Aid convoy strike stuns MSF; Russia accused

This image provided by the Syrian anti-government group Aleppo 24 news, shows damaged trucks carrying aid, in Aleppo, Syria, on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 20 September 2016
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Aid convoy strike stuns MSF; Russia accused

BEIRUT: The international medical charity Doctors Without Borders says it is “shocked’ by the attack on an aid convoy in Syria, calling it the latest example of the “continuous disregard paid to the basic rules of war” in the six-year conflict.

The group, known by its French acronym MSF, has called Tuesday on international powers involved in the conflict to take “more concrete steps” to end attacks on civilian infrastructure.
MSF-supported clinics and medical facilities have frequently come under attack in Syria, as part of what the rights group Physicians for Human Rights describes as “the most widespread and systematic assault on health care in the world to date.”
In July alone, 44 attacks on health facilities were reported, mostly in rebel-held areas.
The brother of an aid worker who was killed when an aid convoy was attacked in Syria said the Red Crescent staffer was overseeing the unloading of trucks when a bomb hit the warehouse, killing him inside his car. Ali Barakat, who also works for the Red Crescent, says Tuesday he threw himself on the floor when the first missile hit and killed his brother, Omar Barakat.
Ali Barakat says more than 20 missiles hit the area Monday night. The International Committee of the Red Cross says 20 civilians were killed in the aid convoy attack.
The President of the Syrian Red Crescent, Abdulrahman Attar, called father-of-nine Omar Barakat “a committed and brave member” of the group. The Red Crescent has lost 54 staff and volunteers in the past six years of conflict.
A rescue worker who witnessed the strikes on a Red Crescent warehouse and trucks carrying UN aid in Syria says more than 20 missiles pounded the area for hours, even hitting his team as they searched the debris for survivors.
Hussein Badawi, who leads the Syrian Civil Defense — also known as the White Helmets — in Uram Al-Kubra, says Tuesday the strikes came from helicopters and land missiles.
He accuses Syrian and Russian aircraft of taking part in an attack that lasted more than two hours, covering a 100 yard-radius. Badawi’s team arrived on the scene after the first land missiles hit.
Another witness, Mohammed Rasoul, says the convoy was “erased from the face of the earth.”
Badawi says the rescue effort was hampered by the dark and 11 strikes that came while the rescue team was searching for survivors.


Iran leader backs suggestion to block Gulf oil exports if own sales stopped

Updated 21 July 2018
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Iran leader backs suggestion to block Gulf oil exports if own sales stopped

  • Rouhani’s apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to looming US sanctions
  • Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action

DUBAI: Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday backed President Hassan Rouhani’s suggestion that Iran may block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are stopped, according to his official website.
“(Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) said remarks by the president ... that ‘if Iran’s oil is not exported, no regional country’s oil will be exported,’ were important remarks that reflect the policy and the approach of (Iran’s) system,” Khamenei’s website said.
Rouhani’s apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to looming US sanctions and efforts by Washington to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.
Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action.
Khamenei used a speech to foreign ministry officials to reject any renewed talks with the United States after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
“The word and even the signature of the Americans cannot be relied upon, so negotiations with America are of no avail,” Khamenei said.
It would be an “obvious mistake” to negotiate with the United States as Washington was unreliable, Khamenei added according to his website.