World roundup: January 31 2022
Stories from Syria, Burkina Faso, Russia, and more
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
Syrian air defenses responded to another apparent Israeli missile attack on the region just east of Damascus early Monday. Hezbollah operates facilities in that area so it’s safe to assume they were the target. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is claiming that there were casualties in the attack but doesn’t seem to have any details.
The Syrian Democratic Forces militia is assessing the aftermath of this month’s Islamic State prison break in Hasakah, which finally seems to have come to a close over the weekend. The SDF now says it lost 120 personnel, including combatants and prison workers, while killing around 374 IS militants (both attackers and rioters). It further says it’s determined that the prison attack was supposed to have been the first step in a grand IS plan to revitalize its forces in eastern Syria, one that would have been followed by attacks on other SDF detention facilities including the infamous al-Hol displaced persons camp. SDF leaders would, I guess, like credit for preventing this apocalyptic scenario from unfolding.
Whether there’s anything to these claims or not, the essence of the SDF’s message appears to be that governments around the world, and especially in Europe, need to start reclaiming their own nationals who left home to join IS and wound up being taken captive. The SDF has nowhere near the resources needed to house these people indefinitely, and yet Western governments in particular have decided it’s better to bury their problems in eastern Syria than it would be to repatriate them and risk the possibility that they would be set free on legal technicalities. This is an untenable situation but there’s not much the SDF alone can do about it.
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