Twin blasts in rebel-held Syrian city Idlib kill at least 15

This photo released on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, shows Syrian White Helmet civil defense workers carrying an injured man from a building hit by a shell from Syrian forces, in the town of Maaret al-Numan, Idlib, north Syria. (AP)
Updated 18 February 2019
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Twin blasts in rebel-held Syrian city Idlib kill at least 15

  • The Syrian Observatory said the blasts in the Qusour neighborhood killed 13 people and wounded 25

AMMAN: Twin explosions in the bustling centre of the rebel-held northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Monday killed at least 15 people and injured scores, medics and witnesses said.
They said an explosive device planted in a parked car detonated in a main street in the provincial capital. Many of the casualties were civil defence workers who reached the site moments before a second explosion nearby. That blast was attributed by some witnesses to a bomb rigged to a motorcyle.
Social media footage showed aid workers carrying away bodies and rescuing wounded civilians amid smouldering wreckage.
Idlib province, in Syria's northwest corner, is under the control of Hayat Tahrir al Sham, a bloc of Islamist militant factions spearheaded by Syria's former al Qaeda affiliate, and has long been targeted by bombings and assassinations.
Alliance commanders say they hundreds of people have been rounded up for suspected links to Syrian President Bashar al Assad's intelligence services or Islamic State sleeper cells who they blame for some of the bombings.
They say the wave of blasts in the densely populated region, a haven for tens of thousands of civilians opposed to Assad's rule, aims to destabilise the last opposition bastion remaining after almost eight years of civil war.
Idlib, which borders Turkey, has also seen an escalation in artillery fire from the Syrian army and allied Iranian-backed militias on rebel-held towns, witnesses said.
Damascus has vowed to retake every last inch of Syria to cap a string of military gains in the last two years that have recovered almost all rebel-controlled regions with the key assistance of Russian air power.
Russia is keen to help Assad regain the entire country, including eventually Idlib, but Tukey, which wants the Syrian leader to leave power, has so far successfully pushed back.
Last week President Vladimir Putin said Russia, Turkey and Iran had agreed to take unspecified extra steps to clear Idlib of what he called "a hotbed of terrorists," but the Kremlin said there would be no military operation there.


Arab Parliament calls on UN and Arab League to classify Houthis as a terrorist group

Updated 19 June 2019
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Arab Parliament calls on UN and Arab League to classify Houthis as a terrorist group

  • The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before submitting it to the UN and Arab League
  • The spokesperson called the Houthi attacks a war crime

DUBAI: The Arab Parliament revealed on Wednesday they are in the process of submitting a draft resolution, calling on the United Nations and Arab League to take a firm and immediate stance to classify the Iranian-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before presenting it to the secretary general of the UN and the Arab League’s secretary general, Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said.

The Parliament will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as Houthi attacks in neighboring countries like Saudi, he said.

These attacks are a war crime, Al-Sulami said.

He also mentioned that Houthi militias are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending Parliament sessions.

The announcement came during a press conference, as the latest session of the Parliament, headed by Al-Sulamai and in the presence of the speaker of the Yemeni Parliament, Sultan Al-Burkani, kicked off.

The Parliament’s session will focus on the current crises, challenges and developments in Arab countries, and will discuss the efforts of the Parliament to support joint Arab action against the dangers and threats facing the Arab national security.