140917 incostrat 2.2.13 access to networks Release .pdf

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In Co Strat  -­‐  I N N O V A T I V E   C O M M U N I C A T I O N   &   S T R A T E G I E S
Lot A: Invitation To Tender For The Provision Of Strategic Communications In The Syria Region

2.2.13 Do you currently have access to networks inside Syria? Please confirm and provide details.
1.
General. Yes. InCoStrat’s core personnel are managing networks throughout Syria on a daily basis, including
access to some of the most impenetrable areas in the country, namely the Eastern Front (al-Raqqa and Dayr alZawr) and regime-held Damascus. The networks are drawn from different segments of society: military (FSA
commanders and brigades); media (reporters and stringers: independent as well as others embedded within FSA
units); civilian (tribal groups and personalities from minorities); and civil society/political. These networks either
work directly with us on joint initiatives, or we have established relationships with such groups acting as interlocutors
to other stakeholders and potential outreach partners. All of these networks are currently active and available to
support new projects to provide immediate access and value. 80% of InCoStrat’s core personnel are fluent
Arabic speakers, meaning we save on costs for interpreters and have stronger relationships with individuals in
the networks. This is added value all round for the donors.
2. Supporting Evidence.
a) Military. Our team have strong
relationships with 54 brigade commanders
in Syria’s southern front (Dera’a, al-Qunaytra,
Damascus countryside, Damascus and alQalamoun) currently involving daily, direct
engagement with the commanders and their
officers inside Syria; with defected officers in
Irbid and Amman who co-ordinate with local
military councils; and indirect engagement
with small FSA units inside regime-held
Damascus. In the East, we have access to
small units operating against ISIS. In the
North, we have established relationships with
FSA brigades in Aleppo, Idlib and parts of
northern Lattakia. We also have longstanding relationships with larger groups such
as the Hazm Brigades. We have trained and
supported
the
current
and
previous
commanders of the Supreme Military Council including accompanying and briefing them on an official visit to the US
to brief President Obama, Secretary Kerry and Congress.
b) Media. With already functioning offices in Amman, Reyhanli, Istanbul and a
coordination office in Dera’a (Syria) our team work with stringers and reporters
across Syria, who behave as points of contacts with their own, wider networks, acting
as force multipliers. In the southern front we are presently in contact with over 54
stringers; in the eastern front (including al-Raqqa, Dayr Al-Zawr and al-Hassaka)
over 22; in the northern front over 14; and work closely with a further 40 who work
across the fronts and cover Homs, Hama and Lattakia. There are now over 120
reporters working in Syria and an additional five official spokesmen who appear
several times a week on international and regional TV. Our reporters have had access
to a variety of groups, including Jabhat Al-Nusra, with whom they conducted interviews.
c) Civilian/Tribal. We have relationships with senior figures in the Council of Syrian Tribes. This Council is currently
comprised of 53 Sunni and Druze tribes, predominantly from southern Syria, but also the north. We also have
relationships with senior Druze figures from al-Suwaida and mediators who work with them. We meet with the
Chairman of the tribal council on a weekly basis. These key leadership engagements are essential for
understanding the nuances in narratives on the ground inside and outside Syria, for exerting influence, but most
importantly: we interact with the local population by establishing our networks at the community level with
senior and respected figures.
d) Civil Society/Political. We have relationships with senior members of Syrian activist networks such as the Syrian
Non-Violence Movement, which is working within Syria on issues such as detainee rights; as well as Syrian activist
networks based outside the country such as the Syrian Emergency Task Force. We have also worked with an
emerging Syrian civil society network seeking to build political capacity through service provision inside Syria. We
have strong contacts with the group's leadership, which includes independent business leaders (i.e. not allied to the
regime or any opposition grouping) and civil society activists. The network includes local governance groups in Idlib
and northern Aleppo. Certain members of InCoStrat hold relationships with over 60 Alawites, most of whom are proregime. This network exists mainly in Lattakia and Tartous, but also in Damascus. We also maintain close ties with
approximately 30 women’s groups, which hold a network of over 7000 members (not all female). This network spans
across the country, from Damascus to Deir Ezzor to Latakkia.

 


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