U.N. aid chief warns of Idlib 'nightmare'

The U.N. humanitarian chief says his worst fears that a full-scale military onslaught in northwest Syria would “unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any we have seen” in that country are coming true.

Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that escalating violence over the past three weeks in the de-escalation zone in rebel-held Idlib province — where about 3 million people live — killed as many as 160, displaced at least 180,000 and left millions “crammed into an ever smaller area.”

U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned that if the escalation continues and the Syrian government offensive pushes forward, “we risk catastrophic humanitarian fallout and threats to international peace and security.”

She reiterated the United Nations’ call for an urgent de-escalation of violence and urged Turkey and Russia to reestablish a cease-fire in northwest Syria.

— Associated Press

U.S. citizen 'murdered' in prison disturbance

Seventeen people who were arrested in previous anti-government protests were wounded in a prison disturbance in which a 57-year-old Nicaraguan-American dual national was shot dead, a lawyer for several inmates said Friday.

Attorney Yonarqui Martínez also said three student protest leaders were among those hurt, and alleged that Eddy Montes Praslin was shot in the back and “murdered.”

“There is proof of this, no legitimate defense exists,” Martínez said via Twitter.

Nicaraguan authorities have accused the inmates of causing “a serious disturbance” Thursday at La Modelo prison north of the capital, Managua. President Daniel Ortega’s government reported Montes’s death and said six prison workers had been injured, but did not say anything about inmates being hurt.

Worried family members gathered outside La Modelo on Friday seeking information about their relatives and vowing to remain until they got answers.

— Associated Press

Brakes were unused in fiery crash, report says

A Russian state news agency said a report from the country’s civil aviation authority indicates that the crew of an airliner that caught fire May 5 while making an emergency landing, killing 41 people, had not deployed the plane’s air brakes.

The report Friday indicated that human error could be a key factor in the crash of the Aeroflot SSJ100 at Moscow’s Shermetyevo airport. Video showed the plane making a hard landing and flames bursting from its underside, quickly enveloping the rear half of the fuselage. Thirty-three people survived.

The RIA-Novosti news agency said it had obtained a report from Rosaviatsiya, the civil aviation authority, that showed that the brakes — flaps that hang down from a plane — were not used. It also said the pilot changed the plane’s pitch markedly.

— Associated Press

Israel says its troops didn't kill paraplegic Palestinian: The Israeli army has closed a criminal investigation into the death of a paraplegic Palestinian man shot while demonstrating along Gaza's border with Israel in 2017, saying the probe found "no evidence" that its soldiers fired the fatal round. The army said its troops fired toward "the lower parts of main instigators" in response to a "violent riot." Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, hailed as a symbol of heroism by Palestinians, died after a bullet struck his head, according to Palestinian medical records obtained by the Associated Press, during a protest of President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Witnesses said no gunfire came from the Palestinian side. Palestinians and human rights groups asserted that Abu Thraya was shot by an Israeli sniper.

Algerians hold anti-government protest: Protesters flooded the streets of Algeria for the 13th straight Friday, climbing atop police vans that were blocking the main demonstration site in the capital in a bold show of defiance. Security forces earlier fired tear gas into the crowd in Algiers to keep protesters out of the central post office plaza, but lifted their barricades after people climbed onto the roofs of their vehicles. Tens of thousands came out Friday in a pro-democracy movement that started Feb. 22, despite the day-long fasting of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. They demanded that Algeria's interim leader leave office and that July 4 elections be scrapped. Longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April, pressured by protests and the army chief. Protesters want other officials to leave to ensure a new era.

— From news reports