UK urged to push for aid deliveries to northern Syria

At least 4 million people in northern Syria rely on aid brought through the country’s official border crossings. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 May 2020

UK urged to push for aid deliveries to northern Syria

  • At least 4 million people in northern Syria rely on aid brought through the country’s official border crossings, according to the UN
  • The WHO recently said fewer than two-thirds of Syria’s hospitals were operational

LONDON: The UK government has been warned that “unimaginable” and “catastrophic” damage could be caused if cross-border aid is not delivered to people in northern Syria as coronavirus is set to sweep the region.
Labour’s spokesperson for international development, Anna McMorrin MP, urged Downing Street to apply pressure on the UN Security Council to guarantee the delivery of aid, after the council voted in December to close half the official entry points to Syria.
In a letter to UK Secretary of State for International Development Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, McMorrin wrote: “The omission of UN Security Council support for the renewal of two crossings at Al-Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha, bordering Iraq and Jordan respectively, in north east Syria is already significantly (hindering) the ability of the UN, partners and humanitarian agencies to continue to provide aid to populations in need.”
She added: “Currently the only way the international community can take action to prepare, prevent and respond to COVID-19 is through cross-border aid ... Global leaders cannot allow the incubation of the virus, which threatens the lives of the most vulnerable and may also jeopardize the health of citizens at home if a second wave stemming from low-income and fragile nations is the result of our inaction.”
At least 4 million people in northern Syria rely on aid brought through the country’s official border crossings, according to the UN.
The World Health Organization recently said fewer than two-thirds of Syria’s hospitals were operational, and around 70 percent of all Syrian medical staff had fled the country, due to the civil war that has ravaged it for the past nine years.
Social distancing for internally displaced Syrians living in camps is all but impossible, while testing for COVID-19 is a hugely challenging enterprise, according to the Red Cross.
Medical and personal protection equipment destined for the embattled north, meanwhile, is regularly held up by the Syrian regime.


Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

Updated 02 July 2020

Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

  • Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday said France will return the remains of 24 resistance fighters who were killed during its colonization of the North African country.
“Within a few hours Algerian military planes will fly in from France and land at the Houari Boumediene international airport with the remains of 24 (members) of the popular resistance,” Tebboune said during a military ceremony.
Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century fighting against France which occupied and ruled Algeria for 132 years.
In his speech, Tebboune said these resistance fighters “had been deprived of their natural and human right to be buried for more than 170 years.”
One of the leaders whose remains are to be returned is Sheikh Bouzian, who was captured in 1849 by the French, shot and decapitated.
The remains of two other key figures of the resistance — Bou Amar Ben Kedida and Si Mokhtar Ben Kouider Al Titraoui — are also among those expected back in Algeria.
The country won independence from France in 1962 after eight years of bitter war that left some 1.5 million Algerians dead.
Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to be born after the war, made his first official visit to Algeria in December 2017, announcing that he came as a “friend” despite France’s historically prickly ties with its former colony.
At the time he told news website Tout sur l’Algerie that he was “ready” to see his country hand back the skulls of Algerian resistance fighters.
Algerian and French academics have long campaigned for the return of 37 skulls held at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris.
In December 2019, Macron said that “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for turning the page on the past.
During his presidential election campaign Macron had created a storm by calling France’s colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”