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.


Israel says Hezbollah set up Lebanon post under NGO guise

Updated 9 min 23 sec ago
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Israel says Hezbollah set up Lebanon post under NGO guise

  • Israel has relayed its concerns to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and asked them to visit the positions

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army Monday accused the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah of setting up a new observation point in south Lebanon near the border under the guise of an environmental NGO.
A senior military officer charged that the position, near the Shiite village of Aadaysit and the Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am, was a violation of UN Resolution 1701 prohibiting Hezbollah military activity in the area.
The observation post joins five other exposed last year by Israel, the officer said, all allegedly under the cover of “Green Without Borders.”
“This NGO isn’t concerned with planting trees, it’s a front” for Hezbollah to monitor the Israeli army and civilians nearby, the officer told reporters in a briefing.
Israel has relayed its concerns to UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and asked them to visit the positions, but according to the officer, “they haven’t done so.”
The position contains “military equipment and infrastructure, binoculars, high end cameras,” the officer said. “This is a breach of 1701.”
A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and the Shite movement killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Resolution 1701 was adopted to end the war, calling for full respect of the “Blue Line,” the UN-demarcated frontier between Lebanon and the Jewish state.
Israel has vowed to prevent what it says are efforts by its archfoe Iran to transfer advanced arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.