Arab World 6
At least three people have been killed in a rebel rocket attack on a hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The attack was part of a shelling that left at least 19 people dead in government-controlled areas of the city on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the UK-based monitoring group, said. Rebels and forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been battling each other with rockets and bombs across Aleppo and its outskirts for days now.
The vice-president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Muwaffaq Nyrabia said that Russia s policies in Syria are designed to put Syrians in front of two hard choices: either to accept Syrian dictator Bashar Assad s terms in the Geneva negotiations or the bombing and destruction of whole cities and vital civilian facilities will continue. Nyrabia pointed out that the aftermath of the deadly airstrikes by the Assad regime and Russian forces on Aleppo over the past ten days indicates systematic and deliberate attacks against residents of the city. He added that this brutal onslaught on Aleppo is clearly aimed at thwarting the political process.
A ceasefire in battered Aleppo, northern Syria, will be announced on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. But moderate rebel groups will have to leave areas where the Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front – Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate – operate. This would hint that regime and Russian bombing of Aleppo would continue under the pretence of targeting “terrorist groups”.
For the past two years, Hadi has been viewed by many – inside and outside of Yemen – as a weak, hesitant and conspiratorial person. At least this is how media outlets, particularly that owned by the ousted former President Ali Abdulla Saleh, portray him. What Hadi told me during our meeting seemed to confirm what many Yemenis already believe about Saleh: that he is somebody who thrives on planting the seeds of strife. Saleh’s personality is dominated by two traits, he said: violence and holding grudges.
The Syrian opposition on Wednesday rejected calls by President Bashar al-Assad for a national unity government, while the White House said Assad’s inclusion would make the proposal a “non-starter”.
The US military carried out an airstrike against an al-Qaeda training camp in the group’s stronghold in southeastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The bombing targeted an al-Qaeda training camp in Hajr, west of Hadramawt’s provincial capital Mukalla which has been held by the jihadists since April, according to local sources.
Egypt s president has called for a new parliament to convene on 10 January, more than three years after the old Islamist-dominated chamber was dissolved. Egyptians held the second phase of parliamentary elections in November but critics said voting was undermined by a heavy security crackdown on Islamist and other opposition groups.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has lost about 14 percent of its territory in 2015, while Syria’s Kurds have almost tripled theirs. Iraq’s government managed to claw back some six percent of its territory from ISIL in the past year, IHS Jane’s said, while Iraqi Kurds regained two percent of their lands. The biggest territorial loser among the main factions in the Syrian conflict was the Syrian government, which lost 16 percent and is now left with around 30,000 square kilometres, according to the think-tank, less than half the area controlled by ISIL and a fraction of Syria’s total area of about 185,000 square kilometres.
For the first time since the nearly five-year-old Syrian civil war began, world powers agreed on Friday at the United Nations Security Council to embrace a plan for a cease-fire and a peace process that holds the distant prospect of ending the conflict. The resolution makes no mention of whether Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, would be able to run in new elections, which it says must be held within 18 months of the beginning of political talks.
A huge explosion killed the governor of Yemen’s southern Aden province and six of his bodyguards Sunday, security officials said. The attack was later claimed by a local affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Gov. Gaafar Mohamed Saad was traveling to his office when the explosion struck his convoy in the southern port city. Authorities are investigating the exact cause of the explosion. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.