Hussein Malla/AP

Survivors in a great war

Middle East | ISIS-led tragedies and destruction breed a fierce determination among Syria’s down-but-not-yet-out Christians
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/28/19, 12:36 pm

Even on a day of biting February wind, the fields are lush with grass across the Khabur River Valley and so brilliantly green it hurts the eyes to look at them. A boy hurries sheep up a muddy path, while two women in bright headscarves bend over a plot of chard, picking.

Near the entrance to the village of Tel Hormizd, a bombed-out water tower, lying sideways near the riverbank, signals visitors that this is no rural idyll. ISIS fighters destroyed the tank when they captured this area in 2015, and no one has returned to repair it or a vast landscape of surrounding destruction.

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Mindy Belz

Man of peace

Middle East | From every side Syria’s democratic opposition has been sidelined
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/28/19, 12:11 pm

QAMESHLI, Syria—Gabriel Moshe is the sort of gentleman whose coat and tie look morning-fresh though it’s nearing midnight, and we are talking by the last light and heat before the electricity shuts down. Rationing the power grid is just one routine part of life in a war zone. 

Moshe’s dignified profile shouldn’t fool anyone: He’s actually an enemy of the state. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime arrested him in 2013 and held him for 2½ years, a man of peace caught in the politics of war. 

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Associated Press/ANHA

Civilians flee last ISIS stronghold in Syria

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/13/19, 11:43 am

More than 1,000 civilians have fled the last major Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in Syria after five days of fighting by U.S.-backed forces to regain control of the town. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday began an offensive on Baghuz in Deir al-Zour province backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. Some 300 civilians fled the war zone during the day, while 600 more left overnight, SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said Tuesday.

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