Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Syrians inspect damage at a psychiatric hospital after it was hit by mortar fire leaving at least one patient killed and over a dozen wounded, in the rebel-held town of Azaz in northern Syria on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

AZAZ, Syria: Mortar fire on a town in northern Syria held by Turkish-backed fighters wounded at least 14 people in a psychiatric hospital, a monitor said on Friday.
The Thursday evening fire on the town of Azaz just across the border from Turkey came after Ankara bombarded the adjacent Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin for five straight days ahead of a threatened invasion.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, said the mortar rounds were fired by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
But SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali denied that the alliance fired the rounds that hit the hospital, when asked by AFP.
Turkey’s military said the civilian hospital was hit by artillery fired by Syrian Kurdish militia on Friday, wounding several people who were brought to Turkey for treatment.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said most of the wounded were among the more than 100 patients being treated at the hospital, many for post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from Syria’s near seven-year civil war.
Paramedics transferred the wounded patients to a nearby clinic, an AFP correspondent reported. One had lost several fingers. The mortar fire destroyed a second story wall of the hospital, showering the beds of the ward with debris.
Russia has some 300 military observers deployed in Afrin.


Iran says navy mounts new defense system on warship

Updated 18 August 2018
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Iran says navy mounts new defense system on warship

  • The US military’s Central Command confirms it has seen increased Iranian naval activity
  • Iran has developed a large domestic weapons industry to achieve self-sufficiency

DUBAI: Iran’s navy has mounted a locally built advanced defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time, the Iranian navy chief was quoted as saying on Saturday, as tensions mount with the US military in the Gulf.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed earlier this month it held war games in the Gulf, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies.
The US military’s Central Command confirmed it had seen increased Iranian naval activity, extending to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments the Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block.
Iran has been furious over US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi “reiterated that coastal and sea testing of the short range defense Kamand system were concluded successfully, and said this system was mounted ... on a warship and will be mounted on a second ship soon,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported,
The Kamand has been dubbed the “Iranian Phalanx” after an automated machine gun produced by US firm Raytheon whose heavy bullets shred incoming missiles.
Unable to import many weapons because of international sanctions and arms embargoes, Iran has developed a large domestic weapons industry to achieve self-sufficiency in producing military equipment, and often reports on its development of arms which it says are comparable with advanced Western systems.