Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

Smoke billows in a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus, during regime strikes targeting Daesh in the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, and neighboring districts, on April 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2018
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Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

BEIRUT: A family of three was killed late Saturday in a wave of regime shelling on a southern district of Syria’s capital held by Daesh, a monitor said.
Syrian troops are waging an intense bombing campaign against Yarmuk, a Palestinian refugee camp on the edge of Damascus, and nearby districts that are held by Daesh.
A woman, her husband, and their child were killed in the Yarmuk shelling, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.
“This brings to nine the number of civilians killed since the shelling escalated on Thursday,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The bombing and clashes continued into Sunday, Abdel Rahman said, with air strikes, artillery, and surface-to-surface missiles hitting the neighborhood.
Yarmuk was once a densely-populated and thriving district of the capital, but it has been ravaged by violence since Syria’s conflict broke out in 2011.
Syria’s government imposed a crippling siege on it in 2012, and fighting among rebels and rival extremists has exhausted residents.
In 2015, Daesh overran most of Yarmuk, and the small numbers of other rebels and extremists, including from Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate, that had a presence there agreed to withdraw just a few weeks ago.
Simultaneously, the Syrian army was finishing off the last rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that had been the opposition’s main bastion near the capital.
Securing Ghouta has allowed the regime to refocus on Yarmuk, but the escalating shelling has sparked worries among humanitarian organizations.
The UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said it was “deeply concerned about the fate of civilians” and thousands of refugees in and around the camp.


Lebanese cabinet approves draft state budget

Updated 52 min 26 sec ago
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Lebanese cabinet approves draft state budget

  • Budget is seen as a critical test of the government's determination to make changes
  • Could help unlock some $11 billion in financing

BEIRUT: The Lebanese cabinet approved the draft state budget on Friday and a session to formally seal it will be held at the presidential palace, government ministers said.
"All the clauses and articles have been agreed on," Finance Minister Ali Hassan said after a cabinet meeting in an interview with broadcaster NBN.
The information minister said in a news conference the draft budget cut the deficit to 7.5% of GDP from 11.5% in 2018. "Now, praise God, we are done. The budget is complete," Information Minister Jamal Jarrah said.
The budget is seen as a critical test of the government's determination to make changes that have been put off for years by a state riddled with corruption and waste. Lebanon has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world.
The budget could help unlock some $11 billion in financing pledged at a Paris donors' conference last year for infrastructure investment, if it wins the approval of donors along with other reforms.