Syria Five Years On

Today is the five year anniversary of the Syrian conflict. UNICEF published a brutal report. “Syria’s five-year-old conflict has created 2.4 million child refugees, killed many and led to the recruitment of children as fighters, some as young as seven, U.N. children’s fund UNICEF said on Monday. Its report “No Place for Children” said more than 8 million children in Syria and neighboring countries needed humanitarian assistance, with the international response plan for Syria chronically underfunded. “Twice as many people now live under siege or in hard-to-reach areas compared with 2013. At least two million of those cut off from assistance are children, including more than 200,000 in areas under siege,”(AP

But don’t label them a ‘lost generation’…The children of Syria’s civil war are not a “lost generation”, and such labels – widely used by campaign groups – are irresponsible, said a psychologist who specializes in the trauma of war. (TRF

And Putin Continues to Surprise…President Vladimir Putin announced Monday that Russia would begin withdrawing its military from Syria, potentially winding down nearly six months of airstrikes that have bolstered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and dealt a grave blow to Syrian rebels.Putin said late Monday that Russia would withdraw the “main part” of the military deployment to Syria, starting Tuesday.” (WaPo

Refugees Take Matters into Their Own Hands… Hundreds of migrants marched out of a Greek transit camp, hiked for hours along muddy paths and forded a rain-swollen river to get around a border fence and cross into Macedonia, where they were detained on Monday, authorities said. A Macedonian police spokeswoman said the several hundred migrants who had crossed into Macedonia would be sent back to Greece. A Reuters photographer put the number who crossed as high as 2,000.” (Reuters

Quote of the day: “The gender equality goal is critical to the success of the new development agenda. But we won’t see many improvements in the lives of women and girls unless countries make good on their promises and put concrete measures in place. We have to push our leaders to take action.” – Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition. (Guardian


Survivors of the first attack by Islamic extremists in Ivory Coast described scenes of confusion and fear as the jihadists gunned down defenseless civilians at a beachfront resort town. The attack left 16 dead. (AP

Businessman Patrice Talon will team up with his beaten opponent Sebastien Ajavon to take on Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou in the second round of Benin’s presidential election. (AFP

An Africa expert said Sunday’s attack on Ivory Coast should be viewed as an attempt by al-Qaida to undermine that country’s emerging political stability and economic growth. (VOA


Turkey’s president is calling for his country to “redefine” terror and terrorists so that their legal scope can expand to anyone supporting terror — including legislators, academics, journalists or activists. (WaPo

The United States insisted Monday that Iran’s test-firing of two ballistic missiles last week was in defiance of a U.N. resolution, but Russia said the launches were not a violation. (NYT

Health authorities in Iraq’s Kirkuk region have screened a total of 800 people since a chemical attack carried out by the Islamic State group last week, officials said on Monday. (AFP

Human Rights Watch urged Egypt on Monday to annul the jail sentences handed to four Coptic Christian teenagers for contempt of Islam after they were seen in a video mocking Muslim prayers. (AFP

Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels on Monday confirmed carrying out a prisoner exchange with Saudi Arabia and said they were open to negotiating a peace deal with the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting them for a year. (AP

Aid groups were unable to deliver much-needed food packages to four besieged towns in war-torn Syria on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, citing security problems. (AFP

An American fighting for the Islamic State was captured in northern Iraq early Monday morning, according to Kurdish and American officials. (NYT


Myanmar’s parliament votes today to pick the country’s next president from a group of three final candidates, including a front runner who is a longtime confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. (AP

The United Nations human rights investigator called on Monday for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and senior officials to be prosecuted for committing crimes against humanity in the isolated authoritarian country. (Reuters

A member of India’s lowest Dalit caste who married an upper caste girl was hacked to death in broad daylight on a busy market street on Sunday. (Telegraph

The Americas

Peru’s electoral board on Monday rejected appeals from disqualified presidential hopefuls Julio Guzman and Cesar Acuna for reinstatement in next month’s elections, closing the door to a reversal of its controversial ruling. (Reuters

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called a meeting with her closest advisers and congressional leaders on Monday, a day after nationwide demonstrations urging her ouster brought millions of people into the streets. (AP

As the world focuses on Zika’s rapid advance in the Americas, experts warn the virus that originated in Africa is just one of a growing number of continent-jumping diseases carried by mosquitoes threatening swathes of humanity. (Reuters

Several people were killed after drenching thunderstorms moved through Louisiana and Mississippi at the weekend, triggering flooding across the lower Mississippi valley, authorities said. (Reuters

…and the rest

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she would stick to her course in Europe’s migrant crisis following state elections that sent conflicting signals about Germans’ opinion of her liberal approach and highlighted divisions in her conservative bloc. (AP

Around 2,000 migrants from a camp in northern Greece got around a border fence and crossed into Macedonian territory on Monday, a Reuters photographer said. (Reuters

Europe’s migrant crisis has kicked climate change off the agenda of EU leaders’ talks this week, officials said, prompting accusations from green campaigners that the European Union has given up its leadership on environmental issues. (Reuters

A Syrian man has been arrested in Sweden on suspicion of war crimes committed in Syria, the Swedish prosecutor’s office said on Monday. (Reuters


The Gates of Perception (IRIN

Global Dispatches Podcast: The New York Times’ longtime South East Asia correspendant discusses the destructive power of impunity in in South East Asia

Terrorism can stunt progress for decades. The answer is tolerance (Guardian

I analysed 600 of DFID’s Annual Reviews. Here’s what I found. (Aid Leap

Once poor, forever poor? (Africa can end poverty

Is South Africa the Right Model for Palestine-Israel to Follow? (The Daily Vox

Why African scientists must be champions for democracy (The Conversation

10 ways for deskbound development workers to pretend they are ‘in the field’ (Guardian

Artist in Brazil blindfolds statues amid protests (CNN