Palestinian prisoners end hunger strikes after 90 days

Palestinian prisoners Ahmad Abu Farah and Anas Shadid announced the suspension of their hunger strikes on Thursday, following an agreement with the Israeli military prosecution that the two would be released after one final renewal of their administrative detentions for four months. Shadid and Abu Farah had been in critical conditions after going 90 and 91 days without food, respectively, in protest of being imprisoned by Israel without charge or trial under the widely-condemned policy of administrative detention. Lawyer Ahlam Haddad said that Abu Fara and Shadid agreed to the Israeli prosecution’s offer after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the appeal to release them immediately. According to Haddad, the court refused to cancel their sentences outright, saying that they would […]

Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds 2 months after being shot by Israeli forces

After being shot in the head by Israeli forces during clashes in October, 16-year-old Palestinian Fares Ziad Al-Bayed succumbed to his wounds yesterday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Fares was critically injured after being shot in the head with a live bullet during clashes on 15 October at Al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, following a march commemorating the first anniversary of the killing of 13-year-old Ahmad Sharaka, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last year during clashes. In addition to Fares, some 20 other Palestinians suffered injuries during the clashes, with youth throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who responded with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel […]

Turkish official rules out reconciliation with Egypt

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has reaffirmed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unwavering position towards Egypt. “The convergence of views between Egypt and Turkey require several steps,” Kurtulmus said. Remarking on domestic and regional issues, he accused the Fethullah Gulen group of planning the assassination of the Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov earlier this week. Saudi’s Okaz newspaper reported the senior Turkish official as saying that the special relationship between his country and Russia does not mean the “removal of all points of disagreement between Ankara and Moscow”. Kurtulmuş said he hopes that Turkey, Russia and the concerned countries reach a solution to the Syrian conflict. Meanwhile, he ruled out that the idea that Syrian regime President Bashar Al-Assad will have […]

Saudi women condemn link between working and divorce

Saudi women have taken to social media to contest figures released by the General Authority of Statistics indicating that women who do not work are less likely to get a divorce. The study showed that on average, the number of working women who have divorced was 72,895, whereas the number of stay-at-home wives who divorce was 14,856. No explanation was given as to the reason behind the divorces. It has also led many to use the statistics as empirical evidence against allowing women to work, reiterating that a woman’s place is in the home. On social media, Saudi women began their fight back using a hashtag, which is translated to ‘work is not the reason for divorce’, which then instigated […]

30 Houthi and Saleh fighters killed on Saudi border

Saudi military forces yesterday intercepted an attack carried out by Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia group and its allies near the kingdom’s borders, Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya reported. According to the news channel, the confrontations lasted three hours as Houthi militiamen tried to infiltrate Saudi territory before being pushed back by Saudi artillery and helicopter gunships. Members of the Saudi-led coalition also took part in the fighting by bombing Houthi positions. Around 30 Houthi militia fighters and fighters loyal to ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh were killed in the confrontation and several of their missile platforms destroyed, the news channel quoted unnamed security sources as saying. Houthi officials have yet to comment on the reports. Houthi and Saleh militias staged […]

Assad thanks Russia for being main partner in Aleppo

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday for having been Syria’s main partner in the retaking of Aleppo from rebel forces, and said the city’s fall had opened the door to a political process. The two leaders spoke by phone and discussed the way forward for Syria after almost six years of war, according to a statement published by the office of the Syrian Presidency.

Fatah MPs protest in Gaza

A number of Fatah lawmakers held a protest yesterday in the Palestinian Legislative Council Square in Gaza City to condemn a recent decision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to strip five parliament members of their immunity. The participants carried the movement’s flags and banners that condemned the decision. “Those who fear for the future of the political system in Palestine do not revoke MP immunity,” a banner read. The protesters said in a statement that they are committed to respecting the MPs’ immunity which is guaranteed by law, adding that the lawmakers represent the Palestinian people’s conscience and that their immunity is confirmation of the popular will. The protesters have also affirmed their rejection of the formation of the Constitutional […]

US commander says forces embedding more to help Iraqis retake Mosul

US forces assisting Iraqi troops to retake Mosul from Islamic State are embedding more extensively, a senior commander said on Friday, a move that could accelerate a two-month-old campaign which has slackened after quick initial advances. More than 5,000 American service members are currently deployed in Iraq as part of an international coalition that is advising local forces in a bid to recapture the one-third of the country which the jihadists seized in 2014 when Iraq’s army and police dropped their weapons and fled. Coalition advisors were initially concentrated at a high-level headquarters in Baghdad but have fanned out over the past two years to multiple locations to stay near advancing troops. Now, as Iraqi forces controlling around a quarter […]

Lessons learnt from the fall of Aleppo

Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, the government restricted independent media outlets and barred international news agencies from covering the anti-government protests. As a result, a wave of Syrian volunteers from all walks of life became activists and citizen journalists; they started to report on the revolution, challenging the government’s official narrative of the uprising. Many of these activists became the voices of the people in besieged areas, revolution icons and, sometimes, the only source of information about the situation on the ground. Their media work varied and was complemented by Syrian and non-Syrian activists outside the country who often translated and coordinated the work of those inside. The reactions of opposition activists within and beyond Syria […]

Turkey: A letter from the Russian ambassador’s assassin

A letter written by the man who killed the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, has been found by investigators, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Harun Kodalak revealed According to the letter, Russia’s brutal activities in the world led to the assassination in an art gallery on Monday. Investigators consider the message an attempt to divert attention to other matters. Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old off-duty Turkish policeman, shot Karlov in the gallery. In the message he noted that both Russia and the United States will end very soon. “You’ll not feel safe as long as we, Arabs, do not feel safe in our countries,” he added. Police pointed out that, in addition to the letter, they found other books written by […]