Turkey says Syrian regime’s actions equal war crimes

Updated 30 January 2013
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Turkey says Syrian regime’s actions equal war crimes

DAVOS, Switzerland: Turkey’s foreign minister is calling on the international community to declare the Syrian regime’s bombardment of its own citizens a war crime and to insist on humanitarian access to areas of central Syria.
Syria has seen a new rise in violence in recent weeks, including a government rocket attack Wednesday, in a conflict that the UN says has killed more than 60,000 people.
Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday that “Aleppo and many other cities are being bombarded by airplanes indiscriminately.” His country has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he said, “this is a criminal act” even at a time of war.
In the latest attack reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, five members of one family — a couple and three children — were killed when a missile hit their village in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo before dawn on Wednesday.
The Britain-based watchdog identified the children as aged seven, nine and 11 and said they were killed in a strike on the village of Abu Taltal near the rebel-held town of Al-Bab.
A video released by activists showed the bodies of the three children, a boy and two small girls, lying on blankets on a hospital bed.
Their brightly colored clothes are stained with blood and their faces are turned away from the camera.
The authenticity of the footage could not be immediately verified.
The Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition activists on the ground, identified the victims as members of the Hazrouni family from Abu Taltal village.
The Observatory has previously reported more than 3,500 child deaths in Syria’s 22-month conflict.
In Syria’s second city Aleppo, several mortar rounds on Wednesday hit the districts of Aqwil in the center and Marjeh in the south, the Observatory said.
The watchdog also reported fierce fighting overnight on the outskirts of Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus.
On the edge of the capital, loyalist troops bombed the town of Douma to the northeast as clashes erupted around a military vehicle depot between the nearby towns of Irbin and Harasta.
In Ras Al-Ain in the Kurdish northeast, battles raged between Kurdish militia and Islamist rebels, the Observatory said, adding that more than 58 people have been killed in a week of fierce fighting there.
The main opposition Syrian National Coalition, which has been recognized by dozens of states and organizations as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, said it has contacted rebel leaders in the area, urging them to stop the fighting.
The Observatory relies on a nationwide network of activists and medics in civilian and military hospitals to compile its tolls. It said 123 people were killed on Tuesday: 62 civilians, 27 troops, 32 rebels and two Kurdish fighters.
Among the dead were 15 children.


Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli

Updated 59 sec ago
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Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli

  • Most embassies left Tripoli in 2014 when heavy fighting broke out between rival factions.
  • Only a few embassies came back when a UN-backed administration took office in 2016.

Tripoli: Tunisia has reopened its consulate in the Libyan capital, the Libya foreign ministry said on Saturday, the latest mission to return to Tripoli.
Most embassies left Tripoli in 2014 when heavy fighting broke out between rival factions and few came back when a UN-backed administration took office in 2016.
The Tunisian consulate resumed work after talks between the two countries, the Libyan foreign ministry said. The Tunisian foreign ministry declined to comment, but a diplomatic source confirmed the move.
Tunisian had closed its mission 2015 after ten staff were kidnapped.
In recent weeks some Western embassies have sent diplomats for longer stays to Tripoli as security has improved, although few stay full time on the ground.
The Italian and Turkish embassies as well as the UN mission are among the few open.
Tripoli is formally run by a Government of National Accord backed by the UN but in reality controlled by a patchwork of armed groups.
Big street clashes between rival groups have ended, but several rockets which hit Tripoli airport this week were a reminder that security remains shaky.
The UN has been trying to meditate to produce a national government and end the rift between the administration in Tripoli and a rival one in the east, part of a conflict gripping the oil producer since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.