syria's military on the move. government forces cross into a city backed by russian air strikes. with the latest news on al jazeera. coming up in the next half hour, vote for peace. some delays, but there is no violence as polling ends in the car. profiting from piece. trades picking up in a part of nigeria once reeling from boko haram attacks. rivers keep rising as the u.s.
mid-west grapples with record flooding > the syrian army has launched its first major attack in the south of the country. government troops backed by russian air strikes are fighting their way into a crucial rebel held town. our correspondent is on the main supply route connecting damascus, the capital, and the seat of bashar al-assad's government with the southern city of darah. the town has been held now for a year. the push into the south comes just days after an air strike killed prominent leader zahran alloush just outside damascus. his death has been criticized
that it is hampering peace talks. our correspondent has been following developments and sent this report. >> reporter: it all started with tense attacks by russian fighter jets paving the way for government troops to advance towards the opposition stronghold. the rebels say that despite the losses, they are regrouping and are going to launch a counter-offensive to push the government troops out of the area. the whole area is very crucial for the government and for the rebels because it is on a strategic route that connects it to the capital of damascus. for the rebels it has been a platform for where they could easily sends weapons and fighters to provide and boost the presence for the opposition. this is why president bashar
al-assad has always been concerned about rebel groups present there. there are different factions operating there. the al-qaeda affiliate, the al-nusra front, but also with the free syrian army. some of these factions were trained and equipped by the americans. we don't know whether they will pull out further south or whether they're trying to look for different routes which are strongly understand the control of the opposition, but this is quite a delicate moment for the syrian opposition and for rebel groups the syrian observeatory for human rights says 2300 people have been killed in syria since the campaign began. more than a third of those killed why civilians, including 180 children. russia labels the allegation as absurd. moscow claims it has been targeting i.s.i.l. fighters. at least 16 people have been killed in three explosions targeting restaurants and cafés
in north-eastern syria. it happened in the kurdish controlled town near the border with turkey. the i.s.i.l. has claimed responsibility. the prime minister has promised to retake mosul which fell to i.s.i.l. last year. more than 10,000 christians are estimated to have been displaced from the country's second largest city. for them the holidays are a painful reminder of homes and families they've lost. our correspondent reports now >> reporter: his holidays haven't been the same since he lost his arm in an explosion in mosul. it is hard to learn to write for the other hand. that's why he goes to a class for younger students. his family first had to leave their home after i.s.i.l. arrived in mosul and told christians there to pay a new tax or leave. they left moving 20 kilometres away. when he came to that town too
they left again. like many of those around them, it is the cheerful times at the end of the year that are the hardest >> translation: my family and i can't celebrate. my son lost his arm and my brother is missing. i.s.i.l. took him as a prisoner. it is very hard to feel happy when your loved ones are missing >> reporter: at this camp for displaced christians, they have been welcomed in but they still miss their homes. they are living so close to the front lines against i.s.i.l. known here as d.a.e.s.h. >> reporter: this man is a priest. he too was forced to leave his home in mosul. >> translation: we like to give our people hope and we all believe that god is always with us. i.s.i.l. is very close to where we are. it is a threat not only for the christians but all peace-loving muslims >> reporter: every year the congregation at this church grows with more displaced
christians joining. many who lost everything still hold on to the one thing they hope. >> everybody hope to be in our own home. >> translation: we want to go back to our lives and go back home to peace and safety. >> reporter: as the politicians search for a solution to the conflict, in areas like this just out of the research of i.s.i.l. fighters, christians have fled and the local people who have shelt erred them can only wish that the coming year will be better than the last one in yemen fighting continues between popular resistance forces and houthi fighters. many have been killed in south-west of the country. a hospital was hit by houthi shelling where a child was killed. several people were injured as
well. blocka blockades by houthi rebels have hit supplies of crucial medicines. doctors and nurses were protesting after hospitals refuse to take more patients back of lack of oxygen and medicine. nearly 6,000 people have been killed. trucks are carrying relief supplies and they're on their way to yemen from saudi arabia. more than 250 tons of aid have left saw decapital. the trucks trucks contains medical supplies and generators. more than 21 million need assistance apps and that's about 80% of the population. polls have closed in the car presidential and parliamentary elections. people are hoping the vote will end over two years of instability and violence. >> reporter: the police are here to make sure voters feel safe.
security is tight. pk5 is a muslim enclave. these people have felt understand siege so the officers' presence is reassuring. they say if they dare to leave the area they could be killed. >> translation: we want a president so we can live in peace, so we can talk and go wherever we want. so we can leave this neighborhood. we're stuck here like prisoners. if we get a good president, we can go anywhere. we will feel good. we will sleep well and we won't hear gun shots any more >> reporter: they're voting to start over. many have lived in fear since members of the mostly muslim seleca group xhith offences against civilians as they fought to overthrow president francios bozize in 2013. neighbors turned on neighbors. this man is christian. he left pk a5 when things were
at the worst. >> translation: we have been together since we have been young. we have been over come. that's why i have decided to vote and come back to my neighborhood so muslims and christians can be together >> reporter: last week a leader dropped his call for an autonomous state. during the refer-- referendum, this is where battles are happening. fighters were trying to intimidate people from voting. some of those who were sitting then are now voting. there were problems. this man has ban told he can't vote because he is not on the list. >> translation: i have to do it and i cannot. so i'm not happy. one voice can mean a lot. >> reporter: there were also delays at many polling stations and in two parts of the capital the parliamentary election were
cancelled because there was no voting people >> what these people want is a new government, a new way to handle this country. what i'm hearing is equity, rule of law, democracy. they want the leaders to be accountable. >> reporter: whoever wins has a huge task to mends divided communities and build a united country. expectations are high and there is hope that the mistrust and violence is behind them. tania page the nigerian governed say it is ready to negotiate with boko haram for the release of nearly 200 school girls missing for more than a year. the president says that talks will only happen if what he calls credible leaders of the armed group are identify. the girls were taken from their dormitories in april last year. video of them in captivity a few days after they were taken. recently there is no evidence to suggest the girls are still
alive. despite continued attacks blamed on boko haram, the nigerian government says it's close to defeating the armed group. the army has been seizing territory from the fighters. a report on how improved security in the region is slowly boosting trade. >> reporter: cashing in on the relative peace, trucks are loaded with supplies to the liberated areas. this is now a busy hub. >> there is serious improvement. we are now getting the peace seriously. people are now coming to the market to buy goods. >> reporter: some of the goods he sells ends up in the hands-- abides up in the hands of the retailers. the last attack by boko haram was four months ago. business confidence is gradually returning. customers from across the border
are slowly coming back. but there is a long way to go to repair the impact of the violence. >> this used to be the main post for the trade. it has impacted necessityingive tively, such that it has eroded the economy been 90%. >> reporter: as frins and business-- infrastructure and business has been shaken. >> it is coming to an end. we experience some hiccups, like two days ago, but it is over. >> reporter: traders are trying to look to the future when they can gain access to cameroon, chad and nigaire.
income has been cut by as much as 80%. there is cautious excitement about the reduction of violence, but everyone here knows it would only kntake a spark to deplete e confidence still to come, china still to not renew credentials of a journalist. and more news from tokyo. ws from tokyo. bring your family and friends together
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the top stories here on al jazeera. the syrian army backed by russian air strikes has launched its first attack in the south of the country. a key rebel town has been entered which is on the main supply connecting damascus to another. car presidential and parliamentary elections, voters will ask to choose a president from a list of 30 candidates. the leader will have the tough job of uniting the country after more than two years of religious violence. in yemen fighting continues between popular resistance forces and houthi fighters. many have been killed in clashes south-west of the country. the turkish police have detained two men suspected of plotting a suicide bomb attack during new year eve celebrations in the
capital ankara. this explosive device was seized from inside a back tack. they've-- backpack. they've found a suicide vest and bombing questions. they're said to be people associated with i.s.i.l. the capital of belgium has cancelled its new years eve fire works displays. the country has been on high alert since the attacks in november. the primary suspect in a west bank arson attack which led three members of the same family dead will be charged with murder. that is according to israeli prosecutors. the youngest of the family was an 18 month old baby who died in an attack in july. the parents died from their wounds later in hospital. the only one to survive was the
son. the indictment is expected within five days. there are reports the u.s. has been spying on israeli prime minister netanyahu's private communications. the wall street journal says his communications were monitored during negotiations with iran. in march you israel denies the statemen statements. the director of the center for middle east studies at the university of denver and he says the wall street reports reveals policies. >> i think the significance of these revelations is that they really highlight the deep difficult divergence and difference of opinion that exists between israel and the united states over the sources of instability in the middle east and how they best can be tackled. i think that is really what is important about these revelations in the wall street journal. i think from the perspective of
the obama administration the iran clear deal is a done deal. they don't want to highlight the deep differences that exist between israel and the united states over this particular foreign policy debate. i think they will try and ignore it. they might issue some sort of formal statement similar to what president obama issued in january 2014 when it was revealed that the united states was also stying on european allies and a commitment not to do that any more. none of that, i think, will sort of - spying-- will be able to ignore the root of the problem here. that is there is a question mark as to whether israel is the strategic ally that many people claim it to be and whether really it's increasingly a strategic liable for the united-- liability for the u.s. because it has a different view
of how the national security questions can be handled and should be handled. i suspect there is going to be an attempt to sort of patch differences. on the israeli side i don't think anyone in israel wants to highlight their own spying and undermining the policies of the sitting u.s. president a former neighbour has been charged with supplying guns to the couple who killed 14 people in california earlier this month. syed farook and his wife tashfeen malik carried out an attack on a care center. bill cosby is free on one million dollars bail pending trial for sexual assault. the 78-year-old is accused of drugging a woman before sexually assaulted her while she drifted in and out of consciousness. it was said to have taken place in his house in 2004.
if found guilty he could face up to 10 years in prison. there has been more evidence suggesting that a clinic in the u.s. may have illegally prescribing human growth hormone. the geyey institute was featured in our documentary earlier this week. one allegations made by a pharmacy intern was that the clinic was shipping hgh to the wife of a football star peyton manning. >> reporter: bob cr arranges vits was feeling exhausted and so he went to see dr dale geyer who runs an anti ageing clinic. >> i went because i was dealing with this overwhelming fatigue. i was sleeping 14/155 hours a day. i couldn't get out of the bed in the morning. >> reporter: he was told what he
needed was human growth hormone. >> he thought it would raise my energy level and help me return back to the land of the living. >> reporter: he was named in importing hgh. he was one of the doctors who allegedly purchased the drug for patients. earlier this week al jazeera's investigative unit revealed that charlie sly who had done part of his pharmacy training at the geyer institute said human growth hormone had been shipped to peyton manning's wife ashleigh. following this report, bob cravits wrote about his own experience at the geyer clinic with hght as a sports writer he knew it was banned for professional athletes. as a patient he had no idea it's
also illegal for a doctor to prescribe it just for fatigue. >> i knew what it was, but it's one of those things where if you are in a desperate situation and you have a doctor you trust, and i trusted dr geyer at the time, if he tells you that it's potentially medically efficacious, you will do it. >> reporter: one of the top experts in hgh previously told al jazeera that the drug can only be prescribed legally for three very serious medical conditions. >> one of the only drugs that i know of that is in that way off label prescription illegal not just not a good idea. it's illegal. >> reporter: bob says the hgh as had zero impact on his fatigue, only on his pocket. the geyer clinic did not immediately respond to our request for a comment
after four days of storms the rain has stopped in the u.s. states of missouri and illinois. hundreds of homes have been evacuated. the waters of the mississippi river are still rising. >> reporter: for millions of people who live around the mississippi river valley are used to spring time flooding, but unusually wet winter weather has swollen the waterway and threatens to over whelm its extensive network of levies. the governor called out national guard troops to help reinforce dams with sands bags >> the amount of rain in excess of a foot in some areas, caused it to go rapidly. >> reporter: where the mississippi and missouri rivers meet, an evacuation order was issued and residents started leaving. some towns were partially
understand water. major highways have been closed, but motorists who ignore warnings and try to defy the flood waters account for most of the fatalities. about 100 kilometres south of stlouis, the river will crest on friday at just over 15 metres matching the historic set in the 1993 flood. the coast guard has said it has activated management operations. nail areas are expected to crest, it could be weeks before the mississippi falls below flood levels. some flooded areas will have to deal with ice as well the flooding across brazil, argentina, paraguay and uragay force people to leave their homes. 100 thousand displaced around the region.
heavy rains owing to the el nino pattern are likely to blame. venezuelan supreme court has barred four newly elected you law makers from taking office. earlier this month the venezuelan won a lands slip election. a motion to prevent the newly elected officials was filed from them taking office. china has defended its decision not to renew press credentials for a journalist effectively expealing her from the company. the journalist says they refused to renew her permit in her report on muslims. apparently she should have apologised for her report on the minority group. >> translation: first of all, china has kept in contact with all foreign people in the area.
i think the journalist herself recognises her mistake. she has apologised to the chinese public as the clock winds down on 2015. al jazeera visits a small suburb just outside of tokyo. it is where we meet independent watch maker. he works in a tiny one-room workshop filled with vintage tools and primitive machinery he bought from online auctions. >> translation: i am an independent watch maker. independent watch makers make watches all by themselves. usually a company would have a team to design, create parts and build it, but independent watch makers do all of that by themselves. when i first began to create time pieces, i wanted to make something no-one has ever seen before, but now i want to express the culture of my own country through my watches.
the clocks we use divide the day in 24 hours. the japanese clock was developed when people divided the day into day and night. the days are longer in summer and shorter in winter. that seasonal change is automatically adjusted by the changing speed of the hands or by changing the spacing of the indexes. craftsmen from 150 years ago had no computers, no precision instruments. everything was done by their own hands. it was a time where i was overwhelmed by the complexity and almost gave up. i didn't have any money or machinery but it made me think i should be better off than them. the clock helped me decide my path. from observing every day life events an idea would crystallize and gives new shape to my time pieces. i have incorporated designs inspired by japanese traditions such as the rock garden and m
okumeganay, a sword making technique. i made this watch just by my own hands and it took me one year. i would like the owner of my time pieces to feel that kind of time. there are days when i get completely immerseed and forget time. i could work on a part all day and if something goes wrong, i have to start again. the fact that you can do everything by yourself is a bliss, not a hardship. you can transform the idea in your head into an actual shape and it is hard to do in an age where efficiency and cost cutting have upmost value. if you need a practical watch, the world is not is that right of far more economic watches. these are imperfect and humans need to look after them to make them work. i think that is the charm of these watches
you can always head to our website for all the latest news and analysis. also you can watch our investigative report on doping in sports. it has caused a lot controversy in the u.s. the address is al jazeera.com will another flash point ignite? thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. could it be the next flash point of conflict between a community and its law enforcement? cleveland this time where a grand jury has declined to indict two local police officers fooo