Category: Middle East

SYRIA – Ceasefire holding

BEIRUT — A nationwide Syrian ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey that went into effect at midnight held Friday despite minor violations, marking a potential breakthrough in a conflict that has disregarded high-level peace initiatives for over five years. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported clashes early Friday between troops and rebels in […]

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Ceasefire in Syria to start at midnight

MOSCOW/ANKARA –– Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian government starting at midnight on Thursday. The parties were also prepared to start peace talks, Putin said, after Moscow, Iran and Turkey expressed readiness to broker a deal to settle the nearly six-year-old Syrian war. The Syrian army announced […]

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SYRIA – Govt in charge

BEIRUT — The Syrian government took full control of Aleppo on Thursday for the first time in four years after the last opposition fighters and civilians were bused out of war-ravaged eastern districts, sealing the end of the rebellion’s most important stronghold. The evacuations ended a brutal chapter in Syria’s nearly six-year civil war, allowing […]

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Syrian girl made famous by Aleppo tweets evacuated

BEIRUT — A Syrian girl from eastern Aleppo whose tweets from the war zone captivated world attention was evacuated to safety Monday, part of an evacuation deal that saw the remaining residents of the former rebel enclave head to other parts of the country. “I escaped from East #Aleppo,” she tweeted after arriving in Rashidin, […]

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SYRIA – Evacuation halted

ALEPPO –– The evacuation of the last opposition-held areas of the Syrian city of Aleppo was suspended on Friday after pro-government militias demanded that wounded people should also be brought out of two Shi’ite villages being besieged by rebel fighters. The second day of the operation to take fighters and civilians out of Aleppo’s rebel […]

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Trains crash in Iran

TEHRAN – Four carriages derailed and two caught fire when a train that had broken down was hit by another train. The accident happened in freezing temperatures early on Friday, 250km (150 miles) east of the capital Tehran. The rescue effort is being hampered by the remote location, officials say. President Hassan Rouhani has ordered […]

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ISRAEL – Wildfires lead to evacuation of 60,000

HAIFA –– Wildfires raged across Israel for a third consecutive day as authorities ordered the evacuation of 60,000 people in the northern city of Haifa. The fires, which began in Zichron Ya’akov Tuesday, also affected Modi’in in central Israel. A police spokesman told CNN that forces and firefighters are focusing their efforts on dealing with a […]

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AFGHANISTAN – Suicide bombing kills 32

KABUL – A suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital on Monday, killing 32 people, the UN office said, the second large-scale attack targeting minority Shiites in Kabul in just over a month. Hours later, the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, […]

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Hundreds of bodies discovered in mass graves

IRBIL – Iraqi security forces have discovered two mass graves near the city of Mosul containing around 250 bodies, police said Thursday. The graves were found near the town of Hammam al-Alil and were created by ISIS militants, Iraqi Federal Police Commander Brig. Gen. Faris Radhi Abbas told CNN. Their discovery follows the uncovering of […]

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SYRIA – Children’s hospital hit

DAMASCUS – A hospital, blood bank and ambulances are reported to have been hit as Syrian government aircraft and artillery bombarded rebel-held eastern Aleppo. The director of the Bayan Children’s Hospital said he was sheltering in the facility’s basement, unable to leave. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 21 people had […]

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SYRIA – Food rations run out in rebel-held Aleppo

ALEPPO – The last remaining food rations are being distributed in besieged rebel-held eastern districts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, the UN has said. Humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland warned that without a resupply there would be no food left to hand out next week to the 275,000 people living there. Egeland ruled out airdrops […]

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ISIS ‘executes’ 232 near Mosul

MOSUL – ISIS has ‘executed’ 232 people near the Iraqi city of Mosul and taken tens of thousands of people to use as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces, the United Nations says. The terror group carried out the mass killings Wednesday, punishing people who had defied its orders, a spokeswoman for the UN human […]

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IS claims attack on Pakistan police academy

QUETTA – Militant group Islamic State said on Tuesday that fighters loyal to its movement attacked a police training college in Quetta in southwest Pakistan in a raid that officials said killed 59 people and wounded more than 100. Pakistani authorities have blamed another militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), for the late-Monday siege, though the Islamic […]

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SYRIA – Aleppo on the edge

NEW YORK – The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria has warned that “between now and December, if we cannot find a solution, Aleppo will not be there anymore”. Staffan de Mistura was speaking after a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday where he said he “insisted on the fact that the […]

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SYRIA – Airstrike hits Aleppo market

BEIRUT – An airstrike hit the biggest market on the rebel-held side of Syria’s Aleppo on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and leveling buildings as rescuers were still sifting through the rubble from air raids that killed dozens the day before. Activists and a witness said the early afternoon strike destroyed several shops in […]

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ISRAEL – World leaders attend Shimon Peres’ funeral

JERUSALEM –– Israeli and Palestinian leaders shook hands during a brief chat and American President Barack Obama gently reminded them of the “unfinished business of peace” at the funeral Friday of Shimon Peres, the last of a generation of Israel’s founding fathers. But there was no indication that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rare visit to Jerusalem […]

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Russia refuses to halt Aleppo bombings

MOSCOW –– Russia has said it will carry on bombing rebel-held eastern Aleppo in Syria, defying US demands to stop. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the Russian air force would continue its support of the Syrian armed forces. He also urged Washington to deliver on a pledge to separate moderate Syrian opposition […]

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