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AL-ARABIYA
(United Kingdom)

DAMASCUS - "It seems that the word ‘revolution" is no longer desirable in official circles in Syria," writes Al-Arabiya reporter Kamal Qubeisi from London. "The Revolution" happens to be the name of one of Syria's three main official newspapers, but after 50 years on Syrian newsstands, the paper will merge with another government-run paper and cease to exist, according to Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud.

The Syrian cabinet's decision stipulates the merger of "The Revolution" (A-Thawra in Arabic) with the newspaper "October" (Tishreen), which was launched after the 1973 war with Israel. Mahmoud did not explain the reason for the decision, nor the timing at a Monday press conference in Damascus in the midst of an international outcry over the killing of more than 100 civilians, including dozens of children.

Mahmoud made no reference to current events, but focused the announcement on technoloigical innovations, explaining how the elimination of A-Thawra would enable the official media "to keep up with the specifications and global standards in the media environment today given the competition the electronic media presents to print papers." Mahmoud said that 83% of news reaches the public electronically.

In comments to the press, Ali Qasim, A-Thawra's editor-in-chief, praised the government's decision. The merger of the two newspapers, he said with no apparent irony, "will mean the end of The Revolution."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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