Daesh kidnaps women and children in Syria’s Sweida

It is only recently that Daesh was said to have been defeated. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Daesh kidnaps women and children in Syria’s Sweida

  • Daesh group kidnapped dozens of Druze women and children when it attacked their villages
  • More than 250 people killed as Daesh carries out string of attacks

BEIRUT: Daesh group kidnapped dozens of Druze women and children when it attacked their villages last week in Syria’s southern province of Sweida, a monitor said Monday.
More than 250 people were killed on Wednesday when Daesh carried out a string of suicide attacks and shootings in the provincial capital Sweida and villages to the north and east.
“At least 36 Druze women and children were abducted after the attacks,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor with a network of sources inside Syria.
Four of the women had since managed to escape and another two had died, said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.
Another 17 men from the areas targeted by Daesh were still unaccounted for, but it was unclear if they were also kidnapped, he told AFP.
Both the Observatory and Syrian news outlet Sweida24 said 20 women and 16 children had been kidnapped.
Daesh has not claimed the kidnappings, and no details on them could be found on its propaganda channels.
Daesh declared a self-styled Islamic “caliphate” in 2014 across Syria and Iraq, but has since lost most of that territory.
It still holds small, isolated areas of Syria’s remote desert, which includes northeastern parts of Sweida, as well as pockets in the adjacent province of Daraa and further east near the border with Iraq.
Backed by Russia, Syrian troops have been waging an assault on an Daesh-held pocket of Daraa for more than a week.
Sweida, which is mostly held by the government and populated by the secretive Druze minority, has been relatively insulated from the violence of Syria’s seven-year war.
Last week’s attacks were the bloodiest ever in the province and among the deadliest waged by Daesh in Syria.


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 22 min 34 sec ago
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.