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Syria: Terrorists retreat, citizens flee from Eastern Ghouta



Syria: Terrorists retreat, citizens flee from Eastern Ghouta

Damascus wins civilians confidence

Finally situation in Eastern Ghauta near Damascus has moved forward with successful government’s dual strategy of continuing military operations against the armed groups and facilitating the civilians exit by implementing five-hour-a-day pause in hostilities as suggested by Russian government. So far some 2,000 civilians have left the besieged enclave.

According to Aljazeera, thousands of Syrians are fleeing a government-led offensive on the rebel-held  Eastern Ghouta as President Bashar al-Assad vowed that the fight would continue until the eradication of terrorism.

According to Syrian state media, President Basher al-Assad, in a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, has vowed to continue operations in Eastern Ghouta.  “We will continue fighting terrorism … and the Ghouta operation is a continuation of fighting terrorism,” he said.

“There is no contradiction between a truce and combat operations. The progress achieved yesterday and the day before in Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army was made during this truce. Therefore we must continue with the operation in parallel with opening the way for civilians to leave,” he said.

Read More:  Syria: Rescue leaflets for civilians, militants thrown in Eastern Ghouta

Syrian President also dismissed western claims concerning the humanitarian situation as ridiculous and false accusations. “The humanitarian situation which the West speaks of from time to time, is a very ridiculous lie, as ridiculous as the western officials who repeat it,” he said.

State media has claimed that Syrian forces have advanced on several fronts, retaking control of farms and villages. They seized a number of districts including Al-Nashabiyeh and Otaya and had “eradicated terrorist groups”. The Central Military Media said Syrian forces reached the outskirts of Mesraba, in central Ghouta.

Syrian official news agency SANA, in its latest report has claimed that it has undertaken camera tour over al-Nashabiyeh town in Eastern Ghouta after liberating it from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists.

Meanwhile, London based pro-rebel Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said that some 2,000 civilians had fled regime shelling and clashes in eastern areas to the western parts of the enclave.

“Everyone is on the road. There’s destruction everywhere,” said 35-year-old Abu Khalil, carrying a little girl in his arms with a wound to her face. “Many families are trapped under rubble, the rescue workers just can’t cope,” he said.

Syrian government forces have seized roughly one-quarter of the territory in recent days. They have reached the centre Eastern Ghouta to the edge of Beit Sawa.

Aljazeera reports that Hamza Biqdar, the spokesman of Jaish al-Islam rebel group, has in an audio message, vowed that government forces would be driven from the territory they had captured. He claimed that the rebels had fortified positions to confront the attacking forces.

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The spokesman further said that anti Assad rebels were forced to retreat and regroup in Eastern Ghouta because of the Syrian government’s “scorched earth” policy involving heavy artillery fire, air strikes, and helicopter attacks.

AFP correspondent in Eastern Ghouta saw hundreds of civilians fleeing from the town of Beit in the southeast of the enclave on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, SANA had reported that for the seventh consecutive day, Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization and the terrorists affiliated to it have prevented the civilians to exit from Ghouta through the safe corridor in al-Wafideen Camp.

Eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 people, has been under a crippling siege and daily bombardment for months. Western media has claimed that more than 600 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks alone.

Read More: Syria: US, Russia continue nursing interests amidst bloodshed

Recently, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed his serious concern saying that population of Ghouta is living in “hell on earth”. In one district, 93% of buildings had been damaged or destroyed by December 2017.

United Nations Human rights Council held an emergency meeting on March 2 when its chief Zaid Ra’ad al-Hussain said, “I must emphasise that what we are seeing, in Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere in Syria, are likely war crimes, and potentially, crimes against humanity. The perpetrators of these crimes must know they are being identified; that dossiers are being built up with a view to their prosecution; and that they will be held accountable for what they have done”.

Most of the areas, which were earlier captured by Daesh (IS), Jabhat al-Nusra and other anti Assad groups, have been liberated in recent months. Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama, Deir al-Zaur and several other cities and towns have already been liberated by Syrian forces supported by Hezbollah and Iranian military advisors on the ground and Russian warplanes in the air.

After completion of military operations in Eastern Ghouta Syrian forces will focus in liberating Idlib, where armed groups were transported from other areas during last one year.

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Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador



Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.



Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

Read Also: Delhi Police crackdown on anti-Modi posters, police arrest 4 including owner of printing press, 44 cases registered

The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi-NCR

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Rupert Murdoch set to marry for 5th time at 92

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer.



Rupert Murdoch Smith

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born American business magnate, announced on Monday that he will be marrying for the fifth time at the age of 92. Murdoch is already engaged to former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Talking about his fifth marriage, Murdoch, the 31st richest person in the United States, said he was very nervous, and dreaded falling in love, but he knew it would be his last. He said he is happy about it.

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer. He said that they both are looking forward to spending the second half of their lives together. They will spend their time between California, the UK, Montana and New York, reports state.

Smith is the widow of an American country singer and media executive who died in 2008. Speaking about the relationship with Murdoch, Smith said the two bonded over their shared knowledge of the media business.

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She said for both of them it’s a gift from God. She said she is a widow for 14 years. Smith went on to say that like Rupert, her husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations, and helped promote Univision. So she speaks Rupert’s language. They share the same beliefs, she added.

Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., has six children from his first three marriages. Prudence MacLeod, with his first wife Patricia Booker, then Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann. He has two more daughters, Grace and Chloe, with his third wife Wendi Deng.

Later, he married former supermodel Jerry Hall for the fourth time. But the couple decided to part ways eight months ago after being together for six years.

According to Forbes, Murdoch is believed to have a fortune of around $17 billion. His empire includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a string of other media assets around the world.

Rahul Gandhi says he won’t be intimidated days after Delhi Police search his residence

Traffic chaos as rain lashes Delhi NCR, more showers forecast tomorrow

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