Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune — A few hundred demonstrators, carrying placards and chanting slogans, rallied outside the Texas Governor’s Mansion Sunday to protest Gov. Greg Abbott’s attempts to block refugees fleeing civil war in Syria from settling in Texas. 

Under the watchful eye of dozens of police, the protesters gathered to criticize what they described as xenophobic and misinformed policies aimed at the war refugees.

Image via Flickr/CPOA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. House passing a bill called the “Safe Act” yesterday. Inspired by concerns after the Paris Attacks, this bill would extend background checks on refugees from Syria and put up major obstacles to the President’s plan to admit 10,000 refugees before he leaves office.

Congressman Henry Cuellar was one of 47 Democrats to OK the legislation, five of those Democrats from Texas. That helped lead the House to a majority to override President Obama’s promised veto.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

A member of the Austin City Council says he wants to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to Austin, which is putting him at odds with the mayor.

Image via Flickr/IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not help place Syrian refugees in the state. No one is questioning his ability to block that state program from working with Syrian refugees. But does his power extend to the non-profits that are using federal money to help resettle refugees in Texas?

Image via Flickr/IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Over the past several months, Texas has become home to hundreds of Syrian refugees. These people fled their homes because of terrible war conditions that made life dangerous, unstable and completely unpredictable – a far cry from the ideals of freedom that both Texas and France uphold today.

After Friday’s attacks, and a report that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s refugee screening system from Syria, many are beginning to wonder if Western countries will continue to be as welcoming.


Image Courtesy of Tice Family. Facebook/FREEAustinTice

From Texas Standard:

At a major intersection in Humble, Texas – just north of Houston – a striking new billboard officially unveiled today. It faces south on the Eastex Freeway – you can't miss it.

It will give many people pause, but that's the idea. 


From Texas Standard:

Austin Bennett Tice has been missing since August 12, 2012.

The 33-year-old Texas veteran was working as a freelance journalist in Syria when he was kidnapped while reporting on the war. His whereabouts are still unknown.

To bring their son home, Tice’s father secured a meeting with President Obama. He had heard that the administration was going to review the U.S. hostage policy and wanted a chance to influence the President’s decision with his family’s story.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

The U.S. and some of its Arab coalition partners have conducted another round of airstrikes in Syria, hitting oil refineries that have fallen into the hands of Islamic State militants, who officials say are funding themselves with the petroleum revenues.

The Pentagon says 13 airstrikes hit a dozen "modular" oil refineries in eastern Syria. The refineries are thought to produce $2 million worth of refined petroleum each day for the self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was back home in Cambridge, Mass., today, after he was released by a militant group in Syria.

President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, The Associated Press and The New York Times are reporting this morning, citing unnamed U.S.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

A week after the gruesome beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants, another extremist group, the official al-Qaida affiliate operating in Syria, has quietly freed another U.S. journalist held for nearly two years.

Negotiations to try to broker a political solution to Syria's bloody civil war will begin in Geneva on Nov. 23.

That's according to Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby, who spoke to reporters after meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria.

These meetings have been a long time coming, but until now have not materialized because at different points, the Syrian regime and the Syrian rebels have refused to come to the table.

Wednesday marked 12 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The attacks thrust radical Islam into the spotlight and arguably ushered in an era of Islamophobia. But do stereotypes about Muslims actually go back much further?

KUT News

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, joins other members of Congress in hesitantly approving President Barack Obama’s decision to diplomatically disarm Syria rather than initiate a military intervention.

“Well I do believe that this proposal is better than executing a poorly thought out and foolishly telegraphed plan that is doomed to fail," Sen. Cornyn said of President Obama’s address. "I think it is worth seeing this thing to a conclusion.”

Should the U.S. Intervene in Syria?

Sep 11, 2013

In the wake of a chemical weapons attack that reportedly left more than 1,400 Syrians dead , the debate has begun on whether the U.S. should intervene. The American people now wait for what steps, if any, the United States will take in the coming weeks.

The Takeaway has responded to this call for a national conversation with special programming.

In a prime-time speech that followed two weeks of high-stakes drama, President Obama asked the American people to support a military strike against Syria, even as he pursued a diplomatic solution to the standoff.

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin) is apparently the first Central Texas member of Congress to announce publicly his views on whether the U.S. should strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. While he calls the use of chemical weapons "reprehensible," Williams doesn't support U.S. military intervention, because he believes Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has had enough time to prepare for one.  

Americans are polarized about many things, it seems, but according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & Press, they agree that the United States should stay out of the Syrian conflict.

Seventy percent of those polled said they oppose the U.S. and its allies sending arms to anti-government groups in Syria. Just 20 percent favor it.

The conflict in Syria may be first and foremost a civil war, pitting the Shiite-dominated regime of President Bashar Assad against mostly Sunni insurgents. But the region's turbulent geopolitics have turned it into a proxy fight that has drawn in the rest of the region as well as the U.S and other global powers.

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

On Thursday, the United States revealed that it now has "high confidence" that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against rebel forces.