Showing posts from January 28, 2018

HRW urges Turkey to end 'lethal force' against fleeing Syrians

Human Rights Watch has called on Ankara to stop using "lethal force" against Syrians trying to cross into Turkey and instead to open its border to the tens of thousands who have fled a government offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib Human Rights Watch called on Ankara on Saturday to stop using "lethal force" against Syrians trying to cross into Turkey, urging it to open its border to those seeking asylum. A major offensive waged by Syrian government troops in the northwestern province of Idlib has displaced more than 270,000 people since mid-December, according to the United Nations. Many have tried to flee into Turkey, but border guards have been "indiscriminately shooting at and summarily returning Syrian asylum seekers", HRW said. Turkey, which hosts an estimated 3.5 million Syrian refugees, has tried to push back anyone trying to enter across its southern border since August 2015. Some Syrians have managed to cross by resort

Saudi Arabia, allies killed 68 Yemeni children in 3 months: Report

This file photo taken on November 14, 2016 shows children sitting amidst the rubble of a house hit by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes two days earlier on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital Sana’a. (Photo by AFP) Saudi Arabia and its allies killed 68 children in impoverished Yemen in the course of three months last year, a new report says. According to a confidential document obtained by al-Jazeera news broadcaster, the Saudi-led military coalition killed 68 children and wounded 36 others in war-torn Yemen from July to September 2017. The report said on Friday that the figures from excerpts it had obtained from a confidential report by the UN Office on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) was sent to the UN Security Council on January 19. Furthermore, the document found that there were at least 20 Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on different localities in Yemen, some targeting schools and homes, on a daily basis. According to the UN children's aid agency, UNICEF, more than 5

Syria war: Outcry over 'mutilated' female Kurdish fighter

AFP/Getty Images Barin Kobani (right) was killed in northern Afrin earlier this week, reports say Kurds in Syria have reacted furiously to videos showing Turkish-backed rebels abusing the body of a female Kurdish fighter killed in battle. Barin Kobani was part of all-female unit challenging a Turkish-led offensive in north-west Syria. Kurdish officials accused fighters allied with Turkey of "playing with her corpse" and mutilating it. Last month, Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched a campaign to capture the Kurdish-held Afrin region. Barin Kobani was killed during fighting earlier this week in the northern part of the region, reports say. She was in her mid-20s, and joined the Kurdish all-female unit known as the YPJ in 2015. The group is part of the YPG (People's Protection Units), seen by Turkey as a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey f

Yemenis enter Saudi Arabia for counter-strike +Video

A newly-released video shows a group of Yemeni army soldiers and Houthi Ansarullah fighters crossing into Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Asir region to conduct counter-strike. Yemen’s al-Masirah television network published footage on Friday showing the crossing operation that came following clashes between Yemeni fighters and Saudi military forces. Al-Masirah further released another video showing the Yemeni army targeting a military base run by Saudi-allied troops from Sudan in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan region. The Houthis said the artillery and missile attacks destroyed two armored vehicles occupied by Sudanese mercenaries. Saudi Arabia has been leading a number of its vassal states in a war on Yemen since March 2015. The Saudi-led war was launched in an attempt to reinstall a former Yemeni government. That objective has failed to materialize. A boy holds a book as he walks on papers scattered on the ground after a Saudi airstrike hit a school book storage build

UN thanks Russia, defends participation in Sochi talks

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres (photo by Reuters) United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has rejected criticism of the world body’s participation at Syrian peace talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi, praising the outcome of the discussions. Speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters New York on Friday, Guterres said the presence of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura “in Sochi was based on a common understanding between the United Nations and the Russian Federation on the nature and outcome of the meeting and its contribution to the [UN-mediated] Geneva process.” “The congress concluded with a statement fully in line with that common understanding,” he added. Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been organizing peace talks for Syria in the Kazakh capital of Astana since January 2017. Together, the three countries have been acting as guarantor states for the peace process. Capitalizing on the achievements of Astana, R

Turkey Attack: Forces neutralise 900 terrorists in Syria's Afrin

Turkish General Staff on Saturday informed that around 900 terrorists were "neutralised" in an operation against the insurgents in Syria's Afrin region. The operation Olive Branch was launched to clear Kurdistan Workers' Party (PYD/PKK) and Islamic State (IS) terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria on January 20. The Turkish General Staff said in a statement that the armed forces had destroyed 15 terrorist targets and neutralised 74 terrorists in Friday night airstrikes, reported Anadolu Agency. Turkish forces have been carrying out a clearance operation against the insurgents to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders. Source:

Italy's Macerata in driveby gun attack

EPA At least one gunman has opened fire from a vehicle on passersby in the central Italian town of Macerata, with reports of up to four people injured. Shootings took place in different parts of the city, including near the town's train station, Rai state TV says. The office of the town's mayor has warned people in a tweet to stay indoors because of the incident, which is believed to be continuing. Two people were reported to be inside the vehicle, a black Alfa Romeo.  Some reports put the number of injured as high as six, but this has not been officially confirmed. Local reports suggest that those targeted were immigrants. Gunfire was heard in the Via Spalato and Via dei Velini parts of town, two key areas in an investigation into the murder of an 18-year-old girl whose body was found last Wednesday. A Nigerian man was detained over the killing. Local reports are linking the two incidents. Source:

Maldivian government resisting Supreme Court order to free political prisoners, alleges Opposition

Colombo:   The Maldivian Opposition Saturday accused President Abdulla Yameen of resisting local and international pressure to comply with a landmark Supreme Court order to free nine political prisoners. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said Yameen was yet to release any in line with Thursday's shock decision of the apex court to quash the dissidents' convictions. File image of President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen. Reuters "Although Yameen has said he will abide by the ruling, he is yet to comply with the order delivered more than 36 hours ago," Colombo-based MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said on Saturday morning. The court on Thursday night said that cases against the nine dissidents, including former president Mohamed Nasheed, were politically motivated and asked the government to release them immediately. It also ordered the reinstatement of 12 legislators who were expelled for defecting, and effectively gave the Opposition a majority in the 8

Myanmar denies reports of mass Rohingya graves in Rakhine state, says 'terrorists' buried in the area

Yangon:  Myanmar on Saturday denied that there were five mass graves of Rohingya Muslims in a village in crisis-hit Rakhine state, saying that 19 "terrorists" had been killed and buried in the area. The  Associated Press  used testimony from dozens of Rohingya refugees and time-stamped cell phone videos to describe a massacre by soldiers and at least five previously unreported mass graves in Rakhine's Gu Dar Pyin village. The Myanmar government's Information Committee said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that a government inspection team had gone to the village to probe the  AP  report and found it to be false. "The inspection team systematically investigated the  AP 's report on the Gu Dar Pyin village case, including interviewing villagers, and found it not to be true," the statement said. The  AP  report, which  AFP  could not independently verify, described grisly violence at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist vigilantes, who all

Rise in hate crimes against South Asian communities reported in US since Donald Trump became president: Report

Washington:  A year after President Donald Trump won the election, there has been a substantial increase in hate violence against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the US, a report said on Thursday. Between 9 November, 2016 and 7 November, 2017, the not-for-profit group South Asian Americans Living Together (SAALT) said in a report that it recorded 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at these communities. Representational image. Reuters This is an over 45 percent increase from its previous analysis in just a year, SAALT said adding that this has not been seen since the year after the attacks of 11 September, 2001. This breaks down further into 213 incidents of hate violence and 89 instances of xenophobic political rhetoric — of which 248, or an astounding 82 percent, were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, it said. One in five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a T

Pakistan claims it killed over 17,600 militants in counter-terrorism ops since 9/11

Islamabad : Pakistan said on Friday that it had killed more than 17,600 militants in counter-terrorism operations started after the 9/11 terror attacks and destroyed their training camps in the restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly briefing that Pakistan had also cleared more than 46,000 km of land from terrorists. "Counter-terrorism operations within Pakistan have cleared 46,378 km of land and eliminated 17,614 terrorists, ensuring that our soil is not used against any other territory; we expect the same from our neighbours," he said. US President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to take "decisive action" against terror groups operating from its soil. Unveiling his first National Security Strategy (NSS), Trump said Pakistan has to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts and help in eliminating terror sanctuaries as America was making "massive payments" to it every year. Faisal sai

ISIS Is Still in Business

Despite its defeat on the battlefield, ISIS is using Iraq’s black market to stockpile millions of dollars to fuel its coming insurgency. An Iraqi dinar banknote with an image of Mosul's iconic minaret, which was destroyed by ISIS. Photo: Getty Images. As ISIS lost one of its last villages in Iraq, Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the coalition battling the group, took to Twitter for a victory lap. The organization’s 'phony "caliphate"', he wrote, is 'coming to an end'. It is true that ISIS has lost the vast majority of its territory, which at its peak in 2014 included about one-third of Iraq and half of Syria. Once dubbed 'the world’s richest terrorist organization' by the United Nations, it has also lost an estimated 80 per cent of the funds it acquired by conquering territory and mimicking the functions of a state, collecting taxes and tariffs from the citizens under its control. Rumors of its demise, however, have been greatly ex

J&K terror funding: Special court accepts terror charges against Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin and 7 Kashmiri separatists

The special court has accepted the framing of terror charges against Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin and seven Kashmiri separatists for allegedly fomenting unrest in J&K. New Delhi: A special court on Friday accepted the framing of terror charges against  Pakistan-based terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin and seven Kashmiri separatist  leaders, who have been accused of sponsoring and stoking unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The special court of justice Tarun Sahrawat, after taking cognisance of the chargesheet  filed by the NIA  earlier, directed the probe agency to supply the copies of the chargesheet to the accused. The court then listed the matter for hearing on March 8. In its chargesheet, the  National Investigation Agency (NIA)  had claimed that the Kashmiri separatists have close links with Pakistan-backed terrorists and raising funds through illegal means to fuel unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The NIA had said this in its chargesheet to prosecute Hurriyat l

Hundreds of Yazidi women held in Islamic State prison

Hundreds of Yazidi women captured by IS while trying to flee Mount Sinjar They are now being kept in Badush Prison, in Mosul, northern Iraq  Escapees have told of how the women are either sold as brides or raped Some report victims being forced to call their families to describe attacks   Hundreds of Yazidi women being held prisoner by Islamic State fighters in Iraq are being sold off as brides for as little as $25 or repeatedly raped if they refuse, it has been claimed. Survivors have told how beauticians were brought in to put makeup on the women before they were attacked, and said some victims were forced to call their families after to explain what had happened. According to those who escaped Badush Prison, in Mosul, northern Iraq, the number of women held there could be in the thousands and include Christians and Turkomens - a largely Muslim group closely related to the Turks. Scroll down for video  Survivors of Badush Prison, in Mosul, northern Iraq, have said wo

'They raped us; they killed our men': Psychologist helps Yazidi women recover from trauma of ISIS captivity

Yazidi women and families are finding security and therapy in Germany  Lodged in the memory of psychologist Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan are the stories of 1,400 girls and women who were once enslaved by ISIS. The German trauma expert personally interviewed each of them, hearing countless stories of torture and rape. It was, by any measure, a grim and daunting undertaking. All were Yazidis, a long-persecuted minority. One of the youngest was just eight years old. "She was, for 10 months, in the hands of the [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and was raped hundreds of times," said Kizilhan, 51, a German psychologist and professor with Kurdish roots. But he couldn't help all the women. His agonizing task was to assist German officials who travelled with him to northern Iraq to choose which of the women would have the life-altering opportunity to move to Germany for treatment. 'Psychotherapy means to give the feeling "yes, we have some cruel, evil persons,

Yazidi boy in Winnipeg once held by ISIS asks for meeting with Justin Trudeau

Yazidi boy in Winnipeg once held by ISIS launches campaign for meeting with Trudeau A  Yazidi  boy in Winnipeg who endured three years as a captive in Iraq is asking for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. READ MORE:  Yazidi boy with family in Winnipeg recovering with his uncle in Iraq Thirteen-year-old Emad Mishko Tamo was reunited with his family in the city last year, and he thanks Canada in a video posted on Facebook by the Yazidi Association of Manitoba. He also holds up a sign asking to be a voice for other Yazidi children still in captivity, and he asks Trudeau to meet with him. WATCH: Yazidi boy captured by ISIS reunited with his mother at Winnipeg airport. Emad was separated from his mother after the Islamic State group displaced thousands of members of the Kurdish-minority Yazidis in 2014. He was freed last summer in the Iraqi city of Mosul. READ MORE:  Yazidi sisters reunited three years after IS kidnapping His mother had been living in Winnipeg