Libya committee votes in favor of constitutional draft

Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's east strongman Khalifa Haftar, flash the victory gesture next to a vehicle-mounted heavy gun in the eastern city of Benghazi on July 27, 2017. Libya’s internationally recognized parliament is based in Benghazi and allied with Haftar's forces. (AFP / Abdullah Doma)
Updated 30 July 2017
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Libya committee votes in favor of constitutional draft

BENGHAZI, Libya: A committee tasked with writing a constitution for Libya voted in favor of a draft, paving the way for parliament to approve a referendum and causing uproar among opponents.
Critics, including secessionists and people in favor of the country’s 1951 constitution, called for a redo of Saturday’s vote.
Protesters broke into the committee’s building in the eastern town of Bayda, according to two committee members, who said they called on the committee to reconvene Sunday. It was not immediately clear whether the committee met again.
Committee members opposing the decision issued a signed statement saying that voters failed to consider amendments proposed by opponents to articles in the draft.
Amraja Noah, a committee member from the eastern city of Tobruk, said protesters stormed the building to stop the session, forcing the members to rush the vote.
He said 44 members attended the session and 42 voted in favor of passing the draft.
An opponent of the decision, Abdelkader Kadura, a committee member from Benghazi, expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of the voting.
“This serves a small minority and a certain geographical area,” he said, referring to members who voted in favor.
The 60-member committee has been assigned to work on a draft constitution since 2014.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 civil war that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The oil-rich nation is now split between rival governments and militias.
Libya’s internationally-recognized parliament is based in the east and allied with the powerful military commander Khalifa Haftar.


Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

Updated 17 November 2018
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Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

  • Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border
  • Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters

BEIRUT: Air strikes by the US-led coalition Saturday killed 43 people, mostly civilians, in a Daesh holdout in eastern Syria, a Britain-based monitor said.
Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters, it said.
The US-led coalition has been backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to expel the extremists from the pocket around Abu Husn.
"It's the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket" in September, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition has repeatedly said it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
"The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP this week.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
The coalition has since 2014 acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.