Lives torn apart by jihadism, two Belgian mothers turn to writing | AFP

Two Belgian women, one the mother of a jihadist imprisoned in Syria, the other of a young woman wounded during the 2016 Brussels attacks, decide to write a book about what unites them, due to be released by the end of 2020.

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Aftermath of regime air strikes in northern Syria | AFP

At least seven civilians were killed after regime air strikes on several localities in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory. In the village of Al-Jeneh, three children have died, and the survivors are left to deal with the aftermath.

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International conference on Libya: Angela Merkel welcomes Macron | AFP

Angela Merkel welcomes the President of France Emmanuel Macron in Berlin for the International conference on Libya. World leaders gather to make a fresh push for peace in Libya, in a desperate bid to stop the conflict-wracked nation from turning into a “second Syria”. Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi. IMAGES

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More than 500 dead in Syria’s Al-Hol in 2019: medics | AFP

The Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria is home to around 68,000 people who are reliant on humanitarian assistance, especially during harsh winter month. In an exclusive interview with AFP, a Kurdish Red Crescent spokesperson said 371 children are among the 517 people who died in the squalid tent city in 2019.

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Syria: ambulances rush to the site of an air strike in Idlib province | AFP

Ambulances rush to the site hit by a Syrian regime air strike in the opposition-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, with residents and rescuers also searching for victims in the town of Binnish, alos in Idlib provincem after it was also hit by regime air strikes. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, regime air strikes on the Idlib region on Saturday killed six civilians, including four from the same family.

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For Syrians in Idlib, killing of Soleimani a ‘victory’ | AFP

In parts of the Middle East, Qasem Soleimani is revered as a hero. But in opposition-held Syria, the slain Iranian commander was seen as the man to kill and many see his death as “victory”.

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Pakistani Shiite Muslim women hold candlelight vigil for slain Iranian commander Soleimani | AFP

Pakistani Shiite Muslim women hold a candlelight vigil in Islamabad for top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani after his assassination at the age of 62 in a US drone strike in Baghdad. The powerful Iranian commander was hailed as a “living martyr” in the Islamic republic for his military and strategic exploits that included halting the Islamic State group as it rampaged across Iraq and Syria.

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Syrian activists organise a football game for internally displaced in northwestern Syria | AFP

Syrian local activists organise a football game in a muddy field in a camp for the internally displaced west of Sarmada town in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey. The latest round of violence in Syria’s nearly nine-year-old war, saw regime forces upping their deadly bombardment of the northwestern province of Idlib, pushing, in December alone according to the United Nations, some 284,000 from their homes in the jihadist-run region of some three million people.

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Syria displaced start new year in abandoned prison | AFP

Children play in a prison courtyard, while adults divide a cell inside between several families. Fleeing violence in northwest Syria, they found nowhere else to go. They are among hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by war who are starting the new year far from home in the embattled opposition stronghold of Idlib.

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Iraqis in Kirkuk province denounce US strike on pro-Iran group | AFP

Iraqis hold a demonstration in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, to denounce Sunday’s attacks by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near Al-Qaim, an Iraqi district bordering Syria.

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Video shows Hezbollah positions after US attacks

An Iranian-backed militia says the death toll from U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria against its fighters had risen to 25, and vowed to exact revenge. The Associated Press viewed the aftermath of airstrikes in western Iraq. (Dec. 30)

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Protesters demonstrate in Baghdad after US attacks

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Baghdad after the U.S. carried out military strikes in Iraq and Syria targeting a militia the Pentagon says launched an attack killing an American contractor. (Dec. 30)

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AP Top Stories December 30 A

Here’s the latest for Monday December 30th: U.S. announces military strikes in Iraq and Syria; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un calls for unspecified offensive; Police: Armed parishioners kill Texas church gunman; New York stabbing suspect pleads not guilty.

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US says air strikes on Iran-backed group “successful” | AFP

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper says air strikes against a pro-Iran militant group in Iraq and Syria have succeeded.

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Syria: Activists distribute Christmas presents at camp for displaced | AFP

Activists distribute Christmas presents to displaced Syrian children living in the Washukanni camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the mainly Kurdish northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh. The gesture is part of the “We are with you” campaign organised by Kurdish Syrian youths living abroad who decided to send gifts to displaced children as a result of the eight-year-old conflict in Syria.

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AP Top Stories December 26 P

Here’s the latest for Thursday December 26th: Trump warns of ‘carnage’ in rebel stronghold in Syria; US election officials get military-style training; Christmas typhoon leaves 20 dead in Philippines; Indonesians marvel at ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse.

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Displaced Syrian grows mushrooms to feed family | AFP

In a camp for the displaced in northern Syria, Nasrallah scatters mushroom spores into a bag of wet hay, hoping they will sprout and feed his family. After civil war erupted in Syria eight years ago, Nasrallah started growing the fungi in his home province of Hama. But earlier this year, increased regime bombardment on the Hama region forced his family to flee north towards the Turkish border.

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