the war in syria. we meet the volunteers putting their lives on the line as they respond to emergencies across the country. you're watching al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha. also ahead, brazil moves closer to impeaching their president with the leader of a powerful congressional committee saying she must go. the netherlands vote no.
the philippines candidate who is vowing to take on a major super power. the syrian army and its allies have launched a major offensive against rebels south of aleppo. it is the biggest government operation in the area since the partial ceasefire agreement came into effect in late february. the ongoing fight issing has threatened to derail the fleement which has reduced overall violence in syria. the u.n.-sponsored talks to stop the war are set to resume on monday. the syrian network for human rights say six rescue workers and medical staff have been killed in syria in march. dispute all odds and attacks, a civil response group in reb rebel-held areas are making an
difference. >> reporter: this man works for the civil defense also known as the white helmets. he is not just a driver. he is also a rescue worker. when there are no air raids he helps clean up the city. >> translation: 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, open the roads, contain the rubble from destroyed buildings >> reporter: around 3,000 volunteers work in the white helmets across eight syrian provinces. they are ordinary people from all walks of life, but they are paying a heavy price. always on the front line, always the first to help. 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. the neighboring turkey we met with the regional office. honoring a long list of casualties, celebrating the unknown heros. possessing amongst all the odds, they've rescued at least 50,000 people. relying on donations from governmental organizations and some western companies, second-hand vehicles and equipment. >> translation: we have 519 vehicles. not all of them are operational. half of them are second-hand but we fix and use them especially in besieged areas like damascus and hydrogen bombs. our teams there put tanks on pick up tracks to use them as fire engines or a motorbike for an ambulance. we don't know who is teaching who the systematic way of bombing of them. >> reporter: the group has relied on turkey for help with
training and equipment. around 1,000 syrian civil defense workers have received training in turkey and jordan. the white helmets also have four training centers inside syria. 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 in other world news a bangladesh >> translation: law student who has expressed secular views has been killed. he was hacked with machetes by four men at a traffic intersection and then shot. this is the latest of attacks against libial bloggers and secular activists. -- liberal bloggers.
to our correspondent. do we know more about the circumstances of this latest killing and why this activist was targeted? >> reporter: there are not too many details. he was intercepted by a motorcycle, a couple of them i guess. the first they hit him with machetes and what we know from the details now that they got down and shot him to make sure that he was dead. stores all around shut their doors because they were scared what was going on. the police are yet to confirm the full detail on that incident, but he is the seventh blogger to be killed within the last three years. the most famous one was a blogger whose case hasn't been resolved yet. there are some people that are suspicious, but it hasn't been resolved. there are criticisms against the government to not really
crackdown on these people behind this killing. no-one knows exactly what is going on, but he yesterday wrote on his facebook that he is concerned nor the safety-- for the safety and law and order around bangladesh. it is quite a great concern. government keep promising that they will resolve all this, but they don't seem to be - there's a lack of ininnertia thank you very much for that. the possible impeachment of the president has taken another step forward. the head of a congressional committee has recommended a vote on her future should go ahead. this man said the case against her is legally admissible. she has been under fire in
recent months accused of corruption which she denies. >> reporter: for many in brazil wednesday's events put dilma rousseff closer to the possibility of being impeached. the spokesperson of the special committee in congress that is carrying out an investigation has said that there is enough evidence that an impeachable crime has been committed, but that it is up to the senate for a vote to carry out the process. many are saying that the accommodation given could be tainted by his own opinion by the document. it will be presented by the coming mob. if it passes it moves to a full house vote and then if that happens it is going towards the senate and that's when the impeachment process begins. that's when she can be suspended from her position. the situation is complicated because a judge from the supreme
court is saying that the vice president should also be impeached for the same crime that dilma rousseff is so - that's how complicated the situation is in brazil. there's a recession and economic crisis. sympathy has lost key political allies. many are saying that her chances of being impeached are increasing every day dutch voters have rejected an e.u.-ukraine trade pact with two-thirds saying they don't support the deal. 32% turn out was low but enough to ensure the results are valid >> reporter: this was a chance for the dutch people to speak their minds. would necessity approve the e.u. association agreement with ukraine. in the event nearly two-thirds voted no. the turnout was low. those who did go to the polls explained their reasons. >> translation: it is a corrupt country and you don't need to
want a contract like this with them. it doesn't help the citizens. it will only benefit the multinational, top five of the corrupt government. >> translation: you can't abandon 40 million people. that's why i voted for this treaty >> reporter: many concept particular dutch politicians had campaigned against the agreement. for them the referendum result was a welcomed endorsement >> i'm happy to see that the arguments we used in the campaign against this treaty have convinced two out of three voters. more than 60%, 64% of the people said no to this agreement. >> reporter: the government had campaigned in favor of a yes vote. the foreign minister led the campaign. at an amsterdam polling station he told me why >> we have to support the ukrainian people. they are fighting for liberty
human rights, economic prosperity. it is in the interests of the dutch civilians. we need stability in europe. we are a trading nation. >> reporter: the question will be what effect this result has on e.u. relations with ukraine. then there is the effect on the e.u. institutions. one analyst told me referendums like these could increasingly be used to effect governance in the e.u. >> if this goes ahead like this, on a national basis, then you may - the whole decision making in brussels may be completely blocked >> reporter: the dutch government did not want this referendum and they did not want this result. the problem is that in real numbers fewer than one in five voters voted no in this referendum and the result is not binding. the question for ministers is can they ignore the voters'
verdict and carry on with their ukraine policies iceland has a new prime minister after the previous leader resigned over the panama paper scandal. the agricultural minister will be sworn in on thursday. protests, however, continued for a third day outside the parliament in the capital demanding the formation of a new government. iceland's opposition parties also want a snap election. the government says a vote will be held later this year. meanwhile, swiss police have raided the offices of european football's govern body u.a.f.a. they want details of a television contract. there has been denied any wrongdoing. a deal was put on a deal 10 years ago with two businessmen who have been accused of
corruption. our correspondents explains why it is targeting on this. >> reporter: this was one of two raids conducted by the swiss authorities on wednesday. essentially, their words to everyone is from we're not targeting anyone specific. these are criminal proceedings that are directed at persons unknown. basically, after the panama papers infanto was on a contract with the swiss authorities. it was could signed, tv rights, when he was the director of legal services tail light. what is interesting about this contract is that it was sold, the tv rights, for the cup, the chaff i don't knows leg, sold to a group of business enmore $111,000 in 2006. they immediately sold it to another company for almost the triple the price. this is what the swiss authorities are finding interesting about how these costs were inflated.
u.a.f.a. has come out saying they welcome this. so has infanto. he will cooperate fully. anything that they need he will be providing he has released a statement in it he says if my determination to restore football's reputation: a still ahead on al jazeera, land disputes in sri lanka. singing merle haggard passes
welcome back. you're watching al jazeera live from doha. the syrian army and its allies have launched a major offensive against rebels south of aleppo. it is the biggest government operation in the area since a partial ceasefire came into effect in labour february. in bangladesh a law student who expressed secular views on line has been killed in the capital. the 28 year old was hacked with machetes by four men and then
shot dead. dutch voters have rejected an e.u.-ukraine trade pact in a referendum. it is a victory for groups in the netherlands and across europe. to iraq where the army has only been able to seize a few villages in its three-week long offensive to recapture the city of mosul from i.s.i.l. the operation is on hold until more forces arrive. >> reporter: the iraqi army has been trying to advance in mosul, the largest stronghold for i.s.i.l. in iraq. after three weeks, the offensive is on hold. soldiers manage to capture a few small villages. they're now waiting for the arrival of police and tribal fighters before the army can push ahead. despite renewed concerns about the capabilities of iraqi army,
soldiers are hopeful >> translation: we're trying to take on the village. it's very extra at the jik and we're finding strong resistance from suicide bombers, home-made bombs and tunnels are hindering our advance. we will be going back to the urt aerial support of the coalition. >> reporter: peshmerga forces are staying out of the operation so far >> translation: peshmerga forces are here to monitor, but the government forces haven't been able to retake the village which they entered and quickly exited. if the battles continue like this, then taking mosul will take longer than hoped. >> reporter: the mosul offensive is backed by nearly 200 u.s. marines in the u.s. states is promising to set up more military outposts. the pentagon feels iraqi forces are on the right track >> with u.s. and coalition partners supporting them, with air power and other enabling capabilities, we have seen
steady progress as the isf continues to recapture territory to include heat. >> reporter: as the government release videos of their gains, i.s.i.l. propaganda is also active. they claim it's defending its positions in the area and shows this video of government vehicles destroyed. the counter terrorism force says the ongoing operation in the town is one of the toughest battles they've fought against i.s.i.l. iraqi forces are trying to take control of the town that's dwudd by the euphrates river. i.s.i.l. fighters a fled to the parts. many have been displaced and the numbers are expected to rise when the iraqi forces continue their push towards mosul cyprus has agreed to send a man accused of hijacking an
egypt's air flight back to egypt. he took over the plane shortly after take off from alexandria last week and demanded it be rerouted to cyprus. he wore a fake suicide belt. his motive appears to be an attempt to reunite with his former wife and children. 300 refugees and migrants have been rescued from a barge. the italian coast guard was aalerted. those on board, including 100 children, were from palestine and egypt and other parts of africa. they're on their way to italy. many refugees are still making the dangerous journey to europe despite a controversial deal to senld people back to turkey. boats began transporting refugees back to greece on monday. even though the stakes are higher than ever, some are still trying to cross the sea.
our correspondent witnessed one such attempt from the turkish coast >> reporter: you hear it before you see it. anxiety, exhaustion, desperation. so many children have drowned making this journey, yet more still come. even if this is one of the rare life jackets that actually floats, it's of now use to the tiny body inside. others make do with rubber tubes. even then, not everyone is wearing them. these are iraqi families who probably paid hundreds of dollars a head for passage to the greek island of lesbos, but the boat is too small even for the 40 or so packed into it. this is how families are separated in a moment. he can only call out "look after the woman". it has been a chaotic few minutes here on the west coast of turkey. the message is that these kind of voyages are futile.
these people will be sent back, but still they're disper eight to go. >> reporter: a handful are left on the shore. we ask why they're risk can all this when under the new rules they have little chances of getting further than a greek holding center before being sent back >> translation: we were under oppression, living with bombs, killing and kidnapping. greece doesn't want to accept us, turkey doesn't want us to stay. shall we just sink into the water with our children? >> reporter: this time there was no sinking, no death, but no safe passage either. within a few minutes a a cost guard intercepted they. this man a former free syrian fighter has been smuggle people to greece for nearly year. business is down since the deal and so agents are trial to
convince customers of a chance of making it into europe >> translation: i still send them to greece because they can apply for the asylum program. if they have relatives in one of eight countries, they can be taken there or otherwise they will be taken to a country chosen for them >> reporter: europe is closing the door. wednesday was supposed to see the first official bachelor of syrians sent back from greece. it will be a one for one trade. the only arrivals were those who had been on the water for a matter of hours. >> translation: we were going to greece to escape the war. do you think it was a holiday? we cannot live here. everyone treats us badly. they exploit us. >> reporter: what happens to them now is far from clear. still in the same country as those they left behind on the shore, but separated from them. the children play, a warped version of a morning on the beach. a life jacket whistle becomes a
toy instead of a call for help vietnam's parliament has elected a new prime minister. he was the only candidate for the position after the previous prime minister stepped down. he won 90% of the vote. in his first speech he promised to improve the economy and crack drown on corruption. on saturday the former police man as president. in the philippines now a presidential candidate is vowing to take on beijing over the disputed south china sea. the two nations have long been at odds as to who the islands belong to. his substance on the issue is seen a comparison to donald trump. >> reporter: this man has never been known to play nice. the 71-year-old mayor who loves
his big bikes is know tour yous-- notorious for using death squads to take out the criminals in his city. [ cheers ] >> reporter: now as a top contender for president of the philippines, he is vowing to take on one of the world's super powers. china. >> what they p will they do? i will send to china, i will bring the flag of the philippines and i walk to the airport and plant the filipino bag. you want to blow me to bits? do. i would be happy to go with a bang. >> reporter: china and the philippines have been at heavy odds over who owns this string will island in the south china sea. >> it is our island. it has always been our island. >> reporter: if elected president, he says he will first
try to negotiate with the asian rival. if talks breakdown, he vows to reclaim the islands himself. >> i will not sacrifice the lives of the soldiers and armed forces. i would rather go there and they can waste me if they want. >> he is the most outrageous, the most colorful and the most character in this upcoming presidential elections. >> reporter: political watchers warn that such talk will only escalate tensions why china >> we like to compare him to p trump in the u.s. because he likes to shock with his statements, he can be very >> translation: rreverant and very reckless >> reporter: he has a massed a huge following. his pledge of getting rid of crime and corruption and making the philippines a strong nation
resonates. what do you think of him? >> he is a good fighter, leader. he does the action well, the talking. >> reporter: filipinos may love his get tough approach, but if elected it would likely guarantee stormy waters ahead on the international front thousand of people who lost property during vie lank ka's 26 year comblikt - sri lanka's. our correspondent reports from mannar in north-west sri lanka. >> reporter: they were teenagers when they fled 26 years allowing. they were among 26,000 muslims driven out of the region by the tam il fighters.
he has returned years ago but was not able to get this four hectare land which he says belonged to his nartdz. he found the man who was working the land. >> he is the one come and told me in place, this is your father place. then last month, three months ago he died. i went to his son's. he said this is not your place. this is our place. they say to me, if you come this place, i will kill you. >> reporter: i met the man whose family he says has taken over the land. he insists it was bought legally. >> translation: my father paid money and bought that land. for five or six years he bought those fields. when he couldn't continue and wanted to sell the land, my father bought it. >> reporter: the million treel holds signs of the tracts of land in the conflict area seven years after the end of the war.
conflict claims between private individuals are common here. this woman has just finished a report on land occupation in the northern province. she found that over 5,000 hectares of land is occupied by someone other than the original owner. >> the north and east are going to have huge issues in terms of land documentation, who are the real claimants, who decides who the real claimants and all of that >> reporter: she is says a comprehensive mapping exercise must be taken out to get a clear picture of the issue. parliament has passed a new law that will make in process easier. >> disputes over landownership are one of the biggest problems here but changes to the laws will bring hope that the real owners will some day get their lands back country music legend merle haggard has died at the end at the of 79.
>> [ ♪ ] his music was known for celebrating working class america. his 40-year career saw him inducted into the country music hall of fame. our government are doing what they need to do in order to protect their citizens. i don't think this state is going to take this and appropriate manner until we're dragging dead bodies out of buildings good evening. thanks for joining us. this special