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Christian female fighters take on the Islamic State in Syria

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Battalion of Syrian Christian women in Hasakeh province  are fighting the Islamic State in Syria

Babylonia has no regrets about leaving behind her two children and her job as a hairdresser to join a Christian female militia battling against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The fierce-looking 36-year-old in fatigues from the Syriac Christian minority in the northeast believes she is making the future safe for her children.

“I miss Limar and Gabriella and worry that they must be hungry, thirsty and cold. But I try to tell them I’m fighting to protect their future,” she told

They are following in the footsteps of Syria’s other main female force battling the jihadists — the women of the YPJ, the female counterpart to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG.

So far the new force is small, with around 50 graduates so far from its training camp in the town of al-Qahtaniyeh, also known as Kabre Hyore in Syriac, and Tirbespi in Kurdish.

But the “Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers” — the area between the Tigris and Euphrates waterways, historically inhabited by Syriacs — is teeming with women eager to prove their worth against IS.

It was actually Babylonia’s husband who encouraged her to leave Limar, nine, and six-year-old Gabriella and join the unit whose first recruits graduated in August.

Himself a fighter, he urged her to take up arms to “fight against the idea that the Syriac woman is good for nothing except housekeeping and make-up”, she said.

‘Fear quickly went away’

“I’m a practising Christian and thinking about my children makes me stronger and more determined in my fight against Daesh,” added Babylonia, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Syriac Christians belong to the eastern Christian tradition and pray in Aramaic. They include both Orthodox and Catholic branches, and constitute around 15% of Syria’s 1.2 million Christians.

Before the conflict began in March 2011, Christians from some 11 different sects made up around five percent of the population.

The unit’s first major action was alongside the newly created Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters, which recently recaptured the strategic town of al-Hol.

“I took part in a battle for the first time in the al-Hol area, but my team wasn’t attacked by IS,” said 18-year-old Lucia, who gave up her studies to join the militia.

Health

20,000 ex-NHS staff return to fight virus: UK PM

Johnson’s announcement on Monday comes a day after England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said on Sunday that it could be six months before life returns to “normal”, the BBC reported.

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Boris Johnson

London, March 30 : Some 20,000 former staff of the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) have returned to work to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed in a video posted online on Monday.

Thanking the doctors, nurses and other former professionals who have returned to the NHS, as well as the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to help the country through the pandemic, Johnson said in the video posted on Twitter: “We are going to do it, we are going to do it together,” the BBC reported.

“One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there really is such a thing as society,” he said, while contradicting the view of late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, that “there is no such thing as society”.

Johnson, who is self-isolating after testing positive for the virus last week, said the public appeared to be obeying the restrictions set out by government to slow the spread of the virus, adding that train use was down 95 per cent and bus use down 75 per cent.

In another development, a Downing Street source confirmed on Monday that Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief adviser, has developed symptoms of the virus and was self-isolating at home.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also tested positive for the disease.

Johnson’s announcement on Monday comes a day after England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said on Sunday that it could be six months before life returns to “normal”, the BBC reported.

Harries said this did not mean the country would be in “complete lockdown” for half a year, but distancing measures would be reviewed every three weeks and reduced gradually over a period of around three to six months.

However, she said it was “plausible” restrictions could continue for longer.

As of Monday, the UK has reported 19,784 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,231 deaths.

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Health

Trump extends US ‘social distancing’ guidelines to April 30

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Donald Trump MSNBC

President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the national social distancing guidelines to April 30 after suggesting that the coronavirus death rate would likely peak in two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won,” Trump said at an evening press briefing. “Therefore we will be extending our guidelines to April 30.”

The president has previously said he wants to reopen the country for business by Easter, on April 12, despite warnings from public health experts that loosening restrictions would result in unnecessary death and economic damage.

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Disaster

US could see 100,000-200,000 deaths from COVID-19: Top health expert

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases stand at 684,652 and more than 32,000 people have died of the disease.

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Coronavirus Take precautions

In a frightening warning, the US will see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus, the Trump administration’s topmost infection disease expert forecast on Sunday as the pandemic infected nearly 125,000 people in the country.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci said in an interview on CNN that the US will certainly have millions of cases of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 deaths.

“Looking at what we are seeing now, I would say between 100,000-200,00 deaths from coronavirus.”
“We’re going to have millions of cases,” he said.

“But I don’t want to be held to that because the pandemic is such a moving target,” Fauci added.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the US has 124,763 cases and witnessed 2,612 deaths as of Sunday morning.

A total of 2,612 patients have recovered, it said.

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases stand at 684,652 and more than 32,000 people have died of the disease.

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