Syrian boy survives regime bombing that killed his mother, siblings

A wounded Syrian boy is pictured inside an ambulance following a reported air strike by regime forces and their allies on Maaret al-Noman in Syria's southwestern Idlib province on May 30, 2019. (AFP / Abdulaziz Ketaz)
Updated 31 May 2019

Syrian boy survives regime bombing that killed his mother, siblings

  • Volunteers from the White Helmets group pulled away at cement blocks to reach the lifeless body of a young boy
  • The Syrian regime escalated its offensive on the opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria. Bombs and shells rained on the crowded enclave, sending tens of thousands of civilians fleeing to safer areas in the north

BEIRUT/NEW YORK: Syrian regime warplanes dropped bombs on a residential building in the last opposition’s stronghold on Thursday, pancaking it and killing at least five people, including a mother and her two children, rescue workers and activists said.

Video shot by the Syrian Civil Defense showed volunteers working to pull bodies and survivors from under the collapsed building in Maaret Al-Numan, a town in southern Idlib that was hit in the airstrike.

The volunteers from the group also known as White Helmets pulled away at cement blocks to reach the lifeless body of a young boy. 

His father, standing behind the camera, wept, repeating his son’s name, Abboudi, as rescuers mulled how to lift the heavy structure. A large bulldozer stood nearby.

Amid the frenzy, a younger boy emerged from a gap in the rubble with swollen red eyes, dusty hair and body, his shirt barely hanging on his body. Rescuers cheered. It was Abboudi’s younger brother.

The mother and another sibling, a girl, were also killed in the bombing. Activist-operated Baladi News agency also reported that five people were killed.

Syria’s regime escalated its offensive on the opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria, home to 3 million people. Bombs and shells rained on the crowded enclave, sending tens of thousands of civilians fleeing to safer areas in the north.

The UN has warned its humanitarian operations in the region are at risk. The US envoy for Syria says top US and Russian diplomats have discussed the step-by-step implementation of a 2012 roadmap to UN-supervised elections in the war-torn country that could allow a Syrian government “to move back into the international community.”

Ambassador James Jeffrey’s comments indicate a new US-Russian engagement on efforts to end the eight-year Syrian war.

But Jeffrey cautioned that “this is just a potential way forward” because there have been no steps such as a cease-fire in the last opposition-held stronghold in Idlib or the convening of a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria.

Jeffrey told reporters after a closed Security Council meeting Wednesday that such steps “would give us confidence that the Assad regime actually understands what it must do to help end this conflict.”


Royal pardon for Moroccan journalist jailed for abortion

Updated 16 October 2019

Royal pardon for Moroccan journalist jailed for abortion

  • The case of Raissouni outraged rights activists
  • She was convicted last month of having extramarital sex and an abortion

RABAT: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has pardoned Hajjar Raissouni, a journalist convicted last month of having extramarital sex and an abortion, along with her fiance, a doctor and two of his colleagues, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.
The case of Raissouni, who had denied the charges against her, outraged rights activists who said she had been targeted for her work for a newspaper that has criticized the state, and because she is the niece of a prominent Islamist.