Blasts kill at least 17 in Baghdad - police, medics
BAGHDAD Three blasts killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 50 in predominantly Shi'ite Muslim districts of Baghdad on Tuesday, police and medical sources said.
BEIRUT Syrian state media blamed the Islamist rebel Nusra Front for the killing of dozens of people in the northern city of Aleppo, contradicting activist accounts which blamed President Bashar al-Assad's forces for the bloodshed.
The victims' families "have identified a number of the killed, stressing that the Nusra Front abducted them because of their refusal to cooperate with this terrorist group," state news agency SANA said.
Opposition campaigners said Assad's forces had committed a massacre on Tuesday after at least 65 people were found shot dead with their hands bound alongside the Queiq River in Aleppo's rebel-held Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood.
They posted a video of at least 51 muddied male bodies, with what looked like bullet wounds in their heads. The activists said the men had been executed and dumped in the river before floating downstream into the rebel area.
SANA's reporter said the water level in the river was too low to carry the bodies any distance suggesting they had been killed in the rebel-controlled area.
Syria restricts access to independent media, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and officials.
(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
THE HAGUE War crimes judges on Tuesday sentenced a former Islamist rebel who admitted wrecking holy shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict to nine years in prison, in the first such case to focus on destruction of cultural heritage.
BAKU Azerbaijan has voted in favour of extending the presidential term from five to seven years, election authorities said on Tuesday, a step that critics say will hand unprecedented powers to President Ilham Aliyev who has led the country since 2003.