Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russian and Syrian air forces had stopped airstrikes on Aleppo from 10:00am local time (7:00 GMT), ahead of the announced “humanitarian pause” scheduled for Oct. 20.
The European Union on Monday (October 17) called on Russia to stop all bombing in Syria, and said that working with the United Nations it would redouble efforts to push humanitarian aid into the devastated city of Aleppo. Russia issued a surprise announcement the same day that it would impose an eight-hour “humanitarian pause” in military strikes this Thursday.
The EU’s security commissioner warns The European Union should be prepared for returning jihadists if the so-called Islamic State is driven out of its Iraqi stronghold, Mosul. Iraqi forces launched what is expected to be a lengthy offensive on Monday. As many as 5,000 IS fighters are believed to remain in Mosul.
The start Monday (October 17) of Iraqi military operations to wrest Mosul from ISIS kicks off one of the last major battles in the fight against the terror group, which declared its “caliphate” from Iraq’s then second-largest city in 2014. But if ISIS’s fate depends on the confrontation that will unfold in Mosul over the next few weeks or months, so will that of perhaps a million civilians left in the city, caught between ISIS and the government advance.
The U.S. military directly attacked Houthi rebels in Yemen for the first time last Wednesday (October 5) — firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at three rebel-held radar stations on the Red Sea coast. The attack, which was in retaliation for a failed missile attack on a U.S. Navy destroyer the previous Sunday, risks drawing the U.S. further into the 18-month war.
Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviews Orlando von Einsiedel, director of the new documentary “The White Helmets.” The documentary focuses on the Syrian Civil Defense, or the White Helmets. The group of some 3,000 volunteers has been credited with saving over 60,000 people from the rubble of buildings in war-torn Syria. Last month the group won a Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.
The deal struck between European leaders and Turkey last spring is slowly starting to look like “a ticking time bomb” as a lack of political will to implement the deal in Europe and Turkey has rising consequences. Gerald Knaus, director of the European Stability Initiative think tank and a primary architect of the refugee strategy, published a scathing report on the EU’s implementation of the plan last week, concluding “the current effort falls dramatically short.”