Syrian pulled from rubble mourns ‘martyred’ son

Abu Abdallah is being pulled out from under the rubble following an airstrike in Saqba, Eastern Ghouta, Syria. (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Syrian pulled from rubble mourns ‘martyred’ son

EASTERN GHOUTA, Syria: His brow dripping with blood and his skin caked with brick dust, Abu Abdallah was pulled out from under the rubble of his house near Damascus after it was blown up in an air raid.
He was lucky to survive the bomb that fell while he was having breakfast, dropped by one of the countless warplanes that emergency workers say have pounded the opposition-held Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta in recent days.
His three-year-old son was not so fortunate.
“We were sitting around, eating,” said Abu Abdallah — a sobriquet meaning ‘Abdallah’s father’ — as he recalled Tuesday’s strike. “My son wanted to use the toilet, so his mother took him. Then the missile came down.”
“In less than a minute, the entire house fell on top of us.”
Relatives in the living room were also trapped in the debris. Everyone was screaming.
“I was under the rubble... and my head was bent down, I couldn’t raise it,” said Abu Abdallah, who refused to give his full name. “I said that’s it, this will be the end of me.”
Syrian troops and their allies have blockaded Eastern Ghouta, a densely populated pocket of satellite towns and farms, since 2013. It is the only remaining major opposition enclave near the Syrian capital.
Rescue workers arrived within minutes and then pulled his wife out, he recalled. “She told them there is a boy... and they got him out,” he added. “Everybody in the house got out safely except the boy. He was martyred.
“Honestly, I keep remembering the boy when they pulled him out... and the pressure with everything on top of me.”
Abu Abdallah, 26, comes from the eastern Ghouta village of Marj Al-Sultan, which the Syrian army recaptured from insurgents in late 2015. He had moved deeper into the enclave to the town of Saqba with his family to try to escape the bombing.
“Now it’s still not clear what we will do,” he said. His family is staying with relatives while he recovers from a head injury and a back strain.
Home to around 400,000 civilians, the Eastern Ghouta enclave faces a humanitarian catastrophe, the UN human rights chief said this week.
Syrian regime forces and their allies have killed at least 85 civilians there since the end of December, including 21 women and 30 children, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein also said.
“The (world) should have mercy on these children and women because they have nothing to do with the fighting,” Abu Abdallah said. “If they want to fight, let them go fight on the frontlines. But why are they bombing us?”


Arab group at UN condemn Israel’s decision to destroy Palestinian village

Updated 45 sec ago
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Arab group at UN condemn Israel’s decision to destroy Palestinian village

  • The Arab group at the UN thanked the 8 EU nations that opposed Israel’s planned demolition
  • UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace also condemned the continued demolition and confiscation of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israel

DUBAI: The Permanent Representative of Oman to the United Nations, Khalifa Al-Harthy, has rejected and condemned Israel’s decision to demolish the Palestinian village in East Jerusalem.

“I would like to say that we in the Arab Group reject and condemn the Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Khan Al-Ahmar,” Al-Harthy said.

Al-Harthy, who also holds the rotating presidency of the Arab group, also thanked the eight European Union nations that opposed Israel’s planned demolition of the village and urged its government to reconsider the decision.

“We would like to express our gratitude for the statement read out by the Dutch ambassador on behalf of the European Community and the support from the international community in these difficult days,” he added.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour also expressed the Palestinian government and Palestinians’ appreciation to the European community.

“Their principled stance on their position against the Israeli government’s decision to demolish or attempt to demolish the homes of the Bedouin community in Khan Al-Ahmar is very good and commendable,” Ambassador Mansour, who is Palestine’s envoy to the UN, said.

“We hope that the international community will stand with them in their position and that of the Secretary-General to stop Israel, the occupying power, from demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar,” he added.  

Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi has reiterated that Israel must comply with Security Council Resolution 2334 and stressed that the Kuwaiti delegation was doing its utmost to ensure that the Security Council, of which Al-Otaibi is a member, would continue to pressure Israel to comply with all its resolutions.

Meanwhile, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov condemned the continued demolition and confiscation of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli occupation authorities throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Mladenov told the UN Security Council on Thursday that 117 buildings have been destroyed and confiscated in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing 145 Palestinians including 82 children, and affected the livelihoods of 950 people. Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected several petitions from the residents to prevent demolition.

Mladenov stressed that all settlement activities violate international laws and constitute a major obstacle to peace.

The international official also expressed concern over the continued deterioration of the humanitarian, security and political situation in Gaza.

The UN has exhausted its funding for emergency fuel, threatening the closure of vital health, water and sanitation facilities, while the levels of essential medicines have been critically reduced.