ISIS lose symbolic city in Syria
Pope Francis has canonised Argentina’s “gaucho priest”, bestowing sainthood on the poncho-wearing pastor who rode his mule Malacara to the far-flung Argentine peripheries to minister to the poor. Born in 1849 in the province of Cordoba, Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero was one of the most famous Catholics in the Argentina of Francis’ youth. He died in 1914 after living for years with leprosy, which he was said to have contracted from one of his faithful. Francis, the first Argentine pope, moved Brochero closer to sainthood soon after being elected pontiff. Brochero was beatified in 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI signed off on a miracle attributed to his intercession. Francis cleared him for sainthood earlier this year and yesterday canonised Brochero along with six others in one of the final big Masses of his Holy Year of Mercy. At the time of Brochero’s beatification, Francis wrote a letter to Argentina’s bishops praising Brochero for having had the “smell of his sheep”. That’s a phrase Francis has frequently used to describe his ideal pastor – one who accompanies his flock, walking with them through life’s ups and downs. “He never stayed in the parish office. He got on his mule and went out to find people like a priest of the street – to the point of getting leprosy,” Francis wrote. Among the parallels shared by the two Argentines is Brochero’s spirituality, which is deeply rooted in the Jesuit spiritual exercises that are so dear to Francis. Police have rescued a chicken waiting to cross a busy road. Motorists in Dundee in Scotland took to Twitter to express their concerns after seeing the animal waiting for its chance to dart across a busy road, according to The Courier newspaper. It is usually the making for a joke but this time it is not known why the chicken was trying to cross the road. One Twitter user said: “Weird start to my day when there’s a chicken next to me waiting to cross the road in Dundee.(sic).” Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have captured the symbolically significant town of Dabiq from ISIS, the factions said yesterday. A commander of the Syrian opposition Hamza Brigade said ISIS fighters put up “minimal” resistance to defend the northern Syrian town before withdrawing in the direction of the much larger ISIS-held town of Al Bab to the south. Saif Abu Bakr said about 2,000 opposition fighters pushed into Dabiq with tank and artillery support from the Turkish army. The commander said the extremists left the town heavily mined. Both Turkish and international coalition warplanes conducted airstrikes on Dabiq and nearby Arshak, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Another described the scenes as “the funniest” they had ever seen. Scotland police confirmed the rescue and have since issued a statement, which read: “Officers were in East Marketgait at 8.30am after reports of a chicken trying to cross the road and giving passing motorists cause for concern. “The bird was traced safe and well and has been brought to our police station. “The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has been contacted and will be attending to take care of the chicken until the owner is traced.” ISIS took control of the town, which had a prewar population of about 3,000 people, in August 2014. The group’s propaganda had boasted of the fight for the northern Syrian town, citing Islamic lore that it would be the scene of a major battle between crusaders and army of the Muslim caliphate that would herald Doomsday. The group’s English language magazine, Dabiq, is named after the town, and in 2014 they said they had buried the American captive Peter Abdul-Rahman Kassig there. The Turkish military intervened in the Syrian war in August this year under orders from Ankara to clear the border area from ISIS and from Syrian Kurdish forces linked Turkey’s own outlawed Kurdish insurgency. The Turkish government describes both groups as terrorists.
HONOUR: Pope Francis arriving yesterday