Showing posts from February 2, 2020

Syrian Kurdish center sets out to defang 'cubs of the caliphate'

TELL MAAROUF, northeast Syria —  A boy is hunched on a bunk bed, his small fingers deftly stringing macrame beads. The result is a heart-shaped key ring. On it is inscribed the word “Love.”  Nearby a pair of boys are playing Monopoly. In a communal kitchen one boy flips pancakes; others watch National Geographic TV or mill around the courtyard exchanging jokes. Egyptians, Bosnians, French and Pakistanis. They are from across the globe, united by a dark past in which they might have been beheading people or blowing themselves up.  They are alleged “ cubs of the caliphate ," the  child soldiers  of the Islamic State (IS). The Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria, which lost thousands of men and women in the fight against the jihadis, are now trying to “rehabilitate” around 130 boys currently housed in this low red-brick building with arches, which locals say once served as a madrassa, or Islamic school, built by the Turco-Persian Ghaznavi sheikhs.  “Th

Meet the Children Being Armed to Defend a Mexican Village From Drug Cartels

AYAHUALTEMPA, Mexico — The boys sling .22-caliber rifles over their shoulders, standing erect, their faces covered with bandanas and caps to shield their identities. Their leader, Luis, a scrawny figure with warm eyes, calls out commands. “Position four!” he yells in a high-pitched voice. In unison, the dozen recruits fall to the floor of the basketball court, belly-down, aiming their guns straight ahead. Luis is 13 years old. Luis and his barely adolescent friends are the latest enlistees in a self-defense group in Mexico’s southwestern state of Guerrero, which sits at the heart of Mexico’s heroin trade and has been wracked by violence in recent years. The militia is training the boys, some as young as 6, to serve as the last line of defense should a cartel strike the community, as it has others. The militia, known as CRAC-PF, emerged in 2014 in place of local police who were considered corrupt, and stretched-thin federal and state security forces. Amid a wave of violence

Thai Soldier Kills 12 In Mass Shooting, Livestreams Attack: Police

"The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead," a police spokesperson told AFP, with local media reporting as many as 12 fatalities. Bangkok: Thai soldier killed many people Saturday in a livestreamed mass shooting across several locations in a northeastern city, police said. "The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead," a police spokesperson told AFP, with local media reporting as many as 12 fatalities. "I cannot confirm the death toll right now, police sealed off the area." The gunman, identified by police as Sergeant Major Jakapanth Thomma, stole an army vehicle and also posted photos and video of himself in full tactical gear as the attack in Korat was carried out. Video and photos circulating online showed panicked scenes, with people fleeing and what appeared to be the sound of automatic gunfire filling the air. Police in the province said they

Syria’s Kurds embrace resilience, beauty in wake of Turkish attack

QAMISHLI, Syria — In a small dark room in northeast Syria, women of all ages scan one another with a critical eye. Several have gauze bandages over their noses, others strips of plaster over their eyelids. They are waiting for Edip Mahmoud Ali, Qamishli’s most celebrated cosmetic surgeon, who is so overwhelmed by demand he no longer answers his telephone. Fatima Mohammed Zain, the wife of a local policeman, has had her cheekbones chiseled and lips puffed into a permanent pout. “Here in Qamishli, rich or poor, people don’t care," she said. "If they want something they go for it.” Hevin Maher, a bottle blonde in a leopard-print jumpsuit, brought her sister-in-law, a cheerful 58-year-old wearing a hijab, in for an eyelift. “We made the decision to be beautiful because it helps raise our spirits, it makes us feel more powerful," Maher said. "Because every day has become much harder since the Turkish operation.” She was referring to Turkey’s Oct. 9 assault agains

Sudan’s SRF says concerned by delay in Juba peace process

February 7, 2020 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) - The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Friday said concerned about the negative impact of al-Burhan-Netanyahu meeting on the peace process in Juba. The peace talks with the SRF had to resume on 4 February, but political developments in Khartoum and the dissent between the civilian-led government and the military component of the Sovereign Council led to postponing the talks. “It is imperative that the repercussions of the Entebbe meeting do not negatively affect the progress of the peace process in Juba,” said Osama Said, SRF Spokesman in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday morning. He further pointed out they fear that repeated postponement of the resumption of negotiations may impact on the whole peace process. The SRF spokesman told Sudan Tribune that the mediation informed them about the arrival of the government delegation to Juba and that talks would resume on the same day in the evening. The transitional government and t

Indonesian Police Gun Down Militant Suspect on Sumatra Island

Indonesian police shot dead a suspected militant who hurled a homemade bomb at officers who were trying to arrest him on allegations of links with a banned group affiliated with the Islamic State in Riau province on Sumatra Island, officials said Friday. A policeman was injured in the incident that took place on Thursday on a fishing boat in the Kampar river in Pelalawan district, according to Senior Commissioner Sunarto, provincial police spokesman. Police identified the slain 29-year-old suspect as Wahyu (alias Ibnu Thayyi) and said he was believed to be a member of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an Indonesian group that was designated by the U.S. State Department in January 2017 as a terrorist group. “When asked to surrender, the suspect threw a pipe bomb at the officers, so they had no choice but to ‘paralyze’ him,” Sunarto, who uses only one name, told BenarNews. National police spokesman Asep Adi Saputra declined to provide details of the arrest, saying police were still

Malaysia's anti-FGM advocates: Leave our bodies alone

Advocates for abolition of female circumcision say it has no medical benefit for women nor religious basis. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  - Dr Harlina Siraj, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist, still remembers with dread the day she witnessed her first-born daughter's circumcision at five months old. As someone who studied reproductive health and the female anatomy in medical school for years, she was also steeped in her family's traditions and beliefs. As a child, the doctor and her four sisters, like most girls from her generation, also went through circumcision, known as khitan in   Malaysia . More:  FGM: The last cutting season To end female genital mutilation, economically empower women The Cut: Exploring FGM By the time her daughter was born, Siraj confessed, she was unprepared to defy long-held traditions. So much so that she allowed a mak bidan, or a midwife, to perform the cutting on her baby, using an over-the-counter razor, a turmeric root a