In a world gripped by a pandemic, it can be difficult to remember that the war in Syria is still happening. AP
Syria's brutal conflict enters its 10th year Sunday with President Bashar Al Assad's regime consolidating its hold over a war-wracked country with a decimated economy where foreign powers flex their muscles.
When Syrians took to the streets on March 15, 2011, they could scarcely have imagined their anti-government protests would turn into a complex war entangling rebels, jihadists and outside forces.
At least 384,000 people have since died, including more than 116,000 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Saturday.
The conflict has displaced more than 11 million people internally and abroad.
"Nine years of revolution illustrate the extent of the suffering we have known, between exile, bombings and deaths," said Hala Ibrahim, a rights activist who now lives in the town of Dana, in Idlib province.
"I left my university, my house which was bombed," the woman in her 30s said. "We've lost everything."
Originally from the northern city of Aleppo, Ibrahim left in late 2016 after the regime retook rebel-held areas and she sought refuge in Idlib.
The northwestern region — Syria's last rebel stronghold — is the regime's latest target.
Thanks to the military support of Russia, Iran and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Assad has clawed back control of over 70 per cent of the war-torn country.
A fragile ceasefire came into effect in the northwest earlier this month, and Turkish and Russian officials have agreed to start joint patrols in Idlib.
Syrian forces and Russian warplanes have heavily bombarded the region since December, killing nearly 500 civilians, the Observatory says, and forcing nearly a million to flee, according to the United Nations.
The struggle for Syria continues unabated with Russia and Turkey as the chief external actors. In his book entitled, “The Struggle for Syria,” British journalist and historian
Turkish and Russian officials are reviewing deployment of their forces in the Syrian border region of Tel Rifaat, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Sunday, a day after cross-border fire from the area killed one Turkish soldier.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart discussed by phone developments in Syria’s Idlib province and measures to reduce tension in the area, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
Authorities have apprehended, warned and penalised around 700,000 people since March for violating measures such as ignoring physical distancing and not wearing masks, police data shows.
"The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the kingdom's national COVID-19 response," said Mariam Al Jalahma, CEO of the National Health Regulatory Authority...
The NCM has warned of the formation of fog and lack of visibility, appealing to motorists to exercise precautions to preserve the public safety.
Bloomberg described Sheikh Mohamed as the peacemaker in the Middle East, after he revolutionized the geopolitics by announcing the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel for the first time in the region, after the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, 26 years ago.