Remarks by Swedish FM slammed at Cairo meet

Updated 12 March 2015

Remarks by Swedish FM slammed at Cairo meet

Arab foreign ministers have denounced a statement made by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom against Saudi Arabia while addressing her country’s Parliament.
“Arab countries totally reject Wallstrom’s statement as irresponsible and unacceptable,” a statement issued by them said following a meeting in Cairo on Monday.
The ministers expressed their dismay and anguish over Wallstrom’s statement saying it contradicts reality.
“Saudi Arabia’s Constitution is based on the Shariah that protects the right of people and safeguards their blood, wealth and honor.”
She had criticized the Kingdom for handling of a case involving a Saudi blogger convicted of “insulting Islam.”
The Cabinet, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, had on Monday rejected denunciation of Saudi judiciary, saying its decisions are based on Islamic law and implemented impartially to maintain the country’s stability and security.

Militant rocket fire kills 12 civilians in Syria: state media

Updated 21 min 5 sec ago

Militant rocket fire kills 12 civilians in Syria: state media

  • Former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham being blamed for the attack

DAMASCUS: Rocket fire has killed 12 civilians in a regime-held village in northwestern Syria, state news agency SANA has said blaming former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham for the attack.

SANA said 15 people were also wounded late Sunday in the attack on Al-Wadihi village south of Aleppo city and said HTS, which controls parts of Aleppo’s countryside as well as most of neighboring Idlib, was responsible.

It published graphic pictures purporting to show some of the victims in a hospital in the aftermath of the attack, including of bandaged men and children lying on stretchers, thick blankets covering their bodies.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same death toll — saying five children were among those killed — and also blamed militants based in rural Aleppo for the attack.

But the Britain-based monitor did not specify whether HTS or other allied militant groups were responsible.

The attack came as Syrian government forces have been locked in clashes with HTS fighters in nearby Hama province.

More than 35 combatants, mostly regime forces, were killed on Saturday in battles in Hama’s countryside, according to the Observatory.

Parts of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib are supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.

But it was never fully implemented as militants refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarized zone.

In January, HTS extended its administrative control over the region, which includes most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The Syrian government and Russia have upped their bombardment of the region since late April, killing nearly 400 civilians, according to the Observatory.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.