Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

Syrian opposition politician George Sabra (C) takes part in a protest in front of Russian Consulate in Istanbul on Feb. 22, 2018 during a protest against the airstrikes and shelling by the Syrian government forces in Ghouta. (AFP)
Updated 22 February 2018

Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

ISTANBUL: Over 200 people on Thursday protested outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul against the deadly assault on Syria’s rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
More than 350 civilians have been killed in the five-day-old blitz by the Syrian regime led by President Bashar Assad in the rebel-held enclave near Damascus.
Regime supporter Russia has been accused of taking part in air strikes but the Kremlin denied involvement, on Wednesday calling the accusations “groundless.”
The demonstrators, most of them Syrians, chanted slogans against Damascus as well as Moscow and another regime supporter, Iran, an AFP correspondent said.
Others held placards saying “Russians, you are killing Ghouta’s children, but history records” and “Children are dying of hunger in under-siege Eastern Ghouta.”
Protesters called on the major powers to bring pressure to bear to “end the bloodbath.”
Over three million Syrian refugees live in Turkey including nearly 540,000 in Istanbul after fleeing the conflict which began with anti-government protests in 2011.
Now a multi-front war, Russia entered in September 2015, sending planes to back the Assad regime and turning the military situation around in Damascus’s favor.
Turkey, which has supported Syrian rebels in the conflict, has been working closely with Moscow and Tehran on a process to bring peace to Syria, despite occasional tensions.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Wednesday said Turkey condemned the attacks and “urged the Syrian regime to immediately put an end” to them.
“It is a crime against humanity. That is to say, killing innocent people in East Ghouta is unacceptable whatever the reason is,” Kalin said.


Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

  • President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases

JEDDAH: The official coronavirus death toll in Iran surged past 24,000 on Saturday as health chiefs admitted 90 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in hospital were dying.

Payam Tabarsi, head of infectious diseases at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran, said the number of emergency room patients had jumped from 68 a day to 200 in the past week. “People are queuing to be admitted,” he said, and if the trend continued, deaths from coronavirus could reach 600 a day within weeks.

Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Iran was slow to react to the first coronavirus cases in February, and is now battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak. Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.

Analysts both inside and outside Iran are skeptical of the official figures and believe the true level of infections and deaths is far higher. President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases.

“Today, the Health Ministry gave a worrying report,” he said on Saturday. “The public’s observance, which was 82 percent in earlier weeks, has fallen to 62 percent.”

FASTFACTS

  • Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118. •Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June. •551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. •Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’
  • Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.
  • 551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271.
  • Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia daily coronavirus case numbers have fallen to a five-month low after 551 new cases were reported on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. The death toll rose by 28 to 4,458. The last time the Kingdom recorded numbers in the 500s was April 15, when 518 cases were reported.

Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a “second wave” of the pandemic after the first outbreaks early in the year.

European countries from Denmark to Greece have announced new restrictions to curb surging infections in some of their largest cities, and Britain is considering new measures to tackle an “inevitable” second wave of COVID-19.

The UK has reported the fifth-largest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. “We are now seeing a second wave coming in ... it is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

England’s public health chief Yvonne Doyle said: “We’re seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading across all age groups and I am particularly worried by the increase … among older people. This could be a warning of far worse things to come.”