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

Russia attacks in Syria

International | Airstrikes leave dozens of civilians in Idlib province dead or wounded
by Mindy Belz
Posted 7/22/19, 02:13 pm

SYRIA: Locals in Idlib province say Russian forces carried out airstrikes on Monday that “massacred” more than 40 civilians and have left more than 100 wounded. Russian and Syrian forces have violated a safe-zone agreement to attack militant groups controlling the area. In one village, al-Nusra militants stoned to death a 60-year-old Armenian Christian woman whom they had held and raped.

IRAN released footage showing its takeover of a British oil tanker on Friday, along with audio: “If you obey you will be safe, alter your course,” said an English-speaking officer from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. A Royal Navy officer responded, urging the vessel to stay its course, saying, “Under international law your passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered.”

  • The seized vessel, currently docked along with its crew in Iran’s Bandar Abbas seaport, inserts the U.K. in the middle of rapidly escalating crisis between Tehran and the Trump administration.
  • Iran announced the capture Monday of 17 CIA “spies”— and sentenced some to death—a claim President Donald Trump dismissed as false.

AFGHANISTAN: As Trump urges Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to advance a peace plan with the Taliban, a former foreign policy adviser to the president said the U.S.-negotiated peace plan is “a disaster.” Walid Phares said the plan “basically surrenders the country to the Taliban,” as the militants appear to have intensified attacks, bombing a U.S.-supported hospital in northwest Pakistan and forcing the shutdown of cell phone services inside Afghanistan.

INDIA: “Every Indian is immensely proud today!” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, moments after the successful liftoff of India’s first lunar mission set to land on the moon. The Chandrayaan-2 mission plans to land a rover on the unexplored lunar south pole and carries a payload from NASA.

GUATEMALA: Driven by drought, crime, and poverty—plus a 2015 U.S. federal court ruling easing asylum requirements and fear of a U.S. border wall—the city of Joyabaj has become the epicenter of the U.S. border crisis.

GLOBAL: “Those who are willing to suffer and die for their religious beliefs have much to teach the rest of us”—my remarks at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last week on the importance of covering religious oppression.

SOUTH KOREA: Britain’s Adam Peaty, unbeaten in the 100-meter breaststroke over the last five years, became the first to swim the event in under 57 seconds, besting his own world record with 56.88 in the semifinals of the world championships in Gwangju.

NETHERLANDS: The Dutch practice of “dropping” (known in my childhood as “playing in the woods”) is a newsworthy thing for Americans.

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Mindy Belz

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.

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