September 2018 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 14 September 2018

Protesters call for political prisoners to be released. (Reuters) Syria On Friday, Russia and Iran declined coming to a truce about Idlib, even though there are international fears of a humanitarian disaster in the region. Further, the following Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that government helicopters released 19 barrel bombs and Russian warplanes carried out 68 strikes. In just 2 strikes, four civilians were killed in Southern Idlib.   This weekend, the Russian government accused the United States of dropping white phosphorus bombs on the Syrian region of Deir al-Zor. Further, the alleged air strikes hit a major refuge of ISIS. The United States has firmly denied these accusations, claiming that their military units in that area are not equipped with white phosphorus. Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, addressed Russia, Iran, and Turkey to avoid a full-scale battle for the sake of avoiding a potential humanitarian disaster. Guterres stated on Tuesday, “I understand that the present situation in Idlib is not sustainable and the presence of terrorist groups cannot be tolerated. But fighting terrorism does not absolve warring parties of their core obligations under international law,” making it very clear that there needs to be a different solution to targeting terrorist groups. While Assad and the Russian Government claim to only be targeting rebel militant groups in their offenses, civilians are in fact at great risk in Idlib. Since the attacks in the region began last week, more than 30,000 civilians have fled the area with the only option of heading towards villages along the Turkish border. Beginning Monday, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a militant group...

Weekly Report: 7 September 2018

In Malaysia, two women cover their faces following their caning for the ‘crime’ of homosexual activity. (AFP) Syria The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday that an airstrike near a US base killed 8 pro-regime fighters. The fighters include four Syrians, one Iranian National, and three other non-Syrian casualties. There is no confirmation on who led the attack. Under a new decree established by the Assad Government, Syrian students must finish their degree in a time allotted by the government. This means that students must finish their bachelor’s degree within 3 years, and a student cannot stay in a university past the age of 25. Further, students who have put off their degree and who have not finished courses in the appointed amount of time must be deployed in the army. Because of the new decree, there have been protests from students who wish to retain the right to postpone their military service. By law, every Syrian male must serve in the army when he turns 18, but the service only lasted between 18 months and two years prior to the Syrian war. Once the war began, there was not an end date for service, and some men have been serving for 7 years. On Tuesday, Israeli air strikes were carried out against Iranian forces in Syria. Over the past year and a half, the Israeli Defense Force has struck more than 200 targets with the end goal of finding Iranian weapons convoys in Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russian and Syrian warplanes struck a region right outside of the northwestern part of...

Weekly Report: 31 August 2018

Nicaraguan Refugees sleep in a San Jose church in Costa Rica. (Reuters) Syria This weekend, Iran and Syria signed a deal for Iran to continue military action within Syria in support of Assad’s government. Although the U.S government strongly advised Iran to withdraw last week, Iranian officials say that they do not have any future plans to disengage.   Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, it is estimated that just under 100,000 Syrians have been disappeared. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Assad’s Regime is responsible for just under 90 percent of those disappeared while the other 10 percent of people have gone missing due to rebel and Kurdish militants. This has left many families in distress as they are unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones. Although, starting this past April, families have been requesting records from register offices and rights groups in hopes of receiving news about their family. Bolivia Over the weekend, the applicant registrations for Attorney General closed. Among the applicants, there are a total of forty-seven men and six women including former government minister Jorge Perez Valenzuela, and ex-judge Cusi. Cusi was formally dismissed from his position as a judge at the Constitutional Court due to being guilty of crimes contrary to the constitution.   On Sunday, President Evo Morales gave a speech in Cochabamba where he suggested a plan to advocate for maritime disputes at the Hague sometime between October and December. Morales has issues with the violation of Bolivia’s sovereignty, given the ongoing dispute between Bolivia and Chile. The conflict stems from Chile’s lack of recognition...