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Warrior Competition 2015
Amman
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

April 21, 2015

Amman, Jordan

The seventh annual Warrior Competition held at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) on the outskirts of Jordan’s capital, Amman. Elite counter-terror teams from around the world compete for five days from April 19th to the 23rd, in a show of sportsmanship in events with such names as “Top Gun,” and “3-Gun Gauntlet.” Soldiers run obstacle courses, scale walls, crawl beneath fences, then dash uphill to fire at moving targets in the distance.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

The reverberation from the desert canyon walls make it difficult to tell where the sound is coming from - but then, there is the harsh crack from the sniper’s rifle, soldiers sprint through city streets to storm a building, and a human-sized form is hauled out and loaded onto a truck. On a day like today, it’s normal to hear lieutenants shouting to their men in Arabic, Russian, English and Pashto. This isn’t a real war, but the scenes being played out could mimic a not-so-distant urban battlefield.

This is a staged scenario in a mock cityscape, part of the seventh annual Warrior Competition held at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) on the outskirts of Jordan’s capital, Amman. 

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Warrior Competition 2015 05
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

The Jordanian team rests in the shade of a sandstone cliff before the "urban assault" event at the Warrior Competition on April 21, 2015. In this event, soldiers must rush over a dirt verge, storm a building in a mock city, rescue a hostage and fire at targets in the distance.

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Warrior Competition 2015 07
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

The Colombia team participates in the desert stress shoot event in the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 21, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 11
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

The Jordan team participates in the Airbus seizure event, demonstrating how to execute a target onboard a passenger aircraft. The exercise was part of the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 21, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 14
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

Commander Malik Al-Abbadi, leader of the Jordanian team, is photographed during the desert stress shoot at the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 21, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 17
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
21 Apr 2015

Brigadier General Aref Al-Zaben, the General Director for the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, is photographed during the seventh annual Warrior Competition on April 21, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 06
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

The Lebanese Armed Forces gather their gear before heading to the next event in the Warrior Competition on April 20, 2015. The competition is held at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan.

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Warrior Competition 2015 08
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

The all-women's Unit 30 SWAT Police team from Jordan competes in the three-gun gauntlet during the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 20, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 09
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

The all-women's Unit 30 SWAT Police team from Jordan competes in the three-gun gauntlet during the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 20, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 10
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

The Jordan team participates in the hostage rescue exercise at the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan, on April 20, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 13
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

Soldiers wait for instructions atop a tower during the "Urban Assault" event on April 20, 2015, during the seventh annual Warrior Competition near Amman, Jordan. The center, which spans 25 acres of a blasted-out desert canyon, is a state-of-the-art training facility complete with mock cityscapes, villages, and grounded aircraft. The exercises are all performed with live ammunition.

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Warrior Competition 2015 18
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
20 Apr 2015

A member of the Jordanian team participates in the "3-Gun Gauntlet" event in the Warrior Competition on April 20, 2015 at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan. After running through a narrow concrete "gauntlet" soldiers must shoot targets with three different weapons, while being judged for speed and accuracy.

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Warrior Competition 2015 03
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

A parachuter from Jordan 71st counter-terrorism battalion prepares to land during the opening ceremonies of the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan on April 19, 2015.

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Warrior Competition 2015 04
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

The Jordanian team prepares for the first event of the Warrior Competition, "Top Gun," in which soldiers must shoot at targets at varying distances with three different weapons, while being judged for speed and accuracy. Jordan and the U.S. were finalists, with Jordan ultimately coming in first place.

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Warrior Competition 2015 02
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

Members of the American and Canadian teams cheer together and watch the remaining teams compete in the "Top Gun" event at the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan on April 19, 2015. Jordan and the United States were finalists in the event, with Jordan ultimately coming in first place.

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Warrior Competition 2015 12
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

The Palestinian team is photographed during the opening ceremonies of the seventh annual Warrior Competition on April 19, 2015 at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan.

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Warrior Competition 2015 15
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

Teams from various countries relax together and cheer on their teammates during the first event of the Warrior Competition, "Top Gun." Elite counter-terrorism teams from around the world compete for the title of champion at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan.

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Warrior Competition 2015 16
King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center
By Lindsey Leger
19 Apr 2015

Members of the American and Canadian teams cheer together and watch the remaining teams compete in the "Top Gun" event at the seventh annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center near Amman, Jordan on April 19, 2015. Jordan and the United States were finalists in the event, with Jordan ultimately coming in first place.

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Syrians Scrape a Living in Jordan (1 ...
Jarash
By Camilla Schick
12 Mar 2015

As Syria’s civil war enters its fifth year, nine million people have been displaced, with 3.7 million of those having fled the country. Millions of Syrian refugees are scraping by in neighboring countries.

Jordan has registered 600,000 refugees – constituting almost 10% of the Hashemite Kingdom’s total population of 6.6 million, though the actual number may be much higher. One fifth now live in refugee camps, including Za'atari camp, the second largest in the world. It's illegal for them to leave Jordan's now overcrowded and increasingly insecure refugee camps, but many are now making the leap to urban areas, seeking work and a better life. Some Syrian families who fled to Jordan at the start of the war are fairing better than others who've arrived more recently. But they’re still struggling to survive beyond the camps, without enough allowance from the UN nor local charities to pay for food and medical care, or taking their chances with working illegally.

Despite not being legally entitled to work, many have taken up jobs at local shops at the discretion of Jordanian employers, while others are too afraid to leave their homes and are surviving on as little as 13 dinars ($18) per person per month from the UN.

UN REPORT
A recent UNHCR urban report, entitled ‘Living in the Shadows’ in January this year, based on 150,000 Syrian refugees living outside of Jordan’s camps, concluded that two thirds of the refugees now in urban areas are living below Jordan’s poverty line. 1/6 are living in abject poverty barely surviving off the equivalent of 1.3 dollars per person per day. The UN has expressed grave concern that refugees are now turning desperate measures to make ends meet, with children dropping out of school and even women turning to prostitution.

STORY:
This is the ancient Jordanian city of Jerash, 50 kilometres north of the capital Amman. It’s now home to approximately 8,000 Syrian refugee families / 50,000 refugees.

34-year-old Ali and his younger brother Mohammed work shifts at a local coffee and tea shop. Living as refugees has put a huge strain on Ali's marriage, and he is now separated from his wife, and rarely gets to see his young son. He says they used to live in Al Midan, an affluent Sunni suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus. But when fighting between the Assad government forces and Syrian rebels began in their neighborhood, the family took the heart-wrenching decision to prepare to leave the country. Being the eldest, Ali headed to Jordan first to set things up for the rest of the family. Mohammed and his parents followed after.

The brothers live with their mother Yusra, who warmly invites us into their two-bedroom one-floor home. Yusra was recently widowed. Their father died of health complications shortly after joining them in Jordan. They know how terrible the living conditions are for those now living in Jordan’s over-crowded refugee camps. They tell us they consider themselves among the luckier refugees, who arrived in Jordan almost four years ago at the start of the conflict, having found work and a place to live.

Jordanian shop owner Khaled says he hired the brothers not only because Syrians will work for a lower wage, but also because he wants to help the refugees who are desperately seeking work. He says the Jordanian authorities are fairly lax when it comes to illegal refugee workers. He says all Arabs are brothers, and need to help Syrians until its safe enough for them to return home.

NOTES
We chose to focus the interview on the elder brother – Ali
Their mother, Yusra, did not want us to film her face

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Jordanian Pilot’s Father Wants Son Tr...
Amman
By hamzaeqab
27 Jan 2015

Amman, Jordan
January 27, 2015

The father of Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh, who is held by ISIS, demanded that the Jordanian government releases Sajida al-Rishawai, a woman affiliated with al-Qaeda who tried to commit a suicide attack in 2005, in a bid to facilitate his son’s release.

The father, Safi al-Kasasbeh, spoke during a sit-in organised by the Kasasbeh, Bani Sakhr, Abbadi and Tarawneh clans.

ISIS threatened to execute Moath Kasasbeh and Japanese hostage Kenji Goto if the Jordanian government did not release Rishawi.

Social media accounts affiliated with ISIS members have mentioned that Sajida al-Rishawi, who was imprisoned after failing to commit a suicide attack against a hotel in Amman, was given to Iraqi mediators from the influential Dulaimai clan in preparation of releasing her.
The Jordanian society is tribal. Clan leaders can usually pressure the government into fulfilling their demands.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Safi al-Kasasbeh, Father of Jordanian pilot held by ISIS

We ask the government very strongly and loudly, God willing this have effect on the ground… if Moath comes under any threat, we will hold the government responsible, from the top of the ruling pyramid downward. We will hold them responsible of whatever happens to Moath. This is a very difficult phase. I ask His Majesty the King, the armed forces and every official to start working as fast as possible to liberate Moath by setting free all the political prisoners in Jordan. They are demanding that Sajida al-Rishawi be set free; Sajida al-Rishawi is not worth Moath’s shoe. Why are we keeping Sajida al-Rishawi? She is a criminal who blew up a hotel while we are keeping her and paying her living expenses. Why would she not be released? Why would she not be exchanged? I demand the government to release Sajida al-Rishawi immediately.

From the first day… Moath has been detained for 36 days, and the government hid from us the actions it said it was taking. We found out that there were no actions of negotiations. We do not accept this. These times are very difficult and the government must act accordingly.
Unseen man: This process takes time. It cannot be done in five minutes.

We now have time. The government must send someone to let us know what they have done in order for to know our son’s fate. He is a military who was sent to carry out a military mission. We will hold responsible the people who sent Moath on this mission. Moath’s blood is very, very dear.
Unseen man: Did they not tell you about what is going on?
No they did not.

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Syrians Vote in Jordan
Amman
By hamzaeqab
28 May 2014

May 28, 2014
Amman, Jordan

Syrians living in Jordan voted in the presidential election today at the Syrian Embassy in Amman.
The Syrian Presidential election will be held in Syria on June 3, 2014. It will be the first multi-candidate presidential election in Syria since the Assad family took power in 1971.

Interviews:

Tala:
I came to vote today to tell the whole world that we are all with the Syrian Arab army. We came here to vote for Dr. Bashar Al Assad. He is the only one capable of restoring peace in Syria. This election is one of the faces of the fight against terrorism.

Odai:
Today I voted in the Syrian presidential election because it is the right of every Syrian citizen. Of course there is democracy, you can choose the candidate you best qualified to take a presidential role in Syria.

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SOFEX - Trade Show for War
amman
By giulianocamarda
06 May 2014

362 international arms manufacturers and military personnel took part in the 10th Annual Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX) at the King Abdullah I Airbase near Amman in Jordan where they demonstrated their latest high-tech military industry equipment. High ranking military officers were present to buy and sell the latest weaponry. Aside from businessmen who attended the fair - one of the biggest in the world - to make good deals, many curious visitors came, mainly locals, excited to hold and point snipers and rifles, or to take a photo inside the cockpit of an helicopter. The exhibition began with a demonstration by the Jordanian Special Forces and the visit of the King of Jordan Abdullah II.

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SOFEX Special Forces Competition
amman
By giulianocamarda
04 May 2014

The sixth edition of the Annual Warrior Competition (AWC) was held in Amman, Jordan from April 30 to May 5. 37 teams of special forces from 19 countries competed against each other in a series of extreme combat-oriented events. The competition was held at the KASOTC (King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center ). The 25 square kilometers military training center, which cost 200 millions dollars USD, is one of the best reality-based training in the world. The center offers all types of facilities, both for military training, and for hospitality and leisure, and has been designed to offer training courses for special forces, anti-terrorist units and law enforcement agencies around the world. The sixth edition of the Annual Warrior Competition was organized by the Anglo-American company MissionX (which specializes in events for extreme military). Special forces teams from Palestine, Lebanon, the United States, Canada, Netherlands, Slovakia, Russia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan took part in the event. The China Snow Leopard Unit of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force won for the second time in a row. The members of the Snow Leopard team were selected from a group of 65.000 qualified cops and trained for 6 months specifically for this event.

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The Second Crisis: The impact of the ...
Mafra, Jordan
By Richard Nield
09 Apr 2014

This short film reveals the untold story of the devastating impact that the Syrian refugee crisis is having on the most vulnerable people in Jordan.

It tells the story of the world’s worst refugee crisis from a unique perspective: that of the local Jordanians whose lives have been thrown into poverty and chaos by the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees into their towns and cities.

By the end of 2013, more than 600,000 Syrian refugees had arrived in Jordan, a country of just 6.5 million.

Their towns overwhelmed with refugees, many Jordanians can no longer afford to support their families, and face eviction from their homes. Water and electricity are becoming increasingly scarce.

In moving interviews with impoverished local people in the towns of Mafraq and Ramtha, I was told how rents are tripling, people face eviction from their homes, and tension and violence are growing.

With Syrians arriving in Jordan every day, the situation is rapidly deteriorating. If the rate of arrivals continues, by the end of the year, there will be one Syrian refugee for every family in Jordan.

This short film is the basis for a 20-30 minute documentary that is currently in post-production. This documentary is independently produced and I am looking for broadcast outlets for this piece.

If you are interested in purchasing either the short film or the documentary, please get in touch.

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Médecins Sans Frontières
Amman, Jordan
By Osie Greenway
01 Oct 2013

MSF volunteer surgeon cleans up after surgery and heads to the break room for a rest before returning to the OR.

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Young People in Jordan Talk about Pea...
Amman, Jordan
By Amy Hybels
21 Jul 2013

Initial meetings in Washington are set to get underway nine days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Amman that an agreement had been reached that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Video Journalist Amy Hybels talked with young people living in Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, following Kerry's initial announcement to find out how much hope they hold out for the resumption of peace talks.

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Youth in Jordan React to Possible Pea...
Amman, Jordan
By Amy Hybels
21 Jul 2013

First 24 seconds courtesy of Al Arabiya

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement in Amman on Friday that an agreement has been reached that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis made headlines in Jordan.

The US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the elements are still being finalized and both parties are committed to resuming final status negotiations.

Amy Hybels talked with young people living in Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, to find out how much hope they hold out for the possible resumption of peace talks.

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Samir Patiently Waiting on Syria
Mafraq, Jordan
By Osie Greenway
13 Jul 2013

A Quran is placed above the entrance of the tent that Samir prays in, he cannot walk without assistance to the mosque built by the NGOs so he has made this area his devotion area.

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LA Doctors Transforming Children's Li...
Amman, Jordan
By Amy Hybels
04 Jun 2013

A team of surgeons from Los Angeles, California flew to Jordan to perform 45 surgeries in just five days on children and young adults living with physical deformities. The trip was organized by the Children of War Foundation, a non-profit which provides access to donated surgical care to children living with physical deformities or injuries. Board member and celebrity doctor Andrew Ordon, a host of "The Doctors", joined the team which included highly specialized surgeons from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. As Amy Hybels reports, the team wasted no time consulting and operating with the doctors at the King Hussein Medical Center on some of their most difficult cases, transforming lives one operation at a time.

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Rula Quawas (7 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
04 Mar 2013

Professor Rula Quawas lectures at the University of Jordan on March 4, 2013.

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Rula Quawas (6 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
04 Mar 2013

Professor Rula Quawas lectures at the University of Jordan on March 4, 2013.

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Rula Quawas (5 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
04 Mar 2013

Professor Rula Quawas lectures at the University of Jordan on March 4, 2013.

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Rula Quawas (4 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
04 Mar 2013

Professor Rula Quawas lectures at the University of Jordan on March 4, 2013.

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Rula Quawas (3 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
04 Mar 2013

Professor Rula Quawas lectures at the University of Jordan on March 4, 2013.

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Rula Quawas (8 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
27 Feb 2013

Professor Rula Quawas speaks in a February 26 interview about being removed from her deanship at the University of Jordan.

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Rula Quawas (10 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
27 Feb 2013

Professor Rula Quawas speaks at an interview on Feb. 26, 2013

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Rula Quawas (9 of 10)
Amman, Jordan
By Mat Wolf
24 Feb 2013

Professor Rula Quawas speaks at an interview on Feb. 26, 2013

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Tire Training (5 of 8)
Amman, Jordan
By Osie Greenway
11 Dec 2012

She Fighter training consists of many different types of strength training.