'Friends of Syria' agree to give urgent rebel aid

Updated 24 June 2013
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'Friends of Syria' agree to give urgent rebel aid

DOHA: Western and Arab countries opposed to President Bashar Assad agreed at talks in Qatar on Saturday to give urgent military support to Syrian rebels fighting for his overthrow, and to channel it through a Western-backed rebel military command.
Ministers from the 11 main countries which form the Friends of Syria group agreed “to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies.”
They also condemned “the intervention of Hezbollah militias and fighters from Iran and Iraq,” demanding that they withdraw immediately.
Guerrillas from Lebanon’s Shiite pro-Iranian Hezbollah organization spearheaded the recapture of the strategic border town of Qusair from mainly Sunni Muslim rebels two weeks ago.
Hezbollah and Shiite Iraqi gunmen have also been fighting around the Shiite shrine of Sayyid Zainab south of Damascus, while Iranian military commanders are believed to be advising Assad’s officers on their counter-offensives against the rebels.
The ministers said the growing sectarian nature of the conflict and the foreign interventions “threaten the unity of Syria (and) broaden the conflict” across the region. They also expressed strong concern at the increasing presence of “terrorist elements” and growing radicalization in Syria.


Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

  • The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site
  • “Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.
The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.
“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.
The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.
Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.
According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.
Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.
The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.