Syria agrees to UN fact-finding mission in Aleppo

Updated 01 March 2015

Syria agrees to UN fact-finding mission in Aleppo

DAMASCUS: Syria’s state news agency says the government and the UNspecial envoy have agreed to send a fact-finding mission to the contested northern city of Aleppo.
SANA said the decision was made after talks in Damascus between Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem and UN envoy Staffan de Mistura.
It did not say when the UN team would begin its work in Aleppo.
De Mistura is trying to implement a “freeze” in fighting in the city, which is divided into government- and rebel-held areas.
He envisions a local truce as the first step toward a wider easing of hostilities.
The Syrian government has agreed to suspend airstrikes and artillery shelling in Aleppo for six weeks.
The UN envoy still needs the armed opposition’s support for the plan.


Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

Updated 30 May 2020

Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

ANKARA: Turkey is easing its coronavirus lockdown from June 1, despite the World Health Organization saying it is one of the leading European countries for coronavirus infections. 

The virus has killed 4,461 people in Turkey, and there were 160,979 infections as of May 28. It ranks 10th worldwide in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen from Monday while intercity travel restrictions will be lifted the same day.

Many professional organizations, especially the Turkish Medical Association, find the abrupt restart of business activity to be premature and have called for increased testing, claiming that mass gatherings may trigger further contagion as the first wave of the outbreak is not yet over.

Lebanese security forces began handing out fines to enforce the wearing of face masks, as the country recorded four new cases to bring its tally to 1,172.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia recorded 17 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 458. There were 1,581 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 81,766 people have now contracted the disease. There are 24,295 active cases.

France’s national health agency reported a sudden jump in new infections — just an hour after the prime minister announced a sweeping national reopening plan. The agency clarified that the new figures were the result of a new accounting method, and not linked to a much-feared second wave of the virus.