Tag Archives: Syria&#39s

Almost quarter of a million flee homes in Syria's rebel-held Idlib as bombing intensifies

Almost quarter of a million flee homes in Syria's rebel-held Idlib as bombing intensifiesNearly a quarter of a million people have fled their homes in the last-remaining Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib to escape a Syrian and Russian offensive on the area. Air strikes and shelling this month have sparked a mass exodus that aid workers warn could lead to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of Syria’s eight-year civil war. US President Donald Trump yesterday called for the governments in Moscow, Damascus and Tehran to stop the violence. "Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands" of civilians in the northwestern province, Mr Trump tweeted, adding: "Don't do it!"  The Syrian Response Coordination Group, a relief group active in the north west of the country, said 216,632 people have fled towards the closed Turkish border since the beginning of December. Exodus from Idlib to nowhere. Turkey has blocked the border. If these creatures in the cars were dogs, the world would have more mercy. What happened to the right of civilians to flee to safety?! @cnni@BBCWorld@realDonaldTrump@UNHumanRights@antonioguterresMerryChristmaspic.twitter.com/pNSvr7zCYn— Dr. Zaher Sahloul (@sahloul) December 24, 2019 The group called on other relief agencies to help the displaced amid cold weather and heavy rain. In recent weeks, tent settlements for displaced people have suffered from flooding, adding to their misery. Footage circulating this week has shown cars and trucks in a long line of traffic trying to leave the city of Maaret al-Numan for towns and villages further north, carrying blankets, mattresses and valuables. Pictures from inside the city show areas of major destruction where only a few buildings appear to be left standing. Maaret al-Numan has come under heavy bombardment from Russian and Syrian forces in recent weeks as they seek to extend an offensive that originally began in Spring.  The city sits on a key highway linking the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, which has been in opposition hands since 2012, making it an important strategic objective for President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Fared al-Hor, an activist from Idlib, told the Telegraph the situation was worse than at any time before. “I left my city [Maaret al-Numan] yesterday. Now I am with my family in Salqin, on the Syrian-Turkish border,” he said via What’sApp messenger. A drone picture taken on December 23 shows empty streets and damaged buildings in the town of Maaret al-Numan in the northwestern Idlib province Credit: AFP “It is very very bad. Some people don’t even have I am thinking about traveling to Turkey, my younger sister Marwa and I, but I cannot find a way now.” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, has said the border will remain closed and warned that his country, which hosts more refugees than any other in the word, will not be able to absorb any more fleeing northwest Syria. Idlib, which is largely under the control of Islamist rebel group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, is home to some 3.5 million people, many of whom had been displaced by fighting in other areas.  The Russian and Syrian bombing campaign against the rebel pocket in Idlib began in April and has killed more than 1,400 people, 100 of them in the last week. Dareen Khalifa, a Syria analyst with the International Crisis Group, said the Syrian and Russian offensive on Idlib has made slow progress, “so now they are overcompensating by using devastating levels of air force.” “If the regime continues and if the rebels don’t surrender, this will mean the worst humanitarian disaster we’ve seen in Syria,” she said.



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Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near Damascus

Syria's Assad: OPCW faked a report on attack near DamascusAssad’s comments to Italy’s Rai News 24 came after the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressed confidence in the report into the deadly attack in Syria. OPCW’s chief Fernando Arias supported the report issued in March by a fact-finding mission from the watchdog that found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma.



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Briton who helped found Syria's White Helmets dies in Turkey

Briton who helped found Syria's White Helmets dies in TurkeyA former British army officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer organization in Syria was found dead in Istanbul early Monday, Turkish officials and the group said. James Le Mesurier’s body was found near his home in the Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The Istanbul governor’s office said “comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations” had been initiated into Le Mesurier’s death.



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Israel aiding Syria's Kurds, advocating for them with U.S.: official

Israel aiding Syria's Kurds, advocating for them with U.S.: officialIsrael is assisting Syrian Kurds battered by a month-old Turkish incursion, seeing them as a counterweight to Iranian influence and advocating for them in talks with the United States, the deputy Israeli foreign minister said on Wednesday. Ankara launched its assault targeting the Kurdish YPG militia after the abrupt withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria in early October, a move Kurds deemed a betrayal by Washington, their partner in fighting Islamic State. In a rare public dissent with U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the “gallant Kurdish people” on Oct. 10, saying they faced possible “ethnic cleansing” by Turkey and its Syrian allies.



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Syria's Assad says Kurdish controlled northeast of Syria to fall eventually under state control

Syria's Assad says Kurdish controlled northeast of Syria to fall eventually under state controlSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday his country’s ultimate goal was to restore state authority over Kurdish controlled areas in northeast Syria after an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal but said this would happen gradually. In an interview with state television, Assad also said that a deal this month between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin to drive out the Kurdish-led YPG militia from a 30 km (19 mile) “safe zone” along the border was a step that would help Damascus in that goal.



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After withdrawal, Trump shifts focus to Syria's oil fields

After withdrawal, Trump shifts focus to Syria's oil fieldsAs Russian and Turkish leaders divvy up security roles in northeast Syria following an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal, President Donald Trump is focused on oil fields elsewhere in the war-torn country. Trump spurred a fresh wave of criticism Thursday with a tweet noting that he had spoken with Syrian Kurdish military chief Mazloum Abdi and observing that perhaps “it is time for Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region,” an apparent reference to oil fields in Deir el-Zour province of Syria. “We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said Wednesday while discussing the pullout of all but 200 to 300 U.S. troops in Syria.



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Turkey, Russia to discuss removal of Kurdish militia from Syria's Manbij, Kobani

Turkey, Russia to discuss removal of Kurdish militia from Syria's Manbij, KobaniTurkey and Russia will discuss the removal of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the northern Syrian towns of Manbij and Kobani during talks in Sochi next week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday. Ankara agreed with Washington on Thursday to pause its offensive into northeast Syria for five days to allow the YPG to withdraw from a planned “safe zone”.



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Turkey slams 'dirty deal' between Syria's Assad and Kurdish forces

Turkey slams 'dirty deal' between Syria's Assad and Kurdish forcesTurkey dismissed global opposition to its military operation in Syria on Tuesday and slammed a “dirty deal” between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Kurdish forces as US troops began their withdrawal from the battle zone. Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched a week ago, has been widely criticised by the international community, with the US, a NATO ally, slapping sanctions on Ankara. “We will continue to combat all terrorist groups, including Daesh (the Islamic State group), whether or not the world agrees to support our efforts,” Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, told AFP.



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UPDATE 1-Erdogan signals Turkish operation to Syria's Manbij

UPDATE 1-Erdogan signals Turkish operation to Syria's ManbijPresident Tayyip Erdogan signalled on Monday that Turkey aims to drive Kurdish-led fighters from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, after Syrian Kurdish officials struck a deal with the Syrian government to confront Ankara’s offensive. Earlier on Monday, Syrian army troops entered the town of Tel Tamer in northeastern Syria, according to state media. The Syrian Observatory later said that Syrian government forces had also deployed to Ain Issa in northern Syria, to the frontlines of territory where Turkey is mounting its offensive.



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Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pullout

Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pulloutSyria’s Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey’s invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos. The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.



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