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
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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.


Iran vows to keep military forces in Syria despite Israeli threats

Updated 17 January 2019
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Iran vows to keep military forces in Syria despite Israeli threats

  • Israel says it has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards’ top commander called Israeli PM Netanyahu’s threats “a joke”

LONDON: Iran will keep military forces in Syria, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israeli forces would continue to attack Iranians in Syria and warned them “to get out of there fast, because we will continue with our resolute policy.”

Rebuffing the threats, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards’ top commander, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep all its military and revolutionary advisers and its weapons in Syria.”

Jafari called Netanyahu’s threats “a joke,” and warned that the Israeli government “was playing with (a) lion’s tail.”

“You should be afraid of the day that our precision-guided missiles roar and fall on your head,” he said.

Iran and Russia have both backed Syria’s Bashar Assad in a seven-year war against opposition and militants, and have sent thousands of soldiers to the country.

Israel, increasingly concerned that its enemy Iran may establish a long-term military presence in neighboring Syria, says it has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israeli warplanes carried out an attack on what he called an Iranian arms cache in Syria.