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Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpuf

Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpuf

 

Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpuf

Prominent Bahraini activist leaves for Denmark, citing persecution

 

Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja (photo by AP)

 

Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja, who was released recently from prison, has departed the Persian Gulf country for Denmark, citing fears of an “indefinite” jail term.

Khawaja said in a series of messages posted on Twitter that she left Bahrain with two children to Denmark, where she has citizenship.

Bahraini regime forces raided her apartment in the capital, Manama, on March 14, taking her and her son Abdulhadi into custody.

She was held in detention along with her baby son, and was denied requests to pass her child to her husband. She faced three years in prison on a number of charges, including tearing up pictures of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

In late May, however, she was released based on “humanitarian” grounds.

In her Twitter messages, Zainab said the Al Khalifah regime was preparing to file new charges against her, which would have made her detention “indefinite.”

“The regime that thinks exile means moving us away from our land should know, we carry Bahrain in our hearts wherever we go,” she wrote.

She is the daughter of leading human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence in connection to his influential role in the 2011 protests against the Al Khalifa regime.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

Amnesty International and many other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime for the “rampant” human rights abuses against opposition activists and protesters.

A court in Bahrain has ordered the release of a prominent female rights campaigner, Zainab al-Khawaja, who has been in prison with her baby son since March.

According to the public prosecution statement carried by state news agency BNA, a Bahraini judge ordered her release and that of another mother “on account of their humanitarian situation and for the well-being and interests of their children.”

The statement did not mention what the charges were against the other mother, named as Irina Bojutova.

Meanwhile, Zainab’s sister Maryam al-Khawaja, who is the co-director of the Guld Center for Human Rights (GCHR), has said the charges against her still stand and she could be returned to prison anytime.

“Obviously, we are delighted, but what is important and what needs to change in Bahrain is the system that saw her put in prison in the first place. Yes, she has been released but there is no guarantee she won’t be rearrested in a few weeks or a few months,” she said.

Bahraini authorities had earlier rejected a request by al-Khawaja to allow her 17-month-old baby boy out of jail. Prison authorities had even refused to let Khawaja’s mother, Khadija al-Mousawi, see her grandson.

Zainab had been arrested in her apartment in the Bahraini capital city of Manama on March 14 and taken into custody along with her baby boy.

Zainab faces a number of charges, including tearing up pictures of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. She was serving a three-year-and-one-month prison sentence.

She is the daughter of leading human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is himself serving a life sentence over the accusation that he plotted to overthrow the ruling regime.

The 32-year-old mother has been arrested and freed several times in recent years.

Also on Tuesday, the London-based rights group Amnesty International said that the ruling Al Khalifa family in Bahrain is conducting a policy of harassing opposition politicians and activists.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

Bahraini regime forces, backed by troops deployed from Saudi Arabia, have cracked down on the protesters, killing scores of them. A large number of Bahraini activists are also serving time behind bars.