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Iraq

Syria Criticizes US Senator's Comment on Golan Heights

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:36
Syria's Foreign Ministry is blasting U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for his comments in which he vowed to push for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights calling them "arrogant" and stressing that Israeli occupation will eventually end.   The ministry's statement on Tuesday said that according to the United Nations, the Golan Heights are considered Syrian occupied lands.   The South Carolina Republican said Monday he aimed to change the...
Categories: Iraq

Israeli Arabs Furious Over Netanyahu 'Citizen' Comments

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 20:20
Arab citizens of Israel have been expressing anger over recent comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel "is not a country of all its citizens." Some Israeli Arabs are calling for a boycott of Israel’s election. The first shots of the battle played out on Instagram, with actress and model Rotem Sela posting "When the hell will someone in the government convey to the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens." Israeli Prime...
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Final Battle Against IS Caliphate as 'Good as Over'

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 18:07
About 3,000 people, mostly Islamic State fighters, poured out of the IS enclave of Baghuz Tuesday, as U.S.-backed forces targeted the terror group's self-proclaimed caliphate with rockets and gunfire.   Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish officials said hundreds of Islamic State fighters and their families surrendered en masse Tuesday. The SDF reported that three Yazidi women and four Yazidi children also were rescued by U.S.-backed forces as they moved into parts of...
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UN Agency: Thousands Trapped in Yemen's Northern Flashpoint

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:31
 A U.N. humanitarian agency warned Tuesday that thousands of Yemeni civilians caught in fierce clashes between warring factions are trapped in an embattled northern district, an area that has become another flashpoint in the country's bitter civil war.   The number of displaced in the Kushar district in the impoverished Hajjah governorate has doubled over the past six months, with over 5,300 families fleeing from the district and its surrounding area in the past weeks,...
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Report: Iran Preparing for Role in Syria's Reconstruction

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 04:00
Iranian construction companies are to build thousands of residential units in the suburbs of Syria's capital, Damascus, an Iranian state-run news agency has reported. Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) recently quoted a business official with the country's investment association, who announced that Iran would build 200,000 residential units near Damascus. Iraj Rahbar, vice president of Iran's Mass Construction Society, said the massive housing project has come about after...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 01:13
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to seven years in jail for security offenses, a judge at Tehran's Revolutionary Court told semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday. The seven-year verdict could be the tip of the iceberg in a much harsher sentence that amounts to 38 years in prison, according to a Facebook post by her husband Reza Khandan. "Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to five years for colluding against the system and two years for...
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UN Says 2018 Deadliest Year Yet for Syrian Children, with 1,106 Killed

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 01:09
Last year was the deadliest yet for children in Syria, with more than 1,100 killed by fighting, the United Nations said on Monday, with the bloody conflict about to enter its ninth year. U.N. children's agency UNICEF said it had been able to verify 1,106 child deaths from the fighting in 2018 — the highest annual toll since war broke out in 2011 — but that the true figure was likely to be much higher  "Today there exists an alarming misconception that the conflict in...
Categories: Iraq

Iran's Rouhani Signs Trade Pacts in Iraq to Help Offset US Sanctions

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:44
Iraq and Iran signed several preliminary trade deals on Monday, Iraqi officials said, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his first visit seeking to bolster Tehran's influence and expand commercial ties to help offset renewed U.S. sanctions. The deals, among them a plan to build a railway linking the neighbors, emerged soon after the start of Rouhani's visit, meant to underline that Tehran still plays a dominant role in Iraq despite U.S. efforts to isolate the Islamic...
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Houthi Rebels, Saudis Trade Blame Over Deaths of 20 Civilians in Northern Yemen

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:35
Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition blamed each other on Monday for the deaths of more than 20 civilians in a village in northern Yemen over the past several days. The victims include children. The Iranian-backed rebels blame Saudi-led airstrikes while Saudi television says the Houthis killed the civilians when rebel fighters tried to stop an uprising against their movement by a local tribe. Independent media have been unable to confirm the deaths. A Saudi-led coalition has...
Categories: Iraq

US Citizen Michael White Reportedly Sentenced in Iranian Court

Voice of America - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 00:25
A U.S. citizen held in Iran has been sentenced for an unspecified crime, Iranian news agencies reported Monday, in a case likely to worsen already terrible relations with the United States. Michael White, a 46-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, was arrested last July while visiting his Iranian girlfriend, the New York Times has reported. The arrest — the only known one of a U.S. citizen since President Donald Trump took office — was confirmed by Iran in January. On Monday, the prosecutor in...
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Bouteflika Will Not Seek 5th Term as Algeria's President

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 21:00
Algeria's presidency said Monday that longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika will not seek a fifth term as president, despite filing the paperwork to do so last week. The presidency also announced that elections, initially scheduled for April 18, will be postponed. Algerian media also reported that Bouteflika has named Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui as the country's new prime minister and charged him with forming a new government. Bedoui will replace Prime Minister Ahmed...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Camp in Crisis as Forces Attack Last IS Stronghold

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 19:46
“I pray my children will follow their father’s path,” said Intesar Mohammed, surrounded by three of her four children in a muddy, trash-strewn tent in northern Syria.   Her husband was an Islamic State militant who was killed in 2018. Her fourth child is being held by security forces, accused of being a militant himself.   Internationally-backed Syrian forces are in the throes of what they believe is their last battle to take back IS territories in Syria, declaring on...
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Israeli Court Sentences Soldiers for Abusing Palestinians

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 18:01
Three Israeli soldiers charged with abusing Palestinian detainees have been sentenced to six and a half months in prison under a plea deal with a military court. The court approved the plea bargain late Sunday after the soldiers confessed to severely abusing two Palestinian suspects. The agreement, which avoided more serious assault charges, calls for the soldiers to serve 190 days in prison followed by probation, and demotes the soldiers in rank. The defense welcomed the plea deal,...
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Restive Algeria Awaits Decisive Move From Returned President

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 17:27
Algerian teenagers and lawyers held protests Monday, and workers held scattered walkouts, as their tense nation waits to see whether ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offers any concessions in the face of unprecedented protests. Algerian media and protest leaders expect it could be a decisive day for the gas-rich North African country, after Bouteflika returned home Sunday from two weeks in a Swiss hospital. His absence saw growing demonstrations demanding that he withdraw his...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Camp in Crisis as IS Families Flood In

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 13:16
As Internationally backed Syrian forces continue what they believe is their final battle for Islamic State-controlled territory, more than 65,000 people — almost all women and children — have evacuated to camps in northern Syria. No one expected or planned for these massive crowds and many of those displaced are defiant, vowing that IS will rise again. From the al-Hol camp in northern Syria, VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Categories: Iraq

Iran's Rouhani Meets Top Iraqi Officials on Day One of Three-day State Visit

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 01:33
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began a three-day state visit to Iraq Monday by meeting host President Barham Salih, amid hopes of increasing the volume of trade between the two countries, despite U.S. economic sanctions that were imposed on Tehran in August and November of last year. It's not clear how far Iraq will go to strengthen economic ties with Tehran, but Iraq has been Iran's most important trading partner in recent years. An Iraqi military band played bagpipes as an...
Categories: Iraq

Organization in Iraq's Kurdish Region Helps College Graduates Start Businesses

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 01:13
One of the biggest concerns for university graduates in Iraq is finding a job. Young graduates often seek the government’s help to find employment, but in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraq's Kurdish region there's another alternative. An organization called 5-1 Labs helps train and fund young graduates who want to start a small business. VOA’s Rebaz Majeed attended the organization’s first seminar and filed this report narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.
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Erdogan Slams Women's Day Rally Over 'Rude' Behavior

Voice of America - Mon, 03/11/2019 - 00:25
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused International Women's Day protesters of being led by political rivals and of "disrespect" during the Islamic call to prayer, after Friday's march was broken up by police firing tear gas.          Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul on Friday in defiance of a ban by authorities, crowding the famous Istiklal avenue, before a police crackdown brought the...
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UN: Teacher Salaries Paid to Keep Yemeni Children in School

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 22:41
The United Nations children's agency says it has started paying over 136,000 teachers and school-based staff in Yemen who haven't received their salaries in over two years. UNICEF says Sunday its scheme covers staff in over 10,300 schools and will benefit an estimated 3.7 million children. It says over 2 million children are already out of school, out of seven million school-aged children. Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Mideast and North Africa, says...
Categories: Iraq

US-Backed Forces in Final Assault to Wipe Out IS Enclave

Voice of America - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 20:40
Clashes and fierce fighting continued in northeastern Syria Monday, where U.S.-backed forces say their final assault on the Islamic State terror group enclave of Baghuz is underway. A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mustafa Bali, said IS militants are fighting back with suicide bombers and damaged an SDF minesweeper.  Writing on Twitter, he said the fighting has killed one SDF member and wounded four others.  He added that U.S-led coalition airstrikes are destroying...
Categories: Iraq