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One Year After Attack, 'Always Charlie'

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L'Humanité, Jan. 7, 2016

"Always Charlie!" reads the Thursday front page of far-left French daily L'Humanité, as France marks the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead.

Eight staff members were killed by two gunmen who'd pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen, in what was declared as retaliation for the publication of caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

The shooting, which was followed the next two days by the killing of a police officer and four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket, rallied much of France against Islamic terrorism. But the attacks also opened debate about freedom of expression and religion, as well as about the country's longstanding problems of immigration and social exclusion.

France was targeted again on November 13 in an even more deadly terror attack that left 130 people dead. In a speech to police forces Thursday, French President Francois Hollande said the "terrorist threat" would continue to weigh on the country, AP reports.

Meanwhile, Charlie Hebdo remains as defiant as ever, releasing a special anniversary issue Wednesday, with a fugitive, bloodstained God figure carrying a Kalashnikov on its front page.

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Geopolitics

Idlib Nightmare: How Syria's Lingering Civil War Is Blocking Earthquake Aid

Across the border from the epicenter in Turkey, the Syrian region of Idlib is home to millions of people displaced by the 12-year-long civil war. The victims there risk not getting assistance because of the interests of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, reminding the world of one of the great unresolved conflicts of our times.

Photo of Syrian civilians inspecting a destroyed residential building in Idlib after the earthquake

A destroyed residential building in Idlib after the earthquake

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

Faced with a disaster of the magnitude of the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, one imagines a world mobilized to bring relief to the victims, where all barriers and borders disappear. Unfortunately, this is only an illusion in such a complex and scarred corner of the world.

Yes, there's been an instant international outpouring of countries offering assistance and rescue teams converging on the disaster zones affected by the earthquakes. It is a race against time to save lives.

But even in such dramatic circumstances, conflict, hatred and competing interests do not somehow vanish by magic.

Sometimes, victims of natural disasters face a double price. This is the case for the 4.5 million inhabitants of Idlib, a region located in northwestern Syria, which was directly hit by the earthquake. So far, the toll there has reached at least 900 people killed, thousands injured and countless others left homeless in the harsh winter.

The inhabitants of Idlib, two-thirds of whom are displaced from other regions of Syria, live in an area that is still beyond the control of Bashar al-Assad, and they've been 90% dependent on international aid... which has not been arriving.

To put maximum pressure on these millions of people, the Syrian government and its Russian ally have gradually restricted the ability to get humanitarian aid to them.

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