The cadets’ families, and women and children were among the dead…reports Asian Lite News
At least 100 people were killed in a drone attack that struck a military academy in Syria’s Homs province while a cadet graduation ceremony was underway, state media reported on Friday.
Citing a statement from the General Command of the Armed Forces, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said several drones carrying explosives targeted the academy just after the ceremony ended on Thursday afternoon, reports the BBC.
The armed forces “considers this act an unprecedented criminal one, and affirms that it will respond with full force and determination to these terrorist groups wherever they are”, the statement added.
In another report, SANA quoted Health Minister Hassan al-Gabbash as saying that the attack had injured more than 200 people, while the victims included and six women and six children.
The cadets’ families, and women and children were among the dead, it added.
So far, no individual or group has claimed the attack, the BBC reported.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the country’s Defence Minister had attended the ceremony but left minutes before the attack.
Describing the attack as “horrific”, UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen has called on all parties to the decades-long conflict to “exercise the utmost restraint”.
“All sides must respect their obligations under international law and ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Today’s developments further highlight that the status quo in Syria is unsustainable and that, in the absence of a meaningful political path… I fear we will only see further deterioration, including in the security situation,” the BBC quoted the envoy as saying late Thursday.
More than half a million people have been killed by the civil war that erupted after President Bashar al-Assad cracked down violently on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011.
Some 6.8 million people are internally displaced, while another 6 million are refugees or asylum-seekers abroad.
Safadi and Grandi also talked about the “dangerous repercussions” of the decline in international support for the Syrian refugees and their host countries to continue to provide living, medical and educational services to the refugees…reports Asian Lite News
Jordan has stressed the need for the international community to take practical and immediate steps to create necessary circumstances for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made the remarks at a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi in Amman, where he called on relevant UN agencies to take such steps, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.
The future of Syrian refugees is in their own country, not in Jordan, said Safadi, adding that offering decent living conditions for them is indispensable, Xinhua news agency reported.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed the outcomes of the recent talks held by the kingdom and UNHCR with the Syrian government on offering required guarantees and establishing essential infrastructure for the refugees’ return.
Safadi and Grandi also talked about the “dangerous repercussions” of the decline in international support for the Syrian refugees and their host countries to continue to provide living, medical and educational services to the refugees.
Safadi said that Jordan has exceeded its ability to host Syrian refugees, and would not be able to maintain the level of services without international support.
Grandi praised Jordan’s significant humanitarian role in hosting refugees and providing them with a decent living.
They also discussed the preparation for the 2023 Global Refugee Forum which will be hosted by Switzerland and UNHCR in Geneva in December.
On Tuesday, King Abdullah II of Jordan met with Grandi in Amman to discuss the need for the international community to shoulder its responsibilities toward host countries of refugees, said a royal court statement.
Assad emphasised the extent of destruction caused by terrorism in Syria, stressing that no state intentionally destroys its own homeland. ..reports Asian Lite News
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that terrorism caused destruction in Syria, saying those who supported terrorism should be held accountable.
Speaking to Sky News Arabia in an interview on Wednesday, Assad emphasised the extent of destruction caused by terrorism in Syria, stressing that no state intentionally destroys its own homeland.
He dismissed the notion that counter-terrorism efforts could ruin the country, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to Assad, if Syria had followed the demands of certain countries, the war could have been prevented. However, doing so would have come at the expense of the rights and interests of the Syrian people.
Regarding Syria’s relationship with friendly nations, he said their support is essential but emphasised that the true resilience lies with the Syrian people.
Assad criticised the US “Caesar Act,” saying it impedes Syria’s economic development, worsening the country’s situation.
When touching upon the issues of Syrian refugees, Mekdad briefed on the Syrian government’s efforts to facilitate their safe and dignified return…reports Asian Lite News
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said that sanctions imposed by the West have thrown the Syrian people into humanitarian suffering, media reported.
The Syrian Minister made the remarks during a meeting with representatives of a number of UN agencies and international humanitarian organisations in Syria, during which he expounded on the severe humanitarian hardships faced by the Syrian people, said the report on Thursday.
When touching upon the issues of Syrian refugees, Mekdad briefed on the Syrian government’s efforts to facilitate their safe and dignified return, the report added as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.
There will be no Haj pilgrimage for Syrians this year as the relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia have just been restored …reports Asian Lite News
Syrians’ Haj pilgrimage to the Islamic holy cities of Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia will be resumed in 2024 after 12 years of suspension, Syria’s head of Hajj affairs said.
There will be no Haj pilgrimage for Syrians this year as the relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia have just been restored and the Haj arrangements need time and coordination, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper quoted Hassan Nasrallah as saying on Wednesday.
The Muslim Haj pilgrimage in 2023 will be observed between July 18 and 23, Xinhua news agency reported.
In the years when the Syrian-Saudi relations were severed, Syrian pilgrims who wanted to perform Haj needed to obtain visas from neighbouring countries.
Syria and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume consular services in April and restored full diplomatic relations this month.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the Arab Summit held in Saudi Arabia last week for the first time in 12 years, marking the return of Syria to the Arab fold after long years of isolation.
A total of 50 Syrian refugees from Lebanon have reached the refugee camps in Syria’s northern Raqqa province controlled by the Kurdish-led militias, a war monitor reported on Tuesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the refugees, mostly women, and children, reached Raqqa overnight on Monday via illegal smuggling routes carrying little belongings.
The observatory said those people were forced to leave after their homes were raided by Lebanese security forces.
The report collaborates with stories emerging from Lebanon about Lebanese forces cracking down on Syrian refugees who don’t have legal residency in Lebanon.
The UK-based watchdog group said there are currently 54 refugee camps in Raqqa, housing displaced Syrians from several areas. It noted that the humanitarian situation there is dire.
The visit, the first since the beginning of the ongoing Syrian war in 2011, comes as Damascus and Riyadh have resumed diplomatic missions…reports Asian Lite News
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has arrived in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah to attend the Arab League’s 32nd Summit on Friday, marking the first time since the war-torn nation was suspended from the regional body 12 years ago.
Upon his arrival late Thursday night, Assad was greeted by Prince Badr bin Sultan, the deputy governor of Mecca, along with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, and several other local officials, according to the Syrian presidential media office in Damascus.
Striking a positive vibe, Assad smiled while shaking hands with the officials receiving him at the airport.
The visit, the first since the beginning of the ongoing Syrian war in 2011, comes as Damascus and Riyadh have resumed diplomatic missions in both countries, which had been suspended since November 2011.
Earlier this month, the Arab League voted to reinstate Syria’s membership in the 22-member regional bloc.
At a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers on Wednesday, Aboul-Gheit had declared that he hoped that “Syria’s regaining of its seat is a precursor to the end of its conflict”, reports the BBC.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also welcomed Syria, saying: “Our world today is facing numerous challenges and difficulties that place us at a crossroads… It is necessary for us to stand together and try harder to strengthen joint Arab action to meet them.”
As a result of the war in Syria, half of the country’s pre-conflict population of 22 million have had to flee their homes.
Some 6.8 million people are internally displaced, while another 6 million are refugees or asylum-seekers abroad, reports the BBC.
Even before the February 6 devastating earthquake struck, an estimated 15.3 million people inside Syria were in need of some form of humanitarian assistance — an all-time high since the war began.
UAE Chargé d’Affaires Ebraheem Al-Nuaimi handed Syrian President Bashar al-assad an official invitation from the UAE President to attend the conference in November….reports Asian Lite News
Syrian President Bashar al-assad received an official invitation from UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to attend the Climate Conference of the Parties (COP28), which will be held in Dubai.
President al-Assad received AbdulHakeem Ebraheem Al-Nuaimi, Chargé d’Affaires of the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Damascus, who handed him an official invitation to attend the conference, which will be held in Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12 .
During a preparatory Arab League meeting for the Economic and Social Council in Jeddah, Damascus has called on Arab countries to invest in the war-torn nation, now reinstated to the regional organisation.
“We invite you to participate in investing in Syria, where there are important opportunities and promising horizons,” Syria’s minister for economy and trade, Mohammed Samer al-Khalil, said as he addressed the opening session of the conference in Jeddah.
Recently, the Syrian Foreign Ministry announced the resumption of its diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia following a reciprocal move from the kingdom.
The decision to reopen the diplomatic mission emanates from the deep ties between both countries, their people’s aspirations, and the importance of enhancing bilateral relations between Arab countries to serve the joint Arab work, the Syrian ministry said in a statement.
The move came after Saudi Arabia announced the reopening of its diplomatic mission in Syria earlier on Tuesday, indicating that both countries have normalized relations.
On Sunday, Arab foreign ministers decided during a meeting in Cairo to re-admit Syria to the Arab League after 12 years of suspension.
On April 12, the Syrian Foreign Ministry announced that Damascus and Riyadh had agreed to resume consular services and air flights between the two countries after the minister visited Riyadh for the first time since 2011, a prelude to restoring full diplomatic representation on Tuesday.
The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment issued Decree No. (138) of 2023. This decree pertains to regulating the use and distribution of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the country, aiming to control their circulation and prevent their emission into the atmosphere.
This decree is established within the context of the Year of Sustainability, aligning with the UAE’s preparations to host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) this year.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), often referred to as refrigerant gases, are classified among greenhouse gases that intensify global warming and affect the ozone layer. Hence, this decree is a significant step in the UAE’s endeavor to uphold its obligations towards climate change mitigation and curbing harmful emissions.
The regulations outlined in this decision are applicable across the UAE, encompassing all free zones and entities engaged in HFC-related activities. As per the decision, all such establishments must adhere to several procedures. These include registering with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, providing the establishment’s commercial or industrial license, obtaining a warehouse license, and reporting the annual quantities of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) imported over the past three years.
Moreover, they must secure a permit from the ministry to manufacture, import, export, re-export, or transit HFCs or recycled or reclaimed materials derived from HFCs, following all necessary approvals from local authorities.
The decree also stipulates that establishments must submit to the ministry quarterly reports detailing the quantities of hydrofluorocarbons sold, utilized, and remaining in stock. They also need to secure prior consent from the relevant authority when disposing of waste hydrofluorocarbons and equipment containing them. For transboundary disposals, establishments must adhere to the obligations of the signatory nations under the Basel Convention, which governs the control of cross-border movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
The ERC-led humanitarian initiatives came in cooperation with Latakia Health Directorate as part of the UAE’s continuous humanitarian and relief efforts…reports Asian Lite News
The number of beneficiaries of humanitarian, medical and treatment aid has reached about 1,100 Syrian families, with some 6,000 people, including 300 Syrian beneficiaries of urgent medical cases, according to the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) delegation in Syria operating as part of Operation “Gallant Knight 2” that was launched by the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence.
The ERC-led humanitarian initiatives came in cooperation with Latakia Health Directorate as part of the UAE’s continuous humanitarian and relief efforts to alleviate the suffering of the affected families after the 6th February earthquake and to stand by the fraternal people of Syria in their current circumstances, especially with the displacement of many of them to the countryside of Latakia and its surrounding areas.
The medical specialities, supervised by the ERC delegation in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, included those suffering from cancer with chemotherapy treatment for patients, in addition to emergency and critical specialities such as fractures, heart operations, ophthalmology, hearing, and total joint replacement operations, in addition to the distribution of several wheelchairs.
The ERC delegation said that a complete medical file had been prepared for the vulnerable and affected patients by the earthquake, and the procedures started for receiving treatment and performing immediate surgeries. The delegation also added that ten urgent cases from several areas in Latakia were sent to the UAE for medical treatment.
Operation “Gallant Knight 2” is one of the essential forms of the UAE’s support for the Syrian people under the wise leadership’s directives.
Some 181 aircraft and three ships loaded with basic foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies were airlifted as part of its efforts to enhance the recovery phase for the benefit of the Syrian people.
The Arab foreign ministers have agreed on the necessity to intensify efforts “to help Syria out of its crisis”, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
Arab foreign ministers decided in an Arab League (AL) extraordinary meeting held in Cairo on Sunday to restore Syria’s membership in the league after 12 years of suspension, said a final statement after the meeting.
The AL council meeting at the ministerial level decided to resume “the participation of delegations of the government of Syria in the meetings of the AL council and all its organizations and bodies as of May 7, 2023,” read the statement issued by the pan-Arab organization.
The Arab foreign ministers also agreed on the necessity to intensify efforts “to help Syria out of its crisis.”
Assad dials MBZ
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received a phone call yesterday evening from President Bashar al-Assad of the Arab Republic of Syria.
During the call, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to develop them further.
President al-Assad expressed Syria’s appreciation for the UAE’s role in strengthening relations and enhancing cooperation between Arab nations, for the benefit of those countries and their people.
‘A step in the right direction’
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Sunday said the Arab League (AL)’s decision to restore Syria’s membership in the league is a step in the right direction to a unified Arab stance.
“This decision was delayed for years, but it is a step in the right direction towards a return to Arab righteousness,” Berri said in a statement released by the National News Agency.
He added: “With the return of Syria to the Arabs and the return of the Arabs to Syria, there is a glimmer of hope for a new resurrection of joint Arab action.”
Meanwhile, caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said “Lebanon was among the first to call for Syria’s return to the Arab League, and it was against suspending its membership.”
Arab foreign ministers decided in an AL extraordinary meeting held in Cairo on Sunday to restore Syria’s membership in the league after 12 years of suspension.
‘Qatar’s stance unchanged’
Qatar said its position regarding normalising ties with Syria remains unchanged, Qatar’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.
In a statement carried by the QNA, Majed bin Mohammad Al Ansari, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that Qatar always seeks to support achieving Arab consensus and will not be an obstacle to that.
Yet he said the official position of Qatar on normalization with “the Syrian regime” is a decision linked primarily to progress in the political solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian people.
Qatar will “work with the Arab brothers in achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people … and for this consensus to be a motive for the Syrian regime to address the roots of the crisis,” he said.
Al Ansari also reaffirmed Qatar’s support for all regional and international efforts to find a comprehensive and just solution to the crisis that respects Syria’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Qatar has recently ruled out all chances of joining the regional reconciliation wave with Syria.
AL ministerial panel for Sudan
The Arab League Council issued a resolution to form an Arab ministerial contact group to communicate with the Sudanese parties and influential countries, aiming to reach a settlement of the crisis in Sudan.
The resolution, made during the Council’s emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo, is meant to intensify Arab efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that erupted in mid-April.
Under the resolution, the contact group would include representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Arab League, according to an Arab League statement.
The contact group will hold communication with the Sudanese parties, influential countries regionally and internationally as well as relevant international organizations, according to the statement.
The committee aims to reach a complete and sustainable ceasefire in Sudan and address the causes of the crisis.
It will further coordinate with international relief organizations to provide urgent humanitarian and medical support to citizens and displaced persons inside Sudan.
The group will also work to help those taking refuge in neighboring countries.
The Council also stressed the need to fully respect Sudan’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and not to interfere in its internal affairs to avoid fueling conflict and threatening regional peace and security.