1) In the past 10 days, the Syrian military has killed 247 people in the Damascus area. At least 50 of these deaths were children. Most of the airstrikes were concentrated in rebel-held Douma. The Civil Defense, a rescue operation, has declared the city a disaster area.
1) Protests in Lebanon over the country’s failure to collect garbage turned violent on the second day. The problem with trash in Lebanon is a symptom of deeper political problems in the country that have angered citizens: including corruption, sectarian gridlock and issues with Syrian refugees. Sunday night, the army and riot police used waters cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas to try and subdue demonstrators. On Monday, at least 20 people had been injured. The protestors called for the “downfall of the regime”. Prime Minister Tammam Salam has threatened to resign.
1) Thousands of refugees camped on the border Greece, hoping to pass through Macedonia. Police claimed the border was closed and when the migrants attempted to rush across Macedonia called for a state of emergency. Riot police moved into the area using batons, stun guns and tear gas on the refugees. The UN expressed concern over Macedonia’s lack of orderly response in dealing with the situation.
1) Greece is planning snap elections after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos today. Elections will most likely take place on September 20th. After only seven months in office, Tsipras was forced to compromise on a new bailout deal and endure a bank shutdown. He is now facing a rebellion within his own Syriza party. By resigning, Tsipras plans to appeal to his popularity among voters to regain his office in the fall.
1) On Monday, a bomb went off in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, killing 27 people and injuring 78. The bomb was placed on a motorcycle near a popular shrine. While no person or group has claimed credit for the attack, Thai authorities believe they have found the suspect from CCTV footage. A second explosion happened later in the day in the same city but did not harm anyone.
1) The Pentagon has announced that it plans to increase the U.S. drone program by 2019. The surveillance drones will be used in active conflict zones such as Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, the South China Sea, and North Africa. The number of daily flights currently sits at 61, but that number would be increased to 90.
1) A wave of attacks hit Turkey today, including gunfire perpetuated by two women outside of a U.S. consulate. No one was harmed at the American mission, but 4 police officers were killed in a roadside bomb, and one more in an attack on a helicopter. One of the attackers at the consulate identified herself as a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C, who claimed the attack. The same far-left, anti-West group attacked the U.S. embassy in 2013, killing one guard. Other violence was related to clashes between Turkish forces and the Kurdish PKK.
1) Former President of Iran launched a political campaign on Monday in attempt to rejoin politics in the country. His campaign aims at parliamentary elections planned for February of next year. Ahmadinejad spent eight years in office opposing a nuclear deal and any new campaign would most likely attack moderate reformists.
1) Turkey has requested an emergency meeting with NATO concerning ISIS and its border with Syria. Officials from member countries will meet on Tuesday, July 28, to discuss the situation. Reports currently say that Turkey has not made any call for any military help. The meeting falls under an Article 4 consultation in the Alliance’s 1949 treaty, as opposed to Article 5 which calls for armed forces from NATO.
1) Boko Haram attacks continue to happen across Africa with more than 50 dead in Nigeria and at least 13 killed in Cameroon by a suicide bomber. This week the U.S. has pledged additional military aid to help Nigeria tackle the militant group. The increase happened after President Muhammadu Buhari called out the American government for indirectly supporting Boko Haram by not providing lethal aid to countries under attack.