11 killed in government raids on northwest Syria: monitor

Syrian civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, carry a body retrieved from the rubble following reported government airstrike on the Syrian town of Ariha, in the northwestern province of Idlib, on Monday. (AFP / Omar Haj Kadour)
Updated 27 February 2017
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11 killed in government raids on northwest Syria: monitor

BEIRUT, Lebanon: Government air strikes on northwest Syria killed at least 11 people overnight, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.
“Government warplanes carried out air strikes after midnight on several areas in the town of Ariha” in Idlib province, said the monitoring group’s head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“The preliminary toll is 11 killed, including at least seven civilians,” three of them children, he said.
Others were still missing and rescue teams were searching for anyone trapped under the rubble, Abdel Rahman added.
Leith Fares, a rescue worker in Ariha, told AFP his team had pulled at least 20 wounded people out of the rubble.
“We’ve been working since 3:00 am (0100 GMT) to rescue victims still under the rubble of two four-story buildings that totally collapsed on the residents inside,” he said.
“We’re still looking for two families, estimated at eight to 10 members each, that are still trapped,” Fares said.
The deaths come two days after 10 civilians were killed in government air strikes on Ariha, held since spring 2015 by an anti-regime coalition dominated by jihadists.
Idlib province has been battered by heavy air strikes in recent weeks, with intensifying bombing raids by regime warplanes in particular, according to the Observatory.
It has also been rocked by infighting between rebel and jihadist factions, including Al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, Fateh Al-Sham Front.


Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

Updated 20 September 2019

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security

  • Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies
  • Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country's army chief.
Demonstrators gathered near the capital's main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria's protest movement that forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.
"The people want the fall of Gaid Salah," the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. "Take us all to prison, the people will not stop."
Friday's protest marked Algeria's 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.
Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.
The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika's departure.
The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president's loyalists -- including Gaid Salah himself -- before any vote.
In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.
Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.
As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.
Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as "illegal".
Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika's bid for a fifth presidential term.