the syrian army launches a major offensive against rebels around aleppo as the fires threatening to derail a fragile truce. ♪ hello, welcome. you are watching al jazeera. also coming up this hour. protests this bangladesh after another blogger is murdered for posting secular views online. brazil moves one step closer to impeaching its president, the leader of a powerful
congressional committee says dilma rousseff must go. and taking on bollywood, pakistani film producers take their case to court. ♪ the syrian army and its allies have launched an offensive south of aleppo. it is the biggest government operation in area since the ceasefire came into effect in late february. the fighting threatens to completely derail the ceasefire. the special envoy to syria has just announced talks to end the conflict have been pushed back two days. they will now take place next wednesday. in the north of the aleppo countryside, rebel fighters have launched an offensive. they faced fierce fighting against isil.
it is an important strong hold for the armed group. isil says it has also been shelled by turkey. the chair of contemporary middle east studies says both the army and syria's opposition will be looking after their own interests in the talks in geneva. >> what we have witnessed in the last week or so is a escalation of battles, particularly in aleppo, daraa, homs, and the -- damascus suburbs. they have taken the hills in the north, and the government is recapturing these territories. there is also major fighting between the free syrian army and the kurds in aleppo as well. so there is a great deal of
escalation, my take on it is as the geneva talks get closer, both sides are trying to maximize their interests. both sides are trying to basically have the upper hand in the diplomatic talks in the next few days. >> meanwhile the syrian network for human rights says six medical staff were killed in the month of march. the civil defense units are making a difference despite the daily danger. our correspondent reports. >> reporter: ahmad works for the syrian civil defense. he is not just a driver. he is also a rescue worker. and when there are no air raids, he helps clean up the city. >> translator: we're trying to help the people in more than one way, not only recovering people from under the rubble, but we also clean the streets, the debris, and open the roads.
>> reporter: around 3,000 volunteers work for the unit across eight provinces. they are ordinary people from all walks of life. always on the front line, always the first to help. [ explosion ] >> reporter: many times they become the targets. the syria civil defense say at least 109 of their staff have been killed since the group was founded in 2013. in neighboring turkey, we met with the group's regional office, honoring a long list of casualties, celebrating the unknown heros. ahmad says they have rescued at least 50,000 people, relying on donations, second-hand vehicles
and equipment. >> translator: we have 519 vehicles. not all are operational, but we fix and use them especially in besieged areas like homs. all of our martyrs were directly targeted. the testimo-- systemic tata tatar -- targeting from the regime and russia. >> reporter: around 1,000 people have received training in turkey and jordan. they also have four training centers inside syria. back in aleppo, these men continue to work despite the threats or hardship. 40 of them were killed in 2015. there are no guarantees that this year will be better.
the truce has brought relative peace and calm, but it won't be too long before they are hit again. the iraqi army has begun phase 2 of its offensive against isil, following a three-week operation, it has launched an operation in the contested village south of mosul. thousands of people in the iraqi city of fallujah are facing famine. human rights watch says they haven't been able to get any aid supplies into the city, since the government recaptured ramadi from isil. supply routes have been cut off. up to 50,000 people are trapped inside fallujah, and supplies are running out. >> we're deeply worried about the situation in fallujah, we
understand that humanitarian conditions have deteriorated dramatically in the last three months. of course the people of fallujah have been under isil control for nearly two years now. and we understand that they have struggling that whole period, but it has been in the last three months that conditions have plummeted. there are very few medicines in the town, there haven't been resupplied of food probably in the last two months if not three months. already we know families are in stage two and stage three of negative coping mechanisms, this is when they cut back on the number of calories and meals that they are taking. we are worried that assistance can't reach the people we could be facing a catastrophe in that
city. another blogger in bangladesh has been murdered. demonstrators blocked roads around the university demanding arrest of those responsible. al jazeera's correspondent has more now from dhaka. >> reporter: we know he was intercepted by a motorcycle, a couple of them i guess on a motorcycle. and first they hit him with machete, and then they got down and shot him to make sure he was dead. the police are yet to confirm the full detail, but he is the seventh blogger to be killed been the last three years. the most famous one was an american bangladeshi blogger, who's case hasening been resolved yet to this day, and
there's severe criticism against the government to not really crack down on these people behind this killing. no one for sure knows exactly what is going on. but yesterday he wrote in his facebook that he was concerned for the safety and law and order in bangladesh, and this morning around 8:30 local time, he was attacked and killed. the government is promising to resolve all of this, but there is a lack of inertia to resolve these cases. one of libya's rival administrations appears to have reversed the decision to step down. so who is in charge now? gerald tan breaks it down. >> reporter: since the fall of long-time leader in libya, various entities have competed to exploit and fill the
political vacuum. here is where we stand now. in the capitol tripoli is a self declared national government. the justice ministry announced on wednesday that this government was shorting down. but shortly after the leader threatened for prosecute any ministers who support the new government, the government of national accord. the prime minister arrived in tripoli underest court last week, and has moved to consolidate power, by winning the backing of the central bank, and the oil and investment authorities. but the gna does not have the support of the house of representatives, a parliament in the eastern city of tobruk. it was created following elections in 2014. it was recognizeded by the u.n.
until last year. >> the house of representatives has to continue to arrange a meeting with all members of the parliament in order to endorse the government. it is very clear, the legitimacy for the government of national accord comes from tobruk, from the parliament. >> reporter: then there is the newly formed state council, it ale elected a new president on wednesday. the council is made up primarily of former members of the gnc, the old parliament in tripoli it was agreed that this body would serve as an upper chamber of parliament, and together they would hopefully unite libya and end five years of conflict.
the ukrainian president is playing down the recented vote. >> this is just a [ inaudible ] under the constitution, and we're waiting for the decision of the dutch government, dutch parliament, but under any circumstanceings we continue to negotiate the association with the european union including free-trade agreement, and ukraine will continue our movement to the european union. belgium police have released new footage of the man wanted in connection with the bombings on march 22nd. he was originally seen with the two bombers before the explosion. 32 people were killed in the isil-claimed attacks on the airport and a city metro station. still ahead, we'll take a
effect. hundreds of bangladeshi students have protested against the killing of a blogger that expressed secular views online. libya's rival administration has backtracked on itsdz decision to step aside. the self declared government had announced that it was giving way to the new unity government, but now it's leader says he will prosecute any of his ministers who support the u.n.-backed administration. prosecutorings have arrived in rome to discuss the brutal killing of an italian student in february. saudi arabia's king has landed in cairo for a five-day trip. egypt hopes it will be an opportunity to boost ties with the wealthy gulf state.
the president and the king are expected to discuss economic and military cooperation. sisi went to riyadh in march shortly after king solman came into power. >> reporter: this may help improve a relationship that has been strained. >> we have a normal relationship between saudi arabia, and egypt. it is not as bad as people think. >> reporter: saudi arabia and egypt are allies when sisi came to hower following a coup, saudi arabia offered political support and billions of dollars, and when the kingdom needed help, sisi sent navy vessels and troops, but differences then emerged. egypt saw a cracking down on armed groups as its main
priority. president sisi kept ties with the houthi rebels in yes, ma'am mohamed bin nayef, and strengthened cooperation with russia, both seen by riyadh as a problem in the region. egypt's rivalry with saudi arabia over leadership in the arab world goes back to the middle of the previous century. in the past riyadh has relied on his oil empire to maintain influence, but that has changed. there are clear signs of a new road, one that has traditionally been assumed by egypt. king salman's visit may not resolve the differences, but it shows the two nations still see a need for consultation and
perhaps solidarity. >> i think that he believes the importance of egypt, and if saudi arabia will continue to go with this policy to use military force and not shy about it, he needs egypt on board. >> reporter: the visit also comes a few weeks ahead of one scheduled by u.s. president barack obama to riyadh. obama has been critical of what he says are sunni nation fragmentation. the king is likely trying to show the u.s. that sunnis are united. ja bu ta goes to the polls on friday. djibouti is swiftly becoming an actor in the international security arena.
our correspondent now reports. >> reporter: the port of djibouti, a growing shipping hub on the east african coast. it is the gateway to the one of the busiest shipping roots. >> over 6,000 kilometers of sea ports there are no ports other than this. so we are taking advantage to build, to invest, close to $14 billion. >> reporter: djibouti also provides a vital report for ethiopia, which has a population of 90 million people. the location has always been its most precious resource, it has attracted traders, foreign military bases.
the position has also made it a significant hub. the united nations world food program recently opened this center that it uses for storing aid destined for yemen, somalia, ethiopia, and south sudan. >> a volume of about 3.4 million tons per year, and about 15% of that tonnage has gone through djibouti in 2015. >> reporter: it also offers some of the most prime military real estate in the world to counter piracy and show regional stability. this is the home to the largest foreign military base. 4,000 u.s. troops live onsight. france has the second largest
military prosense, with about 1,100 troops. here french troops make landing here. >> djibouti has no resources, no oil, no minerals, nothing. except sea port and services. so this presence i think has been a lot of good for the economy. >> reporter: this tiny country could soon be the only place where the navies of two great military and economic rivals, the u.s. and china, move alongside each other. frustration is mounting in nigeria as a petrol shortage in this the oil-rich country drags on. rezing dents in the bigger cities have resorted to sleeping in their cars. some say they have lost their jobs because they had to queue
for fuel instead of going to work. in brazil the push to have congress impeach the president has found new support. the head of a congressional committee has mrengded a vote on her future should go ahead. a special impeachment commission says the case against rousseff is legally admissible. the president has been under fire for corruption allegations, which she denies. >> reporter: for many in brazil, this process put the president closer to impeachment. they said there is enough evidence that an impeachable crime has been committed, but it's up to the senate for a vote, and to carry out with the impeachment process. many are saying that this
statement he has given could be tainted by his own opinion of the government. if it passes the mandate it moves to a full house vote and if that happens it is going towards the senate, that's when the impeachment process begins, and that's when dilma rousseff could be suspended from her position. a judge from the supreme court is saying that the vice president should also be impeached from -- for the same crimes that dilma rousseff is. so that's how complicated situation is in brazil. there is recession and economic crisis, dilma rousseff has not kept political allies so many say her chances of being impeached are increasing every day. balloon films are causing something of a row in pakistan. they want the government to ban the films from india, which they say hurt local productions here
is imran kohn. >> reporter: in recent years going to the cinema has become more popular across pakistan. one of the reasons for the expansion is pakistan allowing bollywood films from india to be screened. the director of a cinema says the popularity of bollywood means better quality filmed and an enhanced movie-watching experience. >> translator: if these films don't come here, it will go back to being a niche industry. >> reporter: but a group has asked the city's highest court to ban indian film. >> translator: the industry is only going in middle class cinemas. because of bollywood we can't make new films, that's why we
want them banned. >> reporter: distributors say foreign films are a threat to local films. if pakistan continues its trend towards becoming a middle class activity, then in cinema's like these, they will suffer, because they don't have enough money to make the films that the people here want to watch. once again in pakistan it's a question of the traditional versus the modern. traditionally the pakistani film industry has specialized in making local language films with low budgets. but to complete with bollywood, the pakistani films have gotten bigger and more expensive. >> translator: it's better for family and [ inaudible ] those cinemas are too far away and expens expensi expensive. >> reporter: but across town
it's another story. >> translator: indian films are necessary. because they are entertaining. pakistani films don't have that. >> reporter: it's clear the pakistani film industry is changing, but producers and cinema goers alike are divided on whether that is a thing >> a presidential candidate in the philippines is vowing to take on china's action in the south china sea. >> reporter: this man has never been known to play nice. the 71-year-old mayor who loves his big bikes is noter toous for allegedly using death squads to take out criminals in his city. [ cheers and applause ]
>> reporter: and now he is vowing to take on one of world's superpowers. >> what will they do? i will send to china alone. i will bring the flag of the philippines, and i will walk to their airport, and plant the filipino flag. you want to blow me to bits? do it. i would be happy to go with a bapg. >> reporter: china and the bill fiends have -- philippines have been at heavy odds over who owns the islands in the south china sea. if elected president he says he will first try to negotiate the rival, if talks break down, he vows to claim the islands himself. >> i will not sacrifice the lives of the soldiers. i would rather go there, and
they can waste me if they want. >> he is the most outrageous, colorful, and interesting character in these up coming presidential elections. >> reporter: political watchers warn that such talk will only escalate tensions with china. >> we like to compare him to trump of the u.s. because he likes to shock with his statements. he can be very reckless. >> reporter: reckless, perhaps, but for a mayor that has never run for a national seat, he has amassed a huge following. his tough pledge of getting rid of crime and corruption, and making the philippines a strong nation resinateings. >> what do you think of him? >> he is a good fighter. he performs well. he acts well. he do the actions -- do the talking. >> reporter: filipinos may love
his approach, but if elected it will likely guarantee stormy waters ahead on the international front. and you can get more on that story on our program 101 east, guns, goons, and the presidency. this is the end of te community. a chilly reception in new york fore ted cruz. and the democrats clash over who is qualified to be in the white house. americans implicated hundreds of u.s. nationals linked to the so-called panama papers. and residents in flint sue