Death of children fleeing Syria is a ‘human tragedy’, says MENA UNICEF director

A Syrian refugee removes snow from tents at a makeshift settlement in Bar Elias, in the Bekaa valley. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 January 2018
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Death of children fleeing Syria is a ‘human tragedy’, says MENA UNICEF director

BEIRUT: The death of children fleeing Syria due to extreme cold weather at the Syrian-Lebanese border is a “humanitarian tragedy for the world to stop,” Khairat Kabalari, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa has said.
“It is tragic that more than a dozen Syrians, including two children, have died in eastern Lebanon near the border crossing with Syria — the Syrians are risking their lives and the lives of their children in an attempt to escape,” Kabalari added.
He praised the efforts of the Lebanese authorities in searching for those who are still trapped in the mountains in freezing temperatures.
He said his organization is working in cooperation with a group of partners to help families cope with the harsh weather by distributing blankets and winter clothes and fueling schools.
The number of Syrians who have died trying to flee their war-torn country into neighboring Lebanon during a snowstorm had risen to at least 13, the United Nations said on Saturday.
A group of Syrians, including children, had tried to enter neighboring Lebanon late on Thursday through a smuggling route but were caught in a fierce storm.
The Lebanese army and civil defense said on Friday they had retrieved the bodies of 10 Syrians, including two children and six women.


US-led coalition member killed in Iraq aircraft crash

US soldiers take position on top of Police Building during a training session by U.S. army at al-Karama police headquarter in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad June 16, 2009. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 min 5 sec ago
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US-led coalition member killed in Iraq aircraft crash

  • The political uncertainty over the make-up of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services
  • The US leads an international coalition that has targeted Daesh and other terrorists in Iraq and neighboring Syria since 2014

BAGHDAD: The US-led anti-Daesh coalition said on Monday one of its members was killed in an apparently accidental aircraft crash in Iraq which left several others wounded.
A statement said “there are no indications the crash was caused by hostile fire,” adding that an investigation is underway.
“One coalition service member was killed and several injured when their aircraft crashed” in Iraq at around 2200 GMT on Sunday, the statement said.
It did not give the location of the crash or identify any of the casualties but said that three coalition members were “evacuated for further treatment,” suggesting they were in serious condition.
The crash happened as the aircraft “was conducting a partnered counterterrorism mission,” the statement said.
“The deceased service member’s name and further details pertaining to the incident will be released by the pertinent national authorities,” it added.
The US leads an international coalition that has targeted Daesh and other terrorists in Iraq and neighboring Syria since 2014.
The coalition includes Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey along with Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, the Netherlands and the UAE.
In March, seven US troops were killed when their helicopter crashed during a transport mission in western Iraq, near the border with Syria.
Later that month two coalition members — an American and a Briton — were killed by an improvized explosive device in the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
In another development, Iraq’s Supreme Court has ratified the results of the May 12 parliamentary election, setting in motion a 90-day constitutional deadline for the winning parties to form a government.
Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s government, now serving in a caretaker capacity, welcomed the court’s announcement.
Parliament in June ordered a nationwide manual recount of the results, which were tallied electronically, after a government report said there were widespread violations and blamed the electoral commission.
Yet the recount showed little had changed from the initial results as Moqtada Al-Sadr retained his lead, positioning him to play a central role in forming the country’s next government.
“The Federal Supreme Court issued on the afternoon of Aug. 19, 2018, its decision to ratify the names received,” its spokesman Iyas Al-Samouk said in a statement.
The ratification makes the results formal and lawmakers now have to gather and elect a speaker, then president and finally a prime minister and cabinet within 90 days.
The political uncertainty over the make-up of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with Daesh.