SYRIA: ISIS (also ISIL) militants continue fighting in Syria as well as Iraq. This week, they posted an alarming statement concerning their takeover of al-Hasaka, the embattled multi-ethnic northeastern area of Syria. The statement urged ISIS fighters in the region to seize all jewelry and send it to ISIS, to take all food and clothing for ISIS jihadists, to behead Christian men, and to “take their women, they are yours.”
MILITARY: Nearly 4,500 Americans were killed in Iraq, but that’s not the whole numbers story. “When I say 2.5 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, jaws drop,” said Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. More than 1.6 million of those people have transitioned to veterans’ status; of those, 670,000 have been awarded disability status on the basis of their military service.
SUDAN: Sudanese air forces again attacked humanitarian operations in South Kordafan (their own people) in a deliberate assault, according to analyst Eric Reeves. The attack brings to 2,000 the number of similar documented aerial assaults by the Islamic regime.
EGYPT: A prominent Egyptian convert from Islam to Christianity was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information.” In 2013, he was arrested while gathering information about violence against Christians, but many believe he’s being punished for challenging the law that prohibits formally changing religious identity.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Most of the coverage is in the French press, but an airlift of U.S. aid is underway in the Central African Republic.
REFUGEES: For the first time since World War II, the number of people forced from their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday. The number is up 6 million from one year ago.