Regime bombing kills 12 civilians in Syria’s northwest

A man evacuates a young casualty following a reported air strike by regime forces and their allies in the jihadist-held Syrian town of Maaret Al-Noman in the southern Idlib province, on May 26, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2019
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Regime bombing kills 12 civilians in Syria’s northwest

  • A total of 20 health facilities have been hit by the escalation -- 19 of which remain out of service, according to the UN

MAARET AL-NUMAN/SYRIA: Regime airstrikes killed 12 civilians including four at a market on Sunday in a militant bastion in northwest Syria, a war monitor said.
A young girl was among those killed at the market in the town of Maaret Al-Numan in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Eight other civilians were killed elsewhere by regime fire in Idlib, a stronghold of Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, the Britain-based monitor said.
Idlib is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but the opposition bastion has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April.
An AFP reporter in Maaret Al-Numan saw a young man carry the arched body of what appeared to be a young girl out over grey rubble after the airstrike.
Another man retrieved a distressed, dust-covered young girl, slung over his shoulder. Witness Hamdu Mustafa said he was out shopping when the airstrike hit.
Everybody was “in the street selling and buying,” he told AFP.
“The planes targeted civilians who were buying food for their children,” he said. Nearby, rescue workers known as the White Helmets directed a bulldozer to clear the debris. Fighting has raged to the south of the bastion in recent days.

BACKGROUND

Idlib is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but the opposition bastion has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April.

On Sunday, regime forces took back control of the town of Kafr Nabuda in the north of Hama province, the Observatory and state news agency SANA said.
HTS and allied rebels overran part of the town in recent days, after the regime first expelled them on May 8.
The United Nations has warned that an all-out offensive on the Idlib region would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for its nearly three million residents.
The Observatory says more than 230 civilians have been killed in the spike in violence since the end of April.
More than 200,000 civilians have already been displaced by this upsurge of violence, the United Nations has said.
A total of 20 health facilities have been hit by the escalation -- 19 of which remain out of service, according to the UN.


Turkey launches new gas drillship amid tensions with Cyprus

Updated 20 June 2019
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Turkey launches new gas drillship amid tensions with Cyprus

  • Turkey’s energy minister boarded the 230-meter (750-foot) vessel, the Yavuz, which can drill to an estimated depth of up to 12,000 meters (40,000 feet), in a ceremony on Thursday
  • EU leaders meeting in Brussels are mulling possible actions against Turkey

ISTANBUL: Turkey has launched a second drillship that will drill for gas off neighboring Cyprus’ east coast despite European Union warnings to refrain from such illegal actions or face sanctions.
Turkey’s energy minister boarded the 230-meter (750-foot) vessel, the Yavuz, which can drill to an estimated depth of up to 12,000 meters (40,000 feet), in a ceremony on Thursday.
Another Turkish drillship is already drilling 40 miles off EU member Cyprus’ west coast in waters where the ethnically divided island nation has exclusive economic rights. The Cypriot government condemned the Turkish action as a violation of international law and its sovereign rights.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels are mulling possible actions against Turkey. Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said that his country would defend its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves “until the end” and would continue drilling “without interruptions.” Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.
In a dig at the 28-member EU, Donmez said Turkey rejects “attempts by actors from outside the region to delineate” the eastern Mediterranean.
He said the Yavuz will be drilling off Cyprus’ eastern coast in coming months.
Cyprus has divided its exclusive economic zone off its southern coast into 13 blocks, or areas. Turkey, which doesn’t recognize Cyprus as a state, says parts of three blocks off the island’s west coast fall within its own continental shelf. Turkish Cypriots claim most of seven blocks in the east.
The Cypriot government says any potential gas proceeds will be shared equitably with Turkish Cypriots after a reunification deal is agreed upon and has created a fund into which all such revenues will flow.