Airstrike kills 13 at Syrian market

BEIRUT — A suspected Syrian government airstrike on a market in a northwestern rebel-held town killed 13 civilians on Monday while Turkish artillery shells landed near a school in a Kurdish-held town, killing at least nine, including eight children, activists said.

The violence is part of rising tension in Syria’s north, along the border with Turkey. Syrian government troops have renewed their push to reclaim the last opposition stronghold in Idlib province while Turkey, which sees Syrian Kurdish fighters as an existential threat, has been widening its military operations there to push them away from its borders.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike hit a popular market in the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan, killing 13 civilians and wounding 18. The opposition-run Aleppo Media Center also put the death toll at 13 while the Syrian Civil Defense, a team of first responders known as White Helmets, said nine civilians, including two women, were killed.

“The bombardment of the market that was packed with civilians led to a massacre and wide destruction,” the Civil Defense said on its Facebook page, which also had photos of lifeless bodies and paramedics helping the victims.

The Observatory and the Civil Defense reported another airstrike, on the nearby town of Saraqeb, saying it killed and wounded several people. The Observatory also reported there was a Russian airstrike on and around the central prison in the city of Idlib amid reports from other activist groups that some inmates had managed to escape.

Powerful typhoon nears Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — A powerful typhoon drew closer to the Philippines on Monday, forcing tens of thousands of villagers to flee to safety, knocking out power in entire provinces and prompting authorities to plan the closure of Manila’s international airport.

Typhoon Kammuri was forecast to slam into the country’s eastern coast Monday night to early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 96 miles per hour and gusts of up to 118 mph, government forecasters said. In Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes provinces, where the typhoon is expected to blow ashore, pounding rain and wind started to rattle tin roofs and block visibility by nightfall.

The typhoon hits as the Philippines is hosting thousands of athletes from Southeast Asia for biennial regional games that opened on Saturday.

Monsoon rains leave 25 dead in India

CHENNAI, India — At least 25 people have died in recent monsoon rains that inundated low-lying areas in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and hundreds more have been evacuated to relief camps, the state government said Monday.

Heavy rain toppled a wall in the city of Coimbatore, killing 17 people, and eight others have died in various other rain-related incidents since Nov. 29, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Government hydrologist Subramani in the state capital, Chennai, said the city’s reservoirs, which were bone dry during a drought last summer, had reached half their capacity — enough water to supply the city of 10 million for six months.

Putin signs law registering journalists

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Monday that gives the government the right to register bloggers, journalists and social media users as foreign agents.

The bill extends an existing law involving foreign-funded media outlets. That was adopted in 2017 in response to the decision by the U.S. Justice Department to label the Russian state-funded RT television a foreign agent.

The new law can apply to anyone who distributes content produced by media outlets registered as foreign agents and receives payments from abroad. Individuals registered as foreign agents will be subject to additional government scrutiny.

The move has been criticized by many in Russia for restricting freedom of expression in the country even further and allowing the authorities to crack down on dissent.

The Associated Press