Islamist rebels have captured the north-western Syrian city of Idlib from government forces, monitors say.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and Nusra Front groups had taken the city on Saturday.
Idlib is only the second provincial centre to fall into rebel hands, after Raqqa was seized by Islamic State (IS).
Syria’s civil war, which began four years ago, has killed more than 200,000 Syrians and displaced 11 million.
The UK-based observatory said the militant groups seized the city after four days of intense fighting.
3. Yemen: Houthi militants brandish alleged remains of Saudi F-15 jet
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Sweden will soon return to Stockholm, Swedish officials said Saturday, more than two weeks after he was recalled home amid a diplomatic spat over human rights.
“I’m very pleased that we can resume our normal diplomatic ties,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem told reporters.
The announcement followed a visit to Riyadh by Swedish government envoy Bjoern von Sydow on Friday, where he met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
A family of Arabs who fled their home in Mosul to escape the Islamic State has relayed tales of brutalities inflicted upon the city’s population by the jihadist occupiers.
Since July, the Al-Saraj family has lived safely in Dohuk in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, but they stay in close communication with friends and family inside the extremist group’s so-called caliphate.
The picture they paint of life inside Mosul is grim.Speaking from their home last week, the family said that before ISIS’ June seizure of Mosul, all the city’s ethnic and religious communities—Christian, Kurds, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni—all lived in peace. The family’s composition reflects this.
Family patriarch MS is a 55-year-old retired army colonel and a Sunni. His wife, RS, comes from a Shiite family. Both agreed to speak for this story only if their full names were not used.
“It was paradise,” MS said of pre-American invasion life in Mosul.
But now, “the killings and cutting off of appendages have become routine,” added Saraj daughter SA.
6. Interview with Geert Wilders in Vienna by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
Thank you Henrik, Elisabeth, GoV., M., Richard and Yucki, Buck, and all who contributed comments and links. More to come later on. Hopefully including Geert’s speech in Vienna last night.