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DAMASCUS, August 4, 2018 (MENA) – The Syrian forces renewed artillery and rocket attacks in Idlib countryside and northern Hama, local sources said on Saturday.

Sky News channel quoted the sources as saying that the shelling coincided with fierce clashes between the armed factions and the Syrian forces, which seek to advance in the region towards Idlib western countryside.

MANAGUA, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - At least eight people including a baby were killed on Saturday when pro-government forces clashed with opponents in Nicaragua, according to a rights group.

Seven people were killed in the capital Managua and one in Masaya and a baby was among the dead, said Georgina Ruiz, an activist with the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH).

The rights group says more than 200 people have been killed in protests that started just over two months ago demanding President Daniel Ortega step down.

Starting after midnight, police and paramilitary forces flooded six neighbourhoods in the east of Managua, as well as the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) where scores of students are holed up.

Among the dead were two students killed in the university area and two minors who died in Managua -- a 17-year-old and a baby who was shot in the head.

The baby was killed when his mother was taking him to a babysitter. "He was killed by a police gunshot. I saw them. They were police," the mother Kenia Navarrete told news channel Cien por Cien Noticias.

The government denied the charge, saying criminals in the university area were to blame.

UNAN is one of several student protest camps in Managua. About 450 students have been living there under plastic tarp tents and in class buildings, surrounded by empty bottles, old food and used rounds from their homemade mortars.

"Ortega's government continues to repress and kill young people," CENIDH said on Twitter.

According to Alvaro Leiva, secretary of the Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association, the attack against the university was intended "to plant terror in the population" ahead of a march planned for Saturday afternoon in memory of victims of the violence.

Later Saturday organisers cancelled the march due to what they branded "indiscriminate" attacks by government forces. The organising Civil Alliance opposition called for a 48-hour strike among social sectors and trade unions to press for Ortega's departure.

The Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference urged Ortega's government and the opposition to return to the negotiating table on Monday to discuss a proposal to bring elections forward from 2021 to March 2019, in a bid to end the crisis.

Ortega, 72, has not responded to the Catholic bishops' initiative, but has previously expressed his willingness to work towards democratisation.

Talks between the government and the opposition Civic Alliance were suspended once again last Monday when the government failed to allow international human rights bodies to investigate the violence.

It eventually did so on Wednesday.

Protests erupted on April 18 against now-scrapped social security reforms, but have grown into demands for justice for those killed and the exit of Ortega and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo.

Ortega, a former leftist guerrilla, led the country from 1979 to 1990 and then returned to the presidency in 2007. He is now serving his third consecutive term.

RAMALLAH, June 13, 2018 (MENA) - At least eight Palestinians were injured Wednesday during clashes with Israeli occupation forces at al-Am'ari refugee camp in Ramallah with most of them suffering bullet wounds, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

The Israeli troops also arrested a Palestinian man, 32, under the pretext of killing an Israeli soldier at al-Am'ari camp three weeks ago.

Khartoum, April 28, 2018 (AFP) - An insurgent group in Darfur claimed Saturday to have repelled government forces in fresh clashes in the war-torn region of western Sudan that the US says have displaced thousands of civilians.

The new fighting, in the Jebel Marra mountains, comes despite a ceasefire unilaterally announced by Khartoum in early March, applying to Darfur and another conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

"The regime's military tried to take our positions but we repulsed them," Noureddine Kouki, a spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid rebel group, told AFP.

Washington confirmed on Friday fresh clashes have taken place in recent days, saying it was "deeply concerned" by the violence.

"There are credible reports that villages were targeted for attack ... resulting in thousands of newly displaced civilians," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Friday.

The fighting is between the SLA/AW group and Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra mountains and it has sent villagers fleeing into mountain hideouts and caves, the rebels say.

An insurgency began in Darfur in 2003, as rebels rose up against Sudan's government, accusing it of marginalisation.

Khartoum responded by using militias to crack down on rebels and since then, insurgent groups have fragmented, with fighting punctuated by periods of relative calm.

"We call on all sides -- the government of Sudan forces, SLA/AW and armed tribal groups -- to immediately halt their provocative actions and violent responses," said Nauert.

She also urged Khartoum to allow "immediate and unhindered" access to peacekeepers and aid agencies to enable them to deliver humanitarian aid to those displaced by violence.

Khartoum restricts international media access to Darfur, an area about the size of France, so it is not possible to independently verify the details of fighting there. Sudanese authorities could not be reached for comment.

The United Nations says that over the years the conflict has killed about 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million, with many having set up home over the last decade and a half in sprawling semi-permanent camps.

Khartoum insists the conflict has ended in Darfur. A joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force is being downscaled, now standing at around 10,000 uniformed personnel, from a peak of about 27,000.

A separate conflict erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, both bordering South Sudan, in 2011.

KACHIN, Myanmar, April 28, 2018 (AFP) - Thousands of people have
fled renewed fighting between Myanmar's army and ethnic insurgents in
the country's remote north, a United Nations official said on Saturday,
as a long-simmering conflict intensifies.

More than 4,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar's northernmost
state of Kachin near the border with China in the last three weeks, Mark
Cutts, the head of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), told AFP late Friday.

The numbers do not include some 15,000 people who have fled since
the beginning of the year and upwards of 90,000 residing in IDP
(internally displaced persons) camps in both Kachin and Shan states
since a ceasefire between the government and the powerful Kachin
Independence Army broke down in 2011.

"We have received reports from local organisations saying that there are
still many civilians who remain trapped in conflict-affected areas", Cutts
said of the recent clashes.

"Our biggest concern is for the safety of civilians -- including pregnant
women, the elderly, small children and people with disabilities. We must
ensure that these people are protected."

OCHA has been unable to verify reports that civilians have been killed
in the fighting.

In addition to the Rohingya crisis in the western part of mainly Buddhist
Myanmar, the country's conflict-hit north has also played host to clashes
involving other ethnic minorities, which rarely make headlines.

Myanmar's border areas have been unstable since its independence from
British colonial rule in 1948, hosting a dizzying array of insurgencies,
local militias, and drug-running operations.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said making peace was her
priority when she took office in 2016 after decades of military rule but
progress has been slow.

Ethnic armed groups are demanding more autonomy and control from a
country in which the Burmese hold major positions of power in politics
and the armed forces.

Rights groups say the army has stepped up its campaign in remote areas
of Myanmar amid the Rohingya crisis, which has seen some 700,000
people flee to Bangladesh.

The US and the UN have called the military crackdown ethnic cleansing,
while Myanmar denies the claims and says it was defending itself against
Rohingya insurgents.

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories), April 23, 2018 (AFP) - Two Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israel were pronounced dead on Monday, a Gaza official said, bringing the toll from Israeli fire since the end of March to 40.

A spokesman for the Hamas-controlled territory's health ministry named the latest fatalities as Tahrir Wahada, 18, and Abdullah Shamali, 20.

Wahada was shot in the head in a clash east of Khan Yunis on April 6, and Shamali died of "bullet wounds to his belly" sustained on Friday, according to the spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

Most of the 40 Palestinians killed by Israel since the start of "March of Return" protests on March 30 were shot by snipers on the border, while a few others were killed by Israeli artillery or air strikes.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave,  have gathered at the border on consecutive Fridays to call for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

Some protestors have launched stones or burning tyres at Israeli soldiers.

Israeli forces have responded with live ammunition, wounding hundreds in addition to those killed.

The Israeli army says its fores only open fire in self-defence or to stop protestors attempting to breach the barrier separating the territory from Israel.

More than 440 demonstrators suffered bullet wounds or gas inhalation on Friday, rescuers said.

Israel has drawn harsh criticism from rights groups along with calls for investigations by the United Nations or the European Union.

Israel has for more than a decade imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza, fighting three wars with Hamas since 2008.

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