News from 11/2016

30 November 2016

Water supply cut off for half of Iraq’s Mosul

Almost 650,000 people in Mosul left without water after pipeline was hit during fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIL.

Fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIL fighters has cut water supplies across a large part of Mosul, affecting 40 percent of residents in the city where poorer families are already struggling to feed themselves.

Water was cut to 650,000 people when a pipeline was hit during fighting between ISIL and the Iraqi government forces trying to crush them in their northern Iraq stronghold.

"We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe," said Hussam al-Abar, member of Mosul's Nineveh…Read

16,000 civilians flee government advance

Government forces stepped up their offensive two weeks ago and broke through the rebel lines on Saturday. By Monday, they had recaptured the entire northern half of the rebel enclave. "It's something that can't be imagined," Ahmad Aziz, a resident of a rebel-held area told the BBC. "We are witnessing the worst days ever. We can't move and see each other because of crazy shelling."


US: Air strikes killing dozens of Syrian troops legal

Pentagon investigation shows US-led coalition bombed Syrian army loyalists after mistaking them for ISIL fighters.

An investigation has found air strikes by the US-led coalition that reportedly killed dozens of troops fighting for the Syrian government did not violate international law, the US military said.

The targets of the strikes near the Syrian city of Deir Az Zor were misidentified as ISIL fighters on September 17, but they turned out to be loyalists of the Syrian army, the US Air Forces Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday.…Read

29 November 2016

How much longer can east Aleppo hold out?

With hospitals destroyed, winter weather setting in and food running low, people in east Aleppo are running out of time. Dylan Collins & Zouhir Al Shimale

Hamza Abduljabbar's gnarled hands wipe the dust off the dashboard of his white Isuzu minibus.

Back hunched from decades sitting behind the wheel, Abduljabbar still wakes up each morning at 6am to check on his vehicle - the windows of which have long since been blown out by nearby air strikes - when his rounds of east Aleppo's Fardous neighbourhood would normally have begun.


28 November 2016

Syria war: Thousands uprooted from rebel-held east Aleppo

Thousands of civilians have left rebel-held eastern Aleppo districts, as the Syrian army continues its offensive to take full control over the city. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said as many as 10,000 residents fled to government-controlled western areas and a Kurdish-run northern district. Syrian state media put the number at more than 1,500, while Russia said that 2,500 civilians had left.


27 November 2016

Syria army captures rebel-held Hanano area in Aleppo

Government forces capture largest rebel-held district of Aleppo as rebels admit to a collapsing frontline.

An official from Jabha Shamiya, one of the biggest groups fighting against Assad in northern Syria, told Reuters news agency: "The revolutionaries are fighting fiercely but the volume of bombardments and the intensity of the battles, the dead and the wounded, and the lack of hospitals, are all playing a role in the collapse of these frontlines."

Members of Jabha Shamiya have taken part in the fighting in Hanano.

He condemned the "international silence" and said…Read

26 November 2016

Fleeing Aleppo civilians forced back by gunfire

Families attempt to escape besieged east Aleppo but forced back by attacks as government forces continue to advance.

Dozens of civilians tried to flee rebel-held east Aleppo but were forced to retreat by gunfire, as the Syrian army and its allied militias on Wednesday pressed on with an offensive to recapture the whole city.

The government last week resumed its push to retake the east, where more than 250,000 civilians have been trapped under siege for months, with dwindling food and fuel supplies.


25 November 2016

Rescue workers say Aleppo residents only ‘10 days away from starvation’

The inhabitants of besieged eastern Aleppo have fewer than 10 days to receive aid or face starvation and death from a lack of medical supplies, according to the head of the Syria Civil Defence, or White Helmets.Anti-government fighters in the eastern part of Aleppo city have agreed to a UN plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations, but the UN is awaiting a green light from Russia and the Syrian government, Jan Egeland, humanitarian adviser, said on Thursday.

With freezing winter conditions setting in, about 275,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, where the last UN food rations…Read

UN General Assembly appoints António Guterres as the next Secretary-General

Assembly President Peter Thomson highlighted that the selection process underscored the principles of transparency and inclusivity. “It was a process that specifically sought out candidates who embody a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the [UN] Charter; who exemplify the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity; and who have proven leadership and managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations, and strong diplomatic, communication and multilingual skills,” said Mr. Thomson in his remarks.

“I am confident that Mr. Guterres will serve the global community with dedication, as a moral authority, and be…Read

24 November 2016

France is calling for JUSTICE over the use of Chemical Weapons by the Basher al-Assad government

Foreign minister says meeting to be held in Paris to confront strategy of "total war by Syrian regime and its allies".

France has accused Syria and its allies of using political uncertainty in the US to launch "total war" against opposition-held areas in the country and called for new sanctions on Bashar al-Assad's government for the use of chemical weapons.

Making the accusations after a weekly cabinet session on Wednesday, Jean-Marc Ayrault, France's foreign minister, said that countries opposed to the Syrian president would meet soon.

Donald Trump's inauguration as…Read

23 November 2016

Syria launches new commando force

New volunteer military unit formed by Syrian army as troops battle their way into rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

Syria's military announced it is forming a new commando force, calling on volunteers interested in "achieving the final victory against terrorism" to apply.

The announcement on Tuesday, which named the new force the Fifth Corps, didn't specify where it would be deployed.

After nearly six years of combat, the Syrian conscription-based armed forces has become overstretched and has increasingly relied on its regional allies that have boosted its numbers and capabilities. 


22 November 2016

‘Humanitarian Catastrophe’ 100,000 children trapped in Aleppo urban fighting.

Syrian government forces and allied fighters advanced further into rebel-held Aleppo on Monday, pressing an offensive in defiance of international concern for the fate of the city and its beleaguered civilians.

"At least 36 people were killed in Monday's bombing," rescue worker Ibrahim Abu Leith told Al Jazeera. "These are the most violent attacks we've seen in five years."

The recapture of the rebel-held east, which fell from government control in 2012, would be the government's most significant victory since the conflict began more than five years ago.

Rebel forces have steadily…Read

16 November 2016

A time for Solidarity

Malak Chabkoun is an independent Middle East researcher and writer based in the US and makes a valid poin in her article on the Donald Trump election win.

Although the election result looks like a bad mistake for a lot of people, let’s not forget all the good and enjoyable things we’ve experienced from the USA. As mistakes go, the UK is a good example with their election decision not to stay in the EU.  We should all support the U.S in an act of solidarity…Read

Massive Russian destruction in Alleppo

Government offensive in Aleppo comes as Russia also announces large-scale operation against opposition targets in Syria. Aleppo has become the fiercest front in Syria's five-and-a-half-year war, pitting President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia, Iran and Shia militias, against Sunni rebels, including groups backed by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies.

In the northwestern province of Idlib, a member of the Jund al-Aqsa group, known as Abu-Dardaa-al-Shami, told the Associated Press news agency over the phone that the air strikes were "much, much, much more intense than previous ones". He added that in addition to the…Read