Thousands of Palestinian women rally on Gaza-Israel border

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Palestinian women protesters run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Gaza City. (AP)
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A Palestinian protester woman suffers from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Gaza City. (AP)
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A Palestinian man carries away an injured woman during a demonstration by Palestinian women along the border with Israel east of Gaza City. (AFP)
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Palestinian women wearing clothes to represent coffins while marching toward the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, during a protest east of Gaza City. The Arabic reads ” A Nation without Jerusalem, a nation without hearty.” (AP)
Updated 04 July 2018

Thousands of Palestinian women rally on Gaza-Israel border

GAZA CITY: Thousands of Palestinian women demonstrated Tuesday along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel, their first mass mobilization since protests erupted on the border three months ago.
Since the end of March, Gazans have been demonstrating along the heavily guarded frontier in protest at Israel’s decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of the Palestinians’ right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.
On Tuesday, women arrived in buses from across the enclave, many accompanied by their children, AFP correspondents said.
They moved in groups to within 50 meters (yards) of the fence that divides the Gaza Strip from Israeli territory, they reported.
Seventeen people were wounded by Israeli gunfire, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qodra told AFP.
“I came to finish the march that my daughter had started,” Rim Abu Irmana said, waving a picture of her 15-year-old daughter, Wasal, who was killed by Israeli gunfire on May 14.
“These demonstrations are peaceful. We are only defending our land and our rights,” added the 43-year-old, holding the hand of her young son.
Since the protests and clashes broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, at least 138 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
The majority were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.
No Israelis have been killed.
The demonstrations peaked when at least 62 Palestinians were killed as thousands approached the border fence in protest at the US decision to move its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem on May 14.
Israel insists the whole of Jerusalem is its “eternal indivisible capital” but the Palestinians claim the eastern sector, which Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed, as the capital of their future state.


Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.