Top Libyan leaders in Jordan to strengthen bilateral relations

A handout photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on December 2, 2018 shows Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) receiving Libya's unity government Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj upon the latter's arrival at Al-Husseiniyah Palace in the capital Amman. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018

Top Libyan leaders in Jordan to strengthen bilateral relations

  • Nael Zidane, deputy director of the Jordanian Hospital Association, said the Libyans have promised to pay back $220 million

AMMAN: King Abdullah of Jordan received Fayez Al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) on Sunday in Amman.
They discussed bilateral ties and recent developments in Libya and the region, Jordan’s royal court said without elaborating.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz also met with Al-Sarraj, and “spoke about the deep relationship between the two countries and the expectation that mutual cooperation can accomplish the aspirations of both people,” his office said in a statement.
They discussed existing agreements, unresolved issues and the potential for Libyan investment in Jordan, the statement added.
Musa Shteiwi, head of the Strategic Studies Center at Jordan University, said Jordan provides a safe environment for reconciliation talks between rival Libyan sides.
“Jordan has historically had a great relation with all political and military parties in Libya,” he told Arab News.
Because of that, Jordan “can play a role in bringing them together,” he said, adding that international players have been supportive of the country’s role as an “honest broker.”
Jordanian government spokesman Jumana Ghnaimat told Arab News that the presence of Libyan officials in Amman provides an opportunity to resolve a number of issues, including unpaid hospital and hotel bills.
Abdel Hakim Al-Hindi, chair of the Hotel Owners Association, said hotels will receive $46 million of the $150 million due for providing accommodation to Libyans.
Nael Zidane, deputy director of the Jordanian Hospital Association, said the Libyans have promised to pay back $220 million.
“The Libyan government had appointed an audit firm, and this was the amount that it confirmed is the debt to Jordanian hospitals,” he told Arab News.
Libya will pay half the amount immediately, and the other half once Al-Sarraj returns to his country, Zidane said.

Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

Updated 22 May 2019

Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

  • The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal
  • The Observatory said they have no proof of the chemical attacks

BEIRUT: Air strikes by Damascus or its ally Moscow killed 12 civilians in a market in Syria’s Idlib province, a monitor said Wednesday, and denied allegations that the government used chemical weapons.

Another 18 people were wounded when the warplanes hit the militant-held town of Maarat Al-Numan around midnight on Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The market was crowded with people out and about after breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Observatory said it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack despite Washington’s announcement it had suspicions.

“We have no proof at all of the attack,” Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

“We have not documented any chemical attack in the mountains of Latakia,” he said.
The air strikes in Idlib came as heavy clashes raged in the north of neighboring Hama province after the militants launched a counterattack on Tuesday against pro-government forces in the town of Kafr Nabuda.
Fresh fighting on Wednesday took the death toll to 52 — 29 troops and militia and 23 militants, the Observatory said.
It said that the militants had retaken most of the town from government forces who recaptured it on May 8.
The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal, but the regime and its Russian ally have escalated their bombardment of it in recent weeks, seizing several towns on its southern flank.
A militant alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

The northern mountains are the only part of Latakia province, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, that are not firmly in the hands of the government.

The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham accused government forces on Sunday of launching a chlorine gas attack on its fighters in the north of Latakia province.

The Syrian army dismissed the reports as a fabrication, a military source told the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper.

But the US State Department said on Tuesday it was assessing indications that the government of president Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on Sunday.

“There were no civilians in the area,” Abdel Rahman said.

White Helmets rescue volunteers, who have reported past chemical attacks in rebel-held areas of Syria, told AFP Wednesday that they had no information on the purported gas attack.

International inspectors say Assad’s forces have carried out a series of chemical attacks during the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011.
Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked the buffer zone deal in September to avert a government offensive on the region which threatened humanitarian disaster for its three million residents.
President Bashar Assad’s government has renewed its bombardment of the region since HTS took control in January.
Russia too has stepped up its air strikes in recent weeks as Turkey proved unable to secure implementation of the truce deal by the militants.
The Observatory says more than 180 civilians have been killed in the flare-up since April 30, and the United Nations has said tens of thousands have fled their homes.