Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service.
Ethiopia Launches Raids inside Eritrea
The old arch-rivals are at it again. This time, Ethiopian military launched a strike on what it called ‘subversive groups’ that operate inside Eritrean territory. This is not to be confused with the Eritrean military, which an Ethiopian spokesperson stressed was not a target of this raid. “The attacks Thursday by Ethiopian forces took place about 10 miles (16 kilometers) inside Eritrea’s territory in areas called Gelakalay and Gimbina, Shimeles said. The Ethiopian forces have returned to Ethiopia, he said. ‘Today’s measures do not constitute a direct military confrontation between the two countries. The Ethiopian defense force has entered into Eritrea and launched a successful attack against military posts that have been used to organize, finance and train the subversive groups,’ Shimeles said. Shimeles said it was unlikely that Eritrea would retaliate because it is ‘not in a position to launch a counter attack.’” (Yahoo! http://yhoo.it/x3uqgP)
Over 1,000 people Flee Syria in Past 24 Hours. Death Toll Now Exceeds 8,000
Just over one year into the Syrian uprising, the UN has put the figure of dead at “exceeding 8,000.” Now, a new offensive by the Syrian government is causing massive refugee flows over the Turkish border. “A government offensive in Syria’s northwest has sharply increased the flow of refugees into Turkey, with about a thousand crossing in the last 24 hours, Turkish officials said on Thursday. The numbers fleeing was expected to grow further as long as fighting continued around the town of Idlib, close to the Turkish border, one Turkish official said; but he declined to say how many more Turkey was expecting. Turkey is wary of any military interventions in Syria, fearing a broader civil war could spill over its borders; but it has signalled that a tide of refugees is one of the factors that could trigger efforts to establish a ‘safe zone’ inside Syria.” (AlertNet http://bit.ly/A5HqET)
US Strategy for Afghanistan….Not Going According to Plan
The Taliban talks are off, and now Karzai wants NATO gone. “The American campaign in Afghanistan has suffered a double blow: The Taliban broke off talks with the U.S., and President Hamid Karzai said NATO should pull out of rural areas and speed up the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces nationwide in the wake of the killing of 16 civilians. Thursday’s moves represent new setbacks to America’s strategy for ending the 10-year-old war at a time when support for the conflict is plummeting. Part of the U.S. exit strategy is to transfer authority gradually to Afghan forces. Another tack is to pull the Taliban into political discussions with the Afghan government, though it’s unclear that there has been any progress since January. Although Karzai has previously said that he wanted international troops to transition out of rural areas, the apparent call for an immediate exit is new. Karzai also said he now wants Afghan forces to take the lead for countrywide security in 2013, in what appeared to be a move to push the U.S. toward an earlier drawdown.” (Time http://ti.me/yoqorE)