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Maria Stephan

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Year of Publication: 2017

Stephan, Maria, Support for Nonviolent Fighters Key to Ending War, Waging Nonviolence, 2017

Urges external support for groups trying to help people devastated by war and also to create the organizational basis for a better future. Stephan notes the role of women-led 'peace circles' publicizing atrocities, promoting education and psychiatric help for refugee children, and planning for the future.

See also: Al Shami, Leila, 'Syria: Women Continue Resistance against Fascism, Imperialism and Patriarchy', Open Democracy, 5 January 2017.

Describes a young woman taking risks to communicate with the outside world before the fall of Aleppo, and then discusses the wider role of women in the opposition.

There are also a number of documentary films on aspects of resistance and constructive action inside Syria:

'"Islamic State's" Most Wanted', BBC World Service, July 2016 (

An account of citizen journalists in Raqaa (capital of the IS Syrian caliphate) taking appalling risks (and sometime suffering death and attacks on their families) to send online reports to the outside world.  Hussam Eesa, who managed to escape Raqaa when he knew arrest was imminent in 2014, is interviewed for the programme.

'Syria's Disappeared: The Case against Assad', Channel 4, March 2017 (

Reveals how prisoners in one of Assad's prisons smuggled out lists of names of those detained.  They were written in blood on scraps of material, which any prisoner who was released could take out with him. The story is told by Mansour al-Omari, a human rights activist jailed in February 2012, who eventually managed to attain asylum in Sweden.

'The White Helmets', Netflix documentary, February 2017 (upon subscription)

A film about the White Helmets (Syrian Civil Defence), who had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and its 3,000 members across Syria. The documentary received an Oscar nomination and fueled controversy.

Year of Publication: 2015

Stephan, Maria, Civil Resistance vs ISIS, Journal of Resistance Studies, Vol. 1, no. 2, 2015, pp. 127-147

Stephan, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works, examines the new threat posed by ISIS and its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate based on an extreme and violent interpretation of Islam.  She suggests how civil resistance can help to contain ISIS and undermine its appeal and ability to recruit.

Year of Publication: 2010

Zunes, Stephen ; Merriman, Hardy ; Stephan, Maria, Nonviolent Struggle, In in Denemark, Robert A., The International Studies Encyclopedia, Robert A. Blackwell Publishing, pp. 31-31

Analytical article with extensive references to literature on nonviolent struggle, examining definitions and strategy of nonviolent action, and covering a wide range of relevant topics. These include the Gandhian legacy, comparison of violent and nonviolent struggles, theories of power and dependency relationships, backfire and  security force defections, nonviolent third party intervention, democratization, transnational networks, and collections of case studies and data bases. 

Republished by Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, International Studies Association and Oxford University Press.

See also: Steinweg, Reiner with Saskia Thorbecke,  Gewaltfreie Aktion, Ziviler Ungehorsam, Sociale Vertedigung  (Nonviolent Action, Civil Disobedience, Social Defence), 2011, online.  It is primarily a bibliography of German writings, but includes some titles in English and other languages.  For more detail on contents and online link see: Vol.2. Addendum 2. German Titles.