Daesh attack in Syria desert kills more than 30 regime troops and allied militia

File photo showing regime troops take up positions near the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh in an operation on March 2, 2017. ( AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Daesh attack in Syria desert kills more than 30 regime troops and allied militia

  • Daesh militants attacked regime troops in the Badiya area, the destination for extremists evacuated from southern Damascus.
  • Syrian troops and allied foreign militia members among the dead in the Badiya attack near Palmyra.

BEIRUT: More than two dozen pro-government forces based in Syria’s desert died in a surprise Daesh attack Tuesday, a day after the extremists militants were removed from the outskirts of Damascus, a monitor said.
“At least 30 regime soldiers and allied militia were killed in an Daesh attack at dawn today, against one of their posts in the Syrian Badiya,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Among them were Iranian militiamen, said the Britain-based monitor.
The Badiya is a vast desert region stretching from central Syria to the eastern border with Iraq, where Daesh still holds small pockets.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the attack hit a small base east of Palmyra, the famed ancient city that Daesh has overrun twice in Syria’s war.
“It began with a car bomb targeting regime forces that set off clashes that are still ongoing,” he said.
Five Daesh militants were also killed.
Daesh militants launched their attack from a pocket they control in the Badiya, and which was the destination for extremists evacuated from southern Damascus on Sunday and Monday,” Abdel Rahman added.
Syria’s government on Monday seized a southern pocket of the capital from Daesh, announcing that the regime was back in full control of Damascus and its outskirts.
The Observatory, as well as a military source close to the regime, said the capture came after Daesh militants were bussed out of the zone to desert territory.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.