Syria

Where’s the blockbuster for the ‘Dunkirk in reverse’ in Iraq and Syria?

Right now, a gripping Hollywood blockbuster recalls the heroism of Dunkirk, when trapped Allied troops were rescued during WWII. However, there’s an equally stirring “Dunkirk in reverse” going on before our eyes in Iraq and Syria, and American Catholics are playing a starring role — not only in saving embattled Christians, but giving them hope of better things to come. ...

Syria conflict: What is at stake in the battle of al-Bab?

KALAHAN DENG The Syrian town of al-Bab was rather insignificant until it emerged as a strategic stake between the Syrian president and his allies (Russia and Iran), Turkey, the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) and the so-called Islamic State group. Situated just north-east of Aleppo, this small administrative centre of the larger al-Bab district has about 100,000 inhabitants, in addition ...

Syria conflict: Thousands hanged at Saydnaya prison, Amnesty says

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG As many as 13,000 people, most of them civilian opposition supporters, have been executed in secret at a prison in Syria, Amnesty International says. A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015. Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorised ...

Syria regains Damascus water supply plant

KALAHAN DENG The Syrian military says it has regained Damascus’s main water source from rebels. Water shortages have affected more than five million residents in the Damascus area since late December. State television said the national flag was now flying over the pumping facility in the Wadi Barada region. Activists monitoring the conflict say the army entered the area as ...

Syria conflict: US says Idlib strike kills 100 al-Qaeda fighters

KALAHAN DENG A US military air strike in north-western Syria has killed more than 100 al-Qaeda militants at a training camp, the Pentagon says. Spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said the camp in Idlib province had been in operation since 2013. The attack involved a B-52 bomber and an undisclosed number of drones, officials said. The strike on Thursday was the ...

Syria conflict: Bomb kills dozens in Azaz on Turkish border

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG At least 43 people have been killed in a car bomb blast in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz, near the Turkish border, reports say. The explosion occurred outside a courthouse in the town, some just 7km (four miles) from the Turkish frontier. Azaz has recently been targeted by so-called Islamic State (IS). The latest blast ...

How are Australia’s Syrian refugees coping?

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG Australia has resettled about half of the 12,000 refugees it agreed to take in over the past 13 months from the conflict in Syria, but how are they adapting to life in their new country? It is a year since Iymen Baerli, a refugee from Syria, arrived in Sydney with his wife and three young children. ...

Syrian forces push ceasefire to breaking point with attack on rebels near Damascus

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG The Syrian army launched a fresh offensive against a rebel-held area near the capital yesterday, testing a warning issued by the opposition that they would end the ceasefire if it continued its assault. After a brief period of quiet on Sunday, barrel bombs hit villages in the rebel enclave of Wadi Barada while heavy fighting on ...

Trump’s Syria conundrum

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG President-elect Donald Trump’s position on the conflict in Syria has been a confusing assortment of positions, the latest of which – his call for a safe zone in Syria – seems informed by his most recent conversations with candidates he interviewed for the position of secretary of state. But all of his statements carry within them ...

The Islamic State has been pushed back but the future still looks bleak for Christians in the Middle East

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG On the last Sunday of October the church bells in the Iraqi Christian town of Qaraqosh rang out for the first time in two years. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) had been been driven out, leaving behind only the dead bodies of their fighters and the churches that lay desecrated but not ...

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