You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • US military attacks al-Shabab in Somalia
    U.S. military forces attacked the extremist al-Shabab network in Somalia Monday, the Pentagon said, and a witness described ground-shaking explosions in a strike that reportedly targeted the group’s leader.
  • Group accuses extremists of war crimes in Iraq
    An international rights group accused the extremist Islamic State group on Tuesday of carrying out a systematic campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in northern Iraq that includes mass killings, abductions and other war crimes.
  • Clashes between Islamists, rivals in Libya kill 31
    Fierce clashes between Libyan Islamist militiamen and rival forces loyal to a renegade general have killed 31 fighters on both sides, a Libyan security official said Tuesday.
Advertisement
Also
Syrian rebels get French aid
PARIS – France has started providing direct aid and money to five rebel-held Syrian cities as it intensifies efforts to weaken President Bashar Assad, in the first such move by a Western power, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.
Amid mounting calls for the international community to do more to prevent bloodshed, France – Syria’s onetime colonial ruler – has pushed to secure “liberated zones” in Syria. It has increased its contacts with armed opposition groups and started giving aid Friday to local citizens’ councils in five cities outside the government’s control, the diplomatic source said.
The aid is notably helping restore water supplies, bakeries and schools affected by Syria’s civil war, with the aim of helping rebel-held areas run themselves, the diplomatic official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the French actions amid Syria’s violence.
Associated Press
Syrian residents throw buckets of water on a bombed-out building Tuesday in Aleppo, Syria.

Syria accused of state terror

Turks cite toll; Iran linked to supply flights

– Turkey accused Syria of “state terrorism” Wednesday after a sharp spike in the death toll from the Syrian civil war, and Iran came under new scrutiny with the U.S. alleging that Tehran is flying weapons to President Bashar Assad’s regime across Iraqi airspace.

With violence escalating in the nearly 18-month-old crisis, strains rippled across the region as Egypt’s president urged Assad to take a lesson from the Arab Spring uprisings that deposed other leaders and step down.

There appears to be no end in sight for the conflict, however. Neither side seems to be able to gain a significant advantage in the fighting that has killed 23,000 people, according to activists’ estimates.

Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Assad and is host to Syrian opposition groups as well as about 80,000 of the more than 200,000 refugees who have fled to surrounding countries to escape the bloodshed.

“The regime has become one of state terrorism,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Syria is going through a huge humanitarian saga. Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims.”

The Syrian government’s crackdown has led to worldwide condemnation and sanctions, weakened the economy and left Assad an international pariah just as he was trying to open up his country and modernize the economy. His few remaining allies include Iran, Russia and China.

The New York Times reported that U.S. officials believe Iran resumed shipments of military equipment to Syria via Iraqi airspace in July after a three-month hiatus.

Ali al-Moussawi, media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, confirmed that Iranian planes are flying over Iraq to deliver goods to Syria. But he said Tehran has assured al-Maliki that the flights are carrying only food and other humanitarian aid for victims of the civil war.

“The Iraqi government is carefully monitoring this issue both in the sky and ground,” al-Moussawi told The Associated Press. He said Iraq has warned Iran against flying weapons though its airspace.

“The Iranian government has said that it respects our decisions,” he said. “Until now, there is no evidence of any violation in this regard, and if anyone has any evidence, they should bring it to us and we will take the needed measures.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Iraq’s failure to stop the flights could threaten the long-term relationship with the U.S. as well as aid Iraq could receive as part of a 2008 strategic pact between the two nations.

Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman at the White House, said Tehran “will stop at nothing to support a Syrian regime that is murdering its own people,” adding that Iraq, like all other nations, must block Iran from exporting arms.

Advertisement