IS wins ground from Assad govt in east

Updated 21 October 2014
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IS wins ground from Assad govt in east

BEIRUT: Islamic State won territory from Syrian government forces in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday, its first gain there in about two months, a group that tracks the civil war reported.
Fighters from both sides were killed during the clashes in Deir Ezzor city, about 450 km northeast of Damascus in a province bordering Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said without giving a death toll. The militant group, which is also battling Kurdish forces for control of the town of Kobani at the Turkish border, brought reinforcements to Deir Ezzor in recent days, Abdulrahman said.
The US air force dropped arms to Kurds defending Kobani on Monday. Washington has ruled out such cooperation with the government of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.


Fallen Tunisian autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dies

Updated 10 min 33 sec ago

Fallen Tunisian autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dies

TUNIS: Tunisia's ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali died on Thursday, days after a free presidential election in his homeland, his family lawyer said.

“Ben Ali just died,” the lawyer, Mounir Ben Salha, told Reuters by phone.

Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January 2011 as his compatriots rose up against his oppressive rule in a revolution that inspired other Arab Spring uprisings abroad and led to a democratic transition at home.

On Sunday, Tunisians voted in an election that featured candidates from across the political spectrum, sending two political outsiders through to a second round vote unthinkable during Ben Ali's own era of power.

However, while they have enjoyed a much smoother march to democracy than citizens of the other Arab states that also rose up in 2011, many of them are economically worse off than they were under Ben Ali.

While almost all the candidates in Sunday's election were vocal champions of the revolution, one of them, Abir Moussi, campaigned as a supporter of Ben Ali's ousted government, receiving 4 percent of the votes.