Two million in desperate need of humanitarian aid after Iran floods: Red Crescent

Heavy rainfall in eastern Iran since Saturday prompted authorities to renew flood warnings for large swathes of the country. (Reuters)
Updated 15 April 2019

Two million in desperate need of humanitarian aid after Iran floods: Red Crescent

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the government permission to use the National Development Fund
  • Since March, flash floods have been hitting the northern and western parts of Iran

TEHRAN: Two million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid after the devastating floods that have swamped many parts of Iran since March, the Red Crescent said on Monday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called the floods the "largest disaster to hit Iran in more than 15 years."

According to the IFRC, the floods have killed at least 78 people and injured more than 1,000 others.

Estimates put the number of people affected at 10 million across 2,000 cities and towns, with more than half a million displaced, it said.

"In all, more than 457,000 people have been reached by Red Crescent services," and emergency accommodation provided for 239,000 more.

Heavy rainfall in eastern Iran since Saturday prompted authorities to renew flood warnings for large swathes of the country, with local media reporting rivers bursting their banks and roads being swept away.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the government permission to use money from the National Development Fund should the country’s regular budget not meet the need.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani asked Khamenei to release $2 billion from the fund, which was established in 2000 and is used in emergency cases.

Flash floods have been hitting the northern and western parts of Iran, with damages estimated so far at more than $2.5 billion.

Officials said Sunday that 25 out of Iran's 31 provinces have been affected and more than 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles) of roads damaged.


Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 36 min 5 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”

 

 

A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.