Syria

UN to send more aid to Syria

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Hoping to ease suffering in Syria’s besieged cities, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to boost access for humanitarian aid. All 15 Security Council member states approved the resolution, including Russian and China which had balked in the past.

The document calls for an end to violence, including the use of barrel bombs, and condemns al Qaeda-affiliated terror attacks.

The council strongly condemned Syrian authorities for widespread violations of humanitarian law and urged all parties to lift sieges of populated areas, including in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs.

“This resolution holds the promise of something real,” U.S. Secretary John Kerry said in a statement.

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Syrian al-Qaeda rebel commander killed

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A senior rebel commander linked to al-Qaeda has been killed in a suicide attack in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Abu Khaled al-Suri was among several people who died in the attack on a compound of his militant group, Ahrar al-Sham, activists say.

Another militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIS, is believed to be responsible. ISIS is engaged in a bloody power struggle with rival factions in the Syrian rebellion.

It has been engaged in violent clashes with other rebel groups since early January in which hundreds of fighters have been killed on both sides.

Ahrar al-Sham is a prominent, hard-line rebel group, part of a powerful alliance of seven groups known as the Islamic Front.

According to rebel and activist sources, the attack was carried out by one suicide bomber  (or possibly two)  who penetrated its headquarters in Aleppo.

Fourteen dead in car bomb attack, Syria

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At least 14 people were killed Sunday when a car bomb went off near a hospital in the rebel-held Syrian town of Atmeh, near the border with Turkey, opposition activists said. The bomb exploded near Orient Hospital, run by an opposition activist group that also runs a television station with the same name.

Orient TV reported that 50 others were wounded in the explosion, and a large part of the hospital was destroyed.

Atmeh, in Idlib Province, houses a large refugee camp for displaced Syrians.

Car bomb kills three in Lebanon

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A suicide car bomb in Lebanon killed at least three people and wounded 15 others on Saturday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported. The bomb exploded at a military checkpoint at Al-Assi Bridge in Hermel.

Two of those killed were soldiers and the other was a civilian. At least five of those wounded were soldiers. The location is in northeastern Lebanon near the Syrian border.

Prime Minister Tamam Salam called the act a “terrorist attack against a cornerstone of the nation.”

Read more about the violence in the Middle East here:

Shootings and bombings leave 33 dead in Iraq

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Bomb kills 31 in a Syrian government building

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A bomb exploded in a Syrian government building near Damascus, 31 people died, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, yet, no confirmation from the media nor government officials has been said.

The bombs were put in the basement, which means the opposition fighters were able to breach building security to plant the bomb. Four generals are amongst the dead.

Damascus has suffered from violence recently due to clashes between the militias and the government.

Read more about the violence in Syria here:

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French kidnapped in Nigeria finally released

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Francis Collomp, a French engineer who was kidnapped las December in Northern Nigeria, was released by the jihadist group Ansar al-Muslimeen who abducted himwhen he was working in the state of Katsina.

The French president’s office announced Sunday that Collomp has been released, but did not offer additional information.

“This long-awaited new does not make us forget that seven of our compatriots are still being held hostage in Syria, Mali and Nigeria,” the office said in a statement. “France will continue to work tirelessly for their freedom.”

 

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Syrian rebel “beheaded by mistake”

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A rebel group in Syria, who is affiliated with al-Qaeda, is asking for forgiveness after they beheaded another rebel in a case of mistaken identity.

A video recently posted online showed members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) brandishing the severed, bearded head of a man, they said was an Iraqi Shia caught fighting on the government side. But other rebel fighters watching the video recognised the man and said he was one of their commanders.

The video of the beheading shows two ISIS fighters in Aleppo province – one holding a knife – brandish a severed, bearded head, denouncing their victim as an Iraqi volunteer for President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. They decry his immorality, saying he is a heathen – one of those who have threatened rape of men as much as women.

Other rebels identified the beheaded man. Members of the hardline Islamist rebel group, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, said he was not a government fighter at all, but one of their own. They said he was a commander called Mohammed Fares Maroush.

He is believed to have been wounded in the recent battle for Base 80, south of Aleppo, with government forces and was being taken for medical treatment by rebel fighters.

But he seems to have been captured by fellow militia. The militia is dominated by Alawites, members of the president’s heterodox Shia sect.

Mr Fares is reported to have offered prayers that would have made him seem a Shia rather than a Sunni – and therefore on their side.

This was heard by ISIS fighters, and in the growing atmosphere of sectarian hatred, he was then subjected to his savage fate, our correspondent adds.

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