Fresh clashes, shelling in Damascus and Aleppo: watchdog

Updated 16 September 2012
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Fresh clashes, shelling in Damascus and Aleppo: watchdog

BEIRUT: Syrian troops on Sunday fought rebel fighters and shelled their bastions in the country’s two main cities Damascus and Aleppo, a day after UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned the conflict threatens world peace.
The fighting in Damascus erupted at dawn and was focused in the northeast suburb of Harasta, while the army shelled the southern suburb of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad from several directions, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Regime forces had deployed in force in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad on Saturday, sparking clashes with rebels that left eight people dead, some of them cut down by sniper fire, the Britain-based Observatory said.
In Aleppo, a child was killed in shelling during the night of the southwest Fardoss neighborhood, the Britain-based watchdog said, adding that a media activist with a rebel group was killed elsewhere in the northern city.
Regime forces also pummeled the eastern districts of Hanano, Sakhur and Sukari, where two rebels were killed early Sunday in shelling.
Fighting also broke out between the army and rebels in Jamiyat Al-Zahra in the west and in Izaa district, the Observatory said.
Violence has raged in Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital, since July 20 when regime forces launched an offensive in a bid to drive rebels out of the city.
In the central province of Homs, a man was killed in shelling in the town of Tal Kalakh that borders Lebanon, while the town of Krak des Chevaliers also came under shelling, the Observatory said.
Another man was killed by sniper fire in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor while clashes also broke out in the town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border.
The violence followed a bloody day in which 115 people — 71 civilians, 12 rebels and 32 soldiers — were killed nationwide in Syria, according to the Observatory, which gathers its information from a network of activists, medical workers and other sources on the ground.
Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, warned after meeting President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Saturday that the worsening conflict in Syria threatens both the region and the world at large.
“The crisis is dangerous and getting worse, and it is a threat to the Syrian people, the region and the world,” said the newly appointed Brahimi, who took over as envoy earlier this month from former UN chief Kofi Annan.
The Observatory estimates that more than 27,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s rule erupted in March last year. The United Nations puts the toll at 20,000.


UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

A photo taken on November 12, 2018 shows a ball of fire above the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike. (AFP)
Updated 52 min 6 sec ago
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UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

  • Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings
  • Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip but there was no agreement on how to address the crisis, diplomats said.
Kuwait, which represents Arab countries at the council, and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flareup in Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.
Addressing reporters after the 50-minute meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council was “paralyzed” and had “failed to shoulder its responsibility” to take action to end the violence.
“There is one country that is not allowing discussion at the council,” Mansour told reporters, in a reference to the United States, which has taken a pro-Israeli stance under President Donald Trump.
There was no statement from the council on the crisis. Such statements are agreed by consensus by all 15 council members.
Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said the majority of council members were of the view that the top UN body “should do something” and some suggested a visit to the region, but no decision was taken.
Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.
The groups said they would abide by the truce as long as Israel did the same, but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli side.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon earlier said “we will not accept a call for both sides to exercise restraint” and laid the blame for the violence squarely on the Palestinians.
Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings in the worst escalation of violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
The latest round of violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly and prompted Hamas to vow revenge.
Palestinian militants responded with rocket and mortar fire. An anti-tank missile hit a bus that Hamas says was being used by Israeli soldiers. A soldier was severely wounded in the attack.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly raised fears of a fourth.