Bahrain: GCC working on joint missile defense

Updated 23 January 2016

Bahrain: GCC working on joint missile defense

BAHRAIN: Gulf states are cooperating on regional missile defense and hope to announce the results soon, said a Bahraini officer, suggesting progress in long-stalled efforts to create a cross-border approach to counter Iran’s growing missile capabilities.
US and GCC officials say the time has come to push ahead as Arab nations start to mount more joint military missions.
Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Khalifah, commander of the Royal Bahraini Air Force, said on the sidelines of an air force conference that a GCC committee was working in a cooperative effort to build joint missile defense.
“We have started, and hopefully it (the result) will be announced soon,” he said in answer to questions, without elaborating.
Obama and GCC countries underscored a commitment to build the defense system at a summit in May 2015, as US moved to assuage Gulf allies’ concerns about a more powerful Iran.
A joint statement following the summit said that the GCC states were committed to developing a ballistic missile defense capability with US technical help.

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 9 min 43 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”



A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.