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Three Westerners Killed By Syrian Forces



IDLIB – Three westerners, including an American woman and a British man, suspected of working with the opposition, have been killed by Syrian forces in the northwest of the country, AFP reported Friday.

The deaths occurred on Wednesday, though only confirmed Friday, Al Arabiya reports. “They were shot dead during an ambush in the Idlib region and the army found them with maps of military positions,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

“The three had apparently been taking photos of military positions on the road between Harim, near the border with Turkey, and the town of Idlib further south when government troops ambushed them”, he added.

One of the victims has been identified as Nicole Mansfield, a 33-year-old American citizen, who had converted to Islam about five years ago, her family told Reuters on Thursday. "Evidently, she was fighting with opposition forces,” said her aunt, Monica Mansfield Speelman.

The British citizen has not been identified yet, but the spokesman for the SOHR said that he was Muslim, and that he came from London, the BBC reports.

Obcokrajowcy zginÄ™li w Syrii - Westerners killed in #Syria #assad @Wiadomosci_PR https://t.co/GJCgHrBQmC pic.twitter.com/X35wccdWQr

— Wojciech Cegielski (@wojciechce) May 31, 2013

The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the claims and was trying to verify them, while the US is working through the Czech Republic mission in Syria to obtain more information, a State Department official told CNN, on condition of anonymity.

The nationality of the third victim has not been confirmed yet, but he or she was described as a Westerner on Syrian TV, CNN reports.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

The Gaza Ceasefire Is Over, With Western Diplomacy Weaker Than Ever

Diplomacy has failed to stave off a resumption of the war in Gaza. Yes, Israel made clear its goal of destroying Hamas is not complete. But the end of the truce is also one more sign that both the U.S. and Europe hold less sway in the region than they once did.

Smoke rising from a building after an Israeli strike on the city Rafah the in southern Gaza strip.

December 1, 2023: Smoke rising from a building after an Israeli strike on the city Rafah the in southern Gaza strip

Source: Abed Rahim Khatib/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Unfortunately, the end of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was predictable. In a previous column this week, I wrote that the question was not whether the war would resume, but rather when (and how) it would resume. Israel has made it clear in recent days that it has not yet achieved its goal of destroying Hamas in Gaza, and that it still intends to do just that.

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Still, international diplomacy has not been idle. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel on Thursday: the United States was putting pressure on Israel so that, once the conflict resumed, it would inflict fewer civilian casualties — a more “surgical” war.

It is obviously too early to know if Blinken’s words have been heard. The only question is whether Israel will apply the same massive strategy in the south of the territory as in the north, or if the country will carry out more targeted operations, in a region with a very high population density.

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