Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

Syrian opposition politician George Sabra (C) takes part in a protest in front of Russian Consulate in Istanbul on Feb. 22, 2018 during a protest against the airstrikes and shelling by the Syrian government forces in Ghouta. (AFP)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

ISTANBUL: Over 200 people on Thursday protested outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul against the deadly assault on Syria’s rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
More than 350 civilians have been killed in the five-day-old blitz by the Syrian regime led by President Bashar Assad in the rebel-held enclave near Damascus.
Regime supporter Russia has been accused of taking part in air strikes but the Kremlin denied involvement, on Wednesday calling the accusations “groundless.”
The demonstrators, most of them Syrians, chanted slogans against Damascus as well as Moscow and another regime supporter, Iran, an AFP correspondent said.
Others held placards saying “Russians, you are killing Ghouta’s children, but history records” and “Children are dying of hunger in under-siege Eastern Ghouta.”
Protesters called on the major powers to bring pressure to bear to “end the bloodbath.”
Over three million Syrian refugees live in Turkey including nearly 540,000 in Istanbul after fleeing the conflict which began with anti-government protests in 2011.
Now a multi-front war, Russia entered in September 2015, sending planes to back the Assad regime and turning the military situation around in Damascus’s favor.
Turkey, which has supported Syrian rebels in the conflict, has been working closely with Moscow and Tehran on a process to bring peace to Syria, despite occasional tensions.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Wednesday said Turkey condemned the attacks and “urged the Syrian regime to immediately put an end” to them.
“It is a crime against humanity. That is to say, killing innocent people in East Ghouta is unacceptable whatever the reason is,” Kalin said.


Three kidnapped Turkish engineers released in southern Libya

Updated 10 min 51 sec ago
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Three kidnapped Turkish engineers released in southern Libya

  • Three Turkish engineers kidnapped last year in the southern Libyan town of Ubari have been released
  • The engineers were working for the Turkish company Enka on a 640 MW power plant in Ubari deep in Libya’s south

TRIPOLI: Three Turkish engineers kidnapped last year in the southern Libyan town of Ubari have been released, the UN-backed Libyan government said.
In November, an unknown armed group kidnapped four engineers, three from Turkey and one from South Africa. The engineers were working for the Turkish company Enka on a 640 MW power plant in Ubari deep in Libya’s south.
The fate of the South African is not known.
“The three Turkish engineers have been released,” the Tripoli-based government said in a statement, adding that they would be flown back to Turkey via Tripoli.
They were released on Saturday.
Kidnapping is rife in Libya, especially in the lawless south. Work at the Ubari plant has been going on for years and was in the final stages when the kidnapping happened.
A week after the four engineers were kidnapped the firm evacuated 93 of its staff from Libya.
Work on the power plant has stopped since that time, a blow to efforts to lure back foreign firms.
Most foreign companies have shied away from working in Libya because of security problems following the NATO-backed toppling of Muammer Qaddafi in 2011.