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Geopolitics

Syria: Fighting Intensifies In Aleppo, Turkey Closes Border

REUTERS, BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK), HURRIYET (Turkey)

Worldcrunch

Troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al- Assad converged on Aleppo on Wednesday as fighting between rebel and governmental forces intensified, signaling a shift of the uprising against the regime that began last year to a full-blown insurgency.

BBC News and Reuters reported that the regime is moving thousands of troops as well as armored vehicles away from the Turkish border to focus on Aleppo, a commercial hub and Syria's second city, where violent clashes broke out five days ago. Turkey sealed its border with Syria in response to worsening security conditions after several border checkpoints were captured by rebels earlier this week.

The Syrian regime appears to be consolidating its stretched out troops in an effort to concentrate on fighting insurgents in Aleppo and capital city Damascus, as the holy fasting month of Ramadan started last week.

Activists and residents who spoke with Reuters said gunship helicopters were firing missiles in Aleppo, where the fighting is now the heaviest after government forces repelled a rebel assault on Damascus.

This video published by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights purports to show police headquarters in Aleppo set on fire by rebel forces. The BBC also reported that government fighter jets were strafing and bombing rebel positions in the city.

Hürriyet and Reuters reported that an official from the Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry announced that all border gates with Syria were closing on Wednesday. Only three were still open before the announcement. Trucking has become increasingly dangerous along the trade routes that link the two countries and the closed border could cripple Syria's economy. . Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called for Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Yesterday, Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, a senior regime official who defected earlier this month, offered to lead a transitional government in a video statement on Al Arabiya, according to The Guardian. "Allow me to serve Syria after President Bashar al-Assad's era. We must all unite to serve Syria and promote stability in the country, rebuilding a free and democratic Syria," he said.

The new head of the United Nations monitoring mission in Syria also arrived on Wednesday. The mission was extended for 30 days last week.

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Society

Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Photo of a hand in a pocket

A hand in a pocket

Julia Amigo

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

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