Record 9.3 Million Syrian Children Need Aid – UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

More Syrian children are in need than at any time since a devastating civil war erupted over a decade ago, but funding for them is “dwindling”, the United Nations warned Sunday.

“Syria’s children have suffered for far too long and should not suffer any longer,” the UN children’s agency said in a statement.

A total of 9.3 million Syrian children are in need of aid both inside the country and in the wider region where they have fled, UNICEF spokesperson Juliette Touma told AFP.

“More than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest number recorded since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 years ago,” the agency statement added.

In neighbouring countries, 2.8 million Syrian refugee children depend on assistance, Touma said.

Syria’s war is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with a brutal crackdown of anti-government protests in 2011.

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It escalated into a devastating and complex conflict that drew in numerous actors including jihadist groups and regional and international powers.

“Children’s needs, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, are growing,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s Middle East chief.

“Many families struggle to make ends meet. Prices of basic supplies including food are skyrocketing, partially as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.”

Children are among the most vulnerable and the UN warned they are bearing the brunt of the impact.

UNICEF said the agency faced a severe cash shortfall to provide aid.

“Funding for humanitarian operations is meanwhile fast dwindling,” Khodr said. “UNICEF has received less than half of its funding requirements for this year.”

UNICEF called for $20 million to fund “cross-border operations” in northwest Syria — the country’s last major rebel enclave — to support “the only lifeline for nearly one million children”.

AFP

15 Soldiers Dead In Syria Attack On Military Bus

Syria map

 

Fifteen soldiers died Sunday in an Islamic State group attack on an army bus in the central Syrian desert, a war monitor said.

State news agency SANA had reported 13 dead “including officers” and 18 wounded.

IS cells “attacked a military bus” in the Palmyra desert, “killing 15 soldiers and wounding 18 others”, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The death toll could rise as most of the soldiers were “seriously wounded”, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources across the country.

IS did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

READ ALSO: Minors Still Detained In Syria Prison Attacked by IS, Says UN

The Observatory said 61 pro-regime soldiers and Iran-affiliated militiamen had been killed in IS attacks in the desert of Syria since the start of the year.

Despite the fall of IS’s “caliphate” in 2019, the group continues to launch deadly attacks from hideouts in the Syrian desert, which extends from the outskirts of the capital Damascus to the Iraqi border.

In early January, nine Syrian soldiers and allied fighters were killed in a similar attack on a military convoy in Syria’s east.

On January 20, IS fighters launched their biggest assault in years, attacking a prison in the Kurdish-controlled northeast Syrian city of Hasakeh, aiming to free fellow jihadists.

Almost a week of intense fighting left more than 370 dead, according to the Observatory.

IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi blew himself up in early February during a raid by US forces on his house in Syria’s northwest region of Idlib, Syria’s last major opposition bastion.

About half a million people have died and millions have been displaced since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, after nationwide protests against the government were met with a brutal crackdown.

It escalated into a devastating war that drew in regional and international powers.

AFP

Minors Still Detained In Syria Prison Attacked by IS, Says UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

The United Nations said on Sunday that minors were still being detained in a northeast Syria prison attacked last month by the Islamic State group, calling their conditions “precarious”.

International rights groups, including Save the Children and Human Rights Watch have previously said that 700 boys had been in the Ghwayran jail before the January 20 operation.

Aged between 12 and 18, they include many who had adult relatives inside the prison and were transferred from nearby displacement camps housing thousands of children of jihadist fighters.

“UNICEF met with some of the children still detained in the Ghwayran detention centre,” the UN’s child agency said in a statement.

“Despite some of the basic services now in place, the situation of these children is incredibly precarious,” it added, without specifying how many minors were still detained.

Farhad Shami of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces told AFP that “hundreds” of minors were still being held in Ghwayran, refusing to disclose an exact figure.

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“They are being kept in a safe place,” he said

The IS prison break attempt from the Ghwayran jail in Hasakeh city triggered a week of clashes inside and around the Kurdish-run facility, leaving hundreds dead, before Kurdish-led forces recaptured the jail.

It was the largest jihadist operation in Syria since the group’s territorial defeat in 2019.

UNICEF said it was working to immediately provide care for the minors and confirmed that it “is ready to help support a new safe place in the northeast of Syria to take care of the most vulnerable children”.

On Sunday, the SDF said in a statement that UNICEF was the first UN agency granted permission to visit the jail since the attack.

“The delegation was provided with information on the status of the Deash-linked teenagers,” the SDF added, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Video footage of the visit posted on social media networks showed around a dozen boys, many covered in blankets, in a prison cell.

Kurdish authorities have repeatedly blamed the international community for failing to support efforts to rehabilitate and repatriate jihadist children.

Ghwayran housed at least 3,500 IS suspects before last month’s attack.

AFP

IS Leader Blows Himself Up During US Special Forces Raid – Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks about the counterterrorism operation in Syria from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 3, 2022. SAUL LOEB / AFP
US President Joe Biden speaks about the counterterrorism operation in Syria from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 3, 2022. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

President Joe Biden said Thursday a global “terrorist threat” was removed when the head of the Islamic State blew himself up after US special forces swooped on his Syrian hideout in an “incredibly challenging” nighttime helicopter raid.

Biden said he had ordered an assault by troops rather than an air strike in order to minimize civilian casualties, even though this meant “much greater risk to our own people.” There were no casualties among the US forces.

The death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi is the biggest setback to the IS jihadist group since his predecessor, the better-known Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a US commando raid in the same Syrian region of Idlib in 2019.

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“Last night’s operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield. And sent a strong message to terrorists around the world. We will come after you and find you,” Biden said in nationally televised remarks.

In the brief, somber address from the White House’s Roosevelt Room, Biden said the house targeted overnight in the town of Atme contained “families, including children.”

“As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up,” Biden said.

Qurashi detonated the entire top floor, Biden said, “taking several members of his family with him.”

The three-level building of raw cinder blocks bore the scars of an intense battle, with torn window frames, charred ceilings and a partly collapsed roof.

AFP correspondents shot photographs that show a simple room with little more than foam mattresses, blankets, colorful clothes and children’s toys.

This image released by the US Department of Defense shows the compound housing ISIS emir Al-Qurayshi in northwest Syria prior to a raid executed by US forces, February 2, 2022.  US Department of Defense / AFP
This image released by the US Department of Defense shows the compound housing ISIS emir Al-Qurayshi in northwest Syria prior to a raid executed by US forces, February 2, 2022. US Department of Defense / AFP

 

An Iraqi from the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar, Qurashi was also known as Amir Mohammed Said Abd al-Rahman al-Mawla. He replaced Baghdadi after he too blew himself up in a US raid in October 2019.

The US government had offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Qurashi.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven civilians were among at least 13 people killed in the operation, four of them children.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at least three civilians died — Qurashi’s wife and their two children.

Rent paid

Atme residents were shocked to hear that their neighbor in the modest house surrounded by olive trees was in fact the leader of the Islamic State.

One of the world’s most wanted men was living there with his family and his sister.

Even his landlord, Mohamed al-Sheikh, was perplexed by the news. He thought he had leased the house to a cab driver.

“This man lived here for 11 months. I did not notice anything strange about him,” al-Sheikh said. “He would pay me rent and leave.”

Footage after the operation showed a black plume of smoke billowing out of the damaged house. Inside, blood was splattered on the wall and the floor.

A witness told AFP he woke to the sound of helicopters.

“Then we heard small explosions. Then we heard stronger explosions,” said Abu Ali, a displaced Syrian living in Atme, adding the United States blasted messages to reassure residents.

He heard American forces say “don’t worry. We’re just coming to this house… to rid you of the terrorists.”

The American helicopters took off from a military base in the Kurdish-controlled city of Kobani, Abdel Rahman said.

Elite, US-trained members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces joined the operation, Rahman said.

One of the helicopters had to be destroyed after developing mechanical problems, according to a senior US official, and its smouldering remains were photographed in the village of Jinderes in northern Aleppo province.

Farhad Shami, who heads the media office of the US-backed SDF, said the operation targeted “the most dangerous international terrorists.”

Kurdish forces had also taken part in the raid against Baghdadi in 2019.

Fierce battle

Atme is home to a huge camp for families displaced by the decade-old conflict and which experts have warned was being used by jihadists as a place to hide among civilians.

US special forces have carried out several operations against high-value jihadist targets in the area in recent months, with the military on October 23 announcing the killing of senior Al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar.

The area, the last enclave to actively oppose the government of Bashar al-Assad, is mostly administered by a body loyal to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group led by former members of what was once Al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria.

The death of the IS leader comes two weeks after the group staged a huge attack to spring its fighters from a Kurdish-run prison in northeastern Syria.

Hundreds were killed in what was IS’s most high-profile operation since the demise of its “caliphate” nearly three years earlier.

 

AFP

Syria Battle Between IS, Kurdish Forces Kills Over 120 – Monitor

Kurdish security forces deploy in Syria’s northern city of Hasakeh on January 22, 2022, amid ongoing fighting for a third day with the Islamic State group. Fighting raged for a third day between the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces in Syria after IS attacked a prison housing jihadists, with the violence killing nearly 90, a monitor said. AFP

 

A fierce battle raged in Syria for a fourth day, on Sunday between US-backed Kurdish forces and Islamic State group fighters who have attacked a prison, killing at least 120 people including seven civilians, a war monitor said.

More than 100 insurgents late Thursday attacked the Kurdish-run Ghwayran jail in Hasakeh city to free fellow jihadists, in the most significant IS operation since its self-declared caliphate was defeated in Syria nearly three years ago.

Intense fighting since then has seen the militants free detainees and seize weapons stored at the jail, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in what experts see as a bold IS attempt to regroup.

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“At least 77 IS members and 39 Kurdish fighters, including internal security forces, prison guards and counter-terrorism forces, have been killed” inside and outside the prison since the start of the attack, the Observatory said.

At least seven civilians are among those who died in the fighting in the northeastern city, said the monitor.

The battles continued for a fourth consecutive day on Sunday as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by coalition strikes, closed in on jihadist targets inside and outside the facility.

“Fierce clashes broke out overnight Sunday… as part of an ongoing attempt by Kurdish forces to restore control over the prison and neutralise IS fighters deployed in surrounding areas,” said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

‘A Miracle We Made It Out’

An AFP correspondent in the city’s Ghwayran neighbourhood reported the sound of heavy clashes in areas immediately surrounding the jail, which houses at least 3,500 suspected IS members.

The SDF deployed heavily in areas around the prison where they carried out combing operations and used loudspeakers to call on civilians to leave the area, the correspondent said.

IS fighters “are entering homes and killing people,” said a civilian in his thirties who was fleeing on foot.

“It was a miracle that we made it out,” he told AFP, carrying an infant wrapped in a wool blanket.

“The situation is still very bad. After four days, violent clashes are still ongoing.”

Hamsha Sweidan, 80, who had been trapped in her neighbourhood near the jail, said civilians were left without bread or water as the battle raged.

“We have been dying of hunger and of thirst,” she told AFP as she crossed into SDF-held areas in Hasakeh city. “Now, we don’t know where to go.”

IS has carried out regular attacks against Kurdish and government targets in Syria since the rump of its once-sprawling proto-state was overrun in March 2019.

Most of their guerrilla attacks have been against military targets and oil installations in remote areas, but the Hasakeh prison break could mark a new phase in the group’s resurgence.

Weapons and Captives

The Observatory said that Kurdish forces had managed to recapture more than 100 IS detainees who had tried to escape, but that many more were still on the run. Their exact numbers remained unclear.

IS, in a statement released on its Amaq news agency overnight, claimed that it took over a weapons storage room in the prison and freed hundreds of fellow jihadists since the operation began with a double suicide bombing.

A video it released on Amaq purported to show IS fighters carrying the group’s black flag as they launched the attack on the facility and surrounded what appears to be a group of prison guards.

A second video released Saturday showed nearly 25 men whom IS said it had abducted as part of the attack, including some dressed in military fatigues.

AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the footage.

Commenting on the video, the SDF said the captives were “kitchen staff” from the jail.

“Our forces lost contact with them during the first attack,” it said in a statement, without elaborating.

The Kurdish authorities have long warned they do not have the capacity to hold, let alone put on trial, the thousands of IS fighters captured in years of operations.

According to Kurdish authorities, more than 50 nationalities are represented in a number of Kurdish-run prisons, where over 12,000 IS suspects are now being held.

Many of the IS prisoners’ countries of origins have been reluctant to repatriate them, fearing a public backlash at home.

More Than 70 Dead In Fighting After Syria Jail Attack

 This file photo taken on October 26, 2019, shows men suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group, gathered in a cell of the Sinaa prison in the Ghwayran neighbourhood of the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh. FADEL SENNA / AFP
This file photo taken on October 26, 2019, shows men suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group, gathered in a cell of the Sinaa prison in the Ghwayran neighbourhood of the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh. FADEL SENNA / AFP

 

Fighting raged for a third day Saturday between the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces in Syria after IS attacked a prison housing jihadists, in violence that has claimed over 70 lives, a monitor said.

The assault on the Ghwayran prison in the northern city of Hasakeh is one of IS’s most significant since its “caliphate” was declared defeated in Syria nearly three years ago.

“At least 28 members of the Kurdish security forces, five civilians and 45 members of IS have been killed” in the violence, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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IS launched the attack on Thursday night against the prison housing some 3,500 suspected members of the jihadist group, including some of its leaders, said the Observatory.

Hundreds of jihadist inmates had since been detained and around 10 were believed to have escaped, said the Observatory, a Britain-based monitor that relies on sources inside war-torn Syria for its information.

“The exceptional situation continues in and around the prison,” said Farhad Shami, spokesman for the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The fighting on Saturday morning was taking place north of the prison, he added.

The jihadist group said in a statement released by its Amaq news agency that its attack on the jail aimed to “free the prisoners”.

IS has carried out regular attacks against Kurdish and government targets in Syria since the rump of its once-sprawling proto-state was overrun on the banks of the Euphrates in March 2019.

Most of their guerrilla attacks have been against military targets and oil installations in remote areas, but the Hasakeh prison break could mark a new phase in the group’s resurgence.

The Kurdish authorities have long warned they do not have the capacity to hold, let alone put on trial, the thousands of IS fighters captured in years of operations.

According to Kurdish authorities, more than 50 nationalities are represented in a number of Kurdish-run prisons, where more than 12,000 IS suspects are now held.

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 and has since killed close to half a million people and spurred the largest conflict-induced displacement since World War II.

 

AFP

Israeli Air Strike Hits Syrian Port Of Latakia

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows firefighters battling the blaze at Syria’s Latakia port after an Israeli airstrike early on December 28, 2021. AFP

 

An Israeli airstrike hit Syria’s Latakia port on Tuesday, the second such attack on the key facility this month, according to Syrian state media.

Since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out airstrikes on its strife-torn neighbour, mostly targeting Syrian government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

“At around 03:21 AM, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression with several missiles from the direction of the Mediterranean… targeting the container yard in Latakia port,” Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying.

The strike caused “significant material damage” and led to fires, it added.

Asked about the strike, an Israeli army spokesman said: “We don’t comment on reports in foreign media”.

Firefighters battle the blaze at Syria’s Latakia port after an Israeli airstrike early on December 28, 2021. AFP

 

On December 7, Israel carried out strikes on an Iranian arms shipment at Latakia, located in President Bashar al-Assad’s western Syrian heartland, without causing any casualties.

That earlier attack, which was the first on the facility since the start of the war, triggered a series of explosions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor with a wide network of sources in Syria.

In November, three soldiers and two Syrian fighters affiliated with Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah were killed in Israeli strikes, according to the monitoring group.

While the Jewish state rarely comments on individual strikes it carries out on its northern neighbour — with which it is officially at war — it has confirmed hundreds since 2011.

According to a report by the Israeli army, it hit around 50 targets in Syria in 2020.

In the deadliest operation since the strikes began, Israel killed 57 regime force members and allied fighters in eastern Syria overnight on January 13, 2021.

The Israeli military has repeatedly defended the operations as a bid to prevent its archfoe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows containers on fire at Syria’s Latakia port after an Israeli airstrike early on December 28, 2021. AFP

 

Israel’s head of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Haliva, has accused Iran of “continuing to promote subversion and terror” in the Middle East.

In a shadow war, Israel has targeted Iran’s military sites in Syria and also carried out a sabotage campaign in Iran against its nuclear programme.

Tehran has been a key supporter of the Syrian government in the decade-old conflict.

It finances, arms and commands a number of Syrian and foreign militia groups fighting alongside the regular armed forces, chief among them Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group.

The conflict in Syria has killed nearly 500,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful demonstrations.

AFP

Syria Explosive Remnants Kill 19 Persons In November

Abdul Qader, a 5-year-old Syrian child, who was displaced from the city of Aleppo with his parents, sits with his father in front of the family house near the city of al-Bab in northern Syria, on November 18, 2021. Abdul Qader lost part of his left leg and left hand, and his face was disfigured, when a shell fired by regime forces hit his neighbourhood in al-Bab, as he left his family home to join his friends for a ball game in 2019. PHOTO: Bakr ALKASEM / AFP

 

Explosive remnants of war have killed 19 civilians in Syria since the start of November, a war monitor reported on Saturday.

“Nineteen Syrian civilians, including eight children and three women, have been killed by explosive remnants of war since the beginning of November, in the provinces of Idlib, Aleppo, Quneitra, Daraa, Hama, and Homs,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Explosives left in fields, along roads, or even in buildings by all sides in Syria’s decade-long conflict have wounded thousands of civilians and killed hundreds of others.

Syria overtook Afghanistan last year as the country with the highest number of recorded casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war.

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The Landmine Monitor said this month Syria had registered the most victims for the first time since its annual reports began in 1999, with 2,729 people either killed or injured.

Across Syria, one in three populated communities are thought to be contaminated by explosive ordnance, the United Nations said in March.

Syria’s war is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with a brutal crackdown of anti-government protests in 2011.

AFP

Mine Explosion Kills Seven In Syria

Syria map

 

A landmine explosion killed seven people, including a child, in Homs province of central Syria on Saturday, a war monitor reported.

It detonated as a vehicle with the seven on board passed through a desert road outside the historic city of Palmyra, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“It destroyed the vehicle and killed all the passengers inside, which included two women, a child, and four men,” said the monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

Explosives left in fields, along roads or even in buildings by all sides in Syria’s decade-long conflict have wounded thousands of civilians and killed hundreds of others.

The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor recorded 182 casualties last year in Syria, mainly from cluster munition remnants.

The figure accounted for nearly half of the 360 cluster munition casualties documented across the world in 2020, according to the watchdog.

It has recorded a total of 4,099 cluster munition casualties in Syria, including 2,102 in attacks and 1,997 from cluster munition remnants.

Across Syria, one in three populated communities are thought to be contaminated by explosive ordnance, the United Nations said in March.

One in two people are at risk from explosive ordnance contamination, it added in a report.

Syria’s war has killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

AFP

Syria Executes 24 People For Starting Wildfires

 

The Syrian government has executed 24 people it convicted of deliberately starting deadly wildfires that raged in the summer of last year, the justice ministry said Thursday.

Those executed on Wednesday were charged with “committing terrorist acts that led to death and damage to state infrastructure and public and private property through the use of flammable material,” the justice ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Eleven others were sentenced to hard labour for life, four to temporary penal labour and five minors were handed jail sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years over similar charges, it added.

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Their identities were not disclosed, and no details were provided on where and how the executions took place.

The suspects, the ministry said, were identified late last year in an interior ministry probe into wildfires in the provinces of Latakia, Tartus and Homs.

“They confessed that they had started fires at several locations in the three provinces and they also confessed to convening meetings to plan the fires” that occurred intermittently in September and October 2020, according to the justice ministry.

It said it documented 187 fires affecting 280 towns and villages last year.

They devastated 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of agricultural land and 11,000 hectares of forest land, while also damaging more than 370 homes, the justice ministry said.

At least three people were killed and dozens wounded, state media reported at the time.

Syrian law still provides for the death penalty for offences including terrorism, arson and army desertion, according to rights group Amnesty International.

In its latest death penalty report published this year, Amnesty said it was able to corroborate information indicating that executions took place in Syria in 2020 but said it did not have sufficient information to give a reliable minimum figure.

The death penalty is usually carried out by hanging in Syria.

Syria COVID-19 Spike Sees Hospitals Reach Capacity

Syrian health workers tend to a Covid-19 patient at a hospital in the rebel-held northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on September 13, 2021. – Cases of Covid-19 have increased alarmingly over the past month in Syria’s rebel-controlled northern region of Idlib, local authorities said today. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP)

 

Hospitals in the Syrian capital Damascus and the coastal province of Latakia have reached capacity due to rising coronavirus admissions, a health official said Sunday.

“We have started transferring Covid-19 patients from the province of Damascus to the (central) province of Homs, and from Latakia to the province of Tartus,” Tawfiq Hasaba, a health ministry official, was quoted as saying by Syrian state TV.

The move came after “hospitals in these areas reached capacity because of a large spike in coronavirus cases,” he added.

Syria on Saturday logged 442 new coronavirus infections in government-held areas — a new daily record for a conflict-hit country that has documented more than 32,580 cases, including 2,198 deaths in regime controlled territory, since the start of its outbreak last year.

“It is the first time the number of cases reaches 400” in one day, Hasaba said, adding that the number of new infections was highest in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia.

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise across Syria since mid-August, including in the northwest and northeast, large parts of which fall beyond government control.

According to the World Health Organization, only two percent of Syria’s population has been at least partially vaccinated.

Syria’s conflict has since 2011 killed nearly half a million people and ravaged a healthcare sector struggling to cope with a mass outflux of professionals.

Around 70 percent of the country’s pre-war medical staff have left since the start of the war.

AFP

IS Attack Kills Seven Syrian Troops

A photo of the Syrian flag

 

Islamic State group jihadists killed at least seven soldiers and militiamen in eastern Syria on Wednesday, the latest in a series of deadly attacks, a Britain-based war monitor said.

Several government positions came under attack in a desert area of Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Several troops were also wounded, some of them critically, while five jihadists were also killed.

A Kurdish-led offensive overran the last patch of IS-held territory in Syria in March 2019 but sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in the vast desert that stretches from central Syria east to the Iraqi border.