As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, almost half a million Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and nearly half the country’s prewar population of 25 million have been displaced from their homes.

What became known as the “Arab Spring” in 2011, toppled presidents of Tunisian, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and is ongoing. Peaceful protests also erupted in Syria, but the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more. In July 2011, defectors from the military announced the formation of the “Free Syrian Army”, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government, and Syria began to slide into civil war.

Since the Free Syrian Army formed, many new rebel groups have joined the fighting in Syria, including ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham, Iran-backed Hezbollah, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Arguable, foreign involvement has played a very large role in the Syrian hostilities and the speaker will give perspective to the many factors that have been at play in the Middle East over the past several decades and eventually contributing to the carnage in Syria, Palestine and Iraq specifically, and the region in general.

Speaker: Mohammad Abushaban

Mohammed Abushaban is a Palestinian Canadian who immigrated to Ottawa to pursue higher education and opportunity. He is a Computer Science graduate with many years of global experience in the Information Technology and Telecommunication field; most recently, having founded his own company in the UAE, before deciding to return to Canada in 2015.

Through personal experience, Mr. Abushaban is intimately familiar with life under occupation and war, as well as the refugee and immigration experience from the Middle East region. It is these experiences which have lent themselves to his heavy involvement with the current Syrian refugees. In supporting and facilitating the entry of these soon-to-be Canadians into a new, bright, but sometimes challenging experience, Mr. Abushaban believes he is giving back to Canada a little of all which it continues to give him and his family.

Moderator:   Martin Heavy Head

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017 Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A) Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)

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