World roundup: August 23 2023
Stories from India, Libya, Russia, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
August 23, 1595: An outnumbered Wallachian army under Prince Michael “the Brave” defeats an Ottoman army under Grand Vizier Koca Sinan Pasha at the Battle of Călugăreni, today located in southern Romania. Michael had to retreat afterward due to the Ottomans’ decisive advantage in numbers, but the victory became an important symbolic event in Romanian national history. This battle was part of the 1593-1606 Long War between the Ottomans and Habsburgs, which ended inconclusively but did stabilize the Ottoman-Habsburg frontier for several decades.
August 23, 1943: The roughly six week Battle of Kursk ends with the Soviet Red Army victorious over the invading Nazi Wehrmacht. The battle began on July 5 with the launch of the Nazis’ “Operation Citadel” offensive, but German leadership pulled the plug on that operation a week later in order to divert resources to countering the Allied invasion of Sicily. The Soviets were eventually able to overwhelm the out-manned Nazis despite suffering substantially greater losses of both men and materiel. Kursk is generally viewed alongside Stalingrad as the turning point on World War II’s Eastern Front. From this point forward the Soviets had the momentum and the Nazis, pressed from east and west, could only react to Soviet advances.
Anti-government protests in southern Syria escalated on Wednesday when a group of demonstrators seized control of the ruling Baath Party’s offices in Suwayda province and blocked a highway connecting its capital to Damascus. Syria’s ongoing economic collapse (for example, the now essentially worthless Syrian pound hit 15,500 per US dollar last week) has fueled unrest in Suwayda and neighboring Daraa province.
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