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Tag Archive: Damascus


Syrian govt and opposition accuse each other of ‘deadly chlorine attack’

Published time: April 13, 2014 03:35
Edited time: April 13, 2014 11:27

Still from YouTube video/Kafrzita

Still from YouTube video/Kafrzita

Syrian state channels say that Nusra Front radicals are behind a chemical attack that has killed two and injured more than 100 people in a village in central Syria, on Friday. The opposition insists the injuries were caused by government’s bombardment.

State-run Syrian television blamed members of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front for using chlorine gas in an attack on Syrian village that killed at least two people. It did not say how it confirmed chlorine was used. According to the report the Islamist group had planned two more chemical strikes on civilian targets.

Earlier on Saturday, videos showing a field hospital in Kfar Zeita – about 200 km north of Damascus and on the frontline of intense fighting – were uploaded by opposition activists. The pictures showed obviously weakened civilians, including small children, breathing through oxygen masks, as medical personnel attended to them.

 

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VOA News

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 citizen journalism file image shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile that is likely to contain chemicals, according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria.FILE – This Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 citizen journalism file image shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile that is likely to contain chemicals, according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria.

The Syrian government, rebel forces and a rights group say poison gas has injured several people in a central village. The government and rebels are blaming each other for the incident.

The Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that government air raids resulted in dozens of injuries and a gas release on Friday in the village of Kfar Zeita.

State-run Syrian television on Saturday blamed members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front for using chlorine gas at Kfar Zeita, which it says killed two people.

 

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SFGate

Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

Updated 2:06 am, Sunday, April 13, 2014

BEIRUT (AP) — Both sides in Syria’s bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.

What exactly happened Friday in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Damascus, remains unclear and likely won’t be known for some time. It took United Nations weapons inspectors months to say it was likely some chemical weapons attacks happened last year, including an August attack that killed hundreds and nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar Assad‘s forces.

But online videos posted by rebel activists from Kfar Zeita echoed earlier images that sparked a world outcry, showing pale-faced men, women and children gasping for breath at a field hospital. They suggest an affliction by some kind of poison — and yet another clouded incident where both sides blame each other in a conflict that activists say has killed more than 150,000 people with no end in sight.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said the poison gas attack hurt dozens of people, though it did not identify the gas used.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that relies on a network of on-the-ground volunteers, said the gas attack happened during air raids that left heavy smoke over the area. It reported that people suffered from suffocation and breathing problems after the attack, but gave no further details.

State-run Syrian television blamed members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front rebel group for the attack, saying they used chlorine gas to kill two people and injure more than 100. It did not say how it confirmed chlorine was used.

Chlorine, one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the U.S., is used to purify drinking water. But as a gas, it can be deadly, with the German army using it in warfare in World War I. The Geneva Protocol of 1925, which Syria signed, banned its use in battle.

The TV report also claimed the Nusra Front is preparing for another chemical attack against the Wadi Deif area in the northern province of Idlib, as well as another area in Hama. The government station did not explain how it knew the Nusra Front’s plans.

Activists in the village could not be reached Saturday.

 

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Huge crowd of Palestinians is photographed waiting for aid in Yarmouk, which has been under blockade for month

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Yarmouk refugee camp

Refugees queue for food parcels in Yarmouk. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

 

 

It is a vision of unimaginable desolation: a crowd of men, women and children stretching as far as the eye can see into the war-devastated landscape of Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.

A photograph released on Wednesday by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, shows the scene when thousands of desperate Palestinians trapped inside the camp on the edge of the Syrian capital emerged to besiege aid workers attempting to distribute food parcels.

More than 18,000 people are existing under blockade inside Yarmouk, enduring acute shortages of food, medicines and other essentials. Much of the camp has been destroyed by shelling, and attempts to deliver aid to those inside have been hampered by continued fighting in Syria‘s three-year-old civil war.

United Nations workers have delivered about 7,000 food parcels over recent weeks, following negotiations between the Syrian government, rebel forces and Palestinian factions within the camp. The most recent delivery, of 450 parcels, was on Wednesday. The UN acknowledges that the level of aid is a “drop in the ocean”.

Yarmouk has been cut off since last July. Many residents are now weak and severely malnourished, as well as being exposed to the risk of disease, or death and injury from fighting.

Filippo Grandi, the head of UNRWA, described the camp as a ghost town after visiting this week. “The devastation is unbelievable. There is not one single building that I have seen that is not an empty shell by now. They’re all blackened by smoke,” he told reporters.

He said he was even more shocked by the camp’s residents, who flooded towards aid distribution points. “It’s like the appearance of ghosts. These are people who have not been out of there, that have been trapped in there not only without food, medicines, clean water – all the basics – but also probably completely subjected to fear because there was fierce fighting … They can hardly speak. I tried to speak to many of them, and they all tell the same stories of complete deprivation.”

 

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UN chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by refugee camp in Syria

The chief of the UN relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees said he is “deeply disturbed and shaken” by the despair and destruction he had seen in a besieged camp in the Syrian capital.

The Yarmouk refugee camp, located in southern Damascus, is an opposition enclave under the tight blockade of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 as a result of starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid, according to UN figures.

Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of UNRWA, was visiting Yarmouk as the relief agency resumed food distribution there. Shipments to the camp have been disrupted for months, sometimes cut off for weeks at a time, and Yarmouk has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine.

“I am deeply disturbed and shaken by what I observed,” Grandi said. Palestinian refugees to whom he spoke in Yarmouk were “traumatised by what they have lived through.”

The extent of damage to the refugees’ homes was shocking, he also said, adding that many Palestinians in Yarmouk need immediate support, particularly food and medical treatment.

Yarmouk is the largest of nine Palestinian camps in Syria. Since the camp’s creation in 1957, it has evolved into a densely populated residential district just five miles from the centre of Damascus. Several generations of Palestinian refugees have lived there.

 

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Palestinians in Syrian camp are ‘traumatized’

 

More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013, some of starvation

 

    • ap
    • Published: 16:25 February 25, 2014
    • Gulf News

 

 

Damascus: The chief of the United Nations relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday he is “deeply disturbed and shaken” by the despair and destruction he’d seen in a besieged camp in the Syrian capital.

 

The Yarmouk refugee camp, located in southern Damascus, is an opposition enclave under the tight blockade of forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad. More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 as a result of starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid, according to UN figures.

 

Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, was visiting Yarmouk as the relief agency resumed food distribution there. UNRWA shipments to the camp have been disrupted for months, sometimes cut off for weeks at a time, and Yarmouk has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine.

 

“I am deeply disturbed and shaken by what I observed,” Grandi said in a statement. Palestinian refugees to whom he spoke in Yarmouk Monday were “traumatized by what they have lived through.”

 

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WAR REPORT


by Staff Writers
Damascus (AFP) Feb 07, 2014

Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, said on Friday that Damascus will take part in a second round of peace talks in Geneva due to start on February 10.

“It has been decided that the delegation of the Syrian republic will take part in the second round of negotiations in Geneva,” state news agency SANA quoted Muqdad as saying.

“The Syrian delegation wishes to pursue the efforts it deployed during the first round in Geneva, and insists that the discussions focus on all clauses in the Geneva I communique, beginning with the first clause,” he said.

Ten days of talks in Switzerland last month between government and opposition delegations yielded no tangible results, and Damascus had said it was unsure whether it would return to the negotiating table.

Despite persistent pressure from UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, and cosponsors Russia and the United States, the two sides failed to agree on a single point.

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AFP
Syrians search for survivors amidst the rubble following an airstrike in Aleppo, on December 17, 2013

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Syrians search for survivors amidst the rubble following an airstrike in Aleppo, on December 17, 2013 (AFP Photo/Mohammed al-Khatieb)

Beirut (AFP) – Syria’s air force struck rebel-held areas around Damascus and Aleppo Saturday, a monitoring group said, as face-to-face peace talks tentatively began in Switzerland.

The meeting in Geneva came after months of intense diplomacy aimed at bringing the two warring sides together, but the intense violence on the ground underscored the challenges ahead in trying to end the nearly three-year civil war.

Government warplanes fired rockets at Qadam in southern Damascus and Talfita to its north, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group with a network of sources inside the war-torn country.

Helicopters meanwhile struck Daraya, southwest of Damascus, using TNT-laden barrels, the group added.

Rebels battled troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on the frontlines surrounding several Damascus areas, including the besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, it said.

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Dramatic moment men pull baby from rubble after frantically digging with their bare hands after he was buried by Syrian bomb

  • A YouTube video emerged showing a toddler being dug out of rubble
  • He had been completely buried following air strikes in Aleppo
  • The eight-minute clip shows men digging with their bare hands to save him

By Ted Thornhill

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A toddler completely buried by rubble following air strikes in Syria has miraculously been pulled out alive by men who used their bare hands to reach him.

Incredible footage surfaced on YouTube on Friday of a group of men in rebel-held Aleppo frantically digging through pulverised rock and dust to reach the young boy.

It’s not until near the two-minute mark of the eight-minute-long footage, uploaded by Syrian rebels, that the boy is first glimpsed.

Scroll down for video

Miraculous: A toddler was pulled alive from rubble after being buried following an air strike in Aleppo, Syria

Miraculous: A toddler was pulled alive from rubble after being buried following an air strike in Aleppo, Syria

Determined: A group of men dug with their bare hands to reach the young boy

Determined: A group of men dug with their bare hands to reach the young boy

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Dramatic moment men pull baby from rubble after she was buried by Syrian bomb

FlashNews FlashNews

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Op-Ed: New evidence shows US intelligence on Syrian sarin attack faulty

 

By Ken Hanly

Jan 16, 2014
Damascus – U.S. technical intelligence on the Damascus sarin attack of August 21, 2013 appears flawed as new analysis of the rocket said to have delivered the gas in a main attack has too short a range to have been fired from government positions as the U.S. claims.
There have long been questions about the intelligence used to make the case that the Assad regime carried out the attack, and no very plausible motive for Assad to mount the attack has ever been offered. Some claim that the attack was the result of frustration by Assad forces at their inability to dislodge the opposition from the areas attacked. However, there were UN inspectors in Damascus at the time and a gas attack had been a red line for U.S. intervention. The largest attack on the night in question was delivered by a rocket whose range was too limited to have been fired from Syrian government positions from which the Obama administration has insisted they originated. The rocket had long been recognized as improvised and not one that some intelligence operatives believed was part of the Syrian armaments. Neither was such a weapon declared as part of its arsenal or uncovered by OPCW inspectors. It is possible that Syria deliberately left such rockets out of its declaration in order not to be tied to the event. Even if this were so, it does not explain why the U.S. continues to insist that the rocket was launched from positions that lie beyond the rocket’s range!

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New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims

McClatchy Foreign StaffJanuary 15, 2014

Mideast Syria

This image provided by Shaam News Network on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting. It purports to show bodies of victims of an attack on Ghouta, Syria

UNCREDITED — AP

— A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.

A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

Separately, international weapons experts are puzzling over why the rocket in question – an improvised 330mm to 350mm rocket equipped with a large receptacle on its nose to hold chemicals – reportedly did not appear in the Syrian government’s declaration of its arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and apparently was not uncovered by OPCW inspectors who believe they’ve destroyed Syria’s ability to deliver a chemical attack.

Neither development proves decisively that Syrian government forces did not fire the chemicals that killed hundreds of Syrians in the early morning hours of Aug. 21. U.S. officials continue to insist that the case for Syrian government responsibility for the attack in East Ghouta is stronger than any suggestion of rebel involvement, while experts say it is possible Syria left the rockets out of its chemical weapons declaration simply to make certain it could not be tied to the attack.

“That failure to declare can mean different things,” said Ralf Trapp, an original member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a former secretary of the group’s scientific advisory board. “It can mean the Syrian government doesn’t have them, or that they are hiding them.”

In Washington, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said its assertion of Syrian government responsibility remains unchanged.

“The body of information used to make the assessment regarding the August 21 attack included intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition. That assessment made clear that the opposition had not used chemical weapons in Syria,” it said Wednesday in an email.

But the authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.

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Eretz Zen Eretz Zen

 

Published on Oct 28, 2013

As the human cost of the spiraling Syrian conflict mounts, civilians are being increasingly caught up in the fighting. Some are now facing no other choice than to enlist in the military and head to the front line. One Syrian mother who has taken the safety of her children into her own hands is featured in this RT report.

Source: RT

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DAHBOO77

Published on Oct 23, 2013

https://twitter.com/rinasyria/status/…

http://world.time.com/2013/10/23/stat…

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_10…

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Deadly car bomb hits Damascus checkpoint after widespread blackout in Syria

Deadly car bomb hits Damascus checkpoint after widespread blackout in Syria

A car bomb hit a checkpoint in a western suburb of Damascus on Wednesday, causing multiple casualties among the troops manning it, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The bombing in the Dumar suburb came as much of Syria was plunged into darkness after a rebel attack on a gas pipeline near the capital knocked out power.

“Our activist in the area saw bodies on the ground,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Explosion near airport in Damascus is followed by southern Syria blackout

An attack by rebels near Damascus has caused a power outage across Syria, state news agency SANA quoted the electricity minister as saying.

“A terrorist attack on a gas pipeline that feeds a power station in the south has led to a power outage in the provinces, and work to repair it is in progress,” Emad Khamis said.

“The whole city just went dark,” said a resident who lives in the centre of the city and asked to remain anonymous. She said that she could see the “major glow of a fire” near the airport and the sound of heavy machinegun fire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on abuses and battlefield developments using sources from both sides of Syria’s civil war, said the explosion was caused by rebel artillery that hit a gas pipeline near the airport. It was not immediately clear why power was cut to the city.

The Observatory said the rebel shelling was aimed at the town of Ghasula, a few miles (km) from the airport.

Rebels have been trying to push into the capital, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for four decades.

More than 100,000 people have been killed during a pro-democracy uprising which started in March 2011.

Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters

 

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Rebels blast gas pipeline near Damascus causing southern Syria blackout

 

Published time: October 23, 2013 19:24
Edited time: October 23, 2013 22:37

A gas pipeline was attacked near Damascus causing the capital and the southern part of Syria to suffer a blackout. The electricity minister blamed the blast on rebels.

“A terrorist attack on a gas pipeline that feeds a power station in the south has led to a power outage in the provinces, and work to repair it is in progress,” electricity minister Emad Khamis told SANA news agency.

As the pipeline is located near Damascus International Airport, which is some 20 km away from the capital, a power outage also hit Damascus.

RT’s Arabic correspondent in Syria Abutalib Albouhaya has confirmed the power was out in the capital after the gas supply to Tashrin power plant was cut. Albouhaya also said there were several victims near a church in Dummar suburb of Damascus with gunfights going on in Qaboun and Mleha suburbs as well.

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  • Muslims around the world are marking the Eid al-Adha holiday
  • Syrian children in the capital are going hungry, activists and medics say
  • Food has all but run out and doctors lack the means to treat their patients

By Jill Reilly

|

A cleric has issued a fatwa allowing starving people in Syria to eat cats and dogs.

As Muslims around the world mark the Eid al-Adha holiday, sharing festive meals, children trapped in besieged areas around the Syrian capital are going hungry, activists and medics say.

‘We issued a religious edict allowing people to eat dog and cat meat. Not because it is religiously permitted, but because it is a reflection of the reality we are suffering,’ said Sheikh Saleh al-Khatib, who has been on hunger strike for nine days.

‘People here have nothing for their children. I am on strike because I want to help save food for others.’

Hunger

Hunger: A boy eats maize as people shop ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha in Aleppo

Rubble: A girl pushes plastic containers of water past rubble and damaged buildings in Homs

Rubble: A girl pushes plastic containers of water past rubble and damaged buildings in Homs

Hard life: Children play with plastic guns in Aleppo

Hard life: Children play with plastic guns in Aleppo

In some areas children have died from severe malnutrition, according to one NGO.

For Muslims, Eid is a time for children to receive new clothes and play with friends after sharing a festive meal with their families.

But in a string of rebel-held areas under a months-long army siege south and east of Damascus, activists say food has all but run out and doctors lack the means to treat their patients.

‘Of course there is no Eid for the children here’ in Moadamiyet al-Sham, a suburb southwest of Damascus, said activist Abu Malek.

‘For them, Eid will come when they see a plate of rice and bulgur,’ he added, speaking to AFP via the Internet.

Residents of Moadamiyet al-Sham are surviving on herbs and vegetables they have planted.

Shelling: A Syrian girl blows a balloon beside ruins her family fled to in fear of shelling in Jabal Al-Zawiya near Idlib

Shelling: A Syrian girl blows a balloon beside ruins her family fled to in fear of shelling in Jabal Al-Zawiya near Idlib

Supplies:

Supplies: In a string of rebel-held areas under a months-long army siege south and east of Damascus, activists say food has all but run out and doctors lack the means to treat their patients

‘We no longer have any food in the stockpiles. Everyone is planting in the orchards and the streets,’ said activist Abu Hadi, adding that no bread had entered the area for months.

But harvesting the food is dangerous, ‘and people have died in the orchards because of the shelling’, he said.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said many children in Moadamiyet al-Sham were malnourished.

‘Children are worst off because they need the right kinds of food in order to grow. Adults can survive on whatever they can find, but what about the children?’

The army says ‘terrorists,’ its term for the rebels, have trapped civilians against their will.

But activists accuse the military of using the siege to try to turn people against the rebels.

‘It is a war crime to besiege civilians,’ Abdel Rahman said.

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Syria : Dead cats, dogs & donkeys to be eaten to avoid starvation

BreakingNewsArchive BreakingNewsArchive

Published on Oct 16, 2013

A group of Muslim clerics in Syria have issued a fatwa, a religious ruling, permitting people living in the besieged outskirts of Damascus to eat cats, dogs and donkeys to stave off the threat of starvation.

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Eretz Zen Eretz Zen

Part 1

Published on Oct 4, 2013

Christian nun, Mother Agnes Mariam, who heads the convent of St. Jacob in the Damascus countryside, has collected evidence of fabrication based on the 13 videos that the US administration used to blame the chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta on August 21, 2013 on the Syrian government. This evidence is discussed with al-Jadeed TV in Lebanon, as it relates to the unusually large number of parentless and unknown children that were victims of the attack in conjunction with the shifting of locations where the suffocating children were filmed within a short period of time.

Source: al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon)
Part 2: http://youtu.be/mLc65lK-sxk

Part 2

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cip1883

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