Daesh attacks Syrian state-held areas, 31 killed

Updated 18 May 2017
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Daesh attacks Syrian state-held areas, 31 killed

BEIRUT: The Daesh group attacked several government-held villages in central Syria on Thursday, capturing at least one of them in violence that left dozens of people dead, including three members of the same family.
The attack in the central Hama province targeted villages, raising fears that the extremists might massacre them, as they have in other minority communities in Syria and Iraq.
The villages are located near the highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, but state media said traffic was not affected by the clashes.
Government forces are on the offensive against the extremists in other parts of Syria, mostly in the northern province of Aleppo and the central Homs region. US-backed and Kurdish-led forces are meanwhile marching toward the extremists’ de-facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said troops and pro-government gunmen repelled the Daesh attack on villages in Hama province, adding that the militants also tried to attack the Damascus-Aleppo highway but were repelled there as well.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Daesh captured several army positions as well as the village of Aqareb Al-Safi, killing 19 troops and 12 civilians. It said troops launched a counteroffensive under the cover of airstrikes.
The Observatory said the 31 killed include a man and his two sons slain in the village of Mabouja, adding that others are believed to have been killed as well.
The Daesh-linked Aamaq news agency said the group captured Aqareb Al-Safi and Mabouja. It identified residents as members of President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect. Daesh has massacred thousands of Shiites and other opponents in Syria and Iraq, often boasting about the killings and circulating photos and videos of them online.
“Dozens of people are missing but it is not clear if they were kidnapped by Daesh,” said the Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman. He said Daesh deployed snipers on roofs of some buildings in Aqareb Al-Safi.
State TV said two people were wounded in IS shelling on the nearby town of Salamiyeh.


Prince William visits Jerash, meets students during Jordan visit

Updated 25 June 2018
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Prince William visits Jerash, meets students during Jordan visit

  • Britain’s Prince William visited the Roman ruins of Jerash in northern Jordan, accompanied by his host Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah
  • The two princes met children from Jordan and neighboring war-torn Syria during their visit to the site

AMMAN: Britain’s Prince William ended a two-day tour of Jordan on Monday that included a visit to the archaeological Roman city of Jerash. The visit also included meetings with young Jordanian and Syrian students.
Ziad Guneimat, head of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Archaeology in Jerash, told Arab News that the visit was very successful. “The prince toured the entire facility and expressed amazement at the location and its history,” he said.
Guneimat said that the British prince was accompanied by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who said that this was his first official visit to the important archaeological site since becoming crown prince and regent.
Prince William posed for a photo in the same location where his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was photographed as a two-year-old when her father was director of the British Airways office in Amman. 


The Duke of Cambridge told a crowd of Jordanian and internationals at a reception that his wife, who had recently given birth, was sorry she could not make the trip to Jordan.
Osama Salameh, a spokesman for the Royal Court in Amman, told Arab News that Prince William and the Jordanian crown prince spoke with Jordanian and Syrian students on the sidelines of the visit to the archaeological site. 
A spokesperson for UNICEF said that Prince William met with younger Syrian refugees benefiting from UNICEF’s Makani program, which offers psychological support for Syrian refugee parents and children.

The British prince was unable to watch his country’s World Cup game live on Sunday, so the UK embassy recorded the game and he was seen watching the recorded version of Britain’s 6-1 victory over Panama along with Jordan’s crown prince.
At an event sponsored by the UK Embassy in Amman on Sunday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday, Prince William read out a message in which the queen looked back warmly on her 1984 visit to Jordan and spoke of the country as “a staunch and long-held friend.” 
“The way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, not to mention your longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees, is remarkable,” the prince told Jordanians. The event was attended by Jordanians, members of the diplomatic corps as well as the newly sworn-in Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and members of his Cabinet. 
Prince William arrived in Israel on Monday for the first-ever official visit of a member of the British royal family to the tumultuous region London once ruled.
Arriving from neighboring Jordan, the Duke of Cambridge landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport and then departed to Jerusalem, where he will stay at the elegant King David Hotel, site of the former administrative headquarters of the British mandate.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prince William will be staying at the Hotel, which was the main administrative building of officials during the British Mandate from 1920-1948. The hotel was also the site of a terrorist attack by a Zionist underground organization in July 1946, which killed 91 people.