Refugees in Syria’s Raqqa face ‘extreme’ Daesh land mine threat: UN

A rebel fighter reacts as a landmine, planted by Daesh, is exploded by his comrades in northern Syrian. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018

Refugees in Syria’s Raqqa face ‘extreme’ Daesh land mine threat: UN

BEIRUT: Unexploded land mines left by Daesh fighters cover every inch of their former Syrian capital of Raqqa, a UN official said on Tuesday, advising civilians against returning to their homes there.
About 60,000 Syrians have returned to the ruins of Raqqa since Daesh left, Panos Moumtzis, UN assistant secretary general and regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria Crisis, told reporters in Beirut.
“The number of unexploded ordnance in Raqqa is something that we have never seen before. Extreme. Every house, every room, every inch of the city,” he said.
Landmines are causing 50-70 casualties a week — about the number that usually hit all of Afghanistan in a year — he said.
Though the United Nations was not helping people to go back to Raqqa, it could not stop people returning spontaneously to homes which could harbor danger, he said.
An alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led coalition captured Raqqa in November after a long campaign to besiege the city followed by months of fighting inside it.
As well as land mines and improvised explosives planted by Daesh, there may also be undetonated bombs and missiles used by the coalition in its massive blitz of Raqqa.
The jihadist group still holds a few scattered pockets in Syria and Iraq, but has lost almost all its possessions in the two countries, where at its height it ruled over millions of people.
As when attacked in other parts of its self-declared “caliphate,” it used many booby traps as a tactic against its advancing foes. But in Raqqa many of the hidden bombs appear aimed at civilians.
“It is vicious to think they are deliberately planted to kill, to kill civilians, to kill people,” said Moumtzis.


Iran says it has executed Iranian agent linked to CIA

Updated 14 July 2020

Iran says it has executed Iranian agent linked to CIA

  • An official said Reza Asgari had linked up with the CIA during his last years serving at the defense ministry

Iran has executed a former defense ministry worker who sold information to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Iranian judiciary said on Tuesday.
Reza Asgari had linked up with the CIA during his last years serving at the defense ministry and sold the agency information about Iran’s missile program, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, quoted by its Mizan website.
He retired from the ministry four years ago. Esmaili said Asgari was executed last week.
Separately, Esmaili said a death sentence for Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, an Iranian accused of spying for US and Israeli intelligence, is among those still to be carried out. Last year, Iran announced it had captured 17 spies it said were working for the CIA.