Supplies dwindling in Syria’s Afrin city hospital after attacks: Director

Ankara launched an air and ground offensive nearly two weeks ago against the Afrin region. (AFP)
Updated 31 January 2018
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Supplies dwindling in Syria’s Afrin city hospital after attacks: Director

BEIRUT: Supplies are dwindling in the main hospital of Syria’s Afrin city, which has taken in 48 people killed and 86 wounded in recent Turkish attacks, its director said on Wednesday.
Ankara launched an air and ground offensive nearly two weeks ago against the Afrin region, opening a new front in Syria’s multi-sided war to target Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
“We call on the United Nations to stop the Turkish aggression,” Khalil Sabri, head of the Afrin city hospital, said at a televised press conference. “The medical situation is getting worse in Afrin, and the medical supplies we have are about to run out,” he said.
Since the onset of Syria’s conflict in 2011, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin which borders Turkey.
Syrian rebel factions, which are fighting alongside Turkey in its offensive, control territory around Afrin. The Syrian army also holds a patch of land bordering the canton.
Ankara views the YPG as terrorists and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.
The YPG spearheads an alliance of militias, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that has seized vast territory from Daesh militants with help from the US-led coalition.
The SDF said Turkish forces and their rebel allies shelled a neighborhood in Afrin city on Wednesday, wounding 12 civilians.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency said two rockets fired from the Afrin region hit the Turkish border town of Reyhanli and killed one person.


Jordan weighs up Russian offer for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

Destroyed buildings following an explosion on Aug. 12 at an arms depot in a residential area in Syria’s Idlib province city of Sarmada. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Jordan weighs up Russian offer for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

  • Russia has offered to repatriate the Syrians by the end of 2018 but Jordan does not want to force displaced Syrians to return to their homeland
  • Jordan would benefit from reopening its border with Syria, but also carried risks of terrorists enter the country with fake IDs

AMMAN: Russia will help Jordan repatriate more than 150,000 Syrian refugees who fled fighting with the Assad regime in the country’s south, a Jordanian official said.

The official said Russia will repatriate the Syrians by the end of 2018 following the establishment of a center near the border with Syria to process their paperwork.

Jordan’s Minister for Media Affairs Jumana Ghneimat said the Russian proposal has been under discussion.

The Jordanian government refused to force displaced Syrians to return to their homeland, she said.

“It is up to the refugee to decide whether he wants to return, although the presence of large numbers of Syrians has become a burden for Jordan.”

The refugees are mainly from the war-ravaged provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida, the scene of fierce clashes between rebels and Assad government forces. 

Ghneimat said the establishment of a processing center nine kilometers from the border with Syria was part of Russia’s larger proposal for the return of the refugees.

Asked about the reopening of the Nassib border crossing, the minister said it was up to Syria to decide if the crossing would be operational.

The Assad regime had not asked Jordan to reopen the border, she said.

The Jordanian border crossing of Jaber is ready to operate and roads leading to the site are secure, Ghneimat said.

A technical team, including several ministry representatives, visited the crossing last week on a tour of inspection.

Jordan would benefit from reopening the border, which is an important avenue for trade with Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and several European countries, a transport ministry official said.

But reopening the border carried risks, including a fear that terrorists would enter the country with fake IDs, the official said.

The closure of the Jordan-Syrian border had severely affected Jordan’s transport sector, the head of the Syndicate of Jordanian Truck Owners said.

But he said that Jordanian trucks are ready to carry goods to Syria as soon as the border crossing is reopened. Before the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011, about 7,000 trucks drove through the crossing each day.