ISIS finally flushed from final Syrian enclave
International | But the well-funded terror group’s leader remains at large
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/25/19, 11:31 am
SYRIA: Syrian Democratic Forces declared the “100% territorial defeat of ISIS”—ending a six-week offensive to flush out the militants from an area the size of New York’s Central Park. “This is a big moment not just for us, but for all of the world,” said SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel. The Christian medical team Free Burma Rangers has posted scenes from its station near Baghuz (warning: some graphic content of injuries). ISIS still sits on a whole lot of money, and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has not yet surfaced.
RUSSIA: “It’s amazing how many Americans are disappointed that Mueller apparently didn’t find any traitors. You’d think that’s a good thing,” tweeted Russian journalist Murad Gazdiev. The two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller concluded Friday with the submission of a report to Attorney General William Barr, who summarized it Sunday in a four-page letter saying Mueller concluded that President Donald Trump and his campaign did not conspire with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote.
The exhaustive investigation—involving 13 countries and 2,800 subpoenas—did lead to criminal convictions for five Trump advisers and a dozen Russians, including top intelligence officers. Timeline here.
MOZAMBIQUE: When Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot Rick Enemaker flew over areas hit by Cyclone Idai, he saw hundreds of people on rooftops and clinging to trees, as Christian relief organizations mobilize to provide aid in devastated southern Africa. Idai has left an inland ocean more than 30 miles wide and potentially 20 feet deep, making access and recovery mind-bogglingly difficult.
ISRAEL: A rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short his visit to the United States. Israeli Defense Forces said Hamas launched the rocket, which struck a home in Mishmeret, the longest-range attack from Gaza causing casualties since a 2014 war.
Romania will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, risking a European Union backlash.
GAZA: A brutal crackdown on peaceful protests has Gazans living in fear of Hamas.
NETHERLANDS: Thierry Baudet—who has called for the Netherlands to leave the EU and questioned expensive climate-change accords—is the 36-year-old new face of the upstart Forum for Democracy party that last week dominated Dutch provincial elections.
UNITED STATES: California’s superbloom, spurred by record-setting rains, is so vivid it can be seen from space.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.