as indicating the distribution of Sunni Arabs, although in actuality many non-Arab (as well as non-Muslim) communities are scattered across this large swath of Syrian territory.



But an internet image search of “Syria ethnicity map” returns a sizable number of far better maps that depict vastly more intricate patterns. As it turns out, most of thes…