France FM: Iran supplying weapons to Houthis in Yemen

France FM: Iran supplying weapons to Houthis in Yemen
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2018

France FM: Iran supplying weapons to Houthis in Yemen

France FM: Iran supplying weapons to Houthis in Yemen

PARIS: France on Thursday accused Iran of supplying weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen.
"There is a problem in Yemen, it is that the political process has not begun, that Saudi Arabia feels regularly attacked by the Huthis, who are themselves supplied with arms by Iran," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.
Iran has repeatedly denied arming the Houthis in Yemen, despite claims by the United States and Saudi Arabia that the evidence of an arms connection is irrefutable.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition on Monday said Iran was behind a barrage of Houthi missile attacks on the kingdom.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the missile attacks launched by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, saying they posed a threat to regional security.
Saudi forces on Sunday intercepted seven missiles fired by the Houthi militias toward cities in Saudi Arabia, including the capital Riyadh, killing one person.


Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
Updated 10 min 53 sec ago

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
  • With millions living in tents across country’s northwest, threat of COVID-19 is severe
  • $1.6m awarded by non-profit organization funded by UK, US, Canadian, Dutch governments

LONDON: Syria’s White Helmets, the civilian rescue group that recovers victims from rubble after airstrikes in the war-torn country, is now making personal protective equipment (PPE) to further its life-saving mission.
The civil defense service, which has worked to reduce the harm of indiscriminate shelling from the Assad regime, has received a $1.6 million award for the production of PPE from a non-profit organization funded by the UK, US, Canadian and Dutch governments.
Funds from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge group have led to the creation of a PPE-producing facility that has manufactured some 2 million masks.
It is also producing protective gowns and face shields — key equipment in the fight against COVID-19 — and handling the disposal of used PPE for northwest Syria’s population, who live in a precarious area that is predominantly out of the regime’s control. 
“The COVID-19 pandemic was the most difficult challenge the White Helmets faced in 2020,” said Munir Mustafa, its deputy general manager for humanitarian affairs.
“We witnessed the spread of the virus in north-western Syria among humanitarian workers and medical personnel, while the global pandemic made cross-borders logistics almost impossible.”
The White Helmets has enhanced community efforts to keep people safe from COVID-19 amid pressing security challenges.
“Our volunteers and fellow humanitarians, health care providers and other essential workers are safer now and can continue caring for Syrian civilians and responding to the pandemic,” Mustafa said.
The White Helmets, established in 2014, was originally formed for search-and-rescue efforts and to broaden the provision of first responders. It claims to have saved some 120,000 lives.
Its role has developed as challenges facing the Syrian people have grown. Violence in the country has demolished health care facilities, decimating communities and cutting off millions from crucial medical care. 
The bombing of civilian areas has forced many to flee to temporary refugee facilities that are often cramped and in poor condition.
With millions living in tents across the country’s northwest, the threat of COVID-19 is severe.
Around 500 cases of COVID-19 are being recorded per day in northwest Syria, but experts say the true number is much higher due to inadequate testing infrastructure.
The Humanitarian Grand Challenge said: “The White Helmets’ ability to manufacture and distribute personal protective equipment inside Syria will not only protect those working in the overwhelmed health system, but reduce the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable.”