Northwest Syria fighting damages schools, health facilities

A man stands in front of a building that was damaged during an air strike by the Syrian government forces in town of Kafr Aweid, in the rebel-controlled region of Idlib on May 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2019
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Northwest Syria fighting damages schools, health facilities

  • First responders said dozens of air raids and barrel bombs were dropped on villages and towns south of Idlib, killing at least eight civilians
  • Rights groups say that since the offensive was launched in late April, government strikes have hit at least 18 health facilities, including five identified to the government through the UN

BEIRUT: Bombings by Syrian government forces damaged two schools and a health facility in the rebels’ last stronghold in the northwest, activists said Thursday, after insurgents successfully hit a power station in a government-held town.
Fighting has raged in the last 48 hours in the region, where insurgents launched a counteroffensive earlier this month, trying to regain territory lost to government forces. The area is among the last controlled by anti-government rebels in Syria’s eight-year civil war.
Activists and rescue workers said the government retaliated with an intense air bombing campaign. First responders said dozens of air raids and barrel bombs were dropped on villages and towns south of Idlib, killing at least eight civilians.
Syrian insurgents had recaptured Kfar Nabudah from government forces on Wednesday, two weeks after troops entered it at the start of a ground offensive against the rebels’ stronghold.
Naji Al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the rebel fighters, said the government is carrying out a “revenge campaign for its defeat” in Kfar Nabudah.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ground clashes have subsided but government warplanes carried out more than 60 raids on various parts of southern Idlib, part of the rebel stronghold that spans the province and nearby Hama.
One of the raids knocked out a health facility in Kfar Oweid village, the Observatory said.
Rights groups say that since the offensive was launched in late April, government strikes have hit at least 18 health facilities, including five identified to the government through the United Nations. Some of the facilities were targeted twice.
The White Helmets, a team of first responders, said the raids also targeted two schools in Kfar Nubul and burned crops on several farms.
Syrian Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutly said Thursday that Al-Zara power station in Hama province was back online and linked up to the national grid.
Station manager Mostafa Shantout said a drone operated by insurgents dropped a number of bombs late Wednesday on the station, causing huge damage. He didn’t elaborate. The comments by both officials were carried by the official state news agency SANA.
Al-Mustafa denied the fighters targeted the power station. He said the rebels have shelled Hama military airport because it is used to attack their stronghold.


Jordan king says Israeli annexation would be a disaster

Updated 18 September 2019

Jordan king says Israeli annexation would be a disaster

  • Abdullah said “we’re looking on this with tremendous concern.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Tuesday that if Israel went ahead with the idea of annexing all the settlements in the West Bank it would be a “disaster” for attempts to find any two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Abdullah said he was “extremely concerned” about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to annex all the West Bank settlements.

He said it will “directly impact” the relationship between Israel and Jordan, and Israel and Egypt, and that “these types of statements are ... a disaster to any attempt to move forward to the two-state solution.”

Merkel agreed, calling Netanyahu’s vow “unhelpful.” The German government backs an internationally negotiated peace solution in the sense of a two state solution ... annexations are always detrimental to peace solutions. They do not help and therefore we do not agree, said Merkel

Abdullah said “we’re looking on this with tremendous concern.”

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Netanyahu’s career was on the line on Tuesday as Israel held its second national election this year, with voters deciding whether to give him another term in office despite a likely indictment on corruption charges.

The longest serving leader in Israeli history was seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and fifth overall. 

But he faced a stiff challenge from retired military chief Benny Gantz, whose centrist Blue and White party is running even with Netanyahu’s Likud. 

Both parties could struggle to form a majority coalition with smaller allies, though, forcing them into a potential unity government.