Iraq calls on Arab Summit to ‘take clear position’ on Syrian crisis

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi speaks during the Tokyo Conference on Supporting Job Creation and Vocational Training to Facilitate Weapons Reduction for Iraqi Society in Tokyo, Japan, April 5, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 14 April 2018

Iraq calls on Arab Summit to ‘take clear position’ on Syrian crisis

  • The 29th Arab League summit will be held in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Saturday called on Arab leaders to "take a clear position" about Syria at a summit planned in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Iraqi state television said, citing a foreign ministry statement.

The Iraqi foreign ministry also warned that Western air strikes Saturday on Syria were a "very dangerous" development that could fuel an extremist resurgence in the region.


A statement by foreign ministry spokesman Ahmad Mahjoub said the raids carried out by the United States, France and Britain were "a very dangerous development... that will provide an opportunity for the expansion of terrorism after it was destroyed in Iraq and largely pushed back in Syria". 


The Iraqi government declared victory over Daesh, which it considers a terrorist organisation, in December after pushing Daesh militants out of their final holdouts along the border with Syria.


But the group retains the capacity to strike despite losing control of vast swathes of Iraqi territory it seized in 2014 and still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria.

With agencies.


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • No PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers entering the country. It is a very big mistake

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.