Coalition airstrikes killed 28 in eastern Syria

A view shows damaged buildings in Deir Ezzor. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Coalition airstrikes killed 28 in eastern Syria

  • Since 2014 the US-led coalition has acknowledged direct responsibility for more than 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq

Airstrikes by the US-led coalition have killed 28 people in an eastern Syria holdout of Daesh on the Iraqi border, a war monitor said on Tuesday.
Those killed in the village of Al-Shaafa on Sunday included 22 civilian members of Daesh families, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
“On Tuesday, 22 bodies of civilians were retrieved including nine children, as well as the remains of six other people not yet identified,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
“The strikes targeted Daesh homes in Al-Shaafa,” he said, inside a last pocket under terrorist control in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
The bodies could not be retrieved earlier because air raids were ongoing, he said.
A coalition spokesman did not immediately reply for a request for comment, but has previously said that it would investigate any credible claims of civilian casualties.
The coalition has been backing a Kurdish-led alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting the terrorists.
The SDF late last month suspended its fight against Daesh in protest at Turkish shelling of Kurdish militia positions along Syria’s northern border.
But they said on Sunday they were resuming their battle after “intensive contacts” with the international coalition and “strong diplomatic activity” to defuse the crisis.
Daesh overran large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in land it controlled.
But the terrorist group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
Since 2014 the US-led coalition has acknowledged direct responsibility for more than 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.


Media blitz as Palestinians oppose ‘Deal of the Century’

Updated 26 June 2019
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Media blitz as Palestinians oppose ‘Deal of the Century’

  • A number of Palestinian officials talked to a number of media outlets in an attempt to counter the US narrative

AMMAN: Palestinian officials, activists and the public at large stood unusually united on Tuesday in their opposition to the US-led, economic-based Israeli-Palestinian peace effort. They launched a wide-ranging public and media blitz in protest against the start of the two-day Peace to Prosperity economic workshop in Bahrain.

Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem told Arab News that watching Jared Kushner make his opening speech at the workshop about the so-called “Deal of the Century” reminded him of the financial machinations of Wall Street.

“I saw a salesman trying to push a particular product, talking about numbers and opportunities without the slightest interest in the fact that he was talking about our lives and our situation,” he said.

Milhem and other Palestinian officials talked to a number of media outlets in an attempt to counter the US narrative. President Mahmoud Abbas, who presides over a divided authority that is in perpetual financial crisis and depends on donor nations, invited members of the Foreign Press Association to his Ramallah headquarters. “We need the money and, really, we need assistance,” he told them. “But before everything, there is a political solution.”

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appeared on the Christiane Amanpour program on CNN International and wrote a column for the Washington Post headlined “Palestinians want freedom not Trump administration bribes.”

After Kushner’s speech, political analyst Lamis Andoni said that Palestinians are being asked to accept that if the prison conditions under which they live are to improve, the occupation
will continue. The US proposal is designed to silence Palestinians by giving them enough to survive, while giving a minority the chance to get rich, he said. “It didn’t work before and will not work now,” he added.

Husam Zulmot, head of the Palestine mission in the UK and former head of the Washington DC mission, said: “Palestine is not for sale.” He described Kushner’s plan as “deceptive” and “disingenuous,” arguing that it does not address the core issue: the occupation.

In Nablus, the deputy head of Fatah, Mahmoud Aloul, issued a stern warning to Arab participants in the Bahrain workshop: “We tell our brothers that they have stabbed us in the back and your intervention in our cause has gone overboard and we will not allow that.” He qualified this by adding: “The US and Israel will continue to be our enemy but we will not consider you enemies; we will leave you to your own people and hope that your hibernation will not last long.”

The Palestinian Al Quds daily newspaper ran the front page headline “Opposition to the Deal of the Century hold protests throughout the homeland and the diaspora,” with a photo of the demonstrations in Ramallah covering the rest of the front page. It also published a two-page supplement quoting politicians from a number of movements, including Fatah and Hamas, along with analysts and pundits, all criticizing the Manama workshop.

Hani Elmasri, the head of the Masarat think tank in Ramallah. wrote an article in which he said that the “Trump deal will not succeed without a Palestinian cover, and will fail sooner or later, but while the plan has not succeed in liquidating Palestinian nationalism it has succeeded in stressing the facts of the occupation and made the possibility of a Palestinian struggle much more difficult. This means that it is not enough for Palestinians to reject this plan but they need to respond with a holistic strategy that must be political, economic and has to be a struggle by the people on all levels.”