13.5m Syrians need aid, protection: UN

Updated 27 October 2015

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.”


Construction in full swing for Expo 2020 Dubai

Updated 23 min 15 sec ago

Construction in full swing for Expo 2020 Dubai

  • Turnover of the Expo 2020-owned facilities is expected by the end of this year
  • 192 countries have confirmed participation at the upcoming world expo

DUBAI: The Expo 2020 on Tuesday gave a preview of the ongoing construction of the vast new site in the south of Dubai, one year ahead of its opening in October next year.

Journalists from different parts of the world were quickly toured at one of the main areas of the site – the Sustainability District – as well as the nine-story media center. A preview of the Al Wasl Dome, the central building at the site which will host the Expo’s major events, was also shown at the tour.

The other two areas such as the Mobility and Opportunity districts were only available for viewing from the rooftop of the media center. Massive cranes, construction materials and a number of laborers were seen at the site.

Turnover of the Expo 2020-owned facilities is expected by the end of this year, while individual country pavilions have their own deadlines to finish construction, organizers told Arab News.

Some countries have already either broken ground or started building their pavilions, including Saudi Arabi, the UAE and Japan. Others are expected to break ground in the coming months.

192 countries have confirmed participation at the upcoming world expo.

The tour was part of a three-day global media briefing, which started with a count-down concert on Sunday by American singer Mariah Carey at Burj Park.

The six-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimated 25 million visitors.