REUTERS, BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK), HURRIYET (Turkey)
Troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al- Assad converged on Aleppo on Wednesday as fighting between rebel and governmental forces intensified, signaling a shift of the uprising against the regime that began last year to a full-blown insurgency.
BBC News and Reuters reported that the regime is moving thousands of troops as well as armored vehicles away from the Turkish border to focus on Aleppo, a commercial hub and Syria's second city, where violent clashes broke out five days ago. Turkey sealed its border with Syria in response to worsening security conditions after several border checkpoints were captured by rebels earlier this week.
The Syrian regime appears to be consolidating its stretched out troops in an effort to concentrate on fighting insurgents in Aleppo and capital city Damascus, as the holy fasting month of Ramadan started last week.
Activists and residents who spoke with Reuters said gunship helicopters were firing missiles in Aleppo, where the fighting is now the heaviest after government forces repelled a rebel assault on Damascus.
This video published by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights purports to show police headquarters in Aleppo set on fire by rebel forces. The BBC also reported that government fighter jets were strafing and bombing rebel positions in the city.
Hürriyet and Reuters reported that an official from the Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry announced that all border gates with Syria were closing on Wednesday. Only three were still open before the announcement. Trucking has become increasingly dangerous along the trade routes that link the two countries and the closed border could cripple Syria's economy. . Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called for Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Yesterday, Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, a senior regime official who defected earlier this month, offered to lead a transitional government in a video statement on Al Arabiya, according to The Guardian. "Allow me to serve Syria after President Bashar al-Assad's era. We must all unite to serve Syria and promote stability in the country, rebuilding a free and democratic Syria," he said.
The new head of the United Nations monitoring mission in Syria also arrived on Wednesday. The mission was extended for 30 days last week.
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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