UN: 100,000 people fled Syrian assault in past week

The village of Qaminas, about 6 kilometers southeast of Idlib city in north-western Syria on Feb. 9, following weeks of battles in the rebel-held Idlib region. (AFP)
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Updated 10 February 2020

UN: 100,000 people fled Syrian assault in past week

AMMAN: Nearly 700,000 civilians have been displaced by a renewed Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the rebel-held northwest since early December, including nearly 100,000 in the last week alone, the United Nations said on Monday.
Davis Swanson, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the situation was increasingly dire near the border with Turkey where over 400,000 people had already taken shelter from earlier anti-rebel offensives last year before the latest campaign.


Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

Updated 17 min 41 sec ago

Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

  • Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported its highest single-day toll of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 new infections, as the country struggles to cope with a surge in transmission.
Iran’s health ministry also reported that 322 people had died from the virus, pushing the death toll over 31,000. The new infection count on Tuesday eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week, shining a light on the nation’s floundering efforts to combat the virus.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks. Monday’s death toll shattered its previous single-day record, prompting state news outlets to declare it a “black day.”
Hospitals in the hard-hit capital of Tehran are overflowing. Last week, health officials announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for virus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants at vacation spots during recent national holidays, and after schools reopened for in-person instruction last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already devastated by unprecedented US sanctions. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now starting to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.