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story.lead_photo.caption A youngster helps unfurl a roughly 330-foot Romanian flag in Bucharest on Monday as part of the country’s national anthem day.

Assad's troops advance in northern Syria

BEIRUT -- Syrian troops made advances on the ground in northern Syria on Monday, seizing a hilltop village and a nearby town from insurgents in the first breakthrough for President Bashar Assad's forces after weeks of intensive air and artillery bombardment.

Syria's Central Military Media said troops captured the Tal Malah village and the nearby town of Jibeen on Monday after fierce confrontations with militants entrenched in the area. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported the advances, saying government troops were able to seize the territory when militant groups withdrew after intense air and ground shelling.

The area has changed hands several times over the past weeks in the offensive. More than 440,000 people have been displaced inside the crowded enclave to escape the airstrikes.

The area has been repeatedly targeted in recent days as Syria's government looks to regain momentum in its stalled offensive against the country's last opposition-controlled stronghold. The rebel area encompasses Idlib province and the surrounding rural areas of Hama province. At least 450 civilians have been confirmed killed in the three-month offensive, including more than 100 in the past 10 days alone, according to the U.N. human rights chief.

Over the past three years, the government has regained control of most of the territories that were initially seized by the opposition in the early days of the civil conflict -- now in its 9th year. Those military victories, supported by Russian airpower and Iranian-backed militias on the ground, came after intense military campaigns and tight sieges that forced rebels to surrender and move north.

Pakistan plane crash kills 17 people

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — A Pakistani military plane on a training flight crashed into homes near the garrison city of Rawalpindi before dawn today, killing at least 17 people, most of them on the ground.

Fires, damaged homes and debris were visible in Mora Kalu village on the outskirts of Rawalpindi after daybreak. Troops and police cordoned off the residential area to search for plane debris and evidence after the rescue efforts had ended.

Five soldiers, including two army pilots, and at least 12 civilians were killed, the military said in a statement. Farooq Butt, an official at the state-run emergency service, said an additional 15 people were injured.

“My sister, her husband and their three children were killed when the plane crashed into their home,” said Mohammad Mustafa, as he sobbed near his sister’s badly damaged home.

Brazilian gang clashes kill 57 prisoners

RIO DE JANEIRO -- At least 57 prisoners were killed by other inmates during clashes between organized crime groups at the Altamira prison in northern Brazil on Monday, according to prison officials.

Para state prison authorities said 16 of the victims were decapitated while others were asphyxiated. The count of victims could rise when authorities have searched all areas involved, state prisons chief Jarbas Vasconcelos said at a news conference.

Vasconcelos said a fight between criminal groups at the Altamira prison started around 7 a.m., when breakfast was being served. Inmates also set fires that prevented authorities from entering parts of the facility for about five hours, he said.

The killings echoed those of 55 inmates who died in a series of riots in May in several prisons in the neighboring state of Amazonas.

In early 2017, more than 120 inmates died in prisons across several northern states when rival gangs clashed over control of drug-trafficking routes in the region. The violence lasted several weeks, spreading to various states. In many of Brazil's prisons, badly outnumbered guards struggle to retain power over an ever-growing population of inmates who are able to run criminal activities from behind bars.

Report: Yemen strike killed 10 civilians

SANAA, Yemen -- An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a busy market in rebel-held northern Yemen, killing at least 10 civilians, including children, Yemeni officials and the rebels' health ministry said Monday.

The officials said the strike hit Al-Thabet market in Saada province, a stronghold of the Iran-aligned rebels known as Houthis. The province lies along the border with Saudi Arabia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief the media. There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

The Houthi-run Health Ministry said the airstrike wounded another 27 people.

The Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthi rebels on behalf of an internationally recognized government since 2015 in a war that has killed tens of thousands of people. The coalition faces widespread international criticism for airstrikes that have killed civilians.

The rebels control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. The stalemated conflict has thrust millions to the brink of famine and spawned the world's most devastating humanitarian crisis.

-- COMPILED BY DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE REPORTS

Photo by AP/RAJESH KUMAR SINGH
Racers compete Monday on a street in Prayagraj, India. The traditional race is held every Monday during the Hindu month of Saawan, which runs from mid-July until Aug. 15 and coincides with the monsoon season.

A Section on 07/30/2019

Print Headline: Assad's troops advance in northern Syria Hottest day on record reported in Britain Brazilian gang clashes kill 52 prisoners Report: Yemen strike killed 10 civilians

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