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Syrian crisis: Israelis quibble as Europe, Australia pledge to take in refugees

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Jerusalem: Opposing views surfaced when Israeli politicians on Sunday opined on how Israel should grapple with the Syrian refugees’ crisis.

Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, said while Israel has helped Syria in the last four years amid the Syrian civil war, it could not take in Syrian refugees into its territory, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees from Syria and Africa. We have already cared for approximately 1,000 wounded people from fighting in Syria and helped them rehabilitate their lives. But Israel is a small country that lacks demographic and geographic depth, therefore, we must control our borders,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Israel began fence building on Sunday on its eastern border with Jordan, down from the town of Eilat up to northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Netanyahu’s statements refute the views opined by head of Israeli opposition bloc in the parliament, Isaac Herzog.

He called on Israeli government to open doors on Syrian refugees over the weekend. Herzog, the chief of the Labour party, accused the government of forgetting the lessons of Jewish history.

Cyprus rescues 114 refugees

In a separate incident, authorities concerned rescued 114 Syrian refugees which included 30 children and five infants from a fishing boat that drifted off the Cyprus shores. The officials quoted on Sunday.

An official statement revealed that an overnight rescue operation was managed after a cargo ship alerted the Cypriot Search and Rescue Centre on Saturday night that it had received a signal from the drifting fishing boat seeking help, Xinhua reported.

It continued to add that aircraft and vessels of the Cypriot navy and police took part in the operation, which was completed early Sunday morning. The Syrians were brought to the Southeastern port city of Larnaca and were received by medical teams and social welfare workers.

“All necessary measures are being taken for the welfare of the refugees in line with European Union directives,” said Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, who headed the operation.

Britain to take 15,000 refugees, plans strike

Britain will accept 15,000 refugees from Syria and is considering military action against IS militants within syrian_refugee_crisis

one month, media reported on Sunday. In a plan to tackle the humanitarian crisis, Britain is considering launching a military and intelligence offensive against human traffickers, reported Xinhua news agency.

The country is not joining the system, but “we will show that we are pulling our weight”, a government official said.

On September 4, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the country will provide resettlement to “thousands” more refugees in response to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

Over 3,500 arrive in Munich

More than 3,500 Syrian refugees have reached Munich from Hungary via Austria, and as many as 3,000 are expected to arrive on Sunday.

German police authorities said three special trains with refugees are expected to reach on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

“We prepare ourselves for 5,000 to 7,000 refugees,” said Christoph Hillenbrand, head of district government of Upper Bavaria.

Australia to accept more refugees: PM Abbott

Tony_Abbott_-_2010On Sunday, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott announced that he is prepared to accept more refugees from war-torn Syria, but within the current humanitarian intake.

“No! We are proposing to take more people from this region as part of our very substantial commitment. Our focus will be on families and women and children, especially of persecuted minorities, who have sought refuge in camps neighbouring Syria and Iraq,” he was quoted as saying.

In the last financial year, Australia settled more than 4,400 people from Syria and Iraq, Abbott said, adding that the overall refugee intake will increase to 18,750 by 2018.

Next Story

Thousands Displaced as SDF Targeting Civilians Advances on Last IS Territory in Syria

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

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Syria
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghuz, Syria, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Islamic State (IS) fighters are targeting civilians who are trying to flee the last territory held by the terror group in eastern Syria, U.S.-backed forces told VOA on Thursday.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-led alliance, said that IS militants hit a road used by civilians to escape violence as the battle to free the town of Baghuz in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province enters its sixth day.

“IS has blocked that road to prevent civilians from coming to the SDF,” SDF fighter Ali Ahmed said. “They have targeted civilians there, but we have responded to their attacks against civilians.”

Ahmed said that some families of IS fighters are among the fleeing civilians.

Located near the Iraqi border, Baghuz is the last stronghold held by IS extremists in Syria. With the help of the U.S.-led coalition, SDF fighters have pushed out IS from all territories it once held since 2014.

Fierce fighting between IS militants and the U.S.-backed fighters continues as the latter try to gain ground on Baghuz on several fronts.

“We have two main obstacles as we advance on Baghuz,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesperson, told VOA. “The first one is that [IS] terrorists are holding on to a number of civilians to use them as a bargain chip for their exit.”

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

IS controls about 5 square kilometers of territory inside the Syrian town, local military officials said.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview. VOA

Ivan Hasib, a Syrian reporter covering the battle, told VOA that he witnessed an unusual movement by U.S. military vehicles in the area.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview.

He said the remaining IS fighters in Baghuz are hoping to exchange hostages for a safe exit into the Iraqi desert.

Also Read: Islamic State Using Women, Children as Human Shields to Postpone Defeat

“There must be some sort of negotiations between IS and SDF about the hostages, because even [U.S.-led] coalition airstrikes have stopped since Tuesday night,” Hasib said, adding that SDF fighters were forced to pause their military operations on the northeastern front in Baghuz.

“We can’t start marching toward it from this side because of civilians. Many civilians are using this road to this side. So we’re here to protect them,” Mezlum Kobani, an SDF commander, told VOA.

According to SDF officials, more than 5,000 civilians have been rescued from IS in Baghuz. (VOA)