Ramadan brings no respite to Syrians

Updated 17 July 2013

Ramadan brings no respite to Syrians

An army assault on Homs in central Syria entered its 13th day as Ramadan brought no relief to people in areas liberated by fighters, activists said.
The Free Syrian Army described the siege imposed by Bashar Assad’s troops on opposition areas of Homs as “suffocating” and said it was trying to move in ammunition, humanitarian aid and food.
Districts in central Homs, dubbed “the capital of the revolution” by activists, have been under army siege for more than a year.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we do not hear the sound of a rocket or a shell hit the besieged neighborhoods, especially Khaldiyeh and Bab Hud,” said Homs-based activist Yazan.
Speaking to AFP via the Internet, Yazan said that “even before Ramadan, we were down to one meal a day.”
The Free Syrian Army said it had received a shipment of weapons and ammunition but did not reveal where they came from or where they were deployed.
We have “finally received shipments of ammunition, Kalashnikov machine guns and anti-tank missiles,” FSA political and media coordinator Louay Muqdad told AFP by phone.
But he said that “these arms are insufficient for all our battles.”
Despite earlier calls by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Syrian opposition for a Ramadan cease-fire, the conflict only looked set for further escalation.

Israel announces plan to approve 2,500 new settler homes in West Bank

Updated 24 May 2018

Israel announces plan to approve 2,500 new settler homes in West Bank

JERUSALEM: Israel’s defense minister said on Thursday he plans to seek approval next week for the construction of some 2,500 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Avigdor Lieberman, writing on Twitter, said a regional planning board would be asked to designate 1,400 of the housing units for immediate construction.

Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.

Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most countries consider settlements that Israel has built in territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war to be illegal.

Israel disputes that its settlements are illegal and says their future should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

“We will promote building in all of Judea and Samaria, from the north to south, in small communities and in large ones,” Lieberman wrote, using the Biblical names for the West Bank.

There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials, who have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous country.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.