11 killed in government raids on northwest Syria: monitor

Syrian civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, carry a body retrieved from the rubble following reported government airstrike on the Syrian town of Ariha, in the northwestern province of Idlib, on Monday. (AFP / Omar Haj Kadour)
Updated 27 February 2017
0

11 killed in government raids on northwest Syria: monitor

BEIRUT, Lebanon: Government air strikes on northwest Syria killed at least 11 people overnight, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.
“Government warplanes carried out air strikes after midnight on several areas in the town of Ariha” in Idlib province, said the monitoring group’s head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“The preliminary toll is 11 killed, including at least seven civilians,” three of them children, he said.
Others were still missing and rescue teams were searching for anyone trapped under the rubble, Abdel Rahman added.
Leith Fares, a rescue worker in Ariha, told AFP his team had pulled at least 20 wounded people out of the rubble.
“We’ve been working since 3:00 am (0100 GMT) to rescue victims still under the rubble of two four-story buildings that totally collapsed on the residents inside,” he said.
“We’re still looking for two families, estimated at eight to 10 members each, that are still trapped,” Fares said.
The deaths come two days after 10 civilians were killed in government air strikes on Ariha, held since spring 2015 by an anti-regime coalition dominated by jihadists.
Idlib province has been battered by heavy air strikes in recent weeks, with intensifying bombing raids by regime warplanes in particular, according to the Observatory.
It has also been rocked by infighting between rebel and jihadist factions, including Al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, Fateh Al-Sham Front.


Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel

Updated 3 min 59 sec ago
0

Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel

PARIS: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied US claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.
Abbas’ denial came after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday. Abbas asked Macron to pass the message onto US President Donald Trump.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.
Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations as the Israelis claim,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks.”
Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American (funding) gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.