city:damascus

  • Statistiques de la conférence de presse des organisations syriennes et de la défense civile aujourd’hui sur les résultats de la récente campagne sur les zones libérées, #Idlib :
    - 600 victimes
    - 5 marchés populaires ciblés
    - 22 installations médicales ont été détruites
    - La fermeture de 55 établissements médicaux
    - Utilisation de chlore à Canibiet
    - 80 enfants tués
    - 50 écoles ciblées
    - 45 000 enfants sont sortis de l’éducation
    Déplacés 307 000 plus de 50 000 familles
    - 27 mosquées détruits
    - Destruction de 9 fours de production du pain
    - Brûler des cultures avec du Phosphore

    #guerre #conflit #victimes #statistiques #chiffres #phosphore #armes_chimiques Canibiet #destruction #écoles #enfants #déscolarisation #morts #décès

    Reçu d’un ami réfugié syrien qui vit à Grenoble, via whatsapp, le 01.06.2019

    • Stop the carnage: doctors call for an end to Syria hospital airstrikes

      Dozens of prominent doctors have called for urgent action to halt the bombing campaign by Syrian and Russian planes that has targeted more than 20 hospitals in Syria’s north-west, putting many out of action and leaving millions of people without proper healthcare.

      Coordinates for many of those hit had been shared with the regime and its Russian backers by the United Nations in an effort to protect civilians. The Syrian opposition were promised war planes would avoid identified sites on bombing raids; instead they have endured more than a month of fierce attacks.

      Since late April, in defiance of a truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara last year, regular airstrikes on opposition-held territory in northern Idlib province have killed hundreds of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more, rights groups say.

      They have also destroyed key parts of the healthcare system, says a letter from doctors around the world published in the Observer. “We are appalled by the deliberate and systematic targeting of healthcare facilities and medical staff,” they warned. “Their [the medical staff’s] job is to save lives, they must not lose their own in the process.”

      Signatories include Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist who won the Nobel peace prize last year, Peter Agre, a physician who won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2003, MP and doctor Sarah Wollaston, and Terence English, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as David Nott, a surgeon who works in war zones, and Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian exile, doctor and founder of a medical charity. They urged the UN to investigate the targeting of listed hospitals and asked the international community to put pressure on Russia and Syria to stop targeting medical centres and reverse funding cuts to surviving hospitals and clinics that are now overwhelmed by refugees.

      One paediatrician, Abdulkader Razouk, described to the Observer how he and his colleagues evacuated an entire hospital including dialysis patients, mothers in labour and premature babies in incubators, as airstrikes began in their town, at least 12 miles from the frontline. “After the airstrikes, but before the direct attack, we knew the hospital would be targeted,” he said in a phone interview about the Tarmala hospital, which was eventually hit on 10 May. “Only a few medical staff stayed to provide emergency response.”
      Letters: The BBC’s wish for a finger in every pie
      Read more

      The airstrike destroyed more than half the hospital and much of its equipment from beds and generators to the operating theatres, emergency services and pharmacy. Staff went back briefly to hunt through the rubble for any supplies that survived the onslaught but the building is now abandoned. “It would be impossible to rebuild and reopen now,” Razouk said. “The airstrikes are continuing and still targeting the hospital until this moment, even though it’s empty.”

      The May bombing was not the first attack on the hospital. That came in 2015, first with the Syrian military’s wildly inaccurate barrel bombs, and later by Russian missiles, that destroyed a residential building next door but spared the clinic itself. In 2018 there was a direct hit on the clinic but then it was able to reopen after repairs.

      However the damage after the latest attack was so severe that it is beyond repair, and anyway most of the civilians it served have fled, Razouk said.

      “This was the worst attack, it has been very tough, there is no possibility whatsoever to continue work there,” he said. “Life can’t return to this area, especially under these brutal attacks. There are no people, not even animals, there’s nothing left in there, it’s like a doomed land. There is no hope to go back.”

      He and other staff are opening a new temporary hospital near the Turkish border, where most of the residents of Tarmala have fled and are now living in refugee camps. It will have some of the neonatal incubators and dialysis machines evacuated before the strike, but there is a desperate need for more supplies.

      Around 80 medical facilities – including clinics and hospitals – have been shut because of damage in attacks or because of fear they will be targeted, said Mohamad Katoub from the Syrian American Medical Society. The huge number of refugees displaced by attacks has left those that are still operating overwhelmed.

      “The tactic of attacking health and other civilian infrastructure in Syria is not new, displacement is not new, these are all chronic issues. But this is the biggest displacement ever, and it is much further beyond our capacity as NGOs to respond,” he said.

      Turkey, which backs Idlib’s rebel groups, is already home to 3.6 million Syrians and faces the dilemma of whether or not to absorb any of the newly displaced. A group were reportedly planning a protest march to the border at the weekend.

      The de-escalation deal brokered last autumn saved Idlib and the surrounding countryside from an impending government assault. At the time, aid agencies warned that a military campaign would put the lives of 3 million civilians at risk, and trigger the worst humanitarian crisis of an already protracted and bloody war.

      But the agreement has unravelled since January, when the hardline Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) wrested control of the area from more moderate rebels.

      Damascus and Moscow have said the HTS takeover legitimises the current campaign against Idlib as they are targeting terrorists not covered by the ceasefire deal.

      Many civilians in Idlib now feel they have been caught between the harsh rule of HTS and the intensified regime assault, and say that life has all but ground to a halt.

      “I was studying at Idlib university but I’ve had to stop going. So has my sister,” said 22-year-old Raja al-Assaad, from Ma’arat al-Nu’maan, which has been under heavy attack.

      “Some people have left to try to go to Turkey but the truth is that there is nowhere to go. Nowhere in Idlib is safe. And in my town we already have lots of people who have been displaced from lots of other areas of Syria.”

      “All normal life has shut down and there is nothing for us to do except wait for death.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/02/doctors-global-appeal-stop-syria-bombing-hospitals-idlib

    • Russie/Syrie : Nouveau recours à des #armes interdites

      Ces attaques qui aggravent les souffrances des civils violent les normes du #droit_international.

      Les forces armées russes et syriennes ont utilisé de manière indiscriminée des armes interdites en vertu du droit international contre des zones civiles dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie au cours des dernières semaines, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd’hui. Selon les Nations Unies, cette région est actuellement habitée par environ trois millions de civils, dont au moins la moitié sont des personnes déplacées ayant fui d’autres régions du pays.

      Depuis le 26 avril 2019, l’alliance militaire russo-syrienne a mené quotidiennement des centaines d’attaques contre des groupes antigouvernementaux dans les gouvernorats d’Idlib, de #Hama et d’#Alep,, tuant environ 200 civils, dont 20 enfants. L’alliance a utilisé contre des zones civiles densement peuplées des armes à sous-munitions et des armes incendiaires, pourtant interdites selon le droit international, ainsi que des barils d’explosifs (« #barrel_bombs ») largués sur ces zones, d’après des secouristes, des témoins et des informations disponibles via des sources en accès libre. Le 17 mai, le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies a tenu une deuxième réunion d’urgence au sujet de la situation dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie, sans pour autant élaborer une stratégie précise pour protéger les civils qui y résident.

      « L’alliance militaire russo-syrienne utilise de manière indiscriminée contre des civils piégés une panoplie d’armes pourtant interdites par le droit international », a déclaré Lama Fakih, directrice par intérim de la division Moyen-Orient à Human Rights Watch. « Entretemps, la Russie exploite sa présence au Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies pour se protéger et pour protéger son allié à Damas, et pour poursuivre ces exactions contre des civils. »

      Les armes à sous-munitions peuvent être lancées depuis le sol par des systèmes d’artillerie, des roquettes et des projectiles, ou bien larguées depuis le ciel. Elles explosent généralement dans l’air, dispersant plusieurs petites bombes, ou sous-munitions, au-dessus d’une vaste zone. De nombreuses sous-munitions n’explosent toutefois pas lors de l’impact initial, ce qui laisse au sol de dangereux fragments explosifs qui, à l’instar des mines terrestres, peuvent mutiler et tuer, des années après.

      Les armes incendiaires, qui produisent de la chaleur et du feu par le bais de la réaction chimique d’une substance inflammable, provoquent des brûlures atroces et sont capables de détruire des maisons et d’autres structures civiles.

      La Convention de 2008 sur les armes à sous-munitions interdit l’utilisation d’armes à sous-munitions, tandis que le Protocole III de la Convention sur les armes classiques interdit certaines utilisations des armes incendiaires. La Russie et la Syrie ne font pas partie des 120 pays ayant adhéré à la Convention sur les armes à sous-munitions, mais la Russie est un État partie au Protocole sur les armes incendiaires.

      https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/06/03/russie/syrie-nouveau-recours-des-armes-interdites

    • La battaglia per Idlib

      Dal 26 aprile le forze del governo siriano, sostenute dall’assistenza militare russa, hanno intensificato un’offensiva a Idlib, nella provincia nord-occidentale della Siria, l’ultima roccaforte dell’opposizione armata al presidente Assad. A Idlib vivono quasi tre milioni di persone, metà delle quali sfollate internamente. Per questo gli accordi di Astana firmati proprio dalla Russia, insieme a Turchia e Iran, indicavano Idlib come una zona di de-escalation delle violenze. Un accordo però che non sembra più aver valore. Ieri la Russia ha bloccato una dichiarazione del Consiglio di sicurezza dell’ONU, con la quale il consiglio voleva lanciare un allarme per l’intensificarsi del intorno alla provincia di Idlib, con l’intento di scongiurare un disastro umanitario.

      Anche nel conflitto libico i civili sono quelli a pagare il prezzo più alto. Attualmente in Libia ci sono oltre 1 milione di persone bisognose di assistenza umanitaria e protezione. Non solo migranti e rifugiati, ma anche sfollati libici che vivono in condizioni di estrema marginalità sociale, senza accesso a cure e servizi essenziali e martoriati dal conflitto in corso. La campagna #Oltrelefrontiere ” promossa da CIR vuole migliorare il livello di protezione di migranti, rifugiati e sfollati interni, fornendo assistenza umanitaria e promuovendo la ricerca di soluzioni durature, per contribuire alla progressiva normalizzazione delle loro condizioni di vita.

      https://www.raiplayradio.it/articoli/2019/06/Rai-Radio-3-Idlib-Siria-4e42d346-f7d0-4d71-9da3-7b293f2e7c89.html

  • Israel Is Using Archeology To Wage War On Muslim History – The Forward
    https://forward.com/opinion/425059/jerusalems-archaeological-sites-are-now-a-battle-ground-for-israeli

    Take for example, Khan Daraj al-‘Eyn, a 14th Century Mamluk bathhouse. Today it houses an exhibition on Jewish ancestry and an events hall. There is no sign alerting the visitor that it is a Mamluk structure, or that it was built by the governor of Damascus, Sayf al-Din Tankaz, who was responsible for some of the more impressive buildings of the time.

    Jerusalem’s history is as varied as it is long. While there is no doubt that there is a wealth of finds to excite one’s sense of Jewish continuity, there are many layers to this city which appeal to a variety of cultural and religious communities. Claiming exclusive ownership based on archaeological finds is not a reflection of archaeological discoveries but an act of #story-telling where large pieces of history are edited out.

    #occultation

  • ‘How do they sleep?’ Roger Waters calls out US, UK & France over ‘faked’ Douma chemical attack — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/459638-roger-waters-douma-opcw

    Citing newly leaked OPCW documents casting doubt on the April 2018 ‘chemical attack’ that triggered a bombing of Syria, rock star Roger Waters is calling out everyone who believed in the ‘murderous fairytale’ of the White Helmets.

    US, UK and France launched air strikes against Syria in April last year, after an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, northeast of Damascus. The claims came from the White Helmets, a self-styled ‘civil defense’ organization backed by Western governments and embedded with the Islamist militants in Syria.

    “The White Helmets probably murdered 34 women and children to dress the scene that sorry day in Douma,” Waters posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, next to a video of his April 2018 concert in Barcelona in which he challenged the group as “a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for the jihadists and terrorists.”

    Waters added he hopes that those in the media and the governments in Paris, London and Washington that bought into the White Helmets’ “callous and murderous fairytale are suitably haunted by the indelible images of those lost innocent Syrian lives.”

    Internal OPCW documents leaked earlier this week cast doubt on the organization’s final report about the Douma incident, which claimed chlorine was ‘likely’ used against civilians. Syrian and Russian soldiers that liberated the town from militants found chlorine containers and a laboratory for producing chemical weapons. Moscow has suggested that the OPCW hedged its report because it did not want to contradict the US narrative.

    #syrie #propagande

    • Intéressant : Brian Whitaker a publié un assez gros point sur cette « fuite ». Leaked document revives controversy over Syria chemical attacks
      https://al-bab.com/blog/2019/05/leaked-document-revives-controversy-over-syria-chemical-attacks

      A leaked document which contradicts key findings of an official investigation into chemical weapons in Syria has surfaced on the internet. Described as an “engineering assessment” and marked “draft for internal review”, it appears to have been written by an employee of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — the international body charged with the investigation.

      In April 2018 dozens of people were reportedly killed by a chemical attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, and western powers responded with airstrikes directed against the Assad regime.

      In March this year, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW issued a report which found “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic chemical had been used as a weapon in Douma and suggested the chemical involved was chlorine gas, delivered by cylinders dropped from the air.

      Although the investigators’ brief did not allow them to apportion blame, use of air-dropped cylinders implied the regime was responsible, since rebel fighters in Syria had no aircraft.

      The 15-page leaked document takes the opposite view and says it is more likely that the two cylinders in question had been “manually placed” in the spot where they were found, rather than being dropped from the air. The implication of this is that Syrian rebels had planted them to create the false appearance of a chemical attack by the regime.

      Whitaker, sur ce sujet, s’est régulièrement illustré par une dénonciation virulente de ce qu’il appelle les « truthers » sur la Syrie. Encore très récemment :
      https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/how-a-yellow-cylinder-became-a-propaganda-weapon-in-syria-cc696a0bb0d9

    • Après, personnellement, le fait de conclure directement à l’analyse opposée (« les casques blancs ont fait le coup ») sur la foi d’un seul rapport minoritaire non retenu dans le rapport final, ça me semble excessivement prématuré.

  • Explainer: Why the war in Syria’s Idlib escalated again - Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-northwest-explainer-idUSKCN1SF0P7

    WHY HAS THE CONFLICT ESCALATED AGAIN?

    The Russian-Turkish deal created a demilitarized zone from which jihadists were required to withdraw, effectively putting the onus on Turkey to tackle the problem while leaving the northwest within a sphere of Turkish influence.

    But Russia’s patience has been wearing thin over what it views as Turkey’s failure to curb Tahrir al-Sham. Damascus, determined to recover “every inch” of Syria, has also publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo.

    #Idleb #Syrie #Turquie #Russie

  • Refugee, volunteer, prisoner: #Sarah_Mardini and Europe’s hardening line on migration

    Early last August, Sarah Mardini sat on a balcony on the Greek island of Lesvos. As the sun started to fade, a summer breeze rose off the Aegean Sea. She leaned back in her chair and relaxed, while the Turkish coastline, only 16 kilometres away, formed a silhouette behind her.

    Three years before, Mardini had arrived on this island from Syria – a dramatic journey that made international headlines. Now she was volunteering her time helping other refugees. She didn’t know it yet, but in a few weeks that work would land her in prison.

    Mardini had crossed the narrow stretch of water from Turkey in August 2015, landing on Lesvos after fleeing her home in Damascus to escape the Syrian civil war. On the way, she almost drowned when the engine of the inflatable dinghy she was travelling in broke down.

    More than 800,000 people followed a similar route from the Turkish coast to the Greek Islands that year. Almost 800 of them are now dead or missing.

    As the boat Mardini was in pitched and spun, she slipped overboard and struggled to hold it steady in the violent waves. Her sister, Yusra, three years younger, soon joined. Both girls were swimmers, and their act of heroism likely saved the 18 other people on board. They eventually made it to Germany and received asylum. Yusra went on to compete in the 2016 Olympics for the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Sarah, held back from swimming by an injury, returned to Lesvos to help other refugees.

    On the balcony, Mardini, 23, was enjoying a rare moment of respite from long days spent working in the squalid Moria refugee camp. For the first time in a long time, she was looking forward to the future. After years spent between Lesvos and Berlin, she had decided to return to her university studies in Germany.

    But when she went to the airport to leave, shortly after The New Humanitarian visited her, Mardini was arrested. Along with several other volunteers from Emergency Response Centre International, or ERCI, the Greek non-profit where she volunteered, Mardini was charged with belonging to a criminal organisation, people smuggling, money laundering, and espionage.

    According to watchdog groups, the case against Mardini is not an isolated incident. Amnesty International says it is part of a broader trend of European governments taking a harder line on immigration and using anti-smuggling laws to de-legitimise humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants.

    Far-right Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini recently pushed through legislation that ends humanitarian protection for migrants and asylum seekers, while Italy and Greece have ramped up pressure on maritime search and rescue NGOs, forcing them to shutter operations. At the end of March, the EU ended naval patrols in the Mediterranean that had saved the lives of thousands of migrants.

    In 2016, five other international volunteers were arrested on Lesvos on similar charges to Mardini. They were eventually acquitted, but dozens of other cases across Europe fit a similar pattern: from Denmark to France, people have been arrested, charged, and sometimes successfully prosecuted under anti-smuggling regulations based on actions they took to assist migrants.

    Late last month, Salam Kamal-Aldeen, a Danish national who founded the rescue non-governmental organisation Team Humanity, filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights, challenging what he says is a Greek crackdown on lifesaving activities.

    According to Maria Serrano, senior campaigner on migration at Amnesty International, collectively the cases have done tremendous damage in terms of public perception of humanitarian work in Europe. “The atmosphere… is very hostile for anyone that is trying to help, and this [has a] chilling effect on other people that want to help,” she said.

    As for the case against Mardini and the other ERCI volunteers, Human Rights Watch concluded that the accusations are baseless. “It seems like a bad joke, and a scary one as well because of what the implications are for humanitarian activists and NGOs just trying to save people’s lives,” said Bill Van Esveld, who researched the case for HRW.

    While the Lesvos prosecutor could not be reached for comment, the Greek police said in a statement after Mardini’s arrest that she and other aid workers were “active in the systematic facilitation of illegal entrance of foreigners” – a violation of the country’s Migration Code.

    Mardini spent 108 days in pre-trial detention before being released on bail at the beginning of December. The case against her is still open. Her lawyer expects news on what will happen next in June or July. If convicted, Mardini could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

    “It seems like a bad joke, and a scary one as well because of what the implications are for humanitarian activists and NGOs just trying to save people’s lives.”

    Return to Lesvos

    The arrest and pending trial are the latest in a series of events, starting with the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, that have disrupted any sense of normalcy in Mardini’s life.

    Even after making it to Germany in 2015, Mardini never really settled in. She was 20 years old and in an unfamiliar city. The secure world she grew up in had been destroyed, and the future felt like a blank and confusing canvas. “I missed Syria and Damascus and just this warmness in everything,” she said.

    While wading through these emotions, Mardini received a Facebook message in 2016 from an ERCI volunteer. The swimming sisters from Syria who saved a boat full of refugees were an inspiration. Volunteers on Lesvos told their story to children on the island to give them hope for the future, the volunteer said, inviting Mardini to visit. “It totally touched my heart,” Mardini recalled. “Somebody saw me as a hope… and there is somebody asking for my help.”

    So Mardini flew back to Lesvos in August 2016. Just one year earlier she had nearly died trying to reach the island, before enduring a journey across the Balkans that involved hiding from police officers in forests, narrowly escaping being kidnapped, sneaking across tightly controlled borders, and spending a night in police custody in a barn. Now, all it took was a flight to retrace the route.

    Her first day on the island, Mardini was trained to help refugees disembark safely when their boats reached the shores. By nighttime, she was sitting on the beach watching for approaching vessels. It was past midnight, and the sea was calm. Lights from the Turkish coastline twinkled serenely across the water. After about half an hour, a walkie talkie crackled. The Greek Coast Guard had spotted a boat.

    Volunteers switched on the headlights of their cars, giving the refugees something to aim for. Thin lines of silver from the reflective strips on the refugees’ life jackets glinted in the darkness, and the rumble of a motor and chatter of voices drifted across the water. As the boat came into view, volunteers yelled: “You are in Greece. You are safe. Turn the engine off.”

    Mardini was in the water again, holding the boat steady, helping people disembark. When the rush of activity ended, a feeling of guilt washed over her. “I felt it was unfair that they were on a refugee boat and I’m a rescuer,” she said.

    But Mardini was hooked. She spent the next two weeks assisting with boat landings and teaching swimming lessons to the kids who idolised her and her sister. Even after returning to Germany, she couldn’t stop thinking about Lesvos. “I decided to come back for one month,” she said, “and I never left.”
    Moria camp

    The island became the centre of Mardini’s life. She put her studies at Bard College Berlin on hold to spend more time in Greece. “I found what I love,” she explained.

    Meanwhile, the situation on the Greek islands was changing. In 2017, just under 30,000 people crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece, compared to some 850,000 in 2015. There were fewer arrivals, but those who did come were spending more time in camps with dismal conditions.

    “You have people who are dying and living in a four-metre tent with seven relatives. They have limited access to water. Hygiene is zero. Privacy is zero. Security: zero. Children’s rights: zero. Human rights: zero… You feel useless. You feel very useless.”

    The volunteer response shifted accordingly, towards the camps, and when TNH visited Mardini she moved around the island with a sense of purpose and familiarity, joking with other volunteers and greeting refugees she knew from her work in the streets.

    Much of her time was spent as a translator for ERCI’s medical team in Moria. The camp, the main one on Lesvos, was built to accommodate around 3,000 people, but by 2018 housed close to 9,000. Streams of sewage ran between tents. People were forced to stand in line for hours for food. The wait to see a doctor could take months, and conditions were causing intense psychological strain. Self-harm and suicide attempts were increasing, especially among children, and sexual and gender-based violence were commonplace.

    Mardini was on the front lines. “What we do in Moria is fighting the fire,” she said. “You have people who are dying and living in a four-metre tent with seven relatives. They have limited access to water. Hygiene is zero. Privacy is zero. Security: zero. Children’s rights: zero. Human rights: zero… You feel useless. You feel very useless.”

    By then, Mardini had been on Lesvos almost continuously for nine months, and it was taking a toll. She seemed to be weighed down, slipping into long moments of silence. “I’m taking in. I’m taking in. I’m taking in. But it’s going to come out at some point,” she said.

    It was time for a break. Mardini had decided to return to Berlin at the end of the month to resume her studies and make an effort to invest in her life there. But she planned to remain connected to Lesvos. “I love this island… the sad thing is that it’s not nice for everybody. Others see it as just a jail.”
    Investigation and Arrest

    The airport on Lesvos is on the shoreline close to where Mardini helped with the boat landing her first night as a volunteer. On 21 August, when she went to check in for her flight to Berlin, she was surrounded by five Greek police officers. “They kind of circled around me, and they said that I should come with [them],” Mardini recalled.

    Mardini knew that the police on Lesvos had been investigating her and some of the other volunteers from ERCI, but at first she still didn’t realise what was happening. Seven months earlier, in February 2018, she was briefly detained with a volunteer named Sean Binder, a German national. They had been driving one of ERCI’s 4X4s when police stopped them, searched the vehicle, and found Greek military license plates hidden under the civilian plates.

    When Mardini was arrested at the airport, Binder turned himself in too, and the police released a statement saying they were investigating 30 people – six Greeks and 24 foreigners – for involvement in “organised migrant trafficking rings”. Two Greek nationals, including ERCI’s founder, were also arrested at the time.

    While it is still not clear what the plates were doing on the vehicle, according Van Esveld from HRW, “it does seem clear… neither Sarah or Sean had any idea that these plates were [there]”.

    The felony charges against Mardini and Binder were ultimately unconnected to the plates, and HRW’s Van Esveld said the police work appears to either have been appallingly shoddy or done in bad faith. HRW took the unusual step of commenting on the ongoing case because it appeared authorities were “literally just [taking] a humanitarian activity and labelling it as a crime”, he added.
    Detention

    After two weeks in a cell on Lesvos, Mardini was sent to a prison in Athens. On the ferry ride to the mainland, her hands were shackled. That’s when it sank in: “Ok, it’s official,” she thought. “They’re transferring me to jail.”

    In prison, Mardini was locked in a cell with eight other women from 8pm to 8am. During the day, she would go to Greek classes and art classes, drink coffee with other prisoners, and watch the news.

    She was able to make phone calls, and her mother, who was also granted asylum in Germany, came to visit a number of times. “The first time we saw each other we just broke down in tears,” Mardini recalled. It had been months since they’d seen each other, and now they could only speak for 20 minutes, separated by a plastic barrier.

    Most of the time, Mardini just read, finishing more than 40 books, including Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, which helped her come to terms with her situation. “I decided this is my life right now, and I need to get something out of it,” she explained. “I just accepted what’s going on.”

    People can be held in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months in Greece. But at the beginning of December, a judge accepted Mardini’s lawyer’s request for bail. Binder was released the same day.
    Lingering fear

    On Lesvos, where everyone in the volunteer community knows each other, the case came as a shock. “People started to be... scared,” said Claudia Drost, a 23-year-old from the Netherlands and close friend of Mardini’s who started volunteering on the island in 2016. “There was a feeling of fear that if the police… put [Mardini] in prison, they can put anyone in prison.”

    “We are standing [up] for what we are doing because we are saving people and we are helping people.”

    That feeling was heightened by the knowledge that humanitarians across Europe were being charged with crimes for helping refugees and migrants.

    During the height of the migration crisis in Europe, between the fall of 2015 and winter 2016, some 300 people were arrested in Denmark on charges related to helping refugees. In August 2016, French farmer Cédric Herrou was arrested for helping migrants and asylum seekers cross the French-Italian border. In October 2017, 12 people were charged with facilitating illegal migration in Belgium for letting asylum seekers stay in their homes and use their cellphones. And last June, the captain of a search and rescue boat belonging to the German NGO Mission Lifeline was arrested in Malta and charged with operating the vessel without proper registration or license.

    Drost said that after Mardini was released the fear faded a bit, but still lingers. There is also a sense of defiance. “We are standing [up] for what we are doing because we are saving people and we are helping people,” Drost said.

    As for Mardini, the charges have forced her to disengage from humanitarian work on Lesvos, at least until the case is over. She is back in Berlin and has started university again. “I think because I’m not in Lesvos anymore I’m just finding it very good to be here,” she said. “I’m kind of in a stable moment just to reflect about my life and what I want to do.”

    But she also knows the stability could very well be fleeting. With the prospect of more time in prison hanging over her, the future is still a blank canvas. People often ask if she is optimistic about the case. “No,” she said. “In the first place, they put me in… jail.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/feature/2019/05/02/refugee-volunteer-prisoner-sarah-mardini-and-europe-s-hardening-
    #criminalisation #délit_de_solidarité #asile #migrations #solidarité #réfugiés #Grèce #Lesbos #Moria #camps_de_réfugiés #Europe

    Avec une frise chronologique:

    ping @reka

  • Syria Latest: Day-to-Day Life in War-Weary Damascus - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-26/waiting-19-hours-for-gas-in-a-lifeless-city

    Instead of a frenzy of reconstruction and the promise of revival, Syrians have found themselves fighting another battle. Weary and traumatized from the violence, they’re focused on trying to survive in a decimated economy that shows no signs of imminent revival and with no peace dividend on the horizon.

    [..,]

    Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said the Trump administration is much more aggressive than under Barack Obama, using more secondary penalties that target those doing business with sanctioned individuals or companies.

    In November, the U.S. Treasury Department added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria and warned of significant risks for those violating the sanctions.

    “It is a conscious policy of the American government to try to strangle to death the Iranian government in Tehran and the Syrian government in Damascus,” said Ford, who’s now a fellow at the Middle East Institute. “They don’t want to fight a military war with the Syrian government, but they’re perfectly willing to fight an economic war.”

    Ford likened the situation in Syria to the one in Cuba after the economy collapsed in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Cuba had financial difficulties, “but the Castros are still there,” he said.

    #Syrie #sanctions #civils #etats-unis

  • China eyes Lebanese port to launch investments in Syria, region
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/03/china-lebanon-tripoli-port-investments-syria-reconstruction.html

    Last December, the Chinese state-owned COSCO shipping company docked in Tripoli, inaugurating a new maritime route connecting China to the Mediterranean Sea. Located less than 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Syrian border, Tripoli benefits from a key strategic position in the eyes of investors looking for fast access to Syria’s war-damaged cities.

    “China is testing Tripoli as a potential location for investment,” Tamer added. Having secured an $86 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank, the port is preparing for large-scale investment. “The Chinese won’t look at anything under half a billion,” Tamer told Al-Monitor. “If they invest in the port, it’s because of their interest in the whole region.”

    Keeping its embassy in Damascus open throughout the conflict, Beijing has provided steady diplomatic support to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, vetoing most resolutions against Damascus at the UN Security Council.

    (à noter le dernier paragraphe politiquement correct !)

    #syrie #reconstruction

  • ‘Where are you from?’ Facing fines and bureaucracy, refugee children in Jordan go undocumented

    Located off the highway in the southern Amman suburbs, the Syrian embassy in Jordan almost looks like it’s made for long waits.

    It’s a quiet day outside, as a group of elderly Syrians wearing traditional keffiyeh scarves sit on a patch of grass next to the sand-colored building smoking cigarettes and passing the time.

    Aside from two flags attached to the roof of the embassy, the steel bars across the windows—shaped in classic Umayyad patterns—are one of the few hints of the otherwise rather anonymous building’s affiliation with Damascus.

    On the wall between the counters, a large bulletin board is plastered with instructions for various civil status procedures: births, marriages and identity cards. Flyers address the “brothers and sisters of the nation” waiting quietly outside.

    But not all Syrians feel welcome here.

    “I feel uncomfortable going to the embassy,” says Bassam al-Karmi, a Syrian refugee in Jordan originally from Deir e-Zor.

    “I can’t control my feelings and might start rambling on about politics and other things,” he explains, adding with a laugh, “I really can’t stand seeing the red [Syrian] flag, either.”

    If possible, al-Karmi says, he avoids approaching the embassy. But when he had his first daughter two years ago, there was no way around it. That’s where he needed to go to register her birth—at least if he wanted her to be recognized as a Syrian national.

    At last week’s international “Brussels III” donor conference, Jordan was commended for its efforts to provide Syrians with legal documentation. The civil status department of Jordan’s Ministry of Interior even maintains a presence in refugee camps, tasked with issuing official birth certificates.

    But acquiring Jordanian documents is only one part of the process. Having them authenticated by the Syrian authorities is a whole other story.

    According to several Syrian refugees in Jordan, bureaucratic procedures, lack of information and high costs are deterring them from registering their children’s births at the Syrian embassy—leaving thousands of Jordanian-born Syrian children without proof of nationality, and some potentially at risk of statelessness.

    When Ahmad Qablan’s second son was born in 2014, one year after the family’s arrival in Jordan, he went through all the procedures and paperwork that were required of him to register them first with the Jordanian authorities and then with the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR.

    When his third son was born, he did the same.

    Even so, years later, neither of them have Syrian documents officially proving their nationality.

    A resident of a refugee camp some 70 kilometers east of the capital, Qablan would have to travel for two and a half hours each way to get Syrian birth certificates for his two sons—by submitting the papers at the Syrian embassy—only to come back again a week later to pick them up.

    But the biggest obstacle to registering, he says, is the fees involved with late registration.

    Even though, as a teacher, Qablan claims to have one of the highest salaries in the camp, the family is only just getting by, he says.

    “Why would I go spend that money at the embassy?”

    If a Syrian child is registered at the embassy later than three months after his or her birth, a $50 fine is added on top of the standard $75 registration fees. For a delay of more than a year, the fine goes up to $100.

    According to al-Karmi, those costs make families postpone the procedure. But the longer they wait, the more expensive it gets. As a result, he and others around him find themselves caught in a spiral of increasing costs.

    “You know the fees will increase,” he says, “but in the end people keep postponing and saying, ‘Maybe there’s another solution’.”

    According to a source from the Syrian embassy, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, some refugees even choose to send family members across the border to go through the procedures in Syria itself just to save on consular fees.

    Reports: ‘125,000’ Syrian refugee children born in Jordan

    Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and ensuing conflict, more than 125,000 Syrian children are estimated to have been born on Jordainan soil, according to reports in Jordanian media. However, with many children going unregistered with the Jordanian government, an accurate number can be hard to find.

    UNHCR counts 107,268 children under the age of five in Jordan.

    Even though the Jordanian government has issued nearly 80,000 birth certificates to Syrian children born in Jordan since 2015, experts say that the vast majority of those remain unregistered with the Syrian embassy.

    One of the largest obstacles to registration, according to aid workers and Syrian refugees alike, is a lack of information about the procedures.

    A former Daraa resident, Qasem a-Nizami attempted to navigate registration after the birth of his now three-month-old daughter, but he wasn’t sure of where to start.

    According to a UN source speaking to Syria Direct on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, there is no coordination between UNHCR and the Syrian embassy.

    However, refugees can consult UNHCR about steps they need to take to register civil status procedures in Jordan.

    After asking around in his community and finally talking to the Jordanian Civil Status Department’s office in Zaatari camp, where he resides—sometimes receiving contradictory information—a-Nizami soon discovered that the procedures were much more complicated than he thought.

    To get a birth certificate at the Syrian embassy, refugees need to present the passport of the mother and father as well as a Jordanian birth certificate and marriage contract validated by the embassy.

    When a-Nizami got married in Syria, his town was under siege, and—like many other Syrians—the couple wasn’t able to access the government civil registries responsible for recording civil status events. Instead, the couple settled with a traditional Islamic marriage, involving a sheikh and witnesses.

    Today, a-Nizami has finally registered his marriage with the Jordanian authorities and is currently waiting to get the papers.

    “I can’t register my daughter until I’m finished with the trouble that I’m going through now,” he says.

    ‘Undocumented children’

    According to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), having valid identity papers is crucial for refugees to access basic rights in a host country like Jordan, and children lacking a Jordanian birth certificate are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and child marriage.

    “Undocumented children in Jordan cannot prove their identity, access justice and face difficulties in enjoying rights,” the NRC said in an email to Syria Direct.

    The worst case scenario is that some children end up stateless—and because of Syria’s patrilineal nationality laws, this is particularly a risk for female-headed households unable to prove the nationality of the father.

    But a lack of Syrian documents issued by the country’s embassy also has much more immediate consequences.

    Since the Jaber-Naseeb border crossing between Syria and Jordan reopened for traffic in October after a three-year closure, at least 12,842 Syrians have made the trip across the border, according to the UNHCR.

    Crossing the border, however, either requires a passport or an exit permit issued by the Syrian embassy in Jordan—neither of which can be obtained without Syrian identity documents.

    For years, experts have advocated that the lack of civil documentation could be one of the most significant barriers to the return of Syrian refugees, and as governments, UN bodies and humanitarian organizations increasingly grapple with the infinitely complex question of return, the issue of civil documentation is ever more pressing.

    Last week’s international “Brussels III” donor conference also underlined the need for affordable access to civil documentation for Syrians.

    ‘Cut from the tree of her father’

    While the vast majority of Syrians in neighboring countries surveyed by UNHCR earlier this month have a hope of returning to Syria some day, less than six percent expressed intentions to return within the next year.

    For al-Karmi, the hope of things changing in Syria was part of the reason why he kept postponing registration.

    “I was hoping that by the time we had our first child, maybe Assad would be gone,” he explains.

    And although he eventually registered his first-born daughter, the family’s youngest—who is nine months old—still only has Jordanian documents.

    “For the next child we also thought, ‘Bashar will be gone by then’,” al-Karmi says. “But that didn’t happen.”

    Now, he says, the family is doing what they can to make sure their daughters will grow up identifying with their Syrian roots.

    “She’s been cut from the tree of her father,” he says, explaining how they’ve turned to the internet as the only way of nurturing the children’s ties to family members spread out across the globe.

    “We are currently teaching her to remember the answer to, ‘Where are you from?’ and then responding, ‘I’m from Syria’,” he says.

    “This is the most we can do in exile.”

    But not everyone feels a need to raise their children to feel Syrian.

    Abu Abida al-Hourani, a 28-year-old resident of Jordan’s Zaatari camp, is not even interested in registering his two-and-a-half-year-old son at the Syrian embassy.

    “It’s better to belong to a country that will protect my son and make him feel safe and doesn’t deprive him of the most basic rights,” he explains.

    “How am I supposed to raise my son to feel like he belongs in a country full of killing, displacement and injustice?”

    https://syriadirect.org/news/%E2%80%98where-are-you-from%E2%80%99-facing-fines-and-bureaucracy-refug
    #enfants #mineurs #enfance #Jordanie #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #clandestinisation #certificats_de_naissance #bureaucratie #apatridie

  • Exclusive: Google Caught Hosting Hezbollah’s Violent Android Games
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/01/24/exclusive-google-caught-hosting-hezbollahs-violent-android-games

    Holy Defence looks like your typical shoot ’em up. The Android game sees the protagonist running around a carbon copy of the Sayyeda Zeinab mosque in Damascus, defending it from invaders with automatic weapons. More than 10,000 people have downloaded the game from the Google Play store, and it’s received plenty of praise from reviewers.

    Little is disclosed about the game on Google’s site. But Forbes can reveal the developer behind Holy Defence and one other Google-hosted title, in which child characters deflect bombs onto Israeli soldiers, has a hidden motive: to disseminate Hezbollah propaganda.

    Deemed by the U.S. government a terrorist organization, Hezbollah has, ironically, in recent years used American online platforms to spread its message. Holy Defence for Android represents its first foray into the mobile space and the first known case in which a game developed by any listed terror group has been spotted on Google’s marketplace for apps.

    Not only do the smartphone games represent a new weapon in Hezbollah’s information wars against its myriad enemies, they also bring into focus a case where one of the world’s biggest private companies has to decide: Is Hezbollah a terror group or a political body as it claims?

    “Just as they’ve become in business, in war, games are serious," says Pete Singer, senior fellow at think tank New America and author of LikeWar: The Weaponization Of Social Media. And, he says, Google now finds itself as the arbiter of what is and what isn’t acceptable.

  • [Revision] « Tell Me How This Ends » | Harper’s Magazine
    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/02/american-involvement-in-syria

    Dans cet article très USA-centré, le récit des premiers temps de la guerre en #Syrie par l’ancien ambassadeur US à Damas. (J’ai grasseyé certains passages. Le récit US passe égaleemnt sous silence la présence à Hama de l’ambassadeur français et de quelques invités...) L’histoire de ce conflit commence petit à petit à s’écrire...

    The vulnerable regimes in early 2011 were in the American camp, a coincidence that the Syrian president, Bashar al-­Assad, interpreted as proof that the Arab Spring was a repudiation of American tutelage. As Russia’s and Iran’s only Arab ally, he foresaw no challenge to his throne. An omen in the unlikely guise of an incident at an open-­air market in the old city of Damascus, in February 2011, should have changed his mind. One policeman ordered a motorist to stop at an intersection, while another officer told him to drive on. “The poor guy got conflicting instructions, and did what I would have done and stopped,” recalled the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who had only just arrived in the country. The second policeman dragged the driver out of his car and thrashed him. “A crowd gathered, and all of a sudden it took off,” Ford said. “No violence, but it was big enough that the interior minister himself went down to the market and told people to go home.” Ford reported to Washington, “This is the first big demonstration that we know of. And it tells us that this tinder is dry.”

    The next month, the security police astride the Jordanian border in the dusty southern town of Daraa ignited the tinder by torturing children who had scrawled anti-­Assad graffiti on walls. Their families, proud Sunni tribespeople, appealed for justice, then called for reform of the regime, and finally demanded its removal. Rallies swelled by the day. Ford cabled Washington that the government was using live ammunition to quell the demonstrations. He noted that the protesters were not entirely peaceful: “There was a little bit of violence from the demonstrators in Daraa. They burned the Syriatel office.” (Syriatel is the cell phone company of Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin, who epitomized for many Syrians the ruling elite’s corruption.) “And they burned a court building, but they didn’t kill anybody.” Funerals of protesters produced more demonstrations and thus more funerals. The Obama Administration, though, was preoccupied with Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned in February, and with the NATO bombing campaign in Libya to support the Libyan insurgents who would depose and murder Muammar Qaddafi in October.

    Ambassador Ford detected a turn in the Syrian uprising that would define part of its character: “The first really serious violence on the opposition side was up on the coast around Baniyas, where a bus was stopped and soldiers were hauled off the bus. If you were Alawite, you were shot. If you were Sunni, they let you go.” At demonstrations, some activists chanted the slogan, “Alawites to the grave, and Christians to Beirut.” A sectarian element wanted to remove Assad, not because he was a dictator but because he belonged to the Alawite minority sect that Sunni fundamentalists regard as heretical. Washington neglected to factor that into its early calculations.

    Phil Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs before becoming Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, told me, “I think the initial attitude in Syria was seen through that prism of what was happening in the other countries, which was, in fact, leaders—the public rising up against their leaders and in some cases actually getting rid of them, and in Tunisia, and Yemen, and Libya, with our help.”

    Ambassador Ford said he counseled Syria’s activists to remain non­violent and urged both sides to negotiate. Demonstrations became weekly events, starting after Friday’s noon prayer as men left the mosques, and spreading north to Homs and Hama. Ford and some embassy staffers, including the military attaché, drove to Hama, with government permission, one Thursday evening in July. To his surprise, Ford said, “We were welcomed like heroes by the opposition people. We had a simple message—no violence. There were no burned buildings. There was a general strike going on, and the opposition people had control of the streets. They had all kinds of checkpoints. Largely, the government had pulled out.”

    Bassam Barabandi, a diplomat who defected in Washington to establish a Syrian exile organization, People Demand Change, thought that Ford had made two errors: his appearance in Hama raised hopes for direct intervention that was not forthcoming, and he was accompanied by a military attaché. “So, at that time, the big question for Damascus wasn’t Ford,” Barabandi told me in his spartan Washington office. “It was the military attaché. Why did this guy go with Ford?” The Syrian regime had a long-standing fear of American intelligence interference, dating to the CIA-­assisted overthrow in 1949 of the elected parliamentary government and several attempted coups d’état afterward. The presence in Hama of an ambassador with his military attaché allowed the Assad regime to paint its opponents as pawns of a hostile foreign power.

  • UK May Reopen Its Embassy In Damascus Soon – Reports
    https://southfront.org/uk-may-reopen-its-embassy-in-damascus-soon-reports

    The United Kingdome may reopen its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus in a year or two, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper hinted in a report on January 6 citing a British diplomat.

    “Give it a year or two and you can bet we’ll be reopening our embassy,” the unnamed diplomat said in the what the British newspaper described it as “an off-the-cuff remark.”

    During the last two weeks, the restoration of the Syrian-British relations was discussed by several unofficial figures. On December 30, former UK Ambassador to Syria said that we may witness the return of the British and French ambassadors to Damascus during 2019.

    Le même jour : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/05/roads-lead-damascus-world-welcoming-bashar-al-assad-cold
    All roads lead to Damascus: How the world is welcoming Bashar al-Assad in from the cold
    et
    Bashar al-Assad’s international rehabilitation has begun
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2019/01/05/assads-long-road-to-international-rehabilitation

    #normalisation #syrie #prédiction_autoréalisatrice

  • ‘Saudi, UAE assisted Assad in detecting, killing Syrian opposition leaders’
    https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/saudi-uae-assisted-assad-in-detecting-killing-syrian-opposition-leaders-3

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has recently reopened its embassy in Damascus, cooperated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, leading to the detection and killing of close to 80 leaders of the Syrian opposition.

    The locations of Jaysh al-Islam’s leader Zahran Alloush, Ahrar al-Sham leaders Hassan Aboud and Khalid al-Suri, leader of Liwa al-Tawhid Abdulkadir Salih, who all fell martyrs to the bombings of the Syrian regime, were shared by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with Assad, according to a Syrian opposition commander.

    In an exclusive interview with Yeni Şafak daily, Mahmoud Sulayman, a commander of the Mohammad Al-Fateh brigade, revealed that between the years 2012 and 2014, the Abu Dhabi and Riyadh brought hundreds of satellite phones to the front.

    “The passwords of the UAE-made ‘Thuraya’ and the British-made ‘Inmarsat’ satellite phones, which were given to group commanders by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, were shared with Damascus, thus this information led to the killings of dozens of opposition commanders,” he said.

    La source est... turque.

    Toujours se méfier des cadeaux qu’on vous fait (message valable pour les Kurdes aussi !)

    #syrie #grand_jeu #tic_arabes

  • Sic Semper Tyrannis : Two new US bases in western Iraq.
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/12/httpswwwalmasdarnewscomarticleus-builds-two-military-bases-alon

    The generals’ club is probably at work in this, seeking to limit the effect of Trump’s order for US forces to withdraw from Syria.

    The one in roumana sub-district is the location from which US Army 155mm artillery is firing in support of continuing SDF attacks against the hajin pocket in the SE corner of Syria. There will be US Army GBs with the SDF adjusting these fires. IMO those GBs will be left in Syria to do what only they do best, keep the locals in the fight. This base will be useful as a forward staging point for any raids that SOF forces might want to make into Syria (kill Baghdadi, etc.)

    The other base is at rutbah and is positioned astride the highway from al-tanf in Syria. In this position it will continue to obstruct the Damascus-Baghdad-Iran main ground route. 

    These two facilities will surely be supported and supplied from the al-asad air bast which Trump visited. pl

    #Syrie #Etats-Unis #Irak

  • Kuwait latest country to reopen embassy in Syria
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/kuwait-latest-country-to-reopen-embassy-in-syria

    Emirats arabes unis hier, Bahrein et Koweït aujourd’hui. Hier aussi reprise des vols de Syrianair vers la Tunisie. #normalisation accélérée pour la Syrie.

    In the course of 24 hours, two Arab nations have announced their intention to reopen their embassies in Syria after a seven year hiatus.

    According to a government source in Damascus, Kuwait will reopen their embassy in Syria in the next 10-14 days.

    Kuwait’s decision comes shortly after Bahrain announced that they were reopening their embassy in Damascus after closing it more than seven years ago.

    On Thursday afternoon, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reopened their embassy during a brief ceremony that was held in Damascus.

    • On parle aussi de la Mauritanie :

      الرئيس الموريتاني محمد ولد عبد العزيز سيقوم بزيارة رسمية إلى سوريا
      ٤-٥ يناير القادم حسب مصادر رسمية في نواكشوط

      الخليل ولد اجدود ajouté,
      عضوان الأحمري
      Compte certifié @Adhwan
      عودة العلاقات مع سوريا بشكل طبيعي مسألة وقت. عمر البشير قص الشريط، وستتبعه دول أخرى. تصريح الإمارات قبل قليل عن أن عودة دمشق للجامعة العربية بحاجة توافق عربي مؤشر جديد. كما أن رئيس السودان لم يزر دمشق دون استشارة واستنارة.
      16:15 - 27 déc. 2018 depuis Mauritania

  • Opinion | Iran & Saudi Arabia, Thelma & Louise - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/opinion/iran-saudi-arabia-thelma-louise.html

    Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît... Après avoir chanté les louanges de MBS (Mohamed Bone Saw), Friedman vous analyse la politique extérieure iranienne !

    And how did that work out?

    Iran denuclearized, but the Revolutionary Guards used the release of pressure and fresh cash and investments from the West to further project their power into the Sunni Arab world, consolidating the grip of Iran’s proxies over four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Sana and Beirut.

    Worse, Iran and its Lebanese Shiite mercenary army, Hezbollah, joined with Syria’s pro-Shiite regime in suppressing any chance of power-sharing with Syrian rebels and helped that regime ethnically cleanse Sunnis from key districts in Syria. Iran and its mercenaries also winked at Syria’s genocidal use of poison gas and barrel bombs, which contributed mightily to the death toll from the Syrian civil war of some 500,000 people, with 11 million people displaced.

    Iran’s imperial overstretch was halted only by the Israeli Air Force dealing a heavy blow to Iranian units in Syria when Iran sent missiles there to attack Israel.

    I thought the Iran deal was a bet worth making. No regrets. It did curb Iran’s nuclear program — a big deal — but it did nothing to moderate Iran’s regional behavior, which was never part of the pact. Indeed, it may have been the price of it, as Iran’s supreme leader seemed to compensate for making the deal with the “American devil” by allowing the Revolutionary Guards a freer hand to project their power.

    #friedman #nyt #iran

  • UAE To Reopen Its Embassy In Damascus Within Few Weeks - Report
    https://southfront.org/uae-to-reopen-its-embassy-in-damascus-within-few-weeks-report

    The UAE is going to reopen its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus within the upcoming two weeks, diplomatic sources told the Lebanon news outlet Debate on November 5.

    The Lebanese news outlet didn’t provide further information on the matter. However, several Syrian pro-government sources confirmed on November 7 that the Abu Dhabi embassy in Damascus is undergoing maintenance.

    #syrie

  • From refugees to entrepreneurs: How one family started over

    With just 30 days notice, the Rawas family was plucked from their temporary home in Jordan, where they’d fled the Syrian civil war, and resettled in Oakland. As refugees, they knew no one, had no job prospects and didn’t speak a word of English.

    Three years later, Mohammed Aref Rawas, Rawaa Kasedah and their four children are running a budding catering business that serves authentic Syrian food such as smoked basmati rice, falafel and fattoush salad. They’ve hired their first employee. Their clients include big tech companies. And the days when starting over seemed impossible are far behind them.

    They are among a large population of refugees who, after fleeing a homeland overrun by violence and political turmoil, started a business in the U.S., integrating quickly into the economy and life of a country that gave them a second chance. The family’s entrepreneurial approach is common among immigrants, studies show.

    An estimated 11 percent of all Syrian immigrants in the labor force are business owners — nearly four times the rate of U.S.-born business owners, according to a study by the New York-based Fiscal Policy Institute and the Center for American Progress. A significant part of that success has been the ability to master the English language, the report said.

    Meanwhile, a 2016 study by the Institute that followed Bosnian, Burmese, Hmong and Somali refugees nationwide found that they too moved up the occupational ladder and started businesses after settling in the U.S. Thirty one out of every 1,000 Bosnian refugees in the labor force are business owners, compared with 26 out of every 1,000 Burmese, 22 out of 1,000 Hmong and 15 out of every 1,000 Somalis, the study found.

    “There’s a hunger for dignified work,” said Dr. Thane Kreiner, executive director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. Kreiner launched an accelerator program known as Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins, which helps businesses and organizations around the world run by refugees, migrants or victims of human trafficking. “There’s this element of launching businesses, but also of integrating with the new host community so the refugees become part of the community rather than the ‘other.’”

    The Rawas family started Old Damascus Fare casually, by happenstance last year though the family has entrepreneurship in their blood. Rawas owned a successful clothing factory in Syria, where he oversaw about 50 employees. The family lived comfortably in a suburb in their native Damascus. But increasing gunfire, kidnappings and the presence of military groups forced them to leave, and their temporary escape to Jordan in 2012 soon became permanent.

    More than 500,000 Syrians have died and nearly 6 million have fled during a civil war that began seven years ago with an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Since the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim nations, including Syria, only a handful of Syrian refugees have been resettled in California in the past fiscal year.

    As the Rawas family settled into the Bay Area, new friends and acquaintances in the Arab community asked Kasedah to cater birthday parties and other events. By then, the family had noticed the absence of authentic Syrian food, even in Oakland’s diverse neighborhoods. Soon they were catering events for local tech companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

    “We got to the point where we realized it’s not only about food,” said Batool Rawoas, one of the couple’s daughters. “We are making new friends, we are hearing about new opportunities. It’s a way to share our culture with the people here.”

    They’re a powerful example of the American dream, said David Miliband, a former British foreign secretary and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, which resettled the Rawas family in 2015. “They show that these are people who want to work and not be reliant on welfare,” he said.

    Miliband visited the family recently at their catering kiosk on the UC Berkeley campus before he gave a speech, ordering the falafel sandwich and munching on appetizers that the family excitedly prepared for him. Because refugees like the Rawas’ often have to reinvent their lives, he said, that makes them resilient entrepreneurs.

    “In a way, being a refugee, having to flee for your life, having to figure out who to trust, having to figure out new ways of survival … there could hardly be a more effective job training program,” he said. “Those qualities of cooperation, determination, courage, trust are important for any entrepreneur. I don’t want to trivialize it, but it makes the point.”

    The family admits they’re still struggling. Their expenses regularly exceed their income, and they’re overwhelmed by the painstaking details of operating a business.

    “The main challenge for any refugee family is navigating how to survive in the Bay Area because it’s so expensive,” said Rawoas, who is attending community college and hopes to transfer to a four-year university to study psychology and public health. “We lived in Syria, we were from the middle class and we had a very comfortable life. We owned our own house, our own land.”

    “But we’re hoping, in the future, this will be a good thing to support us financially,” she added.

    Their next goal: to own a restaurant.


    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/04/from-refugees-to-entrepreneurs-how-one-family-started-over
    #entrepreunariat #entreprenariat #USA #Etats-Unis #réfugiés #asile #migrations #travail #intégration_professionnelle #réfugiés_syriens #économie

  • U.S.-led coalition kills over 3,000 civilians since 2014: war monitor - Xinhua | English.news.cn
    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-10/24/c_137553380.htm

    DAMASCUS, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — The U.S.-led coalition has killed as many as 3,222 civilians since its operations started in Syria in 2014, a war monitor reported Tuesday.

    A total of 768 children and 562 women were among those killed by the strikes of the U.S.-led coalition in the northern provinces of Hasakah, Raqqa, Aleppo, Idlib and the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    #civils #victimes_civiles #Syrie #Etats-Unis

  • The Grand Refugee Hotel: The Sequel to My Grandfather’s Germany

    On a visit to one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments, U.S. migration journalist and academic Daniela Gerson went in search of her family history and found an increasingly uneasy relationship between past and present.

    At the #Grand_Hotel_Cosmopolis, an African teenager served cappuccinos to European travelers below clocks telling the time in Kabul, Damascus, Grozny and other global centers of crisis.

    Lamin Saidy – sporting a style he described as “American proper” with tight jeans, lots of earrings and a big smile – was 13 when he fled violence in the Gambia. After he arrived in Germany as a refugee, he was told about this place, where tourists, asylum seekers and artists all share one building. The hotel is run by staff composed of a core group of resident German artists and a diverse team that includes volunteers who may be refugees like Saidy or local college students who want to join the experiment.

    Then, in the fall of 2016, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on immigration, a public artist gave a presentation on cultural integration initiatives in #Augsburg like none I had seen in more than a decade of reporting on immigration in the United States and Europe.

    The artist flashed images of the migrant job center, cafe and immigrant rights organization called Tuer an Tuer, which helped convince the city to take a stance against large institutional centers. Instead, all asylum seekers in Augsburg have been housed in residences of 100 or fewer people. She also showed photos of the colorful, boundary-bending Grand Hotel. This was Augsburg? It was definitely not the city of my imagination.

    Soon after, my mother forwarded me an invitation. In summer 2017, there was going to be a gathering of Jews from Augsburg and their families to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the synagogue. I set off, eager to explore my family’s past and to see if a city I associated with historic brutality had succeeded in building a more welcoming society as a result.
    A Welcoming Nation

    When I arrived in Munich, the Bavarian capital, I borrowed a friend’s bike and pedaled down to the vast main train station. In 2015, in what was known as the Welcoming Summer, more than 1 million asylum seekers came to Germany and the station was full of arriving migrants. There was such an outpouring of public support for them that they had to close the station to donations.

    Two years later, the backlash was mounting. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had taken steps to slow the tide of arrivals, limiting countries from which people are eligible for asylum and speeding up deportations of people whose applications had been rejected.

    Munich’s size has helped mask the impact of the refugee influx. Augsburg, founded more than 2,000 years ago, is a different story. With a population approaching 300,000, and a popular destination for refugees and foreign laborers, it was a contender to become the first majority minority city in Germany. Now almost 50 percent residents have a “migration background.”

    After a quick train trip an hour east of Munich, I biked across Augsburg’s picture-perfect main square of churches and beer gardens, passing by women strolling in hijabs and Chechnyan kids racing in circles on scooters. And near one of the largest cathedrals, down a cobblestone street, I found the Grand Hotel Cosmopolis. On first impression, it hardly felt grand, but rather like the 1960s old-age home it once was, converted into a lively Berlin artists’ squatter house.

    In a sun-drenched garden, I joined two of the artist founders and a refugee artist for a vegetarian lunch cooked in the communal basement kitchen. As we ate, they explained that the building had been abandoned for six years when some local artists spotted it and inquired about renting it out as a temporary exhibition space. But the owners, a Protestant social enterprise, said they had already entered into negotiations with the government to house asylum seekers.

    That’s when the idea came up to merge the two concepts, and add a hotel. The artists take care of the hotel, cafe and ateliers. The social enterprise, with government support, provides housing for the migrants.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived. “Many of the artists stopped their artistic work,” one of my guides, Susa Gunzner, told me. Instead, they focused all of their energies on learning about immigration laws and how to help the refugees.

    After lunch, I toured the 12 uniquely designed hotel rooms: One was bordello hot pink, another constructed to feel like a container ship, a third had a forest growing through it. My stark room, with a long wooden bench of a bed and simple, low table, struck me as a very elegant prison cell.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived.

    Gunzner, who teamed up with an Iranian artist to create the room, told me it symbolized freedom. The room is a homage to a Persian woman who moved with her family to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and later became a spy against the Nazis. Gunzner pointed out illustrations of trees on the wall from Shiraz. “We are always trying to enrich each other and find out – sometimes through very slow processes – who the other person is,” she told me.

    Left on my own, I walked downstairs to the refugee floor, and passed a half-dozen or so baby carriages crowding the stairwell. I had been warned I was only allowed to intrude if an asylum seeker invited me in. The founders of the hotel like to say they “only have guests – with and without asylum.” I was also struck by the strangeness of putting us all in one building as fellow travelers: people on holiday rubbing elbows with people who have been running for their lives.

    Not far from Augsburg, in the aftermath of World War II, my other grandparents – on my father’s side – landed in a very different type of refugee camp, set up by the United Nations and largely funded by the United States. They were Polish Jews whose families had been slaughtered in the streets and in concentration camps. They survived the war in Siberian labor camps and in Uzbek villages, where my father was born.

    In the desperate limbo of the displaced persons camp, they created a community – my grandfather took part in local governance; my father remembers a pet dog, Blackie, a synagogue and a school. What would my grandmother have said if artists lived upstairs and American tourists stayed for a week or two, temporarily sharing her first home outside Poland, the place where my father formed his first memories? Would she have appreciated the attention, or would she have felt like a monkey in the zoo?
    The Shadow of the Past

    It was not the first time that I had traveled to Germany and discovered echoes of my family’s past in my present, as I grapple with issues of migration, persecution and intolerance today as a journalist and academic.

    A decade ago, I spent a little over a year researching contemporary guest worker policies in Berlin and Bonn. Despite my last living relative who survived the Holocaust reprimanding me that Germany was no place for a nice Jewish girl, I fell for the country’s bike and cafe culture, numerous lakes and deliberate approach to its troubled history. I almost always felt welcome as a Jew. Even my neighbor who was a neo-Nazi was dating a Venezuelan and liked to come over and chat with me. Another neighbor, whose grandfather had been active in Hitler Youth, became one of my closest friends.

    Though I was sometimes disturbed by the recent stance that Germany was not a country of immigration, as well as the focus on integration – this notion some leaders interpreted as demanding that newcomers should cede their other cultural identities – I, in many ways, felt that Germany had dealt with its past in ways that could be a lesson to all nations.

    Ten years later, I visited a Germany increasingly conflicted about its moral obligations as it confronted the refugee crisis. And in Augsburg the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    I left the Grand Hotel on Sunday morning to meet other descendants of Augsburg Jews in the glorious sanctuary of the synagogue built in 1917. The descendants of those who fled the Nazis, or had the foresight or luck to leave before the war, had traveled from South Africa, Norway, Israel and across the United States. Civil leaders turned out in large numbers to pledge “never again.” It was a familiar message. But the synagogue’s attic museum reminded me how quickly a nation can shift toward hate. For the first time, it felt less like a history lesson and more like a warning that struck very close to home.

    In Augsburg, the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation, and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    Created in 1985, the Augsburg synagogue houses the first independent museum in Germany dedicated to Jewish history. It tells the story of how there were only 1,500 Jews in Augsburg when the Nazis came, but they enjoyed comfortable local prominence. The synagogue is a clear sign of that position. Congregants built the sanctuary – one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, with its 95ft (29m) dome and an architectural style that spans from Byzantine and Oriental elements to Art Noveau – investing in what they imagined would be a vibrant future in Augsburg.

    I was struck by a slide titled “Integration through Achievement.” The museum describes the dreams of these Jews, and it reminded me of the aspirations of many of the asylum seekers I met during my stay in Augsburg. They did not want just to live free from danger, they wanted an opportunity to be productive, successful German citizens. Chillingly, the museum concludes, the local Jewish communities were “extinguished totally.”
    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    In the year since my visit to the synagogue, I have covered U.S. authorities tearing apart asylum-seeking families as part of a larger, often vicious, crackdown. While I wish I could at least point to Germany today as a model of how to do things differently, the picture is unfortunately not so black and white.

    In German elections last fall, the far-right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party – whose senior member maintains that the country should be more positive about its Nazi past – won 13 percent of the popular vote. According to current polls, the party is on track to win around a similar proportion of votes in upcoming regional parliamentary elections in Bavaria on October 14.

    This year, the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sister party in Bavaria, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, pushed her to clamp down on border policy. In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, far-right protests against immigrants in recent weeks were accompanied by xenophobic tirades.

    In August Seehofer instituted the beginning of a new plan in Bavaria that could soon transform how asylum seekers are treated. In what he described as a national model, the goal is to expedite rapid deportations. Most new asylum seekers will be transported to institutions that can house more than 1,000 people, where they will not be in contact with anyone who is not an official or a lawyer or has specific permission.

    “That’s the opposite of what we tried to do in the last years, now we are going two steps back,” said Tuelay Ates-Brunner, the managing director of Tuer an Tuer. “For people who will be rejected, nobody will see them, nobody will know them.”

    “My first impression was that I felt like I was in a new world,” Saidy told me to the beat of Afro Pop on the jukebox. “The hotel is kind of incomparable.”

    The Grand Hotel is located in Augsburg, an ancient German city on Bavaria’s tourist-trod Romantic Road. It is also the place where my mother’s father was born. He was one of the first boys to have a bar mitzvah in the ornate, domed synagogue in Augsburg – just a few years before the Jews were forced to flee or perished at the hands of the Nazis.

    Nearly a century later, I went to stay at the Grand Hotel – one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments.

    Like so many inherited homelands, Augsburg was a mythical place for me, formed from family memories I had never lived – portraits of stern ancestors, the men with elaborate waxy mustaches, the buxom women with beautifully tailored clothes and lace collars. My Augsburg froze when the Nazis took over.


    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/10/08/the-grand-refugee-hotel-the-sequel-to-my-grandfathers-germany

    #Allemagne #hôtel #réfugiés #travail #migrations #asile

  • La Russie va fournir rapidement les missiles aériens plus modernes dont la livraison à la Syrie avait été suspendue en 2013 à la demande d’Israel. Mais également meilleure intégration des systèmes anti-aériens russe et syrien et contre-mesures électroniques contre les systèmes de navigation.

    Russia to supply S-300 to Syria within 2 weeks after Il-20 downing during Israeli raid – MoD — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/439190-russia-il20-downing-reaction


    FILE PHOTO : S-300 air defense system
    © Uliana Solovyova / Sputnik

    Within two weeks Russia will complete the delivery to Damascus of an S-300 air defense system previously suspended on a request by Israel as part of response to the downing of a Russian plane amid an Israeli air raid on Syria.

    Russia will supply the weapons to the Syrian side as part of response to the downing of a Russian Il-20 aircraft amid an Israeli air raid on Syrian territory, the Russian defense ministry announced.
    […]
    The system was purchased by Damascus several years ago, but never delivered.

    In 2013 on a request from the Israeli side we suspended the delivery to Syria of the S-300 system, which was ready to be sent with its Syrian crews trained to use it,” the statement said.

    The situation has changed, and not due to our fault.

    The S-300 is a relatively modern system capable of engaging targets at the range of up to 250 km. Syria’s current anti-aircraft systems are older models that didn’t stop Israel from attacking targets on Syrian territory.

    The Russian military will also supply better control systems to Syrian Air Defense Troops, “which are only supplied to the Russian Armed Forces,” defense chief Sergei Shoigu elaborated. This will allow integration of Syrian and Russian military assets, allowing the Syrian to have better targeting information. “The most important thing is that it will ensure identification of Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense forces.” Potentially it would also expose Israeli aircraft tracked by Russian radar stations to Syrian fire.

    The third measure announced by the Russian defense ministry is a blanket of electronic countermeasures over Syrian coastline, which would “suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.

    • https://fr.sputniknews.com/international/201809241038205410-russie-syrie-catastrophe

      « Je (Choigou, le ministre de la Défense) souligne qu’en 2013, à la demande de la partie israélienne, nous avons suspendu la livraison d’un complexe S-300 à la Syrie, étant prêt à être envoyé et le personnel militaire syrien ayant suivi la formation nécessaire », a-t-il déclaré en ajoutant : « Aujourd’hui la situation a changé. Et ce n’est pas de notre fait ».

    • La Russie va livrer des systèmes antiaériens S-300 à l’armée syrienne
      LE MONDE | 24.09.2018 à 12h39 • Mis à jour le 24.09.2018 à 14h24
      https://www.lemonde.fr/syrie/article/2018/09/24/la-russie-va-livrer-des-systemes-antiaeriens-s-300-a-l-armee-syrienne_535937

      La Russie a annoncé lundi 24 septembre qu’elle livrerait prochainement des systèmes modernes de défense antiaérienne S-300 à l’armée syrienne. Cette annonce du ministre russe de la défense, Sergueï Choïgou, intervient quelques jours après la destruction par erreur d’un avion russe à la suite d’un raid de l’aviation israélienne.

      « Les forces armées syriennes seront fournies d’ici à deux semaines en systèmes modernes S-300. Ils sont capables d’intercepter des appareils sur une distance de plus de 250 km et peuvent frapper en même temps plusieurs cibles dans les airs », a précisé M. Choïgou. Moscou va également brouiller les communications de tout avion voulant frapper la Syrie depuis la mer Méditerranée.

      « Nous sommes convaincus que la réalisation de ces mesures va refroidir les têtes brûlées et empêchera les actes irréfléchis constituant une menace pour nos soldats, a déclaré le ministre de la défense. Dans le cas contraire, nous réagirons de manière appropriée face à la situation. »
      (...)
      Lundi, le porte-parole du Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov, a renchéri en assurant que « les actes prémédités des pilotes israéliens sont en cause » dans la destruction de l’avion russe. « Ce qui ne peut que porter préjudice à nos relations » avec Israël, a-t-il regretté. « L’avion n’a pas été abattu par un missile israélien, Dieu merci », mais cela « a été rendu possible par les actes des pilotes israéliens », a-t-il ajouté. Il a cependant souligné que les livraisons de S-300 n’étaient « dirigées envers aucun pays tiers, mais destinées à défendre les militaires » russes.

      L’armée israélienne nie depuis le début la version russe, répondant dimanche dans un communiqué que ses avions ne « s’étaient pas cachés derrière un quelconque appareil et que les appareils israéliens se trouvaient dans l’espace israélien au moment où l’avion russe a été abattu ».

      #Russie-Israël-Syrie

  • Selon la Russie, la France participe aux bombardements israéliens en Syrie. (Wait, what ?)

    Russian military aircraft ’disappears’ during Syria strike attributed to Israel, France
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/russian-military-aircraft-believed-to-be-shot-down-by-syria-defenses-1.6489

    Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that one if its military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria.

    […]

    “At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region.”

    • Au moins, les Britanniques ont été prévenus :
      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6172483/PETER-HITCHENS-brink-war-noticed.html
      Almost everyone missed an amazing and worrying moment in Parliament last week, when Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt gave us a glimpse of the Government’s thinking. They will go to war without waiting for the facts to be checked, and without recalling Parliament.
      In a very brief debate about the war in Syria, he was asked about plans – now being openly discussed at high levels in Washington – for a devastating attack on Damascus.

    • La France a-t-elle procédé à un tir au large de la Syrie ?
      18 sept. 2018, 10:38
      https://francais.rt.com/international/53963-france-a-t-elle-procede-tir-large-syrie

      Moscou assure avoir détecté un tir français, lancé depuis la frégate Auvergne en mer Méditerranée, au large de la Syrie, le 17 septembre au soir, alors qu’Israël procédait également à des tirs dans la région.

      Parallèlement aux tirs israéliens survenus le 17 septembre au soir en Syrie, le système de contrôle de l’espace aérien russe a annoncé avoir repéré un tir depuis la frégate française Auvergne, qui croise en mer Méditerranée au large de la Syrie, selon un communiqué du ministère russe de la Défense. (...)

    • Avion abattu par Damas : Moscou dénonce les tirs israéliens et se « réserve le droit » de répondre
      18 sept. 2018
      https://francais.rt.com/international/53961-damas-aurait-abattu-avion-militaire-russe-15-soldats-bord-moscou

      Après qu’un avion russe Il-20 a disparu des radars le 17 septembre au soir au-dessus de la mer Méditerranée, Moscou a finalement identifié la provenance de l’attaque : un tir des forces anti-aériennes syriennes.

      12h32 CET

      La Russie a annoncé qu’elle convoquait l’ambassadeur d’Israël. En Israël, un porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères a refusé de commenter cette convocation, assurant n’avoir « rien à dire » à ce sujet.

      11h30 CET

      L’opération de recherche des membres de l’équipage de l’avion russe Il-20 qui s’est abîmé près de la côte de Lattaquié comprend huit bateaux, destroyers et navires d’approvisionnement de la marine russe.

      Pour l’heure, seuls des fragments de corps des membres de l’équipage et des effets personnels, ainsi que des débris de l’avion ont été repêchés à bord des bateaux russes.

      11h23 CET

      Le ministère russe de la Défense a publié une carte de l’incident retraçant ce qu’il estime être la trajectoire des différents acteurs présents dans la zone.


      La Russie a averti Israël de possibles représailles lors d’un appel entre ministres de la Défense respectifs des deux pays.

      Moscou rend directement responsable Israël de la perte de son appareil, précisant n’avoir été prévenu qu’« une minute avant le début des frappes »
      11h00 CET

      Les avions israéliens « ont délibérément créé une situation dangereuse pour les navires de surface et les aéronefs dans la région », d’après le ministère russe de la Défense.

      « En utilisant l’avion russe comme bouclier, les pilotes israéliens l’ont exposé au feu des systèmes de défense aérienne syrienne : ainsi, l’Il-20 dont la surface est d’un ordre supérieure à celle du F-16, a été abattu par un missile du complexe S-200 », a-t-il ajouté. (...)

    • https://francais.rt.com/international/53961-damas-aurait-abattu-avion-militaire-russe-15-soldats-bord-moscou

      15h30 CET

      Recevant son homologue hongrois Victor Orban à Moscou ce 18 septembre, le président russe Vladimir Poutine a répondu à une question de journaliste concernant le crash de l’avion de reconnaissance russe Iliouchine 20. « Cela ressemble à une succession de circonstances tragiques », a-t-il déclaré. « Quand il y a des gens qui meurent, c’est toujours un grand malheur », a poursuivi le chef d’Etat qui a présenté ses condoléances aux proches des 15 soldats russes qui étaient à bord de l’appareil au moment où il a disparu des radars au-dessus de la Méditerranée, au large de la Syrie.
      13h49 CET

      L’armée israélienne a réagi en disant « tenir le régime d’Assad, dont l’armée a abattu l’avion russe, pour entièrement responsable de cet incident ». Israël a ajouté que l’Iran et « l’organisation terroriste du Hezbollah » étaient responsables de ce drame.

      Israel will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) 18 septembre 2018

      Tsahal précise que ses avions n’étaient plus dans la zone lorsque les tirs syriens ont été effectués et que ceux-ci sont dus au caractère « imprécis » des systèmes anti-aériens syriens.

      Israël a également annoncé qu’il partagerait avec l’armée russe toutes les informations pertinentes dont il dispose pour mener à bien l’enquête.

  • UNRWA’s teaspoon of fish oil and glass of milk: The protective framework that millions of Palestinians remember
    Even if the United States and Israel manage to scuttle the refugee agency’s efforts, this assault strengthens the ties that bind Palestinians – despite their weakening political leadership
    Amira Hass Sep 08, 2018 12:40 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-unrwa-the-protective-framework-that-millions-of-palestinians-remem

    Gazans in their 50s still remember, with a smile and a bit of disgust, the glass of milk and the spoonful of fish oil they had to drink at UNRWA schools every morning. As adults, they’re able to appreciate the supportive framework the UN Works and Relief Agency for Palestinian refugees gave them, and which that daily dose reflected.

    A resident of the Gaza Strip’s Al-Shati refugee camp, who studied math at Birzeit University in the West Bank in the 1980s, said half the students in his class were from Gaza, and most were refugees. “It’s thanks to the omega-3 in the oil they got from UNRWA,” he joked.

    The children of Gaza’s old-time residents, who aren’t refugees, envied the refugee children because UNRWA schools were considered better than government ones and even provided free notebooks and writing implements including crayons. But the difference also apparently stems from the refugees’ aspirational mantra. After the immediate trauma of losing their land and property, they educated their children in that mantra’s spirit: Study, because now education is your land.

    Good early education (compared to their surroundings, as one graduate of the UNRWA system stressed) was the basic service UNRWA gave and still gives Palestinian refugees, alongside health care. Most UNRWA employees, some 30,000 people in several different countries, work in these two departments. When residents of refugee camps have more employment opportunities, they have less need of services like food packages. And when UNRWA has to invest in emergency services, this weakens its essential education and health services.

    Even though the United States stopped its financial support for UNRWA, the new school year opened on schedule last week in the agency’s 711 elementary schools located in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. Every day, 526,000 Palestinian students leave there homes in these diverse lands’ almost 60 refugee camps and attend schools with uniform characteristics – doors and windowsills painted turquoise, the UN flag, a few trees in the schoolyard with whitewashed trunks, photographs of the tent camps of 1949 on the walls.

    These uniform characteristics have been maintained for almost seven decades. Millions of Palestinian children became acquainted with the UN flag before that of their host country, or even that of Palestine, and before they encountered the Star of David that they learned to hate so deeply as a symbol of daily military violence. They saw the characteristic turquoise whenever they went to the refugee camp’s clinic or ate lunch in the dining hall reserved for children of unemployed parents.

    The spontaneous architectural process that these camps underwent is also similar – from rows of tents with taps and toilets at the outskirts; less organized rows of a few rooms around an interior courtyard, which stole a few centimeters from the alleys and made them even narrower; the multistory buildings that arose in the 1990s to house grown-up children. The savings of family members who found jobs made this possible (in Gaza, the West Bank and pre-civil war Syria much more than in Lebanon).

    Beyond the clan

    The refugee camps initially maintained geographic divisions among the original villages from which residents were expelled, and even subdivisions among extended families. But with time, and marriages between people from different villages, these divisions blurred.

    In a society that to this day retains both ties of loyalty and material ties to the extended family, the refugee camps created more modern communities because they expanded the bounds of foundational social loyalties beyond the ties of blood – that is, the family and the clan – to a large group of people who were living through the same difficult experience and had to make do with living spaces several times smaller than what they or their parents had before. The social and national consciousness of a shared fate that goes beyond the shared fate of family members and village members was bolstered there, beyond any doubt.

    This happened even before the Palestinian political organizations became established. Until the Palestinian Authority was created, these organizations weren’t just a vehicle for resistance to Israel and the occupation, but also a kind of super-clans that created their own internal loyalties and developed networks of mutual aid and protection.

    The Palestinian dialect was also preserved in the camps, and people from different villages or regions even preserved their own unique accents. Over time, the Palestinian accent in every host country has absorbed some of the country’s unique variety of Arabic, but it’s still easy to tell a Palestinian in these countries by his accent.

    Some refugee camps underwent a similar sociological process of absorbing poor people who weren’t refugees. That happened in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus, before the civil war destroyed it, in several camps in Lebanon and in the Shoafat camp in Jerusalem. But at the same time, anyone who could left the camps.

    Residents of the West Bank’s Deheisheh camp built an offshoot of their camp on the other side of the road, and today it’s a large, separate community called Doha (named for the capital of Qatar, which helped finance the purchase of the land from Beit Jala residents). The Shabura and Jabalya camps in Gaza also have offshoots that are slightly more spacious. But the ties to and affection for the camp – no less than for the village of origin – remain.

    The uniform framework UNRWA has provided for millions of Palestinian in the camps over the last 70 years has undoubtedly helped them retain these affinities. But had it not been for UNRWA, would they have assimilated completely into their different environments (especially outside Palestine) and forgotten that they are Palestinians, as anti-UNRWA propagandists hope or claim?

    There are hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in South America who aren’t refugees (they mostly emigrated voluntarily) and never lived in refugee camps. But they haven’t abandoned their Palestinian identity. It has even strengthened among the second and third generations, along with their political consciousness. And if they don’t speak Arabic, they’re trying to learn it now.

    Collapse of traditional political system

    Without UNRWA, would the Palestinian refugees not have maintained their emotional ties to their towns and villages of origin? Would they not have made this the basis of their political demand for a right of return?

    Anyone who thinks so is confusing the framework with the content. Even if the United States and Israel manage to destroy the framework, UNRWA, this political and material assault is merely strengthening the ties that bind Palestinians to one another. This is happening despite, and in parallel with, the collapse of the traditional political system of the past 60 years that united Palestinians wherever they lived, inside and outside the refugee camps.

    The parties that comprised the PLO are either nonexistent or weak, divided and strife-ridden. The PLO itself has lost its virtue of being an organization that nurtured Palestinian identity and culture and tried to create a system of social and economic solidarity. It has become a thin shell of gray, anonymous bureaucrats and is completely dependent on the Palestinian Authority.

    The PA, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas admitted, fulfills its purpose of coordinating with Israel on security issues. It’s a provider of jobs pretending to be a political leadership. It’s also feuding with its rival, Hamas, and that group’s government in Gaza.

    Hamas is even weaker financially. And it maintains its image as a resistance movement mainly in the eyes of those who haven’t experienced the results of its military adventures and delusions on their own skin – that is, people who don’t live in Gaza but in the West Bank or the diaspora.

    In this situation, the framework that U.S. President Donald Trump and former Labor MK Einat Wilf want to destroy remains what it has been for 70 years – an economic and, to some extent, social stabilizer.

    UNRWA’s budget totals $1.2 billion. Its regular budget is $567 million, of which $450 million goes for education, and another $400 million is an emergency budget, of which 90 percent goes to Gaza. That enormous sum reflects the state of this tiny coastal enclave and the ruinous impact of Israel’s assaults and, even more, its restrictions on movement and trade that have left half the workforce unemployed. The rest of UNRWA’s budget is earmarked for various projects (for instance, in Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared camp, or what remains of Gaza’s reconstruction).

    Eight months ago, when the United States first slashed its contribution by $300 million, UNRWA’s budget deficit was almost $500 million. With great effort, and with countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates contributing $50 million each for the first time, the deficit has shrunk to $270 million.

    UNRWA had to immediately cut its emergency services, of which one of the most important is the Cash for Work program that provides temporary jobs for unemployed Gazans. Other emergency projects were also suspended: psychological treatment for people traumatized by Israeli attacks; help for the Bedouin in Area C, the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control; help for farmers whose lands and income are imprisoned on the other side of the separation barrier; mobile clinics. What is still being funded is the distribution of food and sanitary products such as diapers to 1 million Gazans once every three months.

    Because of the cuts, UNRWA couldn’t renew the contracts of 160 temporary workers in Gaza. It also reduced the salaries of several hundred people employed on its emergency projects.

    The big question is what will happen to its 2019 budget, and whether UNRWA will have to cut or even close its education and health services.

  • Did IDF admit giving weapons to Islamists in Syria? Explosive Israeli news report vanishes — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/437677-israel-weapons-jerusalem-post-idf
    https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.09/article/5b8fec8ffc7e937a6a8b45a4.png

    One of at least seven groups believed to have received weapons from Israel, Fursan al-Joulan, or ‘Knights of Golan,’ reportedly participated in the Israeli-led operation to evacuate hundreds of members of the controversial White Helmets group out of Syria. The group is also believed to have received upwards of $5,000 per month from Israel.

    The deleted report comes on the heels of another major disclosure: On Monday the IDF announced that Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria in the past year and half.

    The Israeli military usually declines to comment on missile strikes attributed to Israel, although Tel Aviv has repeatedly claimed that it has the right to attack Hezbollah and Iranian military targets inside Syria. Damascus has repeatedly claimed that Israel uses Hezbollah as a pretext to attack Syrian military formations and installations, accusing Tel Aviv of “directly supporting ISIS and other terror organizations.”

    Le lien vers l’article en cache : https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5JDOiVV-EgUJ:https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IDF-confirms-Israel-provided-light-weapons-to-Syrian-reb

    #israël #syrie

    • Le Wall Street Journal en parlait l’an dernier,
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-gives-secret-aid-to-syrian-rebels-1497813430

      Report: Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels | Israel Defense
      http://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/30036

      “Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” a spokesman for the rebel group #Fursan_al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan, Moatasem al-Golani, told the Journal. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

      Abu Suhayb, a nom de guerre of the commander who leads the group, told the newspaper he receives approximately $5,000 a month from Israel. According to the report, the group made contact with Israel in 2013 after a raid on regime forces and turned to Israel for help with its wounded. The group said it was a turning point as Israel then began sending funds and aid, assistance soon extended to other groups.

      In response to the Wall Street Journal report, the IDF said Israel was “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”

  • Heat: the next big inequality issue | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/aug/13/heat-next-big-inequality-issue-heatwaves-world

    But air conditioning will remain out of reach for many, even as it increasingly becomes a necessity. In 2014, Public Health England raised concerns that “the distribution of cooling systems may reflect socioeconomic inequalities unless they are heavily subsidised,” adding that rising fuel costs could further exacerbate this. And when we need to use less energy and cool the planet, not just our homes and offices, relying upon air conditioning is not a viable long-term plan – and certainly not for everyone.

    ‘In Cairo everything is suffocating’


    Most of the research into heatwaves and public health has focused on western countries; Benmarhnia says more studies have been done on the city of Phoenix, Arizona, than the entire continent of Africa. But the problem is global, and especially pronounced across urban slums such as the ashwiyyat in Cairo, where temperatures during the city’s five-month-long summers have peaked at 46C (115F).

    Traditionally Egyptians built low buildings close together, forming dense networks of shaded alleyways where people could keep cool during summer. But the rapid construction of high-rises and decreasing green spaces have made one of the fastest-growing cities in the world increasingly stifling. Subsidy cuts have brought about a rise of 18-42% in electricity costs, affecting many poor residents’ options for cooling down.

    Um Hamad, 41, works as a cleaner and lives with his family in a small flat in Musturad in the city’s north. Though he considers them lucky to live on the relatively cool first floor, “in Cairo everything is suffocating”, he says. Hamad use fans and water to keep cool inside, but the water bill is becoming expensive . “There’s always that trick of sleeping on the floor, and we wear cotton clothes ,” he says. “The temperatures are harder to deal with for women who wear the hijab, so I always tell my daughters to wear only two layers and to wear bright colours.”

    In a tight-knit cluster of urban dwellings in Giza, to Cairo’s south, Yassin Al-Ouqba, 42, a train maintenance worker, lives in a house built from a mixture of bricks and mud-bricks. In August, he says, it becomes “like an oven”. “I have a fan and I place it in front of a plate of ice so that it spreads cold air throughout the room. I spread cold water all over the sheets.”

    Compounding the threat posed by the changing climate is the refugee crisis. The two are intimately linked, with extreme weather events often a factor in social, political and economic instability. A paper published in the journal Science in December found that if greenhouse gas emissions were not meaningfully reduced global asylum applications would increase by almost 200% by the end of the century.

    On a plain north of Amman, some 80,000 Syrians live in the Za’atari refugee camp, a semi-permanent urban settlement set up six years ago and now considered Jordan’s fourth-largest city. Hamda Al-Marzouq, 27, arrived three years ago, fleeing airstrikes on her neighbourhood in the outskirts of Damascus.

    Her husband had gone missing during the war, and she was desperate to save her young son and extended family. Eight of them now live in a prefabricated shelter, essentially a large metal box, which Al-Marzouq says turns into an oven during the summer.

    It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them

    Hamda Al-Marzouq, Za’atari camp resident
    “It’s a desert area, and we’re suffering,” she says by phone from the camp. “We have different ways of coping. We wake in the early morning and soak the floor with water. Then we sprinkle water on ourselves.” There is no daytime electricity, so fans are useless. When power does arrive at night, the desert has already cooled.

    Many days, her family will wait until the evening to walk outside, wrapping wet towels around their heads. But the biggest problem are sandstorms, which can arrive violently during the summer months and engulf the camp for days. “We have to close the caravan windows,” she says, adding the room then gets hotter. “It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them.”

    Al-Marzouq’s five-year-old son suffers respiratory problems and keeps getting infections, while asthma is rife across the camp.

    Water has also been an issue, with demand in northern Jordan – one of the most water-scarce countries in the world – surging following the refugee arrivals. A Unicef-led operation will see all households connected to a water network by October, which Al-Marzouq says has been a significant help.

    “We used to collect water with jerry cans and had to carry it for long distances. Now, with the water network being operational, things are much easier. We don’t have to fight in a long queue to get our share of water. Now there is equity.”

    #climat #Amman #Le_Caire #réfugiés

  • China to allegedly assist Syrian Army in Idlib - report
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/china-to-allegedly-assist-syrian-army-in-idlib-report

    China will allegedly assist the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in their upcoming battle in southwestern Idlib, the Chinese Ambassador to Syria, Qi Qianjin, told Al-Watan this week.

    According to the Al-Watan, Qianjin told the Syrian daily that the Chinese military is prepared to ‘somehow’ take part in the upcoming Idlib offensive, especially because of the large presence of Uyghur fighters near Jisr Al-Shughour.

    “The Chinese military has played an imperative role in protecting sovereignty, security and stability of China. At the same time, it (China) is wanting to take part in peacekeeping operations,” Qianjin told Al-Watan.

    Tiens ! Les Chinois aussi en #syrie.