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Top Syrian rebel leader killed in Damascus air strike

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BEIRUT — A top Syrian rebel leader and head of the most powerful insurgent group in the eastern suburbs of Damascus has been killed in an aerial raid that targeted the group’s headquarters, rebel sources and the Syrian army say.

The death of Zahran Alloush, head of Jaysh al Islam, is a big blow to rebel control of the rural eastern suburban area of Damascus known as al Ghouta, the rebels said.

Defence experts said the disarray among the rebel forces could also consolidate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control over the rest of the area.

Several rebel leaders have been killed since Russia began an aerial campaign on September 30 in support of its ally Mr Assad, although Moscow has insisted that it is concentrating its attacks on Islamic State.

The rebel sources said that in the raid Russian planes targeted a secret headquarters of the group, which is the largest rebel faction in the area and has about 15,000 to 20,000 fighters according to Western intelligence.

Jaysh al Islam has effectively been running the administration of the Eastern Ghouta area since 2013, when the group was formed from an amalgamation of scores of rebel brigades.

The rebels said Alloush was killed while holding a meeting with other rebel leaders in the Marj area in al-Ghouta that has been the target of a major Syrian assault in the last few weeks.

Jaysh al Islam was one of the main rebel groups that attended a recent Saudi-backed opposition meeting in Riyadh and will be negotiating with Mr Assad’s government in Geneva.

Reuters

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Demand for legalizing same-sex marriage

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KATHMANDU- Stakeholders concerned have demanded a law related to same-sex marriage in the context when the Nepal’s constitution and laws have accepted the concept of marital equality.

At an interaction program held with media about the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation by an organization named Yubalaya here Sunday, the demand came as a prompt need of the time by the people concerned.

The complaint of homosexuals was that they were deprived of marriage by choice in the absence of the legalization of same-sex marriage which according to them is the deprivation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Blue Diamond Society Program Officer Anuj Peter said though the constitution has promised to make special provisions for protection, empowerment or development of gender and sexual minorities, such vows are yet to be executed in practice.

Peter, who identifies himself as a homosexual, shares that he has been legally denied to marry a man of his choice.

Yubalaya Chair Sabin Singh highlighted the need of support from media and civil society to address the issue of gender identity and sexual minorities regarding same-sex marriage law.

The participants of the program put their queries about marital equality, broader sexual education and safe abortion.

As told by the Society, to date, 30 countries across the world have legalized same-sex marriage and endorsed a law towards that end and the Netherlands was the first country to legalize it in the end of 2000.

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