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tv   Weekend News  Al Jazeera  December 26, 2015 4:00am-4:31am EST

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one of syria's most powerful rebel leaders killed in an air strike. world news from al jazeera. also ahead in the next half hour, holidays going up in smoke. bushfires force tourists to take refuge in evacuation centers in australia. catering for those in need, business owners making money out of the refugee crisis. >> reporter: no place to call home. i'm at a camp on the haitian dominican border where people have settled after having to leave the dominican republic
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one of the strongest rebel groups in the area around the syrian capital has been dealt a blow. the leader has been killed in an air strike. he was head of a group and died alongside five of his commanders. his grouped based is the largest rebel faction around the capital. he recently attend ed a summit. they fought against i.s.i.l. fighters near damascus. a report on what his death means for the armed group. >> reporter: he was the most powerful rebel commander in damascus suburbs. his headquarters were only a few kilometres away from president
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bashar al-assad's palace. zahran alloush was released from a prison in a general amnesty after an up rising against bail. many of his jail mates became leaders. he convinced many armed groups to form an army of more than 20,000 well trained unarmed fighters. a few months ago he attended a military parade. it was the biggest shell force by the syrian opposition. unlike most rebel factions with units across the country, the army of islam has one base on the outskirts of damascus with one task waiting for the government to collapse to march into the capital and secure it.
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this is where alloush was killed. he was meeting two commanders. the syrian army says he was killed in an air strike carried out by a syrian fighters jet. the syrian opposition says the death of zahran may undermine the chance for internationally brokered talks between the rebels and the syrian government. zahran was not only a military commander, he was also a prominent preacher with many followers in the damascus area. with his death, the future of the army of islam is uncertain. in 2013 the syrian government killed a charismatic leader. a year later, many leaders were killed in edlib.
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the key rebel groups never recovered from the loss of their founders. >> alloush was a major figure. he was a commander that built the organization from a small company back in 2011, amid 2011, to now an organization with 26 command centers, 64 batallions and more or less somewhere between 45,000 to 50,000 fighters. this is zahran's successor. he was been in charge of an elite unit in the army of islam. the syrian opposition says slloush should be remembered as the man who prevented i.s.i.l. from expanding towards damascus and that his death could pave the way for i.s.i.l. and the al-nusra front to lodge an offensive to capture the outskirts of the capital
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turkish military has bombed a north-eastern town in an operation against kurdish separatists. six fighters and one soldier were killed in the air strikes near the syrian border. turkish tanks surrounded the town in an 11-day attack. afghan special forces are struggling to drive out taliban fighters from the province of helmand. they have had success in recapturing the police headquarters and the office of the district chief. al jazeera's correspondent joins us now in helmand. they've driven out the taliban from a few offices. does that mean they've turned the battle around for helmand? >> reporter: not at all. afghan official forces have been there for two days. these two blocks that we are
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talking about is 200 metres away from each other. afghan security forces are confirming to us that they are struggling to push the taliban back. they are complaining lack of strong air sport. that's what they want-- air support. there is some air sport, but there is a lack of logistic supply. there are two 70 kilometres around the country is a stronghold of taliban area. that's what it makes it difficult for afghan forces to send reinforcement or to send supply and logistic supplies. now afghan forces are saying that they have achieved those gains. some area under their control, but though know it's a small achievement. they need to do bigger and they know it was a big problem for them because simply people supporting taliban.
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the reason that residents supporting taliban is easy to understand because the biggest income for the people of this province is poppy, from poppy cultivation and government stops them from pop people cultivation if they are under their control. government offer them corruption. they say government offered corruption and democracy something that they're not interested in. fighting is not only in sangin. government officials tells us that the same type of fighting is going to start in other districts around helmand province. last night in the capital and a few kilometres around, they were witnessing some heck fighting-- heavy fighting, almost in big part of helmand province we will leave you there nor now. thank you for that
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a palestinian has been killed in jerusalem. the palestinian health ministries says israeli forces shot him after he tried to stab an israeli. a palestinian was fatally wounded for an alleged car ramming. a wave of violence started in october has left 137 palestinians and 20 israelis dead. in the yemen 13 houthi rebels have been killed in fighting with pro-government forces. houthi fighters have been trying to reinforce their positions in the province east of the capital. rebels have held the city since september last year. bushfires in the australian state of victoria have destroyed more than 100 homes. fire crews battled for hours on friday to control the flames at a popular tourist designation and emergency services are warning the threat of more fires remain. gerald tann reports. >> reporter: an eerie silence
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hangs over australia's great ocean road. the scenic route outside the city of melbourne is usually packed, a tourist magnet. it is off limits now after bushfire swept through the towns of the coast. >> today's really assessment day. whether it is assessing damage to property, the safety of roads, power, water, environmental issues, the other issue today, of course, is smoke, and what impact that will have in terms of those who have got underlying conditions. >> reporter: overnight rains helped to get the 2200 hectare blaze under control, but the area is still not in the clear. >> this fire doesn't go away. it is a fire that will remain with the potential to burn in january and phenomenon-- and february of this year. >> reporter: firefighters battle into the night on friday. water bombing aircraft were brought in, but the flames
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continue to engulf trees and homes. many residents and tourists spent their holidays at evacuation centers. >> i can see a plume of smoke on the highway and thought it looks like it is getting close to home. i got to home and looking out my back door it is just, yeah, apocalyptic. >> reporter: australia is no stranger to bushfires. they strike every year during summer in the southern hemisphere and each time the losses are no less painful. gerald tann two african migrants have drowned trying to enter the spanish territory of suta from morocco. hundreds tried to reach the area by swimming in the coast or climbing barbed wire. 125 of the migrants were treated. greece estimates it could end up spending more than half a billion dollars on the refugee crisis this year.
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most of that money is being reimbursed by the e.u. but the real cost may come in the cost of lost tourism. from the island the loss boss our correspondent reports. >> reporter:-- lesbos. >> reporter: this woman parks her food vans and waits for occasional business. the refugee crisis however has put her at the top. >> translation: in summer we made up to 20,000 euros a day. now about 500. before it was just 50 euros a day. her van is one of several outside the refugee camp. here refugees can warm themselves by her stove, eat and recharge their cell phones. refugees and migrants have sent up a city in olive groves. those with money have moved to small hotels which would normally be closed in december.
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they breakfast with police and aid workers. in town they buy credit for cell phones. here they can buy boat and bus tickets for their journey out of greece. >> reporter: the refugee windfall is evident all over town. some worry this may prove a partial and temporary replacement of the tourist industry that migration seems to have been chased away, an industry that the greek island has spent decades building up. the hotels have experienced a 3% from last year. -- loss from last year. business is expected to drop. >> translation: it depends on how visitors will react. will they come as volunteers to help? then it is positive. will they be put off what they see in the news and worry to see sad things? we will then see a loss >> reporter: there are official costs. the e.u. defrays the government's migration costs.
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that's not always true for local government. >> translation: this month i won't pay all the salaries. the burden is enormous. the taxes paid by 90,000 people are covering the cost of 440,000 migrants arriving. >> reporter: there's no doubt that lesbos is seeing the losses and benefits of becoming a global refugee capital. at the end of the day, people say it is the loss of life that touches them and that is the main reason necessity want refugee flows to end still could tom could al jazeera more than-- to come on al jazeera more than a hundred thousand people forced from their homes by severe flooding in south america. >> reporter: i am at the camp for displaced iraqis. i will tell you why some sunni tribesmen are afraid to return home. home.
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thanks for watching. here is a quick recap of the headlines on al jazeera. the leader of one of the main groups fighting the syrian regime has been killed. he was the leader of islam. his group is the largest rebel faction around the capital. the turkish military have bombed the south-eastern towned as part of an 11-day operation. six kurdish fighters and one turkish soldier were killed in the attacks. emergency services in australia are warning more bushfires may break out in the south-east. several blazes there have destroyed more than a hundred
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homes. fire crees battled-- crews battled for hours to contain a fire. albe that as it may a-- alabam a has declared a state of emergency. several houses have been damaged and power has been knocked out due to storms. a week of extreme weather in the south. 15 people have been killed across the country. heavy flooding in south america has left more than 150,000 people homeless while paraguay has been hit hard, other parts are suffering too. >> reporter: severe flooding in the southern part of south america driving more than 150,000 people from their homes and spending christmas looking for higher ground. in the city of concordia, north-east argentina, it is called the worst flooding in
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half a century. the river flooded its banks. thousands forced evacuate >> >> translation: the water level was high inside my house the nearby dam was nearing capacity as it tried to contain more flood waters >> translation: above all priority today is to get control of the situation in helping the 6,000 people and containing situation like that in con ort i can't - concordi a. >> reporter: stanchly in neighbouring paruaguy. evacuee's crammed into shacks. they tried to support each other as best as they could. >> translation: we've already run from the water four times. now we ghent know where we will go. the water reached the plate where we escaped to. we are on the side of the road and the water keeps coming. >> reporter: around the capital at one point more than 100,000
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people were without power. the effects of the flooding reaching far and wide. >> translation: the situation is very bad. the children and also us were all sick. automatic week we've had diarrhoea and-- all week. >> reporter: the exceptionally high rainfall in the region is due to an el nino weather porn but few-- pattern but few here expected it to be this bad around two,fighters and-- 2,000 fighters and families have been leaving a camp. they clues i.s.i.l. members who are heading to raqqa in the north. fighters from the rival rebel group al-nusra front are also being transferred out of the area. they've been given safe passage as part of the deal with the the government. the camp has been under a government siege since 2012. the end of 2015 approaches, al jazeera is looking back through
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the eyes of five families whose lives have been affected by some of the year's significant developments. that includes the war in syria which forced over one million people to seek refuge in neighbouring talking. an elderly couple spoke to bernard smith. >> reporter: just 50 kilometres from this church in turkey across the border, open christian worship is impossible. there i.s.i.l. is in control. so this man and his name fled here seeking refuge with its small community of fellow syrian christians. his wife is bed ridden. getting treatment is harder in a country where they don't speak the language. >> translation: when we came to turkey, we stayed in the monastry for four months. it was too crowded with refugees so they put us here, gave us
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blankets and a fridge and everything we need. >> reporter: like millions of syrians of all fades, they have been torn apart by the civil war. with little work in turkey, two of their sons have gone to europe. >> translation: they were working here for just 15 liras a day. it wasn't enough for the cigarettes and phone credit let alone something to help us. we sold our home and used the money to send the boys to europe. >> translation: every day just 15 lira, how can you live on that. >> translation: now they're in refugee camps somewhere. we're not sure where. >> reporter: too sick to get to church, the priest comes to her. >> translation: i used to walk a little. but now it's difficult. now all i can do is go to the bathroom and back with this frame. there is only us. we have no friends here and no
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family a proud couple, they now face a retirement dependent on charity. >> translation: we want to go back to our life as it was before, but it's hard. >> translation: believe me, there is no place in all the world better than syria. rich or poor, everybody had a life. there was work. now syria is destroyed. >> reporter: still, he says he prays that next year he will be able to take his family back to a peaceful syria. bernard smith in the next part of the series, the struggle to move on after the alshabab attack last april. it is coming up in the news hour at 1500 gmt thousands of d
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displaced sunnis want to return home. they fled in fighting. some are now living in camps in the kurdish region. our correspondent reports. >> reporter: he used to be a soldier. he says that he was fighting i.s.i.l. in the province and then captured on his way back to home by shia militias. his crime, he says, was being sunni. he showed us his burns that was inflicted on him while in prison. he says his uncle was a police officer who died after being tortured by the same militia. >> translation: they used to hang us and ten people used to hit me. they used an electric torch on me. there was nylon set allied and placed on-- alight and placed on
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my body. i told them that i am an iraqi soldier. if i.s.i.l. see me they will kill me. >> reporter: the area is now a government town after tens of thousands of the people were forced out of their homes. they were pushed by shia militias on the suspicion that they might be harbouring soldiers. it is not the first time iraq's government backed militias is being accused. human rights watch says that militia abusers are reeking havoc on some of the country's most vulnerable people. >> reporter: everyone here has a horror story. the sectarian divide are wide here. they want an international body like the united nations to guarantee their safety. rf is among those asking for guarantees and compensation.
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the iraqi turned a blind eye to abusers. >> translation: we were surprised to see shia militia forces. when they came, they started to kill indiscriminately. they intrude houses it, took our belongings, cattle and burnt everything down. we travelled day and night without food. >> reporter: they denied the accusations against them. >> translation: for us this issue is silly and has no effect on us. as we continue to make progress. we will get more accusations. we don't care about it. we expect it. >> reporter: the sectarian did you say trust and fear-- distrust and fear runs deep herhere dozens p of people have been injured after a 6.2 magnitude
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earthquake hit northern afghanistan on friday. strong tremors were felt in kabul as well as in pakistan and india. collapsing houses and walls caused the injuries in the pakistani city about 300 kilometres from the quake's epicenter. teams in myanmar are trying to find mine workers that have been buried by a land slide. it happened in a northern town which has several jade mines. a massive land slide in the same town last month killed more than 100 people. 18 mine workers remain chapped in a mine in eastern china. 17 miners have been rescued. emergency services have been communicating with the trapped minors by writing messages on footballs and throwing them down the mine shaft. the communist party chief is vowing to punishing those responsible for the land slide in the chinese city.
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people there are paying tribute to the dozens of missing people. rescuers are still searching for people. waste buried buildings. the disaster was man made. thousands of people have forced to leave the dominican republic and are facing a cholera outbreak. our correspondent went back to the camp he last visited in july and found conditions there had worsened. >> reporter: close quarters for those here. after fleeing or being deported from the domestic e-dominican republic, they have received no help. hungry and penniless they wait for health. children here keep their spirits up somehow. >> translation: many now are
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weakened after being struck by cholera. i was vomiting. i had diarrhoea. i went to the clinic for one or two nights and they gave me medicine. now i feel weak when i walk, even slowly. >> reporter: he like many here is more fluent in spanish than haitian creole. he left a home and horse behind. here he has nothing. he showed my a small packet of rice that the local priest sometimes gives him and his family to eat. we first filmed here in july a month after migrant workers who lacked proper documentation was undertaken. many appear to have been p caught up in that sweep. some say they were afraid for their lives and came here on their own. others say they were deported. >> reporter: things are even worse mere. the priest says at least nine people have died from cholera.
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people say they sleep in the dirt, they protests in dust that makes them sick. they eat little and drink little. ive day there are signs that people keep showing up. >> reporter: this woman survived cholera too. alone here, her husband and son are back in the dominican republic. >> translation: i hope the government helps me move to a better place. that's what i'm asking god for. >> reporter: the camp is noun as park cargo, or gift park. there were no signs of presents, though, on christmas. a water filter supplied by the government arrived just a day ago. >> we were here in gem. it is now six months. why has it taken six months to bring these people water? >> translation: we thought this was temporary. now we have to do something. >> reporter: other projects like a reception center on the border have been promised, but so far
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have not been built. back in the camp cleaner water should arrive soon, but what people are really looking for is a way out of here. adam rainey. haiti. >> this week on "talk to al jazeera" -- artist, author and reporter molly crabapple. >> what i think my art brought to my journalism is that i didn't come to journalism with the sort of bias towards faux objectivity... i deeply believe in having an extreme bias towards reality. >> in her youth, she traveled europe and the near east, and worked as a nude model and danced burlesque. >> so much of women, so much of


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