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Syria's army and its allies have captured Islamic State's (IS) last main stronghold in Syria, a commander in the alliance claimed, bringing the self-declared caliphate close to complete downfall.
"Albu Kamal is free of the Daesh organisation," said the commander in the military alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
On Wednesday, after a month's-long advance through central and eastern Syria, the Syrian army and allied Shi'ite militias encircled and attacked the town in eastern Syria, close to Iraq's border.
The attack was spearheaded by the paramilitary wing of Lebanon-based Islamist militant group, Hezbollah.
It was "the foundation in the battle of Albu Kamal", said the commander, adding hundreds of elite troops from the Iran-backed Shiite group took part.
During the battle, Hezbollah forces entered Iraq and the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces crossed into Syria to help capture the town, the commander said.
Syrian state television declared "Albu Kamal is liberated".
But a war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it was not true that Albu Kamal was taken and there was still fighting in the area.
Amnesty International says the Syrian Government has used internationally banned cluster munitions in attacks on the besieged rebel-held suburb of Damascus, accusing it of committing war crimes on "an epic scale".
Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb northeast of the Syrian capital, has been under a tightening siege since 2013 and is already facing a humanitarian crisis, including the highest recorded malnutrition rate since the conflict began in 2011.
Some 400,000 civilians, half of them children, are believed trapped there.
Based on interviews with activists in eastern Ghouta and verification of open source videos and photographs, Amnesty said at least 10 civilians were killed in November because of the government's use of the banned Soviet-made cluster munitions.
The weapons, banned in over 100 countries, gravely endanger civilians because of their indiscriminate nature, Amnesty said.
"The Syrian Government has shown callous disregard to the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people living in Eastern Ghouta," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"But this recent escalation in attacks — clearly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure using internationally banned cluster munitions — is horrific."
Amnesty said the cluster munitions first appeared in Syria after Russia began strikes against anti-government groups in September 2015.
So it appears the grand gesture of 57 missiles thrown at Assad's air base did nothing...
Desperate Syrian refugees fleeing heightened violence in the north-west of Syria are being shot at and beaten at the Turkish border as they try to flee, Human Rights Watch says.
The human rights group said refugees who had succeeded in crossing to Turkey using smuggling routes told of Turkish border guards shooting at them during their crossing, while others reported asylum seekers being detained and denied medical assistance.
"Syrians fleeing to the Turkish border seeking safety and asylum are being forced back with bullets and abuse," said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
"As fighting in Idlib and Afrin displaces thousands more, the number of Syrians trapped along the border willing to risk their lives to reach Turkey is only likely to increase."
In interviews Human Rights Watch conducted, witnesses described children being among those shot as they tried to cross, while others spoke of being hit by Turkish border guards and forced back after being caught.
One witness told HRW that a woman had given birth while attempting to cross the border but that Turkish border guards sent her and the child back to Syria without providing medical assistance.
Seems to me that they are creating critical medical cases!
Also, the more innocent refugees OUT of Syria, the easier it will be to bomb the crap out of whoever is left - Assad, ISIS, Al Qaeda...
Jenifer (Zarknorph) said...Can somebody PLEASE figure out who the good guys and bad guys are??!!!
The good guys are the guys who win, and the bad guys are the guys who lose.
Jenifer (Zarknorph) said...What if it's Assad?
If he wins, he's good; if he loses, he's bad. History is written by the winners.
Everything is relative
In it's own way
Like a starry summer night
Or a sunny winter's day
Dan (DANCULBERSON) said:
History is written by the winners.
Then torn apart by academics centuries later.
The truth always comes out.
Jenifer (Zarknorph) said...The truth always comes out.
There is no "truth" in the sense of an absolute truth, because everything is relative. "Truth" is what a majority of people agree to be the truth, just as a "fact" is what a majority of people agree to be a fact. In other words, all generalizations are false.
Jenifer (Zarknorph) said...Is that a belief?
I refuse to get into another argument (i.e., debate) with you about "belief." I get the feeling that you have an understanding that a "belief" in something is by definition "false." I can believe in something that is true. I believe that in the decimal numeric system 2 + 2 = 4, which is "true." What I have just written is one of my "beliefs."