Somalia drone strikes could be war crimes: Amnesty

Two strikes that killed 23 civilians during Somali military operations supported by Turkish drones must be investigated as war crimes, Amnesty International said May 7. Civilians killed in the strikes on March 18 included 14 children, five women and four men. Another 17 civilians were injured in the strikes: 11 children, two women and four men. All were from the marginalized Gorgaarte clan.

Syrian refugees face illegal 'push-backs'

The Cyprus spokesperson for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Emilia Strovolidou, has urged the country to stop forcibly pushing away Syrian refugee boats arriving from Lebanon, a practice that violates international human rights law and the principle of non-refoulement. According to reports from the Associated Press and monitoring group EuroMed Rights, Strovolidou accused Cyprus authorities of using "violent" tactics to "destabilize" boats in order to thwart refugees from arriving on the island's shores. (Jurist)

UN calls for urgent action on escalating Syria violence

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report March 11 concerning the most severe escalation of violence in the country since 2020. Explosions during a military academy graduation ceremony in Homs triggered the escalation, which began in October, leading to a series of indiscriminate attacks by Syrian and Russian forces on opposition-held areas. The commission emphasizes that these attacks may constitute war crimes, targeting hospitals, schools, markets, and displaced persons camps.

Turkish airstrikes deepen privation in northeast Syria

Months of Turkish air-strikes in northeast Syria have left more than a million people without power and double that number with no reliable access to water. Beyond the numbers, the cascading impacts have hit almost all parts of life, from homes and restaurants to petrol stations, buses, and bakeries.

Burkina Faso: drone strikes on civilian targets

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report Jan. 25 bringing attention to three military drone strikes conducted by Burkina Faso’s government, supposedly targeting Islamist fighters. The strikes took place between August and November 2023 and resulted in significant civilian casualties at crowded markets, and a funeral, according to the report. A minimum of 60 civilians are found to have lost their lives, with numerous others injured.

Turkey: vigil for disappeared resumes after five years

A group of Turkish mothers whose sons and daughters were forcibly disappeared in the 1980s and '90s held a public vigil in Istanbul without police interference Nov. 11. This marked the first time the "Saturday Mothers" group has been allowed to proceed with such an event since police dispersed their last gathering in August 2018. The group's vigils had persisted for nearly three decades. The vigil was resumed after Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled earlier this year that suppression of the event violated participants' rights.

Ukraine bans religious organizations linked to Russia

The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, announced Oct. 19 adoption of Decision Number 8371, which bans religious organizations found to have "colluded with armed aggressors" from operating within the country. The measure is clearly aimed at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been accused of collaborating with Russia. More than 250 Rada members approved the measure, which required only 226 votes. 

Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline to resume operation

The pipeline exporting crude oil from Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is ready to resume operation, seven months after it was ordered closed by an international court ruling. On March 23, the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of Baghdad against Ankara, finding that the latter breached a 1973 agreement by allowing the Kurdistan Regional Government to begin independent oil exports in 2014. The judgement confirmed that Iraqi national oil company SOMO is the only entity authorized to manage export operations through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. The KRG, based in Erbil, has now acceded to these terms, agreeing to market through SOMO.

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