13.5m Syrians need aid, protection: UN

13.5m Syrians need aid, protection: UN
Updated 27 October 2015

13.5m Syrians need aid, protection: UN

13.5m Syrians need aid, protection: UN

NEW YORK: The UN is estimating that 13.5 million people in Syria are now in need of humanitarian assistance and some form of protection, including more than six million children.

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that this represents an increase of some 1.2 million people in just 10 months.
He said violence in Syria has created “one of the largest displacement crises of modern times.”
O’Brien said there are now some 6.5 million people who have fled their homes and are displaced inside Syria, while 4.2 million have fled the country.
Meanwhile, France will host a meeting on the Syria crisis with Western and Arab allies later on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
The “working dinner” at the French foreign office will include “the main partners engaged with France in dealing with the Syrian crisis: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Germany, the US, Italy and Britain,” said Fabius in a statement.
A French opposition lawmaker visiting the war-torn country said on Tuesday that finding a solution to the conflict in Syria will require talking to President Bashar Assad.
“The settlement of the Syrian political situation necessarily requires a dialogue with the Syrian president who is in place and is elected by the Syrian people,” said Jean-Frederic Poisson, of France’s right-wing Christian Democratic Party. Poisson is visiting Syria with two other French lawmakers, and the delegation is due to meet Assad on Wednesday.
Washington, meanwhile, believes there are fewer than 2,000 Iranian troops in Syria helping Assad forces and more than 1,000 in Iraq supporting the Baghdad government, the top US military officer said.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of Iranian forces in Iraq had fluctuated over time.
“I think there’s more than 1,000 that are on the ground in Iraq,” Dunford said. “In Syria, we think the numbers are probably something less than 2,000.”


‘Gentle steps forward’ in repair of Mosul war graves

‘Gentle steps forward’ in repair of Mosul war graves
Updated 11 min 11 sec ago

‘Gentle steps forward’ in repair of Mosul war graves

‘Gentle steps forward’ in repair of Mosul war graves
  • When Daesh rule ended in 2017, it was estimated that 90 percent of the Commonwealth forces’ cemetery was damaged
  • There are Commonwealth graves in the site from 1914 up to the end of World War II, with Mosul witnessing many seismic military events in the 20th century

LONDON: “Gentle steps forward” have been taken in recovering sites destroyed during Daesh’s occupation of Mosul, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has said.

Iraq’s second-largest city endured three years of Daesh control, with much of it laid to waste. Many buildings and key infrastructure were destroyed, including a significant war-graves site.

When Daesh rule ended in 2017, it was estimated that 90 percent of the cemetery was damaged.

The CWGC manages the site, where members of the armed forces of Commonwealth nations have been laid to rest.

The commission reported that the remains of those buried were not disturbed, but the iconic Cross of Sacrifice and the surrounding memorials were destroyed, with a pocket of external walls surviving.

British diplomats and other key stakeholders have been working with the CWGC to restore the site.

Preparatory moves before the commencing of recovery work has included representatives from the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) sweeping the grounds to remove any ordnance left behind by the site’s previous combatant occupants.

Teams will now survey the site and review how the cemetery can be secured for the full recovery work.

“The CWGC has noted that local conditions are now stabilizing in Mosul, and it has a window of opportunity to re-establish the site,” a CWGC spokesperson told Sky News.

“In addition, it has the excellent support of the UK Consul, UNMAS, and the opportunity to engage a local workforce to assist with the gradual clearance and rehabilitation,” the spokesperson added.

“The commission has rebuilt cemeteries before after serious damage caused by conflict — it is within the CWGC’s capability to do so.”

Iraq saw more than 54,000 Commonwealth war casualties. The commission has not sent a working party to the country since 2006 due to safety concerns. With the violence in Iraq increasing, CWGC cemeteries have been neglected.

When Daesh started its occupation of Mosul, the site was already in a precarious state. With the city now liberated, hope has returned that its graves can receive the restoration they desperately need.

There are Commonwealth graves in the site from 1914 up to the end of World War II, with Mosul witnessing many seismic military events in the 20th century.


Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt
Updated 20 April 2021

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt
  • Flights from Russia to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada would resume in March

MOSCOW: Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it would soon announce the resumption of charter flights to Egypt, the Interfax news agency reported.
The head of Egypt’s civil aviation authority told Reuters in February that direct flights from Russia to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada would resume in March after being suspended for more than five years.


Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region
Updated 20 April 2021

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

DUBAI: Israel’s Foreign Minister discussed on Tuesday the threat Iran poses on the region with UK Minister Michael Gove.

Gabi Ashkenazi discussed other regional issues, bilateral ties and “the need for a travel corridor,” with the British Cabinet Office minister.

Gove is visiting Israel to study a COVID “green pass” smartphone app that could soon be the model for vaccine passports in the UK.

 

The British minister, who is in charge of a study into how coronavirus certification might work in the UK, has been a supporter of the Israeli scheme for weeks.

The visit involves meetings with Israel’s health minister, Yuli Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine
Updated 20 April 2021

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

CAIRO: Egypt has agreed to purchase 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China's Sinopharm and expects to receive a batch of 500,000 shots this month, its health ministry said on Tuesday.
The agreement boosts vaccination efforts in Egypt, which has a population of 100 million and has so far received a total of just over 1.5 million doses of Sinopharm and of the AstraZeneca shot.
Earlier this month, Egypt announced it was preparing to produce up to 80 million doses of the vaccine produced by China's Sinovac. 


Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes
Updated 20 April 2021

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes
  • Al-Jawf’s rights and information committee said the militia continue to plant booby-traps and mines on roads made for the public

DUBAI: The participants in Marib’s first conference for Human Rights urged the inclusion of Houthi militia as a terrorist organization due to their war crimes, state news agency Saba New reported.

Marib’s governor Abd Rabbo Moftah said the city hosts 3 million people, with over two million displaced and distributed in 145 settlements and camps, from various other governorates.

Another official highlighted Houthi’s war crimes and targeting of camps, which has killed and injured several civilians including women and children, report added.

Meanwhile, Al-Jawf’s rights and information committee said the militia continue to plant booby-traps and mines on roads made for the public, Saba New reported.