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Syrian rebels say they are leery of cease-fire plan


Syrian rebels say they are leery of cease-fire plan

Rebel factions in Syria expressed deep reservations on Sunday about the terms of a U.S.-Russian deal that seeks to restart the peace process for the war-torn country, with the leader of at least one U.S.-backed rebel faction publicly calling the offer a "trap." The second in command of the powerful, conservative Ahrar al-Sham group condemned the superpower agreement as an effort to secure President Bashar Assad's government and drive rebel factions apart. "A rebellious people who have fought and suffered for six years cannot accept half-solutions," said Ali al-Omar in a video statement. But the commander and other rebel leaders stopped short of fully rejecting the agreement's interim cease-fire, which is slated to come into effect in stages beginning today at sunset. On Saturday, presumed Russian or government airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib and Aleppo provinces killed over 90 civilians, including 13 children in an attack on a marketplace in Idlib, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In the aftermath on Sunday, rebels and opposition activists were asking whether the government's side could be trusted. "What truce, when the regime commits a massacre in Idlib?" said Ahmad Saud, commander of the U.S.-backed Division 13 brigade, on Twitter. "I am starting to feel that the truce is a military trap to kill us more."


Terror warning issued after boy is arrested

French police have arrested a 15-year-old boy at his Paris home to thwart what they feared was a planned weekend attack, as the prime minister warned on Sunday some 15,000 people in the country could be in the process of being radicalized. The arrest of the teenager on Saturday came two days after police moved in on what the Paris prosecutor says was a group of female "commandos" arrested after an aborted attack at Notre Dame Cathedral and another possible attack. News of the arrest of the 15-year-old came shortly after Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday that "every day attacks are foiled … (including) as we speak." Valls said nearly 15,000 people in France are being tracked because they are suspected of being in the process of radicalization.

Winston-Salem, N.C.

Police accuse man of making false clown report

It has been weeks since stories first started surfacing of clown sightings in the Carolinas with some witnesses saying they were trying to lure children into the woods. But so far, officials have found one report was false. And on Friday, police in Winston-Salem arrested David Armstrong, 24, after he admitted the creepy tale of an ominous clown tapping on his window in the early hours of the morning had been made up. Police also examined surveillance footage and didn't find any evidence of someone dressed as a clown trying to get kids to go into the woods. There are still other reported sightings being investigated, but no evidence has been found.


Barack Obama the parasite?

It's no Nobel Peace Prize, but Barack Obama has a new honor to brag about. Scientists have named a parasite after him — and there's no worming out of it. Meet Baracktrema obamai, a tiny parasitic flatworm that lives in turtles' blood. A new study officially names the 2-inch-long, hair-thin creature after Obama. Thomas Platt, the newly retired biology professor at Saint Mary's College in Indiana who chose the name, says it's an honor, not an insult. Really. Platt, who discovered the flatworm to crown his career before retiring, has 32 new species to his credit.

Times wires