Hundreds of civilians from Daraa displaced due to regime attacks

In this file photo, men inspect a damaged house in Busra Al-Harir town, near Deraa, Syria. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018

Hundreds of civilians from Daraa displaced due to regime attacks

BEIRUT: Hundreds of civilians from Daraa were displaced Thursday due to attacks carried out by the regime according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

More than 12,000 people have fled regime bombardment on rebel-held areas in Syria's southern province of Daraa in the past three days, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said. 

The civilians fleeing areas including Al-Herak and Basr Al-Harir were "heading to nearby villages under rebel control not affected by the bombardment near the Jordanian border" to the south.
The UN humanitarian coordination office reported that 2,500 people had fled one of these areas in the eastern countryside of the province as of Wednesday.

Opposition fighters control around two-thirds of Daraa but the regime holds a sliver of territory in the centre of the province, which borders Jordan.
The areas in eastern Daraa bombarded in recent days lie on a strip of land flanked by regime-held territory to the east and west.
State news agency SANA, using its customary term for rebels, said the army was shelling positions of "terrorists" in Al-Herak and Basr Al-Harir on Thursday, and had killed a number of them.
After a string of military victories against rebels earlier this year near Damascus, the regime has set its sights on retaking rebel-held areas of southern Syria - whether through negotiations or a military operation.
In an interview with Iran's Al-Alam television channel last week, Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad said contacts were ongoing between Russia, the US and Israel over the southern front.
Syria's war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.

Outspoken Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo arrested in Turkey

Updated 1 min 5 sec ago

Outspoken Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo arrested in Turkey

  • Tataloo was preparing to travel to the UK when he was detained, reportedly at the request of Iran
  • Fans and colleagues fear for much-loved musician’s safety if sent back to Iran

LONDON: Amir Tataloo, one of the most popular Iranians on social media and outspoken critic of the regime in Tehran, was arrested on Tuesday as he prepared to leave for the UK.

The rapper, whose real name is Amirhossein Maghsoodloo, was detained in Turkey where he had been living to pursue his career in music. Reports said the arrest was at Iran’s request.

Tataloo, who has performed for the BBC, is a long-standing opponent of Iran’s ruling mullahs and has denounced the establishment for not licencing his music, which Iran deems “Western, non-Iranian and immoral.”

He has been arrested in Iran multiple times for his lyrics, which spoke out against the government’s human rights abuses and restrictions on press freedom.

Iran International TV channel reported that Turkish authorities are currently working to facilitate Tataloo’s extradition to Iran, prompting fears for his safety from colleagues and fans.

A fan-made petition advocating for his release had already garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

The administrator of Tataloo’s social media accounts, known as Ronak, warned that “if Amir is handed over to Iranian police, it is unclear what is going to happen.”

She said: “Think you wake up today and think that from tomorrow you will go to a European country after years of pain… but instead they touch you and want to bring you back to the same country where your life has always been in danger.”

Tataloo has more than 3.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.25 million on Facebook.

The arrest comes at a time of heightened civil unrest within Iran, which has been wracked by months of anti-government protests.