Print this Page

What's New

Resources updated between Monday, October 14, 2019 and Sunday, October 20, 2019

October 18, 2019

Guinea armed forced (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Guinea government confirms nine people killed in political protests this week Document

UK Labour Party MP Louise Ellman. (courtesy)

After 55 years, UK Jewish MP quits Labour, condemns Corbyn, over antiSemitism Article

Turkish soldiers (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The burns on the screaming child brought into the Syrian-Kurdish hospital at Tal Tamir were enough to reduce even hardened medical staff to silence yesterday.

Yet the terrible wounds that had all but flayed the 13-year-old Mohammed Hamid Mohammed's skin from his torso, penetrating deep into his flesh, suggested his injuries were caused by something far worse than blast alone. They added to the growing body of evidence that suggests Turkey, a Nato member, is using white phosphorus against Kurdish civilians in its eight-day offensive into northern Syria.

In recent days Turkey had intensified its attack on the Kurdish held city of Ras al-Ain in the lead-up to the announcement of a 120-hour ceasefire deal brokered with Mike Pence, the US vice-president, last night. Its forces have repeatedly been accused of using white phosphorus in civilian areas. The boy suffered the burns after a Turkish airstrike on his town at midnight on Wednesday, according to his father.

"This very much looks like it was caused by white phosphorus," said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a British chemical weapons expert, after being shown photographs of the child's burns.

"In 24 hours I have been shown more photographs of these kinds of burn than at any recent stage in Syria's war. White phosphorus is a horrific weapon, which can be delivered by aircraft or artillery. It reacts to the moisture in the skin in a way that intensifies its burning, so that water cannot put it out."

Kurdish leaders have accused Turkey of using the chemical, which is banned for use on civilian targets by the Geneva and Chemical Weapons conventions.

Turkey is suspected of using white phosphorus Document

The election of Venezeula to the U.N. Human Rights Council at the U.N. General Assembly, October 17, 2019

Venezuela wins seat on U.N. Human Rights Council; U.S. brands it an 'embarrassment' Article

October 17, 2019

The car used in the terror attack (Photo courtesy of Israel Border Police)

A driver from East Jerusalem attempted to carry out a car-ramming attack against Israeli troops operating near Ramallah in the early hours of Thursday morning before he was shot and seriously injured, Border Police said in a statement.

There were no Israeli injuries reported.

In a statement, Border Police said the force had during the night raided the al-Am'ari refugee camp near Ramallah and arrested two wanted terror suspects.

As the troops were leaving the area, a car sped up to the officers' armored vehicle and collided with it "with the intention of running over the combat fighters," the statement said.

The troops then "identified the terrorist making a suspicious movement and holding a suspicious object in his hand that turned out to be a knife." They subsequently shot and subdued him.

The statement identified the alleged assailant as a 20-year-old resident of East Jerusalem. It quoted medical officials as saying he had been seriously injured and taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Prisoner Club, a Ramallah-based NGO, later identified the suspected assailant as Firas al-Halaq, 25, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

After the attempted ramming, Palestinians arrived at the scene and rioted, throwing rocks and firebombs at the troops, the Border Police statement added. The officers responded with riot control means, it said.

On Saturday, an Israeli military position in the West Bank came under fire from a passing vehicle. There were no reported injuries in that incident near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Earlier this month, an explosive device was detonated next to an IDF position near the town of Beit Ummar in the West Bank. A second device was discovered at the army post and was neutralized by sappers.

Terrorist driver tries to ram IDF troops in West Bank Document

October 16, 2019

Evin prison in Iran (File photo courtesy Ehsan Iran via Wikimedia Commons)

Iran Holding Second French Researcher Document

October 14, 2019

An airplane belonging to the Turkish Air Force (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people - including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

France 24 reported that at least one journalist was also among the dead, while two French reporters were also injured in the attack. The nationality of the slain journalist was not immediately confirmed.

French reporter Stephanie Perez said on Twitter that she as on the convoy with Kurdish civilians when the airstrikes hit.

"Our team is fine but some colleagues are dead," she wrote in French.

Hawar News confirmed that one of their journalists was killed in the airstrike, while the northern Syria-based North Press Agency (NPA) reported one of its journalists - named by the agency as Delsoz Yousef - was among the injured.

Images of the attack showed bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.

The airstrikes came hours after President Trump ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict. The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria's Kurds after they were abandoned by the U.S., with whom they were longtime partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said it would deploy troops along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend of Turkey's invasion of northern Syria, the Kurds said.

The dizzying developments reflected the rapidly growing chaos that has unfolded in the week since Trump ordered U.S. forces in the region to step aside, clearing the way for the Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.

"We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

The Turkish military has said it aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters' presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

A Syrian Kurdish official and a war monitor also said Syrian government forces were poised to enter Kurdish-controlled towns from which U.S. troops are pulling out, following a deal reached through Russia.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. U.S. troops were deployed in the towns after they were cleared of Islamic State militants in 2015.

The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its Russian allies for support.

The Syrian troop movements raise the risk of a clash between Syria and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out any mediation in the dispute with the Kurds, saying Turkey won't negotiate with "terrorists." NATO member Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to the Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The United Nations said more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began last week. Turkey said 440 Kurdish fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF said 56 of its fighters have died. Turkey also said four of its soldiers were killed, along with 16 allied Syrian fighters.

Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Document