Syria: UN Reports Half-Million Displaced by Fighting in Idlib

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, David Swanson, reported that more than half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in Idlib over the last two months. “Since 1 December, some 520,000 people have been displaced from their homes, the vast majority – 80 percent – of them women and children,” he said. Swanson noted that their movement in winter exacerbated the already “terrible humanitarian situation in the region.”

Assad’s Uncle on Trial for Money Laundering in France

The uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Rifaat al-Assad, is on trial in France in a case of “unlawful enrichment.” The trial began Monday in the French capital, Paris. Assad is accused of building a real estate empire in France from Syrian public funds. Rifaat al-Assad was one of the former pillars of the Assad regime, and the commander of the “Defense Brigades,” a special force that was instrumental in the devastating attack on the city of Hama in central Syria in 1982.