GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian Ibrahim Mohammad al-Toum, 85, sleeps on the floor on a thin mattress in a Gaza schoolroom, displaced for the third time in six years.
A farmer of oranges and lemons, his house in northern Gaza City has been bombed in each of the three Israeli-Palestinian conflicts since 2008. He has no idea why he has been singled out in this way.
GAZA (Reuters) – The attack came from the air in the afternoon, smashing Jamal Doghmosh’s Gaza workshop to pieces, pitting his chest with shrapnel and severing his left arm.
When the 48-year-old Palestinian mechanic woke up in hospital, he could not hear properly and found that three fingers from his right hand were also gone.
GAZA (Reuters) – After spending most of the month-long Gaza war trapped at home watching the news for hours, Palestinian Salam al-Bayid returned to her university for the first time on Thursday to find the administration building with its facade in pieces.
With the ceasefire that started on Tuesday still holding, the 18-year-old architecture student had been looking forward to getting out and meeting her friends, but the damage at the Islamic University campus upset her.
KHUZAA Gaza (Reuters) – With its spacious villas and palm-lined streets, the town of Khuzaa in southern Gaza gave Palestinians a rare place to spend their free time before it was bombed and shelled to rubble last month.
Largely free of the local tensions and feuds found in other neighborhoods, Khuzaa’s green spaces were one of just a few destinations for daytrips in the crowded Gaza Strip, where 1.8 million people live in just 360 sq km (140 sq miles).
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The growing power of the ultra-hardline Islamic State means the Syrian army is now having to confront a group it has until now been reluctant to attack for political reasons.
The emergence of the al Qaeda offshoot, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has so far allowed President Bashar al-Assad to present himself to the world as a bulwark against Sunni Islamist radicals.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian armed forces have taken strategic ground around Aleppo this week, residents and state media said on Wednesday, squeezing the main rebel supply line into the city after months of battlefield gains by Damascus.
The government advance, after close to two years of stalemate, was bolstered by fighters from the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to Hezbollah.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Militants from the Islamic State group seized control of Syria’s largest oil field from rival Islamist fighters on Thursday, strengthening its advance across the eastern Deir al-Zor province, an opposition monitoring group said.
The capture of the al-Omar oil field gives Islamic State control of crude reserves which could be useful to its advancing fighters, and underlines how the al Qaeda offshoot has eclipsed its militant rivals by capturing territory and assets across Syria and Iraq in the past few weeks.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon faces the threat of political and economic collapse as the number of refugees pouring in from Syria is set to exceed a third of the population, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said on Thursday.
Derbas said the total was expected to hit 1.5 million by the end of the year, an excessive burden for a country of just 4 million people.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – An offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on Islamist websites and Twitter said on Sunday.
The move poses a direct challenge to the central leadership of al Qaeda, which has already disowned it, and to conservative Gulf Arab rulers.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Militant Islamist groups in Syria are recruiting children as young as 15 and sending them into battle after promising them a free education, a Human Rights Watch report said on Monday.
The report said the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has made rapid territorial gains across the border in Iraq, had given children weapons training in Syria and told them to carry out suicide bombings.