Assad regime expanding use of cluster munitions

Updated 18 March 2013

Assad regime expanding use of cluster munitions

BEIRUT: The Syrian regime is expanding its use of widely banned cluster bombs, an international human rights group said yesterday as the deadlocked conflict entered its third year.
In new violence, rebels detonated a powerful car bomb outside a high-rise building in the eastern city of Deir El-Zour, setting off clashes with regime troops, state TV and activists said.
The blast came a day after Syrians marked the second anniversary of their uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Yesterday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have dropped at least 156 cluster bombs in 119 locations across the country in the past six months, causing mounting civilian casualties.
Two strikes in the past two weeks killed 11 civilians, including two women and five children, the report said. The group said it based its findings on field investigations and analysis of more than 450 amateur videos.
Cluster bombs open in flight, scattering smaller bomblets. They pose a threat to civilians long afterwards since many don’t explode immediately. Most countries have banned their use.
A senior Syrian government official denied that regime forces use cluster bombs and said, “Many amateur videos are doubtful.”
Yesterday, rebels in Deir El-Zour detonated a car rigged with more than two tons of explosives next to the tallest building in the city, known as the Insurance Building, state TV said.
The TV said rebels entered the building after the blast but were pushed out by government forces.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief urged caution yesterday about a Franco-British drive to lift an EU arms embargo to help opposition fighters, questioning the impact such a step might have on attempts to reach a political settlement there.
Other EU governments rebuffed efforts by Paris and London at an EU summit on Friday to lift the Syrian arms embargo to help fighters, although they asked foreign ministers to discuss it again next week.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU needed to think “very carefully” about French and British arguments that lifting the embargo would encourage Assad to negotiate.
The EU should also consult UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and Moaz Al-Khatib, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, about what impact lifting the embargo might have on their efforts to start talks to end the Syria crisis, she said.
“What we’ve got to make sure of is anything we do does not make that (work) harder,” she said, speaking at a conference.
Samir Nashar, a member of the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition group in exile, said he hoped France and Britain would defy the EU if the embargo remains in place.
“I prefer that there is a consensus and a joint resolution,” he said Friday in Istanbul. “But if there’s no consensus, I still think France and Britain will act unilaterally.”


Egyptian ministry launches mobile app

Egyptian police guard in front of the new government district in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt May 2, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 min 22 sec ago

Egyptian ministry launches mobile app

  • The app is available for Android users, and officials are working on making it available for iOS users as well, communications expert Ashraf El-Wardany told Arab News

CIARO: The Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs has launched Kallem Masr (Call Egypt), a mobile app to facilitate communication with citizens living abroad.
Nabila Makram, minister of immigration and Egyptian expatriates affairs, said the free app includes a monthly electronic magazine issued by the ministry in both Arabic and English.
The app is available for Android users, and officials are working on making it available for iOS users as well, communications expert Ashraf El-Wardany told Arab News.
Android users can download the app from Google Play. Its sections include questions and answers, contact us, complaints, an interactive map of locations of embassies and consulates, and a news section on the ministry’s activities.

HIGHLIGHT

Android users can download the app from Google Play. Its sections include questions and answers, contact us, complaints, an interactive map of locations of embassies and consulates, and a news section on the ministry’s activities.

Islam El-Souissi, an Egyptian community leader in Rome, praised the app, saying “all Egyptians living abroad are expressing their great happiness” about it.
But some Egyptians who visited the app’s page on Google Play said it is not available in some countries such as Sweden. Others complained that they had problems logging in.