Daesh abducts hundreds of civilians from Syrian refugee camps

The militants raided the displacement camp, taking “more than 100 families” including relatives of Daesh defectors and of militants killed in fighting. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2018

Daesh abducts hundreds of civilians from Syrian refugee camps

  • The Daesh militia took “more than 100 families” during a raid in a displacement camp in east Syria
  • A number of fighters of the Kurdish-led SDF died trying to defend the camp in a battle that lasted several hours

JEDDAH: Daesh militants have abducted hundreds of civilians after storming a displacement camp in eastern Syria during a battle with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Several SDF fighters died trying to defend the camp in a battle on Friday night that lasted several hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Daesh gunmen seized up to 130 families by force and took them to areas in the last pocket of territory they control in the region. The families are mostly made up of foreign women, including widows of Daesh members killed earlier in the Syrian war. The observatory warned that Daesh may kill them.

The US-backed SDF launched a major assault on Sept. 10 on the small stretch of the Euphrates Valley around the town of Hajin, where they estimate about 3,000 Daesh militants are holed up.

But they have sustained heavy casualties in the operation being conducted with US-led air support.

Since Wednesday, 37 SDF fighters have been killed in militant counterattacks and Daesh has lost 58 fighters, most of them in retaliatory coalition air strikes, the observatory said.

“Daesh is pressing its attacks in the Hajin area as the SDF battles to hold them off with the support of the international coalition,” observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

But a prolonged sandstorm has made it difficult for the coalition to carry out airstrikes.

Founded in 2015, the SDF is spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a powerful Kurdish armed movement.

Hundreds of foreigners have joined the YPG to battle Daesh, which has its own notorious contingent of foreign fighters.

Meanwhile the UN, Israel and Syria have reached an agreement to reopen the Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on Monday.

“The United States welcomes the reopening of this crossing, which will allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), with about 1,000 troops, was established in 1974 and monitors a cease-fire line separating Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan Heights from Syria.

UNDOF resumed its patrols in the area of the crossing point in August, after withdrawing in 2014 when Al-Qaeda-linked forces overran the area.

Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

Updated 1 min 36 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, other Middle East countries warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

  • Arab embassies called on citizens to take care while in Lebanon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Lebanon called on Saudi citizens to avoid places where protests are taking place in the country on Friday. 

The Kingdom’s embassy in Beirut advised its nationals to take care and to “stay away from places of protest,” Al-Ekhbariya news channel reported. 

Egypt’s embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA said.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to wait because of the current protests and unrest.

“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” the embassy said in its tweet.

Protesters across Lebanon blocked roads with burning tires on Friday and thousands marched in Beirut, calling on the government to resign over an economic crisis.