Syrian offensive against Idlib begins
International | One million displaced people find themselves in harm’s way
by Mindy Belz
Posted 9/05/18, 12:46 pm
SYRIA: Drones crowded the skies over Idlib Province overnight after bombings Tuesday in a long-anticipated offensive by Russian-backed government forces left 10 civilians dead, including five children from one family.
- Idlib is one of the last rebel strongholds in Syria and home now to 1 million people displaced by war, many of them bused there as part of President Bashar al-Assad’s “reconciliation” strategy that forced residents from other war-ridden parts of the country, now to be perhaps wiped out in a final offensive. As one fighter said, “If Idlib falls, it’s over.”
- The offensive pits Turkey, which opposes it, against Russia, whose foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, justifies it, saying Damascus would become “the capital of the ISIL caliphate” if Russia hadn’t intervened.
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is siding with Turkey on this one, calling the Idlib offensive “an unacceptable, reckless escalation,” in a meeting Tuesday that also discussed the continued holding of American Pastor Andrew Brunson.
- Here’s a better map of the situation in Syria than the one I posted last week.
JAPAN: Typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm to hit Japan in 25 years, has closed airports, shut down services, and caused at least 11 deaths.
SUDAN: “Dabanga is in the business of spreading fake news,” claimed government officials in an orchestrated campaign to black out and force the shutdown of Radio Dabanga, an independent news station run by Sudanese exiles in Holland. Many journalists covering the region know it as important for on-the-ground investigative reporting.
IRAQ: The U.S. State Department recognizes ISIS’s genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and Shiite Muslims, but at the same time is denying asylum to those victims, including Christian minorities with few options.
- At least five protesters have been killed in ongoing clashes in Basra.
- In Mosul, a weekend Reading Festival brought thousands into the streets in support of the Mosul University library, once a garrison for ISIS terrorists, now under restoration.
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