Syrians suffer breathing difficulties after regime strikes

Syrian men wear oxygen masks at a make-shift hospital following a reported gas attack on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on January 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 05 February 2018
0

Syrians suffer breathing difficulties after regime strikes

BEIRUT: Five people were treated for “suffocation” Sunday after Syrian regime air strikes on the northwestern town of Saraqeb, a monitor said, adding that 10 civilians were killed in southern Idlib province.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a “foul smell after regime helicopters struck several areas of the town in Idlib province, causing five civilians to suffer from suffocation.”
It quoted residents and medical sources as saying “toxic gas” was used in the attack, without elaborating.
Syrian regime air strikes also killed six civilians in the town of Kafr Nabi, near Maaret al Numan in the southern countryside of Idlib province, the Observatory said.
Four other civilians were killed in regime bombing on Maaret al Numan and Maasarin.
The Observatory also said that “airplanes believed to be Russian hit the main hospital in Maaret al Numan causing damage.”
The facility shut down until repairs could be carried out, the war monitor said.
The latest developments come as the United States this week accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons on opposition forces near the capital Damascus.
The Syrian foreign ministry denied the accusations as “lies.”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Friday his government was concerned sarin gas may have been recently used in Syria, citing reports from NGOs and rebel groups.
These reports said toxic gas has been used.
Mattis however said the United States has no proof to support these accusations.
Last month, 21 people were treated for respiratory problems after rockets were fired on the rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus.


Israeli army raids offices of Palestinian NGO

Updated 17 min 24 sec ago

Israeli army raids offices of Palestinian NGO

  • Israeli soldiers forced their way into the offices of prisoner support group Addameer in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah
  • No staff were in the office at that time as thousands of dollars worth of equipment, including five computers were seized

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Israel’s army raided the offices of a prominent Palestinian NGO early Thursday, its director said, in an operation Amnesty International said aimed to “crush peaceful activism.”
Israeli soldiers forced their way into the offices of prisoner support group Addameer in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah at around 2:00 am, the organization’s director Sahar Francis said.
No staff were in the office at that time, she said, but Israeli forces seized thousands of dollars worth of equipment, including five computers.
“They searched the whole office,” Francis said.
Addameer works to support Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons.
Israeli right-wing activists accuse it of links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The Israeli army did not immediately respond to request for comment on the raid.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East Director Saleh Higazi condemned the “chilling raid,” labelling it an Israeli attempt “to crush peaceful activism and silence NGOs.”
“This was a sinister and calculated attack designed to curtail Addameer’s vital human rights work,” he said in a statement.
The NGO, which documents allegations of abuse in Israeli prisons, has been raided twice before, most recently in 2012.
Francis said that time they had smashed the door and also seized computers.
“We never got back the things they stole in 2012, despite making a request,” she said.
An Addameer employee has also been detained without charge since last year under Israel’s administrative detention laws, Amnesty said.
Higazi said the raid was part of an intensifying Israeli campaign against civil society organizations.
Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories is currently fighting an Israeli expulsion order over allegations he called for a boycott of Israel.
The country in 2017 passed a law banning entry to foreigners supporting a boycott.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since a 1967 war.
The office is in a part of the West Bank nominally under full Palestinian control, but the Israeli army regularly carries out raids in such areas.