Moscow clashes with EU over aid to Syria

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (C) speaks at an European Union meeting to discuss the way forward for Syria at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 21, 2017. (REUTERS/Darren Ornitz)
Updated 22 September 2017

Moscow clashes with EU over aid to Syria

NEW YORK: Russia on Thursday clashed with the EU over Syria, accusing the bloc of politicizing aid by linking reconstruction funds to a political transition that would end the war.
The EU in April secured pledges of $6 billion in aid for Syria, now in its seventh year of war, with over 330,000 people dead.
At an EU-organized conference held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said aid was being used as a political tool to build pressure on Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
“The politicization of issues related to aid and the statements on the need to wait for the end of the political process are unacceptable,” said Gennady Gatilov.
European officials insist that aid will not flow to Syria until a credible political transition is agreed during UN-led negotiations to end the war.
But Gatilov said aid was needed now “to rebuild schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure.”
Britain argued that the Assad regime should not be rewarded with aid, while France accused Damascus of continuing to block humanitarian deliveries.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that a second conference on reconstruction aid for Syria will be held in the spring of 2018.
“We are ready to help even more, to see how we can help to bring back normal life in areas where violence has de-escalated, and to start working on reconstruction, only once a political agreement has been reached in Geneva,” said Mogherini.
Meanwhile, a Russian submarine in the Mediterranean fired cruise missiles at Al-Qaeda-linked militant positions in northwestern Syria on Friday, a day after militants wounded three Russian troops in the area, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow.
The ministry said the missile strikes from the Veliky Novgorod submarine earlier in the day targeted militants, ammunition depots and fortifications in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, which is dominated by Al-Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee.
On Thursday, three Russian troops were wounded after militants encircled 29 Russian military officers deployed outside of Idlib for several hours. The Russian troops repelled the attack with the help of local tribes, the Russian ministry said.
Over the past weeks, Russia has fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean toward positions of Daesh in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor but attacks on Idlib have been rare.
Moscow said the Kalibr missiles destroyed command centers and a training base of the militants who had attacked members of the Russian military police in Hama province earlier this week.
Russia targeted militants, armored vehicles, ammunition depots and fortifications of Al-Qaeda’s Syria branch in Idlib.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the missiles were fired at 10:11 a.m. local time from the Mediterranean at targets 300 km away.
“Surprise missiles strikes in Idlib province destroyed important command posts, training bases and armored vehicles of the terrorists who took part in an attempt to capture 29 Russian military policemen in southern Hama province,” the ministry statement said, citing intelligence reports.


Jordan to use drones, cameras to monitor curfew

Updated 28 min 2 sec ago

Jordan to use drones, cameras to monitor curfew

  • Jordan has declared five dead and 323 cases of the COVID-19
  • Authorities would take “the necessary measures against anyone violating” coronavirus regulations

AMMAN: Jordan said it is to use drones and surveillance cameras to monitor compliance with a nationwide curfew imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The armed forces and security services will ensure the curfew is being respected by using modern technology such as drones and surveillance cameras,” the minister of state for information, Amjad Al-Adayleh, told a press briefing late Saturday.
Jordan has declared five dead and 323 cases of the COVID-19 illness.
Adayleh, who also serves as government spokesman, warned that authorities would take “the necessary measures against anyone violating decisions” taken to contain the outbreak.
Jordan says it has arrested at least 1,600 people for violating the curfew, which imposes heavy penalties and has been in force since last month.
It has sealed off the capital and all the country’s provinces, suspended flights in and out of Jordan, closed schools and banned all public gatherings.