Syrian airstrikes intensify in northwest

Civil Defense men search for survivors in a collapsed building after a regime airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2019

Syrian airstrikes intensify in northwest

  • Unstopped regime bombardment of Idlib region causes more deaths

IDLIB, BEIRUT: Airstrikes targeted opposition-held cities in northwest Syria on Friday, a war monitor reported, widening bombardment of the last major insurgent enclave to areas that had mostly escaped it.
The strikes killed three people in Idlib and three in Maarat Al-Numan, two of the largest cities in the region, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Nine more people were killed elsewhere in the enclave, it said.
Another 45 civilians were wounded in the strikes across the opposition-held Idlib region, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Idlib city had been spared strikes by the regime and its Russian ally since they stepped up bombardment of the region more than two months ago.
“It’s the first time that the raids hit the center of Idlib, after being confined until now to its suburbs,” said Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in January took full administrative control of the Idlib region, home to 3 million people, although other militant groups and opposition factions are also present.
Russian and regime aircraft have ramped up strikes on Idlib since the end of April, killing more than 580 civilians. More than 100 fighters were killed in clashes between regime and opposition-led forces in northwest Syria, the monitor said on Thursday, as violence raged on the edge of an opposition bastion despite a September truce deal.
The UN said it had received reports that the strikes hit medical facilities and health care workers.


More than 100 fighters and regime troops were killed in clashes in Syria, as violence raged on the edge of an opposition bastion despite a truce deal.

Russian and regime aircraft have since late April ramped up the deadly bombardment of the Idlib region, despite a deal to avert a massive government assault.
Friday’s airstrikes hit residential buildings in one of the city’s largest squares, Sabaa Bahrat, an AFP photographer said. Ambulances were dispatched to the scene to tend to the victims, he added.
Meanwhile in neighboring Hama province, six children were wounded by opposition fire in the regime-held area of Karnaz.
Fierce clashes have raged in the northern sliver of Hama province in recent days, with at least 22 fighters killed on Friday, according to the Observatory.
At least 10 regime troops and a dozen militants and allied opposition fighters were killed in the battle near the village of Hamameyat and its strategic hilltop.
Regime forces retook the area in the north of Hama province overnight into Friday after relentless fighting, according to the Britain-based war monitor.
The recent uptick in violence has forced 330,000 people to flee their homes, according to the UN.

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.”


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.