Just days after a temporary cease-fire was announced among factions in the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has made a grim announcement about the country’s long-running civil war. According to the group, since 2011 when fighting began, 301,781 people have been killed. Out of those, 86,000 were civilians. More than 15,000 were children.
The fighting has displaced millions, causing an international refugee crisis. And since fighting began, there have been widespread reports of human rights violations. Discuss
The United Nations Children's Fund has just released an alarming new report that found that there are currently more than 50 million children who have been driven from their homes by global instability and violence.
According to their findings, 11 million are either refugees or asylum-seekers forced to flee their homes because of violence, terrorism or instability. Many are from Syria and Afghanistan. At least 20 million others have fled because of natural disasters, poverty or climate change. 17 million more have been displaced within their own country, as violent conflicts and the spread of ISIS plagues many countries across the Middle East.
Heartbreakingly, many children are fleeing on their own. The report says that 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum last year alone.
Migrant children and women, especially those without documentation, are vulnerable to trafficking, abuse and exploitation. In transit and destination countries, migrants and their families often find themselves victims of discrimination, poverty and social marginalization … UNICEF is working on the ground to ensure that programs and policies in response to this crisis put the rights and needs of all children first.
The New York Times has posted a startling report on just how difficult life has become for many Christians living in Egypt. Despite the insistence from officials within the Muslim government that “everything is good” in regards to relations between Muslims and Christians (who make up just 10 percent of the overall population), Christian leaders paint a very different picture.
The article contains some disturbing stories of homes being burned, Christians being attacked and murdered and churches being vandalized. In one incident, described as a turning point, “An older Christian woman was stripped naked by a mob, which had been incited by reports that the woman’s son was having an affair with a Muslim.” Christian leaders denied the claim was even true.
In many cases, police and law enforcement have done little to stop the violence or punish those responsible.
A local Christian leader told the paper, “We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.”
Leaders within the government, including the imam in charge of keeping the peace between the two communities, are flatly denying that the persecution even exist. He told the NYT: “There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it.” Discuss
Officials in Britain have announced plans to build a massive wall bordering a refugee camp in Calais, in an effort to prevent refugees—fleeing violence in Syria and unrest throughout the region—from entering the U.K. Their goal is to stop residents of Calsis’ large refugee camp in northern France from entering into the U.K. through a tunnel that connects to Britain, and from attempting to cross the channel.
The structure, which has been dubbed "The Great Wall of Calais” by the British media, will stand 13 ft high—that’s larger than the Berlin Wall—and will cost more than $2.5 million. The plan has been controversial. Critics say that building a wall is too expensive and ineffective, but officials in the U.K. say it will prevent human smugglers from attempting the dangerous crossings.
The news service of the Islamic State last night announced that Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was killed in northern Syria. al-Adnani was the senior ISIS strategist and “propagandist,” and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed an American “precision strike” targeted toward al-Adnani, but officials couldn’t confirm his death.
A report from The New York Times cites an anonymous source claiming a United States military drone did hit a vehicle believed to be transporting al-Adnani. If we can believe the ISIS news service—analysts told the Times there’s no reason not to—it was an effective strike.
The official ISIS statement says al-Adnani was killed while checking up on the group’s military operations in Aleppo Province.
Adnani, a Syrian, was a founding member of ISIS, and functioned as the group’s spokesman and “propagandist.” The videos of ISIS beheadings and massacres that repeatedly shock the world are his work.
His death would represent a major shake-up within the senior ranks of ISIS. According to reports, the U.S. State Department had a $5 million bounty on him. This could be another setback for the terrorist group. However, experts from this report suggest ISIS is built for “maximum flexibility in the face of attacks.”
Speaking to the Times, Seth G. Jones, a terrorism specialist at the RAND Corporation, said:
In isolation, Adnani’s death represents the demise of an important strategic and operational leader of the Islamic State — though only one person. Adnani is likely replaceable, and the Islamic State will replace him as they have with other operatives that have been killed.