50 dead in artillery fire, Russian strikes in Deir Ezzor

Smoke billows from the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2017
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50 dead in artillery fire, Russian strikes in Deir Ezzor

BEIRUT: Dozens of civilians have died in artillery fire and Russian bombardment of two displacement camps and surrounding territory in eastern Syria, a monitor said on Sunday in a new toll.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ongoing heavy bombardment in the Deir Ezzor province had killed 50 civilians, including 20 children, since late Friday night.
The new toll was nearly double the Britain-based monitor’s count on Saturday of 26 dead.
The bombardment has targeted territory along the Euphrates River, as well as villages and displacement camps full of people fleeing fighting in the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal.
Russian-backed Syrian regime forces and allied militia seized Albu Kamal from Daesh on Thursday but the terrorists retook it late on Saturday.
On Sunday, Russian airstrikes on two river crossings along the Euphrates killed 11 civilians, according to Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.
“Five civilians, including two children, were killed in the strikes on Al-Soussa crossing about five kilometers east of Albu Kamal,” said Abdel Rahman.
“Six civilians were killed in raids on another river crossing 20 km north of the town,” he added.
The toll from earlier artillery fire and air strikes on two displacement camps and surrounding villages rose to 39 after 13 civilians succumbed to their wounds, the Observatory said on Sunday.
Albu Kamal is the last significant Syrian town Daesh controls. Losing it would cap the group’s reversion to an underground guerrilla organization with no urban base.


Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ convicted of hoarding

Updated 33 sec ago
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Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ convicted of hoarding

  • State TV reported that Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged early Wednesday
  • Iran detained Mazloumin in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins
TEHRAN: Iran has executed the so-called “Sultan of Coins” and his accomplice for hoarding gold coins and other hard currency, signaling zero tolerance as it tries to shore up its currency in the face of an economic crisis.
State TV reported that Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged early Wednesday. They were convicted of manipulating coin and hard currency markets through illegal and unauthorized deals as well as smuggling. An unspecified number of other accomplices went to prison.
Iran detained Mazloumin, 58, in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins.
Iranians have stocked up on gold coins and other safe-haven investments as the local currency has plummeted in recent months amid renewed US sanctions following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.