A Thousand Battles

08/02/2016

In the news:

A formal investigation is set to begin into the July 19 U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Syria. Allegations were made that at least seventy-three civilians were killed in coalition airstrikes in the city of Manbij. The U.S. has announced that more civilians may have been killed in another airstrike in Syria the day after the initiation of the investigation was publicized.

French authorities reportedly knew that one of the Normandy attackers was planning an assault in France, but could not identify him in time. The two teenagers entered a Catholic Church in eastern France where they took six people hostage, killed a priest, and injured a parishioner before police shot and killed the gunmen as they exited the church.

The European Commission has disbursed an additional forty million euros of humanitarian aid to South Sudan. The emergency funds will be used to address critical needs such as food, water, sanitation, and health care.

Human rights groups and western governments are expressing deep concerns over the continuing crackdown against dissent in Turkey. Over 15,000 people have been detained, numerous news outlets have been shut down, and arrest warrants have been issued for many journalists. President Erdogan justified his actions by saying that the coup supporters had threatened democracy by trying to establish a “parallel state” within the military, media and civil service.

A string of violent attacks have left eighteen dead in and around Baghdad. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the style of the attack reportedly points to ISIS. Meanwhile, a provincial council in Babil, located south of Baghdad, granted permission for the destruction of homes of convicted militants, and exile their families.

All supply routes into eastern Allepo have been cut off according to an announcement by the Syrian army. The following day, however, Russia stated that four humanitarian corridors would be established for civilians and fighters to exit the city. The U.S. has expressed concern that these corridors are merely an instrument to force the evacuation of civilians, and the surrender of the rebels.

At least fifty were killed and dozens wounded when truck and motorcycle bombs exploded in Qamishli, Syria. ISIS has taken responsibility.

Syria’s al-Nusra front has reportedly split from al-Qaida to,subvert U.S.-Russian cooperation in attacking the group. This move may undermine U.S. operations in Syria, given that the group will now attempt to more closely align itself with other Syrian rebels, including those that have U.S. support.  Nevertheless, at least one analyst remains skeptical that the move is more than a public relations stunt.

Kabul, Afghanistan was rocked by explosions last week that killed over eighty people and wounded 230, in the worst attack the nation has seen since 2001. The attack occurred during a demonstration over a multimillion dollar power line that a minority group, the Hazara, wanted the government to route through their impoverished provinces.

In other news out of Afghanistan, five U.S. troops were wounded in combat with ISIS during a joint operation with Afghan special forces in the east of the country.

Fifty-two individuals have been arrested in Morocco on suspicion of having ties with ISIS. The country has been tracking suspected ISIS sympathizers since the radical network was recognized as an international threat.

China and Russia plan to partake in joint naval drills in the South China Sea this fall. The U.S. State Department is concerned that this could increase tensions in the disputed area.

North Korea announced that the U.S. sanctions against Kim Jong Un and ten others amount to a declaration of war against North Korea. The individuals were added to the sanctions list because of an alleged connection to human rights abuses. North Korea also warned against carrying out the annual joint war games with the U.S. taking place next month in South Korea.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s announced that the unilateral ceasefire may be withdrawn following the involvement of communist militants, with which the government has been fighting for nearly fifty years, in the death of a government official. Duterte is prepared to have peace talks with the groups, but vows to continue fighting terrorist organizations, criminals, and drug offenders.

Around the web:

Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euro Arms Pipeline to the Middle East. Lawrence Marzouk, Ivan Angelovski and Miranda Patrucic discuss how the flow of arms exports to Middle East nations continue, and illegal weapons end up in the hands of warring militants, many of whom are suspected of committing human rights atrocities.

Children Detained in War Zones. This Human Rights Watch piece discusses the findings of its recent report, Extreme Measures: Abuses against Children Detained as National Security Threats, which chronicles how children are captured, detained, and abused while in custody.

Iran covertly recruits Afghan Shias to fight in Syria. Sune Engel Rasmussen and Zahra Nader discuss the alarming new trend responsible for coercing tens of thousands of Afghan men to fight a war in Syria to which Afghanistan is not a party.

 On the blog:

International Humanitarian Law: A Primer for Professionals. Register for one of our upcoming one-day workshops. Audience members will learn to recognize and understand situations where international humanitarian law is applicable. CLE credits are available! Contact us at ihlaw@redcross.org to apply and obtain more information.

 

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