Turkey urges Russia, Iran to 'stop' Syria govt in Eastern Ghouta

A Syrian man checks the site of Syrian government bombardments in Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Feb. 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Turkey urges Russia, Iran to 'stop' Syria govt in Eastern Ghouta

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Friday called on Russia and Iran to "stop" the Syrian bombardment of the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta after more than 400 civilians were killed there since Sunday.
"Russia and Iran must stop the regime," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
As part of a peace process aimed at stopping the seven-year war in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia sought to create de-escalation zones across the country, including one for Eastern Ghouta and the rebel-held Idlib province.
Cavusoglu said the regime's offensive in the enclave as well as in Idlib was "contrary" to the agreements negotiated by the three countries.
At least 426 people including 98 children have been killed since the Syrian regime and its Russian ally intensified their bombardment of the besieged area on Feb. 18, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.
More than 2,000 people have also been wounded in the enclave east of Damascus.
"Since the beginning of the conflict, tens of thousands of people have died in Eastern Ghouta alone, and that is enough, these people must not die," Cavusoglu said.
Turkey has been working closely with strong regime supporters Moscow and Tehran despite repeatedly calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
"The killing of women and children... this is a typical method of the regime," Cavusoglu said, as he called for a ceasefire.
Ignoring international calls to stop the bloodshed, the regime again bombed the besieged region on Friday, killing at least nine people, the Observatory said.
After unsuccessful attempts, the UN Security Council is scheduled to vote at 1600 GMT on a draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid and medical evacuations.
Diplomats said it was not known whether Russia would use its veto to block the draft resolution.


Libya’s state oil firm confirms LNA control of oil ports

Updated 14 min ago
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Libya’s state oil firm confirms LNA control of oil ports

VIENNA: The head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed on Friday that Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) had regained control of the key oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, and said he hoped operations would resume in the “next couple of days.”

NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said Libya had been losing 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production after clashes between the LNA and rival factions closed the two terminals.

The LNA took the ports back on Thursday in heavy fighting, a week after an attack by anti-Haftar armed groups had forced them to withdraw.

“We lost 450,000 bpd in last eight to nine days and hopefully in next couple of days we can resume operations,” Sanalla told reporters ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna.

A fire that broke out at a third storage tank in Ras Lanuf on Thursday had been put out, he said.

“We had a minor fire yesterday and we extinguished it and the situation there is good. We will make the assessments and then resume operations as soon as possible.”

Two other storage tanks at Ras Lanuf had caught on fire earlier in the fighting, causing extensive damage.

Libya’s national oil production has dropped to between 600,000 and 700,000 bpd due to the closure of the ports.