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MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Political and social events from the Middle East, with exclusive reports and interviews. Tuesday at 5.45 pm Paris time.

Residents of Syria's Eastern Ghouta share footage of daily bombings

Latest update : 2018-03-07

By Sanam SHANTYAEI , Stéphanie CHEVAL , Camille FEVRIER

A bloody battle has been raging in Syria's Eastern Ghouta since mid-February, with 400,000 civilians caught in the crossfire. One young Syrian, 15-year-old Muhammad Najem, has been using social media to share videos of the daily bombardments. Even his school wasn't spared from the shelling by Syrian and Russian forces, who are trying to drive the anti-regime rebels out of the enclave.

In Egypt, the act of blasphemy is already illegal. The conservative nation has now proposed a bill that would also officially prohibit Egyptians from not believing in God. A parliamentary commission has even ruled that atheism can cause "mental imbalances", which in turn lead to homosexuality.

Religion is also an issue in Israel, where a tax row recently shut down one of the holiest sites in the world for Christians: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After three days of closure, Israeli officials backed down. Our correspondent takes a look back at the dispute.

Finally, France's foreign minister has been to Iran to inaugurate an exhibition of items on loan from the Louvre in Paris. Around 50 artworks are being loaned to Tehran's National Museum of Iran for the occasion.