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Al Nusra in Syria Confiscates the Property of the Christians who Have Fled

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Al Qaeda in Syria – which after evolving into Al Nusra, is now called Hayaat Tahrir Al Sham [1] – continues to seize the houses, land and property of Christians in the province of Idlib under its control, Asia News reports. In a statement issued by Tahrir Al Sham and published four days ago, we read:

“All the Christian goods are considered spoils of war and consequently they will be seized”. Three days ago, the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate confirmed to AsiaNews that the Islamic terrorist groups of Idlib are confiscating the assets of the Christians who fled during the war after the occupation by Daesh.

An inhabitant of Gisr el Sheghur – who wanted to remain anonymous – is among those who have occupied an abandoned house. He himself declares that La Hayaat “has informed all the inhabitants who have occupied houses belonging to Christians who have fled, to leave or to agree to pay a monthly rent” to the Islamic terrorist organization.

There is also the expropriation of the homes of Christians left to their friends or neighbors. Al Hasyat does not recognize these legal powers of attorney. The most beautiful houses are assigned to Islamic leaders; other houses or shops are sold or rented. The seizures do not concern Christians still in the city, which are very few and composed mainly of old people.

Christians in the province of Idlib, composed mainly of Armenians and Greek Orthodox, had to flee in 2012. Known to be wealthy and owners of land and houses, the Christians abandoned everything, fleeing to areas controlled by the government. Many others have opted to emigrate abroad: some only temporarily to Turkey, Lebanon or Armenia; others have chosen never to return and have gone to Europe, America, Australia.

The Christians of the province were concentrated mainly in the city of Idlib, but also in the surrounding villages of the agricultural and industrial hinterland, as well as in the new urban centers of Gisr el Sheghur, Halluz, Yaacobibya and Al Ghassaniya. At the beginning of 2012, many Christians suffered ferocious persecution by Daesh. Many of them were beheaded, under the guise of being “the Damascus regime” supporters.

Since the Islamic armed groups of the Syrian Revolution have taken control, direct persecution and acts of terrorism towards Christians have increased. The faithful are urged to abjure or be condemned to death in case of refusal. Another way out is escape. Above all, Daesh and Al Nusra have abducted many priests and nuns and have demolished churches and monasteries and turned them into graveyards for mass graves. Among the many testimonies, there is that of the Greek Orthodox church of Al Ghassaniya (December 2013).

In 2015, in the city of Idlib, the church dedicated to Our Lady was ransacked and defiled by Gind El Aqsa, “The Soldiers of Al Aqsa”. Together with the allied fundamentalist factions, Hayaat Tahrir Al Sham controls almost 70% of the territories of the province of Idlib. It is made up of thousands of Syrian fighters, but also Arab and non-Arab jihadists. The remaining 30% of the territory is controlled by less fundamentalist groups, but always opposed to Christians.

This part is in fact controlled by groups left by Al Qaeda and Isis, such as the “Islamic Turkic Party”, nostalgic for the Turkish Ottoman Empire; “Sekur Al Ghab” (Forest Falcons); Ansar Al Tawhid (Apostles of Unity); Haras Al Din (Guardians of Religion); Ajdad Al Caucaz (The Grandparents of the Caucasus), composed of Chechens and Turkish Azerbaijani; Jeysh Al Izza (The Army of Glory) and many others. Only a small group belongs to the free Syrian Army.

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Trump says being president has cost him $5 billion

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that being president has cost him between $2 billion and $5 billion that he would have made if he had continued running his business instead of getting into politics, a claim unsupported by evidence.

But, he told reporters, “If I had it to do it again I would do it in an instant, because who cares, if you can afford it, what difference does it make?”

There is no evidence that Trump lost billions since he became president. His net worth of $3.1 billion was unchanged from last year, Forbes Magazine said in March.

After Trump made a similar claim in August, Forbes wrote “Trump is not losing $3 billion to $5 billion. His income isn’t anywhere near $3 billion.”

While Trump’s personal fortune held steady over the past year, he vaulted higher on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people as dozens of his fellow tycoons suffered financial setbacks while his real estate holdings held their value better.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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