Over 1,000 need urgent medical evacuation from Syria’s Ghouta: UN

Children are seen in a shelter in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 11, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 March 2018
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Over 1,000 need urgent medical evacuation from Syria’s Ghouta: UN

BEIRUT: More than 1,000 people, mostly women and children, are in urgent need of medical evacuations from the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the United Nations said on Monday.
Rebel-held parts of Ghouta are under a crippling government siege that has made food and medicine difficult to access for its estimated 400,000 residents.
“There are more than 1,000 people who require medical evacuations. The majority of them are women and children,” said Linda Tom, from the UN’s humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) in Damascus.
According to numbers provided on Monday by OCHA, they include more than 77 “priority cases.”
Since February 18, Syrian troops have been waging a fierce offensive on rebels in Eastern Ghouta, the last opposition bastion on the outskirts of Damascus.
OCHA said 28 health facilities in Eastern Ghouta had been hit in the assault, and nine health workers killed.
Rebels have also fired rockets onto the capital.
According to OCHA, five hospitals and 26 schools in Damascus have been hit.
The UN Security Council on February 24 demanded a month-long cease-fire in Eastern Ghouta that would allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations.
Since the cease-fire resolution was passed, two convoys of humanitarian assistance have entered the besieged area, but no medical evacuations have taken place.
Meanwhile, UNICEF has said that children are at more risk than ever in Syria's devastating conflict, the UN said Monday as the war approached its eighth year.
The UN children's agency UNICEF reported a 50 percent increase in the number of children killed in the conflict last year compared to the previous year.
"In 2017, extreme and indiscriminate violence killed the highest ever number of children -- 50 percent more than 2016," it said, adding that 2018 was off to an even worse start.
More than 200 children have been killed in bombardment of the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta by Syrian regime and allied forces since February, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

  • The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site
  • “Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.
The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.
“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.
The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.
Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.
According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.
Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.
The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.