Warzone News December 23, 2015

Copy of warzone newsWarzone News: Week of December 23, 2015

In Afghanistan, Afghan forces are holding out against a Taliban assault on the strategically important, poppy-growing region of Sangin.  Government forces are reportedly running out of weapons and supplies, and there have been no reinforcements despite pleas for help to the central government in Kabul. Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan are using the radio to find new recruits as they try to replace the Taliban as the leading insurgency force.

In Burundi, government leaders warned that they will not accept foreign soldiers and the African Union has said it will send them despite this rejection, thus invoking its mandate to send peacekeeping troops to protect civilians for the first time. Amnesty International says that independent experts should investigate Burundi’s forces for alleged human rights violations.

In Central African Republic, voters approved a new constitution, as militant groups engaged in violence in a Muslim neighborhood in Bangui on the day of last week’s referendum. According to the rules of the new constitution, members of the current legislature cannot participate in the elections next week. Read about life in a hospital amidst the violence, here.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two former Congolese militia leaders have been transferred from the Netherlands to a Congolese prison, making them the first criminals convicted by the International Criminal Court to be allowed to serve their sentences in their home country. A new report from Human Rights Watch details the rise in kidnappings in the DRC, which saw at least 175 in 2015 alone, and the new police force created to addressed this problem.

In Iraq, Turkey will withdraw troops from the country and Iraqi forces fought their way into the center of a key ISIS-held city of Ramadi on Tuesday in a major operation to oust the armed group. Leading up to this attack, on Sunday Iraqi military planes dropped leaflets on the city asking residents to leave within 72 hours.

In Israel and Palestine, clashes broke out in the West Bank after a Palestinian woman tried to stab an Israeli soldier as Greece voted to formally recognise the state of Palestine.

In Libya, members of the two rival governments signed a deal for a new unified government. The U.N. backed deal calls for a 17-member government, headed by businessman Fayez el-Sarraj as premier, based in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

In Myanmar, women in conflict-zones are extremely vulnerable, lacking healthcare and often raped. Read about human trafficking and stories of child slaves, in Myanmar here.

In Nigeria, the country military has announced a reprieve for 66 soldiers who had been sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram. According to UNICEF, Boko Haram has forced over one million children out of school in the region.

In Somalia, three people have been killed in a gun and car bomb attack in the capital city Mogadishu.

In South Sudan, rival rebel groups said on Monday that they were both finally committed to implementing a peace plan signed in August as delegates from both factions met in Juba. In other news, U.N. bases have become cities of displaced people over the last two years since the civil war broke out.

In Syria, there is hope and hesitation as world powers agreed on a peace plan. Air strikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed scores of people in the center of the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwest Syria on Sunday, rescue workers and residents said.

In Yemen, the ceasefire has been extended as fighting continues. Negotiators put the peace talks on pause, which are scheduled to continue on January 14th.