contents
Your weekly briefing on the state of 
humanity
SEE ALL ISSUES
EDITOR'S LETTER
The people decide
NEWS FEATURE 1
Raising the stakes: Trump and Kim edge closer to nuclear war
NEWS FEATURE 2
Facebook's identity crisis
DIGEST AMERICAS
The arrests of two fugitive governors arouse suspicion in Mexico
DIGEST AMERICAS
Will the Odebrecht corruption scandal bury Lula’s legend?
DIGEST EUROPE
France’s four-horse election race leaves Europe in the balance
DIGEST EUROPE
Britain gears up for a snap Brexit election
DIGEST ASIA-PACIFIC
Trump signals lethal intent with the ‘Mother of All Bombs’
DIGEST ASIA-PACIFIC
Vigilante justice reigns strong in Pakistan
DIGEST AFRICA
Road rage in Zambia: Opposition leader faces treason charge
DIGEST AFRICA
A report adds to the controversy over Ethiopia's Oromo protests
DIGEST MIDDLE EAST
Palestinian prisoners go on mass hunger strike
DIGEST MIDDLE EAST
Syria’s ‘four towns’ evacuation deal turns into a massacre
THE PICTURE
A baptism of fireworks
GOOD NEWS
Tropical diseases are being treated at an unprecedented rate
Rain for famine-struck Somalia
THE  INFOGRAPHIC
Where on Earth did that come from?
IN SCIENCE
Can drugs really take you to a higher state of consciousness?
IN MEDICINE
Three-foot ‘giant worm’ discovered in Philippines
IN TECHNOLOGY
On a frozen Saturn moon, the ingredients for life
www.theguardian.com
Chechens tell of prison beatings and electric shocks in anti-gay purge: ‘They called us animals’
www.middleeasteye.net
For women only: Coffee, billiards and cards in Gaza cafe
www.bbc.co.uk
Living with the dead - BBC News

Syria’s ‘four towns’ evacuation deal turns into a massacre

Syrian Civil War
See 240 more
Syrian children receive treatment at a hospital in the government-held part of Aleppo on April 15, 2017.
GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian children receive treatment at a hospital in the government-held part of Aleppo on April 15, 2017.
O n the scene black smoke rose to the sky amidst burned out cars and buses meant to transport hundreds into a new future after warring sides had agreed on an evacuation deal. A suicide bomber had reportedly detonated a van full of explosives, killing at least 120 people, many of them children. The evacuees were from the mostly Shia towns of Fua and Kefraya, besieged for around two years by hardline Sunni Islamist groups.
Syrian state media blamed “terrorists”, a catch-all term for all opposed to the regime, of having carried out the attack on the outskirts of Aleppo. No group has so far claimed responsibility, while various rebel groups condemned the attack.
The evacuation process was part of the so-called “four towns” deal, in which residents of two other towns - Madaya and Zabadani, besieged by pro-government forces - are transported to northern Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province.
NOTE
The evacuation deal, brought about with the involvement of Iran and Qatar, also had an international dimension. Sources told the Guardian that the fate of a kidnapped falcon hunting party in Iraq, including members of the Qatari royal family, was tied to the negotiations over the Syrian towns. Two Qataris, reportedly held by an Iranian-backed group, were released last week as the Syrian deal was being finalised.
The opposition and human rights groups have long accused the Syrian government of using sieges as an instrument of war and implementing a deliberate displacement policy. Similar patterns have emerged over the years: pro-government forces attack and besiege opposition enclaves, forcing an agreement that sees the rebels either surrender or agree to vacate the area; government forces subsequently take control of the area, while those leaving often head for northern Syria’s Idlib province, which is routinely targeted by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. The government describes such agreement as reconciliation deals.
This practice goes back to the early days of the war when the regime laid siege on opposition areas in the western city of Homs. For many in the West, the brutal nature of such conditions came to the forefront when images of starved children emerged from Madaya, a former resort town near the Lebanese border.
As The World Weekly went to press, hundreds of evacuees from rebel- and government-held areas were still stuck in transit. Evacuation procedures had come to a halt after rebel forces had reportedly demanded the release of prisoners.
Manuel Langendorf
The World Weekly
20 April 2017 - last edited 5 days ago