UN ‘failed to prevent’ Syria crimes: opposition

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Photo showing a wounded Syrian child rests after receiving treatment at a makeshift clinic during Syrian government air strikes on Zamalka, in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
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Syrians walk along a destroyed street in the rebel-held town of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta close to Damascus, Mar 16, 2018. (AFP)
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A wounded Syrian rests after receiving treatment at a makeshift clinic during Syrian government air strikes on Zamalka, in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, Mar 17, 2018. (AFP)
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Syrian civilians evacuate from the town of Jisreen in the southern Eastern Ghouta, close to the capital Damascus, on their way to areas under government control on Mar 17, 2018. (AFP)
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Photo showing injured civilians in make shift field clinic in Zamalka in Damascus's Easyern Ghouta, Mar 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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UN ‘failed to prevent’ Syria crimes: opposition

RIYADH: The head of Syria’s main opposition group on Saturday accused the United Nations of failing to prevent violence raging in the war-wracked country, including the assault on the Eastern Ghouta rebel enclave.
“We hold the United Nations, the Security Council and the international community ... directly responsible for their silence around these crimes and for failing to take action to prevent these crimes,” Nasr Al-Hariri, president of the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC), told reporters in Riyadh.
“But let us not forget that the party that holds direct responsibility for the crimes are the Syrian regime and the countries that continue to stand by it.”
Russian-backed Syrian regime forces have waged a blistering assault on Eastern Ghouta that has retaken 70 percent of the enclave near Damascus since February 18.
The offensive has killed around 1,400 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor which relies on a network of sources on the ground.
The assault has sparked an exodus with more than 40,000 civilians pouring into surrounding government-held areas over the past 48 hours.
More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the Syria war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government


Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

Head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. (AP)
Updated 1 min 6 sec ago
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Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

  • Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result
  • A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation

GAZA: The head of Gaza’s rulers Hamas has announced his backing for a new Egyptian-led push for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
The office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he had spoken with Egypt’s intelligence head Abbas Kamel to inform him of his movement’s backing for a fresh Egyptian-brokered push.
A statement from the movement said the two men discussed the “latest developments in the Palestinian issue and especially the reconciliation file and humanitarian projects for the people of the Gaza Strip.”
Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh Al-Arouri led a delegation to Cairo last week. So far Fatah has not officially responded to this fresh push for reconciliation.
A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation.
In March, the head of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government survived a roadside bomb hitting his convoy in a rare visit to Gaza, with his allies later accusing Hamas of planning the attack. It was hoped that reconciliation could alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza, home to some two million people.
The US has signaled its support for a fresh reconciliation push, but diplomats have little optimism.
Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result, leading to increased strife.
A year later, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza. Since then two separate Palestinian civil administrations emerged.