Eight-year-old Sara hardly speaks anymore. She spends most of her time watching cartoons on a mobile phone in a rugged pink cover.   
 
One of her legs is severed above the knee, the other is broken. 
 
On Thursday, about 15 minutes after her family decided to flee the area, a bomb fell about 8 meters from Sara and her three siblings.   
 
Doctors say hospitals in northeastern Syria are already working beyond their capacity, as aid organizations evacuate their foreign staff.  As Turkey continues to fight for a strip of land along its southern border, doctors say this war is turning into an unmitigated health disaster. 
 
“Any further crisis will destroy us,” said Dr. Furat Maqdesi Elias, who heads the Al Salam Hospital in Qamishli, a city on the Syrian border with Turkey. “What do NGOs and the U.N. give us?  They give us zero.” 
 
Many Syrians here blame the United States for abandoning this region, after supporting Kurdish-led fighters against Islamic State militants for years. Turkey has long maintained it would create a buffer zone between it and the once-U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces vigorously if it had to. It began assaults on the Kurdish region nearly a week ago. 
 
Turkey blames the PKK, a Kurdish militant group it equates with the SDF, which has been attacking Turkey for decades, leading to thousands of deaths. 

Sara’s mother, Nariman, weeps as she explains that her four children were injured in a bombing last week — one died and Sara lost a leg. Oct. 15, 2019. (Y. Boechat/VOA)

Sara’s mother, Nariman, blames herself. 
 
“It’s my fault,” she said. “We should have evacuated when things started happening.” 
 
‘Humanitarian situation spirals’ 
 
Sara doesn’t yet know that her 13-year-old brother Mohammad died in the bombing. Nariman whispers his name, and then hushes her daughter as she whimpers. 
 
A door closes, and Sara starts. 
 
“See what happened to her?” Nariman asked. “When she hears a door close, she thinks it’s a bomb.” 
 
Nariman and her husband, Youssef, and their other two children are now staying with friends while Sara is in the hospital. The house is still standing, she said, but they are too afraid to go home. 
 
They are among approximately 200,000 people who have been displaced since this war began less than a week ago. Roughly 70,000 are children, according to the U.N. Children’s Fund. 

A checkpoint, abandoned by Syrian Democratic Forces after Turkish military operations began last week, pictured on Oct. 11, 2019, outside Ras al-Ayn, Syria. (A. Lourie/VOA)

Families are not the only ones fleeing in northeastern Syria. On Tuesday, Doctors Without Borders announced it would be pulling its foreign staff out of the region and stopping most of its activities. The organization said the decision comes “as the humanitarian situation spirals further out of control, and needs are likely to increase.” 
 
The International Rescue Committee also suspended health services on Tuesday after one of its facilities was hit by what IRC officials think was an airstrike, and two of the organization’s ambulances were damaged.   
 
“Many hospitals have had to close, and those that remain open are overwhelmed with casualties,” said Misty Buswell, Middle East policy director at the International Rescue Committee, in a statement Tuesday. “We expect to see an increase in deaths from what are usually preventable diseases because of this, as there simply are not enough facilities to support those who have been displaced.” 
 
Chaos continues 
 
Before the crisis began, Sara was at the top of her class in school, her mother said, and liked to play soccer. 

Relatives show pictures of Sara and her younger sister Zainab, before the children were struck recently by a bomb. Oct. 15, 2019, in Qamishli, Syria. (Y. Boechat/VOA)

“Now, she doesn’t talk to us,” Nariman said, stroking Sara’s hair. 
 
Other children in Qamishli are mostly inside as she speaks, and soldiers pace the sidewalks. Some businesses are open, but the usually noisy city is mostly quiet.   
 
Reports of chaos in other cities litter the internet, with videos of Russian soldiers playing with electronic barriers, abandoned as the U.S. pulled out. Other videos show heavy fighting at the border between Syria and Turkey.   
 
Hundreds of military deaths have been reported in the past six days, and at least 42 civilians have been killed and 123 wounded, according to the International Rescue Committee. 
 

“One day everything changed,” says Sara’s father, Youseff, who also lost his 13-year-old son Mohammed in the conflict in northeastern Syria. Oct. 15, 2019. (Y. Boechat/VOA)

Soldiers say one key city has changed hands several times, with the SDF occasionally wresting it back from the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, formerly known as the FSA, a rebel group. 
 
Some roads have been taken by the group, and families from the region are unable to get to each other, as the alternate route is a well-known haven for Islamic State sleeper cells. 
 
“This area used to be a safe place,” Youssef said. “Everyone lived together from all over Syria. Then one day everything changed.” 

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Другий референдум про незалежність Шотландії має відбутися у 2020 році. Про це заявила перший міністр Шотландії Нікола Стерджес 15 жовтня, повідомляє ВВС.

Вона додала, що має намір просити уряд Сполученого королівства дати офіційну згоду на проведення референдуму. За словами Стерджес, британський уряд «не має права» блокувати запит Шотландії.

Перший міністр наголосила, що референдум має бути законним, щоб його результат визнали на міжнародному рівні.

Шотландці в 2014 році на референдумі виступили проти незалежності від Сполученого Королівства. «Ні» незалежності сказали 55,3% громадян, тоді як «за» висловилися – 44,7%. Одним з головних меседжів британського уряду тоді було нагадування, що Шотландія втратить членство у Євросоюзі і буде змушена проходити процедуру вступу з початку.

 

Прихильники нового плебісциту заявляють, що британський референдум 2016 року щодо Brexit засвідчив необхідність проведення ще одного референдуму про незалежність. 62% шотландців проголосували тоді за збереження членства в ЄС.

Шотландія є частиною Сполученого Королівства понад 300 років.

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Європейський союз дав Великобританії час до кінця вівторка, 15 жовтня, щоб завершити роботe над угодою про Brexit. Текст угоди представлять на схвалення учасникам саміту ЄС цього тижня.

Як повідомляє Reuters, в Брюсселі допускають відстрочку дати Brexit, призначеного на 31 жовтня. Провал переговорів також розглядається як один з можливих варіантів розвитку подій.

У той час як наближається крайній термін для розгляду угоди, президент Франції Еммануель Макрон розмовляв з британським прем’єром Борисом Джонсоном, главою делегації ЄС на переговорах щодо Brexit Мішелем Барньє і повідомив лідерів інших 27 держав ЄС про стан справ. Технічні переговори для забезпечення ухвалення угоди тривають.

 

Головним каменем спотикання залишається кордон між Ірландією, членом ЄС, і Північною Ірландією, яка є частиною Сполученого королівства. Проблема полягає в тому, що створення прикордонної інфраструктури може підірвати мирну угоду 1998 року, що завершила конфлікт, який тривав десятиліттями, зазначає агентство Reuters.

Мішель Барньє заявив, що при всіх труднощах, з якими довелося зіткнутися під час підготовки угоди, її ухвалення до кінця поточного тижня ще можливе.

Прем’єр-міністр Великої Британії Боріс Джонсон неодноразово заявляв, що, якщо угоди про Brexit досягти не вдасться, Британія залишить ЄС 31 жовтня без угоди. Тим часом, парламент нещодавно ухвалив закон, який наказує Джонсону в разі відсутності угоди просити ЄС про відстрочку. Британська опозиція побоюється, що прем’єр знайде спосіб обійти цей закон.

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Президент Румунії Клаус Йоганніс призначив лідера правоцентристської Націонал-ліберальної партії (НЛП) Людовика Орбана прем’єр-міністром країни. Тепер у Орбана є 10 днів, щоб сформувати кабінет міністрів і заручитися підтримкою парламенту.

Прихід нового уряду став можливим після того, як очолюваний лівою соціал-демократичною партією кабінет розпався минулого тижня після втрати вотуму довіри.

НЛП потребуватиме підтримки багатьох опозиційних партій, які повалили уряд соціал-демократів.

Людовик Орбан серед своїх пріоритетів назвав вирішення проблеми «макроекономічного дисбалансу» в країні і акцент на інвестиціях у транспорт, охорону здоров’я та освіту.

56-річний колишній міністр транспорту також пообіцяв забезпечити незалежність судової влади та забезпечити професійність свого уряду.

Президент Румунії Клаус Йоганніс серед завдань уряду на найближче майбутнє назвав організацію президентських виборів, перший тур яких призначений на 10 листопада, і складання бюджету на 2020 рік.

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Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno on Monday officially scrapped his own law to cut expensive fuel subsidies after days of violent protests against the IMF-backed measure, returning fuel prices to prior levels until a new measure can be found.

The signing of the decree is a blow to Moreno, and leaves big questions about the oil-producing nation’s fiscal situation.

But it represents a win for the country’s indigenous communities, who led the protests, bringing chaos to the capital and crippling the oil sector.

The clashes marked the latest in a series of political convulsions sparked by IMF-backed reform plans in Latin America, where increased polarization between the right and left is causing widespread friction amid efforts to overhaul hidebound economies.

Moreno’s law eliminated four-decade-old fuel subsidies and was estimated to have freed up nearly $1.5 billion per year in the government budget, helping to shrink the fiscal deficit as required under a deal Moreno signed with the International Monetary Fund.

But the measure was hugely unpopular and sparked days of protests led by indigenous groups that turned increasingly violent despite a military-enforced curfew.

Moreno gave in to the chief demand of demonstrators late on Sunday, tweeting on Monday that: “We have opted for peace.”

Then, later on Monday, he signed the decree officially reverting his previous measure. Moreno, who took office in 2017 after campaigning as the leftist successor to former President Rafael Correa, said fuel prices would revert to their earlier levels at midnight.

A demonstrator holds tires as he runs during a protest against Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno’s austerity measures in Quito, Ecuador October 12, 2019.

He added that the government would seek to define a new plan to tackle the fuel subsidies that does not benefit the wealthy or smugglers, with prices remaining at prior levels until the new legislation is ready.

“While Moreno has survived for now, he is not yet out of the woods. Once again, Ecuador’s indigenous sector has proven its strength and now will be emboldened to look for concessions from the government in other areas,” said Eileen Gavin, senior Latin America analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.

“This inevitably means a slower fiscal adjustment between now and the 2021 election,” Gavin added in an email.

Nonetheless, for the time being, Moreno’s actions brought a much-needed measure of calm to the streets of the capital Quito, where residents on Monday began to restore order and clear away the makeshift blockades that sprang up in recent days.

“We have freed the country,” indigenous leader Jaime Vargas said to cheers from supporters at a press conference. “Enough of the pillaging of the Ecuadorean people.”

The protests had grown increasingly chaotic in recent days after the government launched a crackdown against what it labeled as extremists whom it said had infiltrated protests.

Authorities reported that the office of the comptroller, a local TV station and military vehicles were set on fire.

Indigenous protesters who streamed into Quito from Andean and Amazonian provinces to join the protests piled into buses that departed the city on Monday.

“We’re going back to our territories,” said Inti Killa, an indigenous man from the Amazonian region of Napo. “We’ve shown that unity and conviction of the people is a volcano that nobody can stop.”

One of the government’s more immediate priorities will be to kick-start oil sector operations, which were suspended in some regions after protesters broke into plants.

“We need to re-establish oil production,” said Energy Minister Carlos Perez. He added that Ecuador stopped producing some 2 million barrels of oil during the protests, costing the government more than $100 million in lost income. “I expect things to be back to normal in about 15 days,” Perez said.

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Two Pacific Northwest tribes on Monday demanded the removal of three major hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River to save migrating salmon and starving orcas and restore fishing sites that were guaranteed to the tribes in a treaty more than 150 years ago.

The Yakama and Lummi nations made the demand of the U.S. government on Indigenous Peoples Day, a designation that’s part of a trend to move away from a holiday honoring Christopher Columbus.

For decades, people have debated whether to remove four big dams on the Lower Snake River, a tributary of the Columbia, but breaching the Columbia dams, which are a much more significant source of power, has never been seriously discussed.
 
Proposals to merely curtail operations, let alone remove the structures, are controversial, and the prospects of the Columbia dams being demolished any time soon appear nonexistent.

Tribal leaders said at a news conference along the Columbia River that the Treaty of 1855, in which 14 tribes and bands ceded 11.5 million acres to the United States, was based on the inaccurate belief that the U.S. had a right to take the land.

Under the treaty, the Yakama Tribe retained the right to fish at all their traditional sites. But construction of the massive concrete dams decades later along the lower Columbia River to generate power for the booming region destroyed critical fishing spots and made it impossible for salmon to complete their migration.

FILE – Water flows through the Dalles Dam, along the Columbia River, in The Dalles, Oregon, June 3, 2011.

After a song of prayer, Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy spoke Monday at the site of now-vanished Celilo Falls near The Dalles, Oregon, and said the placid Columbia River behind him looked “like a lake where we once saw a free-flowing river.”
 
“We have a choice and it’s one or the other: dams or salmon,” he said. “Our ancestors tell us to look as far into the future as we can. Will we be the generation that forgot those who are coming behind us, those yet unborn?”

Celilo Falls was a traditional salmon-fishing site for the Yakama for centuries, but it was swallowed by the river in 1957 after the construction of The Dalles Dam.

Support for dams

The three dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are a critical part of a complex hydroelectric network strung along the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho that powers the entire region.

Government officials were unavailable for further comment Monday due to the holiday.

Supporters of dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers note the vast amount of clean energy they produce and their usefulness for irrigation and transportation. For example, they allow farmers to ship about half of U.S. wheat exports by barge instead of by truck or rail. According to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, about 40,000 local jobs are dependent on shipping on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Salmon, orcas 

The Lummi Nation is in northwestern Washington state, far from the Columbia River, but it has also been touched by construction of the dams, said Jeremiah Julius, Lummi Nation chairman.

Chinook salmon are the preferred prey of endangered orcas but just 73 resident orcas remain in the Pacific Northwest — the lowest number in three decades — because of a lack of chinook, as well as toxic contamination and vessel noise. The orcas were hunted for food for generations by the Lummi Nation in the Salish Sea, he said.

“We are in a constant battle … to leave future generations a lifeway promised our ancestors 164 years ago,” he said. “Our people understand that the salmon, like the orca, are the miner’s canary for the health of the Salish Sea and for all its children.

“I choose salmon,” he added. “I will always choose salmon.”

Fish ladders built into the dams allow for the passage of migrating salmon, and migrating fish are hand-counted as they pass through. But the number of salmon making the arduous journey to the Pacific Ocean and back to their natal streams has declined steeply in recent decades.

The Columbia River Basin once produced between 10 million and 16 million salmon a year. Now there are about 1 million a year.

FILE – Water flows through the Bonneville Dam near Cascade, Oregon, June 27, 2012.

The Bonneville Dam was constructed in the mid-1930s and generates enough electricity to power about 900,000 homes — roughly the size of Portland, Oregon. The Dalles Dam followed in the 1950s and John Day Dam was completed in 1972.

Environmental groups applauded the tribes’ demand and said efforts to save salmon without removing the dams aren’t working because without the free flow of the Columbia, the entire river ecosystem is out of balance.

“The stagnant reservoirs behind the dams create dangerously hot water, and climate change is pushing the river over the edge. Year after year, the river gets hotter,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director for the nonprofit group Columbia Riverkeeper. “The system is broken, but we can fix it.”
 

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Along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, tens of thousands of New Yorkers and tourists celebrated the world’s largest display of Italian-American pageantry on Columbus Day, while New Mexico and a growing list of states and municipalities ditched the holiday altogether for the first time.

The Italian navigator namesake who sailed to the modern-day Americas in 1492, Christopher Columbus has long been considered by some scholars  and Native Americans as an affront to those who had settled on the land thousands of years prior to his arrival. 

While the earliest  commemoration of Columbus Day dates back to 1866 in New York City,  as a celebration to honor the heritage and contributions of the now-17 million Italian-Americans living in the United States, the movement behind “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” began more than a century later, in 1977, by a delegation of Native nations.

The resolution, presented in Geneva at the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, paved the way for cities like Berkeley, California to officially replace the holiday 15 years later.

Yet to organizers of the 75th annual Columbus Day Parade, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus remains worth celebrating.

“Columbus discovered America. If it weren’t for Columbus, who knows where we’d be today,” said Aldo Verrelli, Parade Chairman with the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

“[With] any of those people in those days, we have to remember the good that they did,” Verrelli said. Let’s forget about all the other controversy.”

It’s a sentiment and a suggestion that has long divided Americans: honor tradition, or correct history and rectify the past.

“There were Native Americans that were here before, but [Columbus] basically discovered the New World, and that’s why we’re here today,” said Joe Sanfilippo, a participant at the New York Columbus Day Parade.

“The Europeans essentially tried to eradicate us,” U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) told VOA. “They brought disease. They banished us to reservations later on when the U.S. government became an active force.”

Red paint covers a statue of Christopher Columbus, Oct. 14, 2019, in Providence, R.I., after it was vandalized on the day named to honor him as one of the first Europeans to reach the New World.

Since Berkeley’s decision to rename the holiday in 1992, more than 130 cities have followed suit. Joining several states — including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, Oregon and South Dakota — New Mexico became the latest state to legally replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2019, celebrated for the first time on Monday.

One of the first two Native American women elected to U.S. Congress and member of the Laguna Pueblo, Haaland describes her mission as one to “correct history” and honor the resilience of America’s Indigenous Peoples on the national stage. On October 11, she co-sponsored a national resolution to designate the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

“There’s 573 distinct tribes right now in our country. And we’re all diverse. And I just I think that it’s an excellent way for us to celebrate the diversity and recognize that when other indigenous people come to this country, that there’s a place for them also,” Haaland said of the renamed holiday.

People taking part in a rally to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day in downtown Seattle sing as they march toward Seattle City Hall, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. The observance of the day was made official by the Seattle City Council in 2014.

America, she adds, was never “discoverable” in the first place, a “misnomer” that runs in direct contradiction to decades-old American history textbooks and the people who defend Christopher Columbus’s legacy.

“In their minds, accepting the truth, is somehow shifting the power — [in] that it contributes to the loss of power by minority over the majority,” said Regis Pecos, former governor of Cochiti Pueblo. “I think that these attitudes and behaviors are so deeply entrenched, that it is really based upon fear of losing a narrative, as false as that narrative is.”

Festival attendees in the state’s capitol, Santa Fe, say the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day marks progress.

“History is always written by the winners. And then now, we[ve] come to a generation [where] we start to think about what we used to think is right is wrong now,” said attendee Silvia Sian.

At the Columbus Day Parade in New York, others argue it shouldn’t be an either-or decision.

“Those who want to honor Columbus, then they keep that day,” said New York resident Heather Fitzroy. “But those who want to honor the ones who lived before us, like the indigenous people of America, if they want to honor them, then that’s OK too.”

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Сирійські урядові війська почали прибувати до позицій на півночі країни після того як Дамаск погодився допомогти курдському ополченню проти турецького вторгення.

Як повідомляє сирійське державне медіа, на захід від ріки Євфрат сирійська армія увійшла в місто Манбідж, яке входить до «безпекової зони», яку хоче створити Анкара уздовж кордону, ділянки якого контролюють курдські війська.

Сирійська армія також дісталася міст Тель-Тамер та Айн-Ісса на схід від ріки, які лежать на стратегічному шляху, який веде до кордони з Туреччиною.

 

Курдський політик Альдар Кселіль заявив, що угода з Асадом була «надзвичайним заходом», спрямованим на блокування турецького наступу.

«Після того, як американці залишили цей регіон і дали зелене світло турецькому нападу, ми були змушені розглянути інший варіант», – заявив представник керівництва курдів Бадран Джия Курд.

Він додав, що політичні аспекти угоди наразі не обговорювалися.

Наземному наступові Туреччини, який розпочався 9 жовтня, передували авіанальоти та артилерійський обстріл території, яку утримують курдські сили.​

Президент Туреччини Реджеп Тайїп Ердоган заявив, що наступ має на меті створити «зону безпеки», а його ціль – «курдські бойовики» і члени угруповання «Ісламська держава» на півночі Сирії. Анкара вважає курдських бійців «терористами».​

Читайте також: США: Спікерка Палати представників підтримує санкції проти Туреччини за дії в Сирії – сенатор

Згідно з позицією Туреччини, у такій зоні змогли б знайти притулок до двох мільйонів сирійських біженців з тих 3,6 мільйонів, які мешкають у цій країні.

Перед цим сили США почали виведення військ із районів, розташованих уздовж сирійського кордону з Туреччиною, через кілька годин після того, як Вашингтон оголосив, що буде триматися осторонь планованої турецької операції проти курдських сил в північно-східній Сирії.

За даними ООН, понад 130 тисяч людей були змушені залишити свої помешкання через бої навколо міст Рас-аль-Айн і Тель-Аб’яд на північному сході Сирії, де Туреччина почала наступ на сили місцевих курдів

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