syrian rebels fight back after a major government offensive on the road from damascus. ♪ ♪ hello there, i am laura kyle, this is al jazeera live from doha. our other top stories. critical condition. doctors in yemen protest against the lack of medical surprise in the embattled city of taiz. a vote for peace some delays, but no violence as polls close in the central african republic. plus on new year's eve the art of time. through the eyes of one
craftsman in tokyo. ♪ ♪ ♪ rebel forces are fighting against government forces in the south of the country. these pictures are said to show the after path of an attack on an army tank in the rebel-controlled town. it's the first offensive in southern syria since russian air strikes began three months ago. al jazeera cannot independently verify these pictures. on a main supply route that connects president bashar al-assad's government to the capital damascus with the city near the border with jordan. that's where the first major anti--government protests took place in 2011. live for us in southern turkey now, the neighboring country. it zooms the rebels are fighting
back against this offensive. the battle is raging. what is the latest you are hearing? >> reporter: they are, they are trying not to push back government troops. this is exactly what happened over the last 24 hours. government troops backed by russian fighter jets, managed to strike many rebel positions across the area. in fact, the rebels were taken by the surprise that they were suddenly if disarray, no chain of command and they pulled out from those areas. but later they managed to mount a counter offensive. the united different factio faca conservative group. the al-nusra front. al qaeda affiliate and differet brigades jointed and started a counter offensive saying they have destroyed tanks and armored vehicles and they will continue the fight. now, the weather going to be crucial in the coming hours.
the skies are -- if the skies are clear that's a sign that the russians can easily launch airstrikes again. if the weather continues as it is now, the rebels hope they will have some time to continue the fight to push their government troops. this has become now the symbol of the fight between the government and the rebels and it's quite clear that president bashar al-assad is desperate to make military gains in the coming days to put more pressure the opposition to sign a comprehensive political settlement in geneva. >> you say this is a symbolic fight, explain to us why this location is particularly significant. >> reporter: because the focal point of the uprising against president of bashar al-assad, that's where hundreds of activists we want on the streets asking for regime change and
political reforms then when the clamp down started it became a militarized rebellion against bashar -- uprising against president bashar al-assad. the rebels managed to control huge situation swaths of land. but also to send weapons and people and fighters to du damas, some of those units are units trained by the americans and equipped by the americans. it shows that bashar sal al jazerra assad was all the time concerned about the significant presence of the rebels near duh damascus and therefore i think he took the decision to clear those areas telling the world he's reversing the gains of the rebels.
>> we'll be keeping a close eye on the vents, thanks very much. it's been three months since russian airstrikes in syria began providing much-needed momentum to the forces of bashar al-assad. since then russian forces have carried out more than 5,000 bombing runs. syrian observe tore friday human rights says those strikes have difficult more than 2300 people, more than a third of those killed were civilians including 180 children. russia is labeling the allegations as absurd. meanwhile in north eastern syria at least 17 people have been killed and three explosions targeting restaurants and cafes. it happened in the kurdish-controlled town near the border with turkey. the suicide bomb attacks hits a predominantly christian neighborhood. isil has claimed respond. now moving on. hospitals in the yemeni city of taiz are on the verge of shutting down as fighting there
continues between forces loyal to the exiled government and houthi fighters. doctors and nurses protested after one hospital refuse today take anymore patients because of a lack of medicines. rebel blockades are preventing much-needed surprise from get flag to the city which has seen some of the worst fighting in the war in creme en. the latest violence there houthis she would res residential areas leaving one child dead and more than 11 others injured. more than a dozen rebels and their allies were also killed in combat. meanwhile, trucks carrying 250-tons of aid have left the saudi capital riyadh bound for the southern yemeni province. it includes medical surprise and general rayers. the u.n. says more than 20 million yemenis need assistance and that's 80% of the population. votes are being count ed in central african republic, a landmark presidential passed
without violence many are hoping it marks the end of the conflict. can i can't page reports from the capital ban gee. >> reporter: the police are here to make sure voters feel safe. security is fight. pg5 is the muslim a enclave. these people have felt under seen owe the officers' presence is resure, they say if they leave the area they could be killed. >> translator: we want a president so we can live in peace so we can walk and go wherever we want so weak leave the neighborhood. we are stuck like prisoners, if gate a good president we can go anywhere, we'll feel good, sleep well and won't hear gunshots anymore. >> reporter: central africans are vote to go start over. many have lived in fear since members of the mostly muslim celica group committed abuses against civilians as they fought their way to the capita to overthrow the president in 2013. as they with yeah, mostly christian militia took revenge
on the celica and muslim civilians. neighbors turned on neighbors. he is christian he left p.k. five when the violence was at its worst although things are better he still lives in a camp. >> with the muslims we have been together since we were young, we have been overcome. that's why i have decided to come back and vote in my neighborhood so muslims and christians can be both. >> reporter: last week a leader dropped his call for an autonomies state. during the referendum less than a month ago this is where there was a battle between hard liners and u.n. peacekeepers the fighters were trying to intimidate people from vote. but now we are told some of those who were shooting then are now voting. but there were problems. this man has been told he can't vote because he's not on the list. >> translator: voting is civic duty. i have to do it and i cannot.
so i am not happy. one voice can mina lot. >> reporter: there were also delays at many polling stations and in two parts of the capital the parliamentary election was canceled base there was no voting materials. >> what these people want is a new governance, a new start, a new way of handling this country, what i am hearing is rule of law, democracy, they want to be -- they want the leaders to be accountable. >> reporter: whoever wins has a huge task to mend divided communities and building a united conduct rich. expectations are high and there is hope that the mistrust and violence is behind them. tania page, al jazeera, central african republic. now, other headlines from around the world. 10 south korean woman who were used as sex slaves by japanese soldiers by world war ii have relaunch aid lawsuit for damages. taking place outside the japanese embassy in seoul where activists say they are not satisfied with the agreement.
coming off seoul and toke yo reached an agreement to address the longstanding comfort women issue. the capital of belgium has canceled its knew year's eve fires works display. after uncovering plans for attacks and arrester two people. they have been on high alerts since attacks in november in paris. several attackers had links there. rat least 24 people have died after four days of heavy rains in the u.s. state of missouri and illinois. hundreds of people have been moved from their homes. the extreme weather has led to waters of the mississippi river to rise. leaving a section of it being closed off to vessels. national guard has been called in to help rescuers. and the south american nations of brazil, argentina, paraguay and uruguay are experiencing their worst flooding in half a century. more than 100,000 people have been displaced after heavy rain thanks for the el nino weather pattern. we have the latest from
argentina's capital. >> reporter: people are living in the floods. scenes like these are repeated themselves all around south american. areas have been flood today days, thousands of houses destroyed by the water. over 160,000 people have been forced to flee. paraguay has been the hardest hit with almost 100,000 people forced out of their homes near the capital. >> translator: this is how we pass the time in the street is also dangerous because of traffic. >> reporter: paraguay and bolivia are now affected. the residents in the amazon say they are afraid. >> translator: it's been rain being too much. there is too much water. it's rained here so much it's scary. well, only god knows what he's doing. what shall we do? this is nature. but it's raining too, too much. >> reporter: el nino is driven by a warm surface water in the eastern pacific ocean. it generates climate
fluctuations, nasa says el nino is still building and could even rival the record weather effects of 1997. with conditions set to worsen, eight organizations -- aid organizations warn that this could leave millions of people exposed to disease and hunger. al jazeera. lots more still to come here on al jazeera. the international criminallal tribunal for rwanda set up the same year as the 1994 genocide officially closes today. and china defends its decision not to renew press credentials for a french journalist. bring your family and friends together
to discover the best shows and movies with xfinity's winter watchlist. later on, we'll conspire ♪ ♪ as we dream by the fire ♪ a beautiful sight, we're happy tonight ♪ ♪ watching in a winter watchlist land, ♪ ♪ watching in a winter watchlist land! ♪ xfinity's winter watchlist. watch now with xfinity on demand- your home for the best entertainment this holiday season. tand that's what we're doings to chat xfinity.rself,
we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around.
hello again, the top stories here on al jazeera. syrian government forces hollande were ahead major offensive in the south country with the help of russian air power. the army has entered a key rebel controlled town. it's on a main supply route connecting the capital with the city there. hospitals in the yemeni city of taiz are on the verge of shutting down. doctors and nurses protested after one hospital refuse today take anymore patients. and votes of being counted in the central african republic. a landmark presidential and par almost are you vote passed out major violence, estimates of 40% voted and no major irregularities have been
reported. the international criminal tribunal for rwanda officially closes on thursday. it was set up to prosecute those suspected of involvement in the 1994 genocide. militias from the hutu ethnic majority killed more than a million people mostly from the tutsi minority. some of the court's indictees are still on the return as mall come webb reports from rwanda. >> reporter: these men say they killed dozens of their neighbors. they all spent years in prison for it. it was during ry rwanda's 1994 genocide. they all say the mirroringed the killings in the area. >> translator: i killed because he had already filled our hearts with hate and if you refused to kill, he ordered others to kill you. >> reporter: he was arrested earlier in this months in congo.
the criminal true punnal indicted him in 1996. thousands fleeing around the violence have gathered around this church for safety. he ordered villagers onto kill them all. inside it's a somber scene, here are some of the cloth of the people here some of their skulls and weapons used to kill them. the indictment says that oversaw the killing of thousands of his countrymen and rain and sexual violence against women. the tribunal has indicted him known as the ictr sat in neighboring tanzania, it sentenced 60 high-level genocide suspects. and it's closing now. rights groupings criticize it for only pros cute from one side of the conflict. u.n. investigators said it also massacred hutus.
>> those killings by rpf troops are in no way equivalent to the genocide and should not be compared to it. but nevertheless, those were war crimes and crimes against humanity that fell squarely within the remit of the ictr. >> reporter: rwanda denies its army committed atrocities and says it's it brings its soldiers to justice at home. >> i do not believe this idea of both sides really should count in the question of rwanda and the ictr. the ictr was established to deal with people who committed genocide and i believe they had enough job to do. >> reporter: rwandan government also criticized it for being slow and expensive. and eight of the people it indicted are still on the run. if they are caught they'll have to be tried elsewhere. he may be tried here at the supreme court but only in congo ex-extraditions him. it wants rwanda to handover a wanted congolese war load in exchange. rwandan rights trials some say
are are not always fair. it led to a regional conflict in which millions died. few have faced trial but the ictr was unprecedented and did bring justice to some of the victims of one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. malcolm webb, al jazeera, rwanda. nigerian government says it's ready to negotiate with boko haram for the release of nearly 200 school girls missing for more than a year. but the president says talks will only happen if what he calls credible leaders of the armed group are identified. the girls remember taken from their determine stories from the area of which i book in april of last year. video the them in captivity surfaced after they were taken a but no evidence recently has surfaced to show whether or not they are still alive. in iraq fighting still continues in rah made. the government claims control of central parts on sunday but isil is entrenched in certain
districts. now the prime minister is promising to turn his attention to mosul which was taken by isil last year. hundreds of thousands are estimated to have been displaced from the country's second largest city. many belongs to minority communities. we want a report from you are f. >> reporter: his holidays haven't been the same since he lost his arms from nba a bar bomb. it's hard he said to write with his other arm. his family had to he have look their home after isil arrived in mosul and told christians there to pay a new tax or leave. they left. moving 20-kilometer as way. when isil came to that town too, they left again. it's the cheerful times tends of the year that are the hardest. >> translator: my family and i can't celebrate. my son lost his arm, my brother is missing. isil took him as a as a prisoner
it's hard to be happy when your loved ones are missing. >> reporter: more than 50,000 families here in this cam o came from mosul. they are welcome but still miss their homes and are uneasily living so close to isil locally known here as daesh. this priest was forced to leave his home in mosul. >> translator: we would like to give our people hope and we all believe that god is always with us, isil is very close to where we are. it's a threat not only to the christians but peaceful muslim and kurdistans. >> reporter: every day the congregation grows. and many who lost everything still hold to the one thing they can, hope. i hope, everybody hope. >> translator: 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 conflicting, in areas like this, christians have fled and the local people that shelter them can only wish that the coming year will be better than the last one. al jazeera, erbil. china has defended its decision not to renew press credentials for a french journalist effectively ex-merling from the country. she says it's in response to a story she wrote about crack downs against the muslim week a community. she says the chinese government didn't read the article before refuse to grefusing to renew he. the government says she would apologize for her report. beijing is using the visa protest to sign are silence journalist this woman says. >> the chinese authorities are
doing what they normally do, which is to silence, isolate and just basically get rid of, you know, voice that his it views as critical or voicing any opinion. i think that it's important to keep focus on the attack on her is on the terrorism point. it's on her reporting. and that she was not the first foreign journalist who commented on china's appropriation of the terrorism label. and also not the first to have commented on what really many viewed as an opportunistic sympathy for the paris attacks. and use by china of inflating a very serious global tar our. threat with a domestic, as in china, violence that is occurring within the context of militarized repression in at this bet and other areas.
i think this use of con flighting the two is really muddying the waters that the best way to really counter terrorism is to really be in compliance with the u.n. count oner terrorism strategy which says and stipulates the most important way to counter terrorism is to respect human rights and here i think china could demonstrate that is that it is trying to respectively battle counter terrorism by beginning by respecting fundamental rights and here freedom of expression and respect for an independent med media. more evidence of human growth hormone. it was featured on our report on sports doping earlier this week. >> reporter: about a decade ago sports columnist bob kravitz was feeling exhausted, so as he explained to al jazeera reporter
diane estebrook, he went to see dr. dale guyer who runs an anti-aging clinic. >> i went because i was dealing with this overwhelming fatigue, i was sleeping 14, 15 hours a day. couldn't get out of bed in the morning. >> reporter: dr. guyer told him what he needed was human growth moorhormone. >> he felt it would raise my energy level and help me you can know, return back to the lands of the living. >> reporter: dr. leonard dale guyer was also named in a criminal indictment against a colorado pharmacy. illegally importing hgh from china. he wasn't a defendant or charged with any wrongdoing but accord to this indictment he was one of the doctor who his 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 dyer institute said human growth
hormone had been shipped to peyton manning's wife afternoonly. following this report bob c it's wrote about his own experience at the guyer clinic with hgh. as a sports writer, he knew it was banned for professional athletes. but a patients he had no idea it's also illegal for a doctor to prescribe it just for fatigue. >> i knew what it was, but you know, it's one of those things where if you are -- if you are in a desperate situation and you have a doctor you trust, and i trusted dr. guyer at the time, if he tells you that it's potentially medically even cautious you'll do it. >> reporter: one of the america's pop experts in hgh told al jazeera that the drug can only be prescribed legally for three very serious medical conditions. >> it's one of the only drugs that i know of that is in that
way off legal precipitation illegal not just not a good idea. it's illegal. >> reporter: bob i don't have it's says the hgh had zero impact on his fatigue, only on his pocket. the guyer clinic did not immediately respond to our request for a comment. debra davis, al jazeera, washington. >> preserving the art of time is mass hero he works in a tiny watch shop outside tokyo filled with vintage tools and machinery he bought from online auctions. >> i am masahiro. i am an independent watch maker. independent watch makers make watches all by themselves. usually a company would have pima sign today design, create parts, and build it. but monday 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 to 24 hours. the japanese clock was invented in the ed on. era. where people divided the day in to day and night. the days are long never summer and short never winter that seasonal change is automatically adjusted by the changing speed of the hands or changing the spacing on the indexes. craftsman from 150 years ago had no compute, he no precision instruments. everything was done by their own hands. there 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 that 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 [ inaudible ] a samurai 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 emersed 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 in toon actual shape and that is hard to do in an age where efficiency and cost cutting have utmost value. if you need a practical watch the world is never shore the short of far more accurate and economical time piece buzz these
will accompany you on a life's journey, they will stop if you do not wind them found two days, they are imperfect. humans need to look after them to make them work and i think that is the charm of these watches. time now for our website where you can find much more on the day's news, aljazeera.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