Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Civilian toll mounts in Syria’s Idlib province

International | Russian-backed airstrikes have killed dozens in the latest escalation
by Mindy Belz
Posted 5/10/19, 05:45 pm

SYRIA: A brutal assault by Syrian and Russian forces Friday has killed five civilians in Khan Shaykhun, part of a “de-escalation zone” in northwest Syria following a confirmed chemical weapons attack two years ago that killed at least 89 people and injured more than 500. More than 200,000 civilians have been displaced from Idlib province in the last three weeks, with “dozens killed during the escalation,” according to Asaad Hanna, a spokesman for the White Helmets.

Reached by phone Friday in Istanbul, Hanna told me three hospitals have been targeted along with three centers operated by the White Helmets, or Syria Civil Defense. At least one White Helmets volunteer has been killed also. Shelling and airstrikes have been continuous, Hanna said, with civilians trapped under rubble by government forces. “They are focused on destroying infrastructure. They want to make it a miserable situation forcing people out.” Russia and Turkey agreed last year to enforce a demilitarized zone in Idlib, but when recent talks stalled, Russia and Syrian forces launched attacks starting in late April.

SRI LANKA: Christians who faced Islamic State (ISIS) bombings three weeks ago “move with caution and mostly stay indoors,” said a pastor, but they are beginning to rebuild and care for the long-term needs of hundreds who lost loved ones or were injured in the blasts, which killed approximately 225 worshippers (out of a total of 259 killed).

BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro plans to meet next week in Texas with former President George W. Bush and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled him “a dangerous man” and forced the far-right leader to cancel a planned visit to New York. Bolsonaro’s bombastic style has earned comparisons to President Donald Trump, but he won election last year with a mandate to move the country away from corruption and socialism.

VATICAN: Pope Francis announced new procedures for setting up in Catholic churches a “public, stable, and easily accessible process” for reporting clergy sexual abuse.

CANADA: As support for euthanasia grows, will “death by donation,” currently regarded as homicide, become an acceptable practice?

BHUTAN: Saturday chores for Prime Minister Lotay Tshering often include bladder repair surgery. “For me it’s a de-stressor,” said Tshering, who worked as a doctor before becoming head of state in the Himalayan kingdom’s third democratic election since the end of absolute monarchy in 2008.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy is senior editor of WORLD Magazine and the author of They Say We Are Infidels. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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