Vung Ang, Vietnam – Watched over by riot police, more than 3,000 Chinese workers left Vietnam on Monday on ships chartered by their government after deadly unrest broke out last week amid a dispute over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.
The decision to evacuate workers by sea will play well in China, where the government is under pressure to look after its citizens abroad.
Four ships arrived at Vung Ang port and left after taking aboard more than 3,000 people, according to an Associated Press reporter outside the facility and a port official. The workers were bused to the ships, where riot police were stationed.
Rebel group issues call for unity in Assad ouster
Beirut – The largest coalition of Islamist rebels in Syria issued a manifesto over the weekend that calls for the increasingly fractious rebels to unite around the notion of liberating the country from the government of President Bashar Assad and installing a free state that will protect the rights of religious minorities, not an Islamist state.
The position spelled out in the statement, titled the “Revolutionary Manifesto of the Islamic Front,” marked a reversal of a policy articulated last year that called for creating an Islamist state after the defeat of Assad. Analysts and observers agreed that the statement seemed directed at the international community, particularly the United States, which has been reluctant to support widespread military aid for the rebels over concerns about radicalism.
The statement, which was released as an audio posting on jihadi websites, was said to have the support of the Islamic Front’s leadership, including Hassan Abboud, the leader of a conservative militant group, Ahrar al-Sham.
The statement was immediately attacked by the most radical groups in the anti-Assad movement, al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Whether the manifesto will influence the Obama administration’s reluctance to authorize aid for the Islamic Front remains to be seen.