Warzone News: Week of August 12, 2015
Resource of the Week: Step inside a conflict zone in this virtual reality depiction of Aleppo, Syria.
In Afghanistan, during the first half of 2015, there has been a higher number of civilian deaths than the same period last year. Following the appointment of a new Taliban leader, attacks continue in Kabul and the country’s north.
In Burundi, recent violence threatens peace in the region.
In the Central African Republic, the security situation is improving, although still fragile. A bizarre incident by a UN peacekeeper left 4 other peacekeepers dead. Francois Bozize, the country’s leader ousted at the beginning of the conflict in 2013, announced he will seek reelection in upcoming elections.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch is reporting ethnic fighting in the country’s north, especially against groups of pygmies.
In Iraq, a year after ISIS targeted Yezidis, survivors are still in need of assistance. A shortage of funds is forcing aid agencies to stop providing health care to Iraqis in need. While Iraqi forces are making gains against ISIS, these gains are slower than expected. In the year since the US began its offensive against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it has executed almost 6,000 airstrikes.
In Israel and Palestine, Hamas has built a dirt road in Gaza that symbolizes both defiance and provocation. For the first time in 50 years, Gaza’s infant mortality rate has increased, raising concerns about Israel’s blockade of the territory. Vigilantes in the West Bank are patrolling communities and watching out for attacks.
In Mali, Islamists attacked a hotel used by UN staff, killing 12.
In South Sudan, reports that the civil war has been particularly brutal for women and girls. The national security service has shut down two newspapers and a radio station in a blow to press freedom. Peace talks between opposition groups have restarted.
In Syria, evidence emerges that ISIS is recruiting children as fighters. Barrel bombs used by government forces are causing huge and indiscriminate destruction. Promising steps towards a diplomatic solution have emerged, despite huge challenges. In the four years of conflict almost 250,000 have died, including 70,000 civilians. In the city of Homs, ISIS has kidnapped 230 people. Kurdish forces are important in the battle against ISIS, but strains relations with another important ally–Turkey. An Al Qaeda-affiliated group stands down in Syria to avoid inadvertently aiding the US coalition.
In Yemen, UN envoy notes that militias may be open to peace plan. The US and UK’s involvement in Yemen, despite being indirect, could implicate them in war crime accusations. The water crisis in Yemen worsens in the wake of conflict. In the midst of the country’s chaos, Al Qaeda takes control of three towns and government forces reclaim key city from rebels.