Syria

Syria says Israeli airstrike kills 4 civilians, wounds 21

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Israeli warplanes attacked military positions in central Syria early Monday, with a missile near Damascus killing four civilians and wounding 21, Syrian state media reported.

Israeli warplanes fired missiles from Lebanese airspace targeting military positions in the central province of Homs and suburbs of the capital, said Syrian state news agency SANA, adding that Syrian air defense forces opened fire toward the Israeli missiles.

SANA said the dead included a baby and that other children were among the wounded in the town of Sahnaya, southwest of Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitor, said 15 people were killed in the airstrike, including six civilians and nine pro-government fighters.Read more on NewsOK.com

Australia says 8 Australian children to return from Syria

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister says eight Australian offspring of two slain Islamic State group fighters have been removed from Syria in Australia's first organized repatriation from the conflict zone.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the eight children being repatriated were in the care of Australian government officials.Read more on NewsOK.com

Satellite images show crops on fire in Syria rebel enclave

BEIRUT (AP) — New satellite photos obtained on Tuesday show significant damage to Syrian villages and surrounding farmland as a result of a government offensive on the last rebel stronghold in the country.

The images, provided to The Associated Press by the Colorado-based Maxar Technologies, show fires in olive groves and orchards during harvest season around Kfar Nabudah and Habeet, two villages on the edge of Idlib province where the latest fighting has focused.

The fires were apparently sparked by intense bombing in the area.

Kfar Nabudah fell to government control on Sunday.Read more on NewsOK.com

War, Migrants’ Plight Lend Somber Tone to Venice Film Fest

VENICE, Italy — Five words sum up this year’s Venice Film Festival: “Based on a true story.”
Inside, movie screens exploded with the forces roiling our world: war, terrorism and the vast migration bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the shores of Europe.
Outside, hundreds of demonstrators — many of them barefoot — marched Friday to the festival’s Palace of Cinema to show support for those fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
Throughout the 11-day festival, as beachgoers lounged on the sands of Venice’s lush Lido island, filmmakers and actors expressed dismay at the migrants’ plight and their mixed reception in Europe.

Displaced people were onscreen in “A Bigger Splash,” where refugees plucked from the Mediterranean were background players to the story of a rock star (Tilda Swinton) and her emotional entanglements.
Luca Guadagnino’s film drew boos at its press screenings from some who found the juxtaposition crass. But Swinton said the Italian director was simply showing reality.
“The idea that it’s possible to not be aware of this reality — which, by the way, has been a reality for decades — is becoming less and less tenable,” Swinton said.
“The more people’s tendency to want to edit this out and not be aware gets squeezed, squeezed, squeezed, that’s got to be a good thing,” she added. “Everybody has got to grow up about this and take proper, human responsibility.”
Reality was hard to avoid at the festival, which ends Saturday with the presentation of the Golden Lion prize. Many of the movies told stories that seemed to come straight from the news.
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There were African child soldiers drafted into a brutal civil war in Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation,” Afghan civilians caught between the Taliban and Danish troops in Tobias Lindholm’s “A War” and Turkish brothers trapped in escalating political violence in Emin Alper’s “Frenzy.”
Several films depicted real-life criminals and the social forces that made them: The assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, incited by extremist rabbis in Amos Gitai’s “Rabin: The Last Day”; Johnny Depp’s Boston gangster in league with corrupt cops in Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass”; kidnappers protected by a military dictatorship in Pablo Trapero’s Argentine thriller “El Clan.”
Festival director Alberto Barbera said the lineup reflected a feeling among filmmakers that “we seem to have lost control of our world.”
“They feel that they need to face reality, to reflect on reality,” he said.
Many didn’t like what they saw.
MORE:If Prague Is a Fairytale, Venice Is a Painting
“The political atmosphere in the Middle East is horrible,” said “Frenzy” director Alper, whose film premiered amid rising violence between Turkish troops and Kurdish militants.
“It’s getting more and more horrible these days. Of course Turkey is (affected) because it has a border with Syria,” he said. “Now you can see in every city there are refugees coming from Syria and they’re begging on the streets and some of them are trying to go to Europe and you see these horrible, terrible pictures.”
Those pictures — a drowned boy on a beach, a distraught father with his baby in his arms — have moved and troubled people around the world.
Canadian director Atom Egoyan attended the festival with “Remember,” a thriller about the Holocaust. He said images of migrants getting a hostile reception in a European nation like Hungary were chilling.
“Did you think that you would find in Europe that people would still be pushed into a train and taken to a place where there would be police waiting for them?” Egoyan said. “That just seems horrifying and shockingly insensitive. How can that happen again?”

Your Evening News Brief in Pictures: August 24, 2015

Lebanese activists chant slogans during an anti-government protest in front the main Lebanese government building, downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Organizers of the “You stink” protests that have captivated the Lebanese capital postponed anti-government demonstrations set for Monday evening after a night of violent clashes with police during which dozens of protesters and police officers were wounded. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko hands over a flag of a military unit as a soldier kisses the flag before a military parade on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day in the capital Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Speaking at the parade, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine would continue to increase its troop numbers in order to fend off the attacks of separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agency’s Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)Disaster response personnel walk next to the wreckage of an Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison aircraft that crashed in Soibugh on the outskirts of Srinagar on Aug. 24, 2015. The pilot bailed out and was rescued by an army helicopter near the crash site, after the aircraft went down on a routine training flight, officials said. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images) NASA astronauts shot this unusual photograph of a red sprite above the white light of an active thunderstorm. The sprite was 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) away, high over Missouri or Illinois; the lights of Dallas, Texas appear in the foreground. (NASA)A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Aug. 24, 2015, in New York. As the global economy continues to react from events in China, markets dropped significantly around the world on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped over 1000 points in morning trading. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (L-R) French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Off-duty serviceman Spencer Stone next to off-duty serviceman Alek Skarlatos on Aug. 24, 2015, during a reception at the Elysee Palace in Paris, to be awarded with France’s top Legion d’Honneur medal in recognition of their bravery after they overpowered the train attacker. (Michel Euler/AFP/Getty Images) Conservation activists hold banners as they demonstrate in Nairobi, on Aug. 24, 2015, against the release on bail of suspected ringleader of an ivory smuggling gang Feisal Mohammed Ali on Aug. 21 by a court in Mombasa, where he has been in jail since December last year after he was arrested by Interpol agents in Dar es Salaam. “Ivory kingpin” Ali is charged with possession of and dealing in elephant tusks weighing more than two tonnes — equivalent to at least 114 slaughtered elephants and worth an estimated $4.5 million (4.2 million euros). (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) A woman squats in a window of a badly flooded hall after strong rains hit Shanghai on Aug. 24, 2015. Heavy rains brought by a cold front and enhanced by passing Typhoon Goni, currently near Japan’s Okinawa islands, brought flooding to many districts across Shanghai. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) A boy from Syria standing at the entrance of a tent cries and calls for his mother in the port of Mytilene, on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, on Aug. 24, 2015. With 1200 to 2000 people reaching the shores of the island in inflatable boats from Turkey on a daily basis, both of the island’s transit camps are full, and many migrants choose to sleep in the port and parks. An aid groupd warned on August 18 that an unprecedented spike in refugee arrivals on Greek shores is pushing the resort island of Lesbos to “breaking point”. In the week prior to that alone, 20,843 migrants—virtually all of them fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq—have arrived in Greece, which has seen around 160,000 migrants land on its shores since January. (Achilleas Zavallis/AFP/Getty Images) A baby and a woman, framed by a life buoy, who were rescued together other migrants, wait to disembark from the Irish Navy vessel LE Niamh at the Messina harbor in Sicily, Italy, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Italy’s coast guard says it coordinated the rescue of some 4,400 migrants in a single day, Sunday, a record-setting number, as smugglers took advantage of idea sea conditions off Libya to launch a fleet of overcrowded, unseaworthy boats. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi) Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Kane is accused of leaking secret grand jury information to the press, lying under oath and ordering aides to illegally snoop through computer files to keep tabs on an investigation into the leak. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) James Stumbo (2nd L) and Kevin Norton (R) both of Iowa, stand in court during their arraignment at Boston Municipal Court in Boston, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, with their lawyers Steven Goldwyn (L) and John O’Neill, Jr., (2nd R). Stumbo and Norton were arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and other firearms charges after allegedly threatening the Pokémon World Championships at Hynes Convention Center in Boston. (Chitose Suzuki/Boston Herald via AP, Pool) Palestinian boys ride a donkey to go to school on the first day of the new school year on Aug. 24, 2015, in the West Bank village of Susya, south-east of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)

Raw Images of War in Syria by Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Manu Brabo

Spaniard Manu Brabo studied photography in The School of Arts and Crafts in Oviedo and then journalism in Carlos III University in Madrid. His first big break came in 2011, coming on board with the Associated Press to cover the crisis in Libya.
Right away, Brabo started to submit photos with his signature style: Raw. He is the bona fide war zone photographer, he’s there shooting when the soldiers are shooting and he’s there afterwards photographing the wounded, the dead, and the living grieving over their dead. Sometimes, his images are so point-blank graphic, that they are painful to look at. And it is true that some pictures, though definitely impactful, I just couldn’t make myself to include in the gallery.
Perhaps it was this gutsy approach that caused Brabo to fall into Libyan captivity in 2011. Fortunately, he was later released.
Still in 2011, he moved to Egypt and in 2012 to Syria. Along with fellow AP photographers, Rodrigo Abd, Khalil Hamra, and Muhammed Muheisen, Brabo was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography.
His photos of the conflict in Syria are truly staggering. Not only does he capture the grief and suffering of the war, but also moments of joy and ordinary life. The war in Syria claimed estimated 30,000 lives and its repercussions are felt far beyond its borders, if only through the influx of Syrian refugees. It is people like Manu Brabo who remind us of its realities and sometimes also shake us up, hopefully to wake up our compassion.