World News Brief, Friday August 3

Syrian rebels attack military airport near Aleppo; Chinese authorities ban fasting for Ramadan; Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng describes deterioration of human rights in China; Bangladesh bans foreign charities from helping Rohingya refugees; Greek leaders agree to new austerity plan; and more

Top of the Agenda: Syrian Rebels Capture Government Armor as Battle for Aleppo Rages

Syrian rebels today attacked a military airport (NYT) near Aleppo using a tank and armor captured from Syrian army forces on Wednesday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The military launched air strikes on opposition forces in contested neighborhoods as the ongoing battle for Aleppo raged. Meanwhile, the Syrian army yesterday killed dozens of mostly unarmed civilians in its search for rebel fighters in Damascus, activists said. The alleged massacre came a day after the rebels apparently recorded the brutal execution of pro-government gunmen on the streets of Aleppo and posted the footage on the Internet.


"The evolution of the protest movement that began early in 2011 into a full-blown civil war involving actors ranging from the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda to Russia and Iran, has probably done more to strengthen the regime's core and its determination to fight to the end than it has done to create a soft landing," writes TIME's Tony Karon.

"The reality is that Syria is in the middle of a complex internal struggle with a divided opposition, regional players with diverse agendas, and competing great powers. There's no single force on the ground--or constellation of outside powers--that can impose order. For the United States to enter the fray as a quasi-combatant would make matters more complicated, not less," writes Aaron David Miller for



China Bans Ramadan Fasting for Party Officials

Chinese authorities banned Muslim Communist Party cadres, civil officials, and students from fasting and other religious activities during the month of Ramadan in northwestern Xinjiang province (al-Jazeera), home to millions of Uighur Muslims.

CHINA: Meeting with U.S. Congressional leaders yesterday, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who escaped from house arrest in April and came to the United States to study law shortly thereafter, criticized the Chinese government for failing to investigate the abuse he had suffered, while citing the deterioration of human rights in China (WSJ).



Bangladesh bans foreign charities from helping Rohingya refugees

Greece agrees to new austerity plan


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