Turkey ‘appalled’ by US stance on Daesh withdrawal from Raqqa

Turkey on Tuesday said it was appalled by the approach of the US Department of Defense towards an agreement between the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and Daesh to withdraw Daesh militants from the Syrian city of Raqqa. Last month, a YPG militia spokesman said that Syrian Daesh fighters were set to abandon Raqqa in a withdrawal agreed with US-backed Syrian militias. On Sunday, a report by the BBC said some 4,000 Daesh militants, including hundreds of foreign nationals, had been evacuated from Raqqa as part of the agreement and spread across Syria and as far as Turkey. “Seeing that statements from the spokespeople of the international coalition against Daesh and the US Department of Defence have not denied the existence […]

Iran quake survivors complain of slow aid effort, battle freezing cold

Exhausted and exposed to freezing cold, survivors of a weekend earthquake in western Iran begged authorities for food and shelter on Tuesday, saying aid was slow to reach them. Iranian officials called off rescue operations earlier in the day on the grounds there was little chance of finding more survivors from the quake, which killed at least 530 people and injured thousands more. It was Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade. Survivors, many left homeless by Sunday’s 7.3 magnitude quake that struck villages and towns in Kermanshah province along the mountainous border with Iraq, struggled through another bleak day on Tuesday in need of food, water and shelter. Iran has so far declined offers of foreign assistance to […]

Libya’s detention of migrants is “inhuman,” says UN official

The European Union’s (EU) support for Libya’s Coast Guard which has resulted in thousands of migrants being detained in “horrific” conditions inside Libya is “inhuman,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zeid Ra’ad, said yesterday. “The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity,” Ra’ad, added in a statement. “The European Union’s policy of assisting the Libyan coastguard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean [is] inhuman,” he noted. Ra’ad stressed that “the international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and pretend that the situation can be remedied only by improving conditions in detention.” “The increasing interventions of the EU […]

Qatari investments in Tunisia reach $1bn

The value of the Qatari investments in Tunisia has reached $1 billion over the past three years, the Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Indistry, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Thani, announced today. Speaking at the Tunisian-Qatari Economic Forum, which is currently taking place in Qatar’s capital of Doha, Al-Thani said that the Qatari investments in Tunisia include the tourism, telecommunications and financial sectors. The economic forum, which was launched today with the participation of a large number of Qatari and 130 of the most prominent Tunisian businessmen, aims at strengthening the bilateral partnership between both countries and opening new horizons of cooperation so as to promote the trade volume between both countries. The Qatari official noted to the […]

Yemeni president heads to Germany for UN climate summit

Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi flew today to the German capital of Berlin to participate in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP23), Yemen’s official SABA News reported. Some 200 nations, including governments’ officials, businesses, investors, NGOs and civil society leaders, gather in COP23 to speed up climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The conference started on 6 November and will end on the 17th. Read More: Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen’s Sana’a airport out of service “Despite the tough circumstances our country has been struggling with, we are always very keen on participating in such international gatherings which are concerned with humankind welfare and global peace,” Abd Rabbo told reporters. In […]

Israel bans European ministers from entry due to BDS support

A European delegation was yesterday banned from visiting the occupied Palestinian territories because of its support for the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, the Times of Israel reported. Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri would not allow the 20-strong team, which includes French MPs and mayors and members of the European Parliament, to undergo a visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank on 19-23 November. The group was due to visit Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian prisoners who are being held in Israeli jails. Deri said that the EU officials would be refused entry if they landed in Israel, and that he would also notify them in advance in the hope that they will not make the […]

Iranian General leading anti-Daesh fight in Syria

The commander of the Quds Force affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, is directly supervising the military operations which aim at tightening control over the strategic city of Al-Bukamal located in the far east of Syria, sources have said. The sources stated that Soleimani had been in the Iraqi-Syrian border region for days, leading the military operations on the south-eastern side of Al-Bukamal. He is still there directly commanding the support operation of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, Fatemiyoun Division and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters. Read: ‘Israel will act in Syria according to its security needs,’ Netanyahu says Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, which support the Syrian Armed Forces in its operations to restore Al-Bukamal, set up a camp on […]

Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen’s Sana’a airport out of service

An air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition put Yemeni airport in the Houthi-controlled capital Sana’a out of service today, jeopardising relief shipments to a country on the brink of famine, the state news agency SABA reported. The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi movement said last week it had closed all air, land and seaports in Yemen to stem what it said was the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. Air raids destroyed radio navigation station for aircraft, civil aviation authorities told SABA, which is controlled by the Houthis. Air traffic in Sana’a’s airport is currently restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other international organisations. Read: Yemeni airline says not resumed commercial flights […]

The myth of an Israel-Saudi alliance

The Saudi decision to cause a political crisis in Lebanon by forcing Saad Hariri to resign his post as Lebanese prime minister has begun speculation of yet more dramatic events to unfold. Specifically, there are fears of a joint Saudi-Israeli effort to start a war in Lebanon. The argument rests on the case that Saudi and Israeli positions on regional events are now in greater alignment than ever before. The greatest point of alignment is on Syria, where Iran and its allies have emerged as the victors, at the expense of Israeli and Saudi strategic interests. More broadly, a more energetic Iranian regional policy following on the heels of Daesh’s defeat in Iraq and Syria, coupled with Iran’s growing influence […]

India takes part in first ever military drill with Israel

Indian troops took part in the first ever joint military exercise with their Israeli counterparts yesterday. Elite Indian pilots and rescue soldiers from the Garud Unit, which is said to be the equivalent of Israel’s 669 Unit, took part in the biannual Blue Flag drill at the Palmachim air base in central Israel.  Over 70 aircraft from seven countries took part, including India for the first time in its history. The military drill, which included over 1,000 personnel, was billed as having a “profound strategic meaning” said Col Itamar, commander of the Ovda base in Israel.  Holding the exercise in Israel, according to Ovada was a major diplomatic achievement. India’s decision to take part in the drill is another sign […]