Air strikes on Syria’s Raqa kill 21 civilians: monitor
At least 21 civilians including five children were killed Monday in air strikes targeting the Islamic State group’s Syrian de facto capital of Raqa, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was not able to determine who carried out the raids, but the city has been targeted regularly by aircraft of the US-led coalition and sometimes by regime warplanes.
“The death toll could increase as some people are gravely wounded and others have gone missing,” said the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a large network of sources inside Syria for its information.
A US-backed Arab-Kurdish alliance last month launched an assault to retake Raqa city from the jihadist group.
In the central province of Hama, meanwhile, at least 53 civilians including 16 children were killed earlier Monday in air strikes targeting areas also under IS control.
Monday’s raids come a day after IS recaptured all of the desert city of Palmyra, sparking new concerns about the remaining ancient treasures at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Syrian army backed by air strikes from regime ally Russia had expelled the jihadists from Palmyra in March, after IS first seized the city in May 2015.
Thailand foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said that the Sri Lankan government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe did not object to Gotabaya Rajapaksa's visit to Thailand. However, the former president need to figure out his accommodation himself as the Thai government has refused to make any arrangements for the same.
The WHO said that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to remain dominant worldwide, contributing nearly 70 per cent to all virus sequences shared with the world's biggest publicly available virus database. It added that other Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.2, appear to be decreasing in prevalence as BA.5 takes control.
A special flight with 107 Indian traders landed in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on Tuesday, carrying many who were stuck in India since 2020 despite business interests in China because of the restrictions imposed by Beijing on international travel to contain Covid-19. This particular group of Indian merchants boarded the special China Southern Airlines flight from New Delhi and landed in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, on Tuesday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to submit a written proposal to the UN to create a commission, made up of three world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to promote a world truce for a period of five years, MSN web portal reported. The Mexican President proposed that the top commission should include Pope Francis, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and Indian PM Narendra Modi.
China on Wednesday, in only its third white paper on Taiwan since 1993 and the first after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, said it will not “renounce” the use of military force to bring the self-governed island under its control as its armed forces concluded the largest ever exercises around the island but announced that it will conduct regular patrols in the region.