Syria regime airstrikes spill over into Jordan

People ride on a pick-up truck near a site hit by an airstrike in the rebel-held town of Muzayrib, in Deraa province on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 02 July 2017
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Syria regime airstrikes spill over into Jordan

BEIRUT: Syrian activists and Jordan’s military said Saturday that missiles have fallen inside Jordan amid intense fighting between Syrian forces and opposition fighters near the border.
The border crossing between Jordan and Syria is controlled by Syrian opposition fighters. In recent weeks, the Syrian regime has intensified its campaign against the opposition in the area, with reports of daily fighting in Daraa province, and along the Jordanian border.
On Saturday, Jordan’s military said three missiles fell inside its territories during regime airstrikes against the Syrian opposition near the border, causing a small fire. The Facebook page of the local Jordanian municipality said one Jordanian doctor was slightly injured.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the airstrikes, saying they were accompanied by Syrian regime shelling of the area.
Meanwhile, US-backed fighters have launched a renewed attack on Daesh inside their Syrian bastion of Raqqa, seeking to retake a key eastern neighborhood, a monitor said on Saturday.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started a counteroffensive on Friday night to retake Al-Senaa,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The SDF first ousted Daesh from Al-Senaa on June 12, less than a week after they first entered Raqqa.
But Daesh pushed back, unleashing a slew of car bombs and attacks from weaponized drones and taking back control of the neighborhood on Friday. “It was Daesh’s most intense attack yet,” a military source from the US-backed fighters told AFP.
The source said Daesh had surrounded about 50 members of the Elite Forces — US-backed Arab fighters allied with the SDF — before heavy coalition airstrikes broke the siege.
Al-Senaa is key for both the SDF and Daesh because it is adjacent to the city center, where most Daesh fighters defending Raqqa are thought to be holed up.
Around 2,500 terrorists are fighting inside Raqqa, according to British Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, a deputy commander of the US-led coalition backing the SDF.
“At this point, the SDF has retaken about 30 percent of Al-Senaa. There are clashes and coalition airstrikes in that neighborhood and across the city,” Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The Observatory said on Saturday that 193 civilians, including 33 children, had been killed in Raqqa since the US-backed SDF entered the city.
The Britain-based monitor said 219 Daesh fighters had been killed in airstrikes and clashes in the same period, but he had no immediate toll for the SDF’s losses.


Erdogan calls for fight on Islamophobia as on anti-Semitism

Updated 4 min 51 sec ago
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Erdogan calls for fight on Islamophobia as on anti-Semitism

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called for a global fight against rising Islamophobia like “anti-Semitism after the Holocaust” following the deadly attacks on two New Zealand mosques.
The Turkish leader has presented the mosque attacks by a self-avowed white supremacist who killed 50 people as part of a wider assault on Islam and demands the West do more against anti-Muslim sentiment.
“Just as humanity fought against anti-Semitism after the Holocaust disaster, it should fight against rising Islamophobia in the same determined fashion,” Erdogan told a meeting of ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.
“Right now we are facing Islamophobia and Muslim hatred,” he said.
Erdogan said far-right neo-nazi groups should be treated as terrorists in the same way as Daesh terrorists.
On 15 March, alleged shooter Brenton Tarrant killed 50 men, women and children — the victims aged between three and 77 years old — and left dozens injured in an attack that sparked global revulsion.
He livestreamed much of the attack and spread a manifesto on social media claiming it was a strike against Muslim “invaders.”
New Zealand’s government on Friday reassured Muslims living in the country they would be “safe and secure” despite the deadly attacks in Christchurch.
“Ensuring Muslim communities in New Zealand feel safe and secure is a particular focus,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters told the OIC meeting.
Peters said New Zealand authorities would make sure “no stone stays unturned” in the prosecution of the attacker.
“This person will face ... the New Zealand law and spend the rest of his life in isolation in a New Zealand prison,” he said.


Erdogan, campaigning for local elections this month, has angered New Zealand by repeatedly showing the video made by the alleged gunman, an Australian who was arrested.
He has also angered Australia with comments about anti-Muslim Australians being sent back in “coffins” like their grandfathers at Gallipoli, a WWI battle.
On Friday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu praised New Zealand authorities and their “sincere solidarity messages.”
“We are here to show we are one body against Islamophobic actions across the world,” he said.
The Muslim call to prayer rang out across New Zealand on Friday followed by two minutes of silence nationwide to mark a week since the attack.
Thousands of people — including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern — stood silently in a park opposite the mosque where the killing began.