Oliver's Feed
Feb 26, 2015

Islamic State snatches 220 from Christian villages: Syria monitoring group

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants have abducted at least 220 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria during a three-day offensive, a monitoring group that tracks violence in Syria said on Thursday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the abductions took place when Islamic State captured 10 villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds, in the past three days.

Feb 10, 2015

Syrian government launches offensive against rebels in south

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s army gained ground from rebels in the south on Tuesday in what a monitoring group described as a large-scale offensive in the region backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters against insurgents including al Qaeda’s Syrian wing.

The south is one of the last remaining areas where mainstream, non-jihadist rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad have a foothold. Just a short drive to Damascus, the area remains a risk to the Syrian leader, who has otherwise consolidated control over much of the west.

Feb 4, 2015

Lebanese fashion school scouts talent in refugee camps, orphanages

BEIRUT, Feb 4 (Reuters) – It’s in the refugee camps and
orphanages of Lebanon that Creative Space Beirut, a fashion
school, looks for emerging talent for its three-year programme
taught by top Lebanese and international designers.

Sarah Hermez, 28, founder and director of Creative Space,
chooses ten underprivileged students from different backgrounds
to join her school in the art district of east Beirut.

Feb 3, 2015

WFP alarmed by pictures of ISIS logos on its Syria food parcels

GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has declared itself “extremely concerned” by photographs showing its food parcels being handed out in Syria with Islamic State logos on them.

Images circulating on social media show food being distributed from cardboard boxes with “Islamic State in Syria” labels pasted over the WFP logo.

Jan 30, 2015

Syria battle between al Qaeda and Western-backed group spreads

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Fighting between the Syrian arm of al Qaeda and Western-backed rebels in northern Syria spread from Aleppo province into neighboring Idlib on Friday, the rebel group and an organization monitoring the civil war said.

Clashes began on Thursday when the al Qaeda Syria wing, the Nusra Front, seized positions from the Hazzm movement west of Aleppo, threatening one of the few remaining pockets of the non-jihadist insurgency.

Jan 29, 2015

Egypt, Syria, Iraq used 2014 turmoil to abuse rights – report

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The governments of Egypt, Syria and Iraq used real and perceived security threats in 2014 as an excuse to downplay or abandon the rights of their citizens, which ultimately fuelled crises, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday.

In its annual review of global human rights, the group said security forces across the globe are ignoring rights in dealing with threats, such as China’s crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang, Mexico’s war on drugs and Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

Jan 8, 2015

Medical aid unable to enter Syrian rebel-held Aleppo: WHO

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has been unable to get a desperately needed medical aid convoy through to civilians in the rebel-held part of Aleppo despite a government promise last month to give it access.

“Delays often happen due to operational and/or security reasons but details are not to be shared,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević said in an email on Tuesday.

Dec 27, 2014

Syria ready to discuss Russia peace plan talks, opposition dismissive

BEIRUT/CAIRO (Reuters) – Syria said on Saturday it was willing to participate in “preliminary consultations” in Moscow aimed at restarting talks next year to end its civil war but the Western-backed opposition dismissed the initiative.

Two rounds of peace talks this year in Geneva failed to halt the conflict which has killed 200,000 people during more than three years of violence and there was little sign of the latest move gaining traction.

Dec 22, 2014

Exclusive: WHO says Syria opens Aleppo, other troubled areas for medical aid

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian government has approved the delivery of medicine and surgical supplies to three areas of the country aid workers were previously unable to reach regularly, including opposition-held Aleppo, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO’s Syria representative, told Reuters the areas freed for access are Aleppo, the besieged Damascus district of Mouadamiya, and Eastern Ghouta, outside the capital.

Dec 19, 2014

One million people wounded, diseases spreading in Syria: WHO

BEIRUT (Reuters) – One million people have been wounded during Syria’s civil war and diseases are spreading as regular supplies of medicine fail to reach patients, the World Health Organization’s Syria representative said.

A plunge in vaccination rates from 90 percent before the war to 52 percent this year and contaminated water have added to the woes, allowing typhoid and hepatitis to advance, Elizabeth Hoff said in an interview late on Thursday.