The Pentagon on Thursday will propose rule changes that will allow more women to formally serve in jobs closer to the front lines.
Defense officials say as many as 14,000 positions could be opened up, though the restrictions on women serving in infantry combat units will remain in place.
The rule change reflects the ongoing reality that in a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, women were already dying in combat with the blurring of the traditional definition of front lines. Nearly 300,000 women have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 144 of them have died in those conflicts.
The rule change is included in a report required by Congress as part of last year’s Defense Authorization Bill that has been overdue for months. The new rules likely will not go into effect until the summer if Congress raises no objections to the change.
Women will still be barred from serving in infantry combat units, defense officials say, but the changes will formally open up new positions at the combat battalion level that, until now, have been off limits.
Syrian army defectors celebrate after they joined anti-government protesters in Khalidiya, Homs province, on Thursday.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports — updated 15 minutes ago
BEIRUT — Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET: Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, describes the killings of at least 35 people in the city of Homs as a “terrifying massacre.”
Videos posted online from activists showed the bodies of children wrapped in plastic bags lined up next to each other. Another video shows women and children with bloodied faces and clothes and in a house, with the narrator saying an entire family with its children had been “slaughtered.”
Egyptian riot policemen take position in the area where Coptic Christians came under attack on November 17.
Demonstrators marched to commemorate other Coptics killed in clashes last month
The marchers were headed to Tahrir Square
(CNN) — Hundreds of Coptics marching in Cairo Thursday were attacked by unknown assailants.
Thirty-two people were injured including two police officers, according to Dr. Adel Al Dawi, a ministry of health spokesman. Except for one badly injured girl who remained hospitalized late Thursday, those injured were treated for minor bruises and cuts.
The marchers were heading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to commemorate the deaths of pro-Coptic protesters killed in clashes in the Egyptian capital last month. Continue reading →