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Kurdish Female Commander Klara Reqa Fights against ISIS in Raqqa: Syria

Klara Reqa is a top-ranking Kurdish female commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces leading the assault on the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.

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Klara Reqa
Klara Reqa from Raqqa is a braveheart fighting for justice. VOA
  • Klara Reqa is a top-ranking Kurdish female commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Her land, where she grew up, where she smiled and cried, is today standing in ruins

June 18, 2017: ISIS terrorist group is bent on destroying this world in the name of power. Terrorism is eating this planet, taking many innocent lives. Humanity is dying a slow death. But in all this negativity around, there are still the positive streaks trying to paint this world with humanitarian colors. One of them is the unfortunate victim of this terrorism who lost her closed ones in the wake of this power struggle.

Klara Reqa is a top-ranking Kurdish female commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces leading the assault on the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.

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She is the epitome of bravery, love, and beauty. She stands strong in the face of adversity, trying to inspire many others to save their land from the merciless vultures. She is an unsung hero in this fight against those who have lost humanity. Her land, where she grew up, where she smiled and cried, is today standing in ruins. But the love for that land stands strong, the emotions attached to that land holds her heart strong, giving her the courage to protect it from the enemies of the world.

In an interview with VOI’s Mahmoud Bali, she said, “As I look at Raqqa here, I remember my childhood when I was going to school and playing in the streets.” One can realize her pain as her entire childhood would always flash in front of her eyes whenever she looks at the ruins of her motherland.

I want to salute this brave heart woman who not only aspires to rebuild her land by taking it away from the clutches of ISIS but also dreams to empower the women.

She said,” IS oppressed women. My goal is not to only help Yazidi women, but also Arab and Kurdish women.”

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This is the beauty of a woman who can stand tall against all odds and thinks of empowering other women instead of pulling them down. She has proved that in the patriarchal world of ours, a woman is not less than anyone and empowering others is the only way of climbing the ladder of success because humanity teaches us to be one, to stay united and to help each other.

But in the race of power, man has lost his identity of a human being. He seized to be one, the day he started pulling down others and killing people in the name of religion. By God’s grace, still, some noble beings are there who enforce our trust in humanity, brotherhood, and unity.

– by Supreet Aneja of NewsGram. Twitter: @supreet_aneja

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“I Will Do Whatever Possible To Bring Peace in India”, Says Superstar Rajinikanth

Earlier on Sunday, TNJUS members met Rajinikanth and apprised him of issues related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC)

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Rajinikanth
Earlier on Sunday, TNJUS members met Rajinikanth and apprised him of issues related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Wikimedia Commons

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has said that he would do whatever possible within his capacity to bring peace in the country.

In a tweet late Sunday, Rajinikanth said he was happy to meet the officials of Tamil Nadu Jamathul Ulama Sabai (TNJUS) and hear their views.

“I second their views that love, unity and peace should be the main goal of a country,” he said.

Rajinikanth
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has said that he would do whatever possible within his capacity to bring peace in the country. IANS

Earlier on Sunday, TNJUS members met Rajinikanth and apprised him of issues related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

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According to K.M. Baqavi, TNJUS President, Rajinikanth assured the delegation that he would do the needful. (IANS)

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Here’s Everything you Need to Know About the Increasing Islamic State Terror Activity in Syria

Surge of IS Violence and Terrorism Seen in Syria

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Smoke Syria
Smoke rises while people gather at a damaged site after two bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State hit the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli near the Turkish border, Syria. VOA

By Sirwan Kajjo

Islamic State militants have increased their terror activity in recent weeks in Syria, carrying out deadly attacks against Syrian regime troops and U.S.-backed forces.

Since early December, the terror group has conducted at least three major attacks on Syrian government forces and their allied militias in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, local sources said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has reporters across the country, recent attacks claimed by IS against Syrian military forces have killed at least 30 soldiers and wounded more than 50 others.

Last week, at least three fighters with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in what local military officials described as a suicide attack carried out by IS militants in the province of Raqqa, IS’s former de facto capital before it was freed in 2017 by the SDF and its U.S.-led allies.

Islamic State Syria
Islamic State militants clean their weapons in Deir el-Zour city, Syria. VOA

‘Threat to our forces’ 

IS “terrorists still pose a threat to our forces, especially in the eastern part of Syria,” an SDF commander told VOA.

“They have been able to regroup and reorganize in some remote parts of Deir el-Zour, where there is a smaller presence of our forces or any other forces,” said the commander, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to journalists.

He added that despite the declaration of the physical defeat of the terror group in March 2019, IS “still has hundreds of sleeper cells that have the capability to wage deadly attacks on civilians and combatants alike.”

In the town of Tabqa, in western Raqqa, local news reports this week said a suspected IS sleeper cell assaulted a family, killing three of its members, including a child. The reports did not say why the family was attacked, but IS has in the past targeted people whom it suspected of having ties to or working for the government or U.S.-backed local forces.

While most of the recent activity has been in areas IS once controlled as part of its so-called caliphate, the militant group has been particularly active in Syria’s vast desert region.

The Syrian Observatory reported at least 10 IS-claimed attacks in December that originated from the mostly desert eastern part of Homs province in central Syria.

Baghdadi’s death

Islamic State Syria
The Islamic State group’s leader extolled militants in Sri Lanka for “striking the homes of the crusaders in their Easter, in vengeance for their brothers in Baghouz,” a reference to IS’ last bastion in eastern Syria, which was captured by U.S.-backed fighters. VOA

Despite the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in October in a U.S. operation in northwestern Syria, IS still represents a major threat in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, experts say.

“As ISIS returns to its original decentralized structure, members of the group are trying to show ISIS still poses a threat, even after the defeat of its caliphate and the recent death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” said Kaleigh Thomas, a Middle East researcher at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, using another acronym for IS.

Sadradeen Kinno, a Syrian researcher who closely follows Islamist militancy, echoed Thomas’ views.

“IS is now living a period of stability, so to speak. After the death of Baghdadi, their objective is clearer now. They try to stay focused on carrying out assassinations, ambushes and suicide attacks, and they have been successful at that,” he told VOA.

Kinno said IS “really believes in a recurrent cycle of violence, so for them the territorial defeat they experienced this year is just a phase of their ongoing jihad.”

US withdrawal 

U.S. vehicles Syria
A convoy of U.S. vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump in October announced a withdrawal of troops from Syria, which was followed by a Turkish military offensive against U.S.-backed SDF fighters in northeast Syria.

Some experts say the U.S. troop pullout allowed IS to regroup, and thus its terror attacks have increased.

“The U.S. decision sent a signal to [IS] that the U.S. is not interested in a long-term presence in Syria,” said Azad Othman, a Syrian affairs analyst based in Irbil, Iraq.

IS “now feels that its low-level insurgency in Syria could be even more effective as long as the Americans don’t have a significant military presence in the country,” he told VOA.

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said in a report in November that “ISIS has exploited the Turkish incursion and subsequent drawdown of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria to reconstitute its capabilities and resources both within Syria in the short term and globally in the longer term.”

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“The withdrawal and redeployment of U.S. troops has also affected the fight against ISIS, which remains a threat in the region and globally,” Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general, said in the report.

But the U.S. has decided to keep about 500 troops to secure oil fields in Syria to prevent IS militants and the Syrian regime forces from accessing them. (VOA)

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UN to Allocate More Funds for War Crimes Inquiries in Syria and Myanmar

UN Increases 2020 Budget, Adds Funds for War Crimes Inquiries

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Rohingya refugees attend a ceremony organised to remember the second anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia. VOA

The United Nations General Assembly Friday adopted a $3.07 billion operating budget that for the first time includes funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar.

The budget represents a slight increase from 2019’s figure of $2.9 billion.

The increase was the result of additional missions assigned to the U.N. Secretariat, inflation and exchange rate adjustments, according to diplomats.

These include the observer mission in Yemen, a political mission established in Haiti, the investigation of crimes committed in Syria since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, and in Myanmar after the 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Syria, Myanmar inquiries

Myanmar Refugees
Rohingya refugees gather near a fence during a government organized media tour to a no-man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh, near Taungpyolatyar village, Maung Daw, northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. VOA

For the first time, the budgets for the Syria and Myanmar investigations, which were previously financed by voluntary contributions, will in 2020 be transferred to the U.N. secretariat’s budget and will receive compulsory contributions from the 193 member states.

Russia proposed multiple amendments during negotiations in the Committee on Budgetary Questions meeting and in the General Assembly plenary session.

Dissenters

At each vote, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and their supporters, including North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela, were outvoted. They all stated that they dissociated themselves from references to investigative mechanisms in the adopted resolutions.

Russia said it would examine its future obligatory payments in light of the vote outcome and predicted an increase in the arrears that currently plague the U.N.’s treasury because of countries not paying enough.

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Moscow argued Friday the investigative mechanism was illegitimate, while Damascus stressed that it had no mandate from the Security Council.

The U.N.’s operating budget is separate from the annual budget for peacekeeping operations of some $6 billion that is adopted in June. (VOA)