Washington, Apr 25, 2017: The US slapped sanctions on 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in response to Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, media reports said.
The employees of SSRC, a Syrian government agency, are designated for their role in “developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them,” Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the US Treasury Department on Monday.
“These 271 SSRC employees have expertise in Chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012,” it added.
As a result of the action, any property or interest of the designated persons in the US must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.
The sanctions are part of Washington’s response to what it believed the April 4 sarin attack on innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in east Syria by the Syrian government.
Two days after the alleged chemical attack, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase to neutralize its chemical weapon arsenal.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that with Monday’s sanctions, the US is sending a strong message that it would “hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations”. (IANS)
White House, October 18:The White House is reacting furiously to a federal judge blocking President Donald Trump’s latest executive Travel Ban order that would have banned entry to travelers from several countries beginning Wednesday.
“Today’s dangerously flawed district court order undercuts the president’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States,” said a White House statement issued Tuesday shortly after Judge Derrick Watson ruled against restrictions on travelers from six countries the Trump administration said could not provide enough information to meet U.S. security standards.
The travel ban order would have barred to various degrees travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Watson’s temporary restraining order does not interfere with restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela.
Justice Department defends White House
The Justice Department “will vigorously defend the president’s lawful action,” the White House said, contending its proclamation restricting travel was issued after an extensive worldwide security review.
The Justice Department called the ruling incorrect and said it will appeal the decision “in an expeditious manner.”
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said: “While we will comply with any lawful judicial order, we look forward to prevailing in this matter upon appeal.”
No change for North Korea, Venezuela
The new travel order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the United States,'” Judge Watson wrote in his opinion.
The White House argues that its restrictions “are vital to ensuring that foreign nations comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our nation.”
Officials in the White House are expressing confidence that further judicial review will uphold the president’s action.
Hawaii involved for third time
Consular officials have been told to resume “regular processing of visas” for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, according to a State Department official.
The suit on which Judge Watson ruled on Tuesday was filed by the state of Hawaii, the Muslim Association of Hawaii and various individuals.
“This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion,” said Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin. “Today is another victory for the rule of law.”(VOA)
Beirut, October 13: Islamic State suicide attackers killed at least 50 people in a triple car bomb attack on Thursday among a group of refugees in northeast Syria, a medical source in the Kurdish Red Crescent said.
A large number of people were also injured by the three car bombs, the source said.
The attack took place at Abu Fas, near the border of Deir el-Zour and Hasaka provinces, said a war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said earlier that at least 18 people had been killed.
The dead included refugees fleeing the fighting in Deir el-Zour as well as members of the Kurdish Asayish security force, the observatory reported. Syrian state television said dozens had been killed in the attack.
The jihadist group has lost swaths of its territory in both Syria and Iraq this year and is falling back on the towns and villages of the Euphrates valley southeast of Deir el-Zour.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias is pressing it from the north, and a rival offensive by the Syrian army, supported by allies including Iran and Russia, is attacking it from the west.
On Wednesday, Islamic State said it had carried out an attack in the capital, Damascus, where three suicide bombers detonated their devices near a police headquarters, killing two people and wounding six.
Aid agencies have warned that the fighting in eastern Syria is the worst in the country this year and that airstrikes have caused hundreds of civilian casualties.(VOA)
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping some 17 primary schools in both government and opposition-controlled areas
Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis
Good nutrition is a child’s first defense against common diseases
Rome, August 30, 2017: School playgrounds across Syria are being transformed into vegetable gardens where children whose diets have been devastated by six years of war can learn to grow and then eat — aubergines, lettuces, peppers, cabbages, and cucumbers.
Traditional Syrian cuisine is typical of the region and rich in vegetables. Its mainstays include hummus, minced lamb cooked with pine nuts and spices, varied salads, stews made with green beans, okra or courgettes and tomatoes, stuffed cabbage leaves and artichoke hearts.
But the six-year war has changed that for much of the population, and many now live mainly on bread or food aid.
According to U.N. figures, unemployment now stands at more than 50 percent, and nearly 70 percent of the population is living in extreme poverty, in what was once a relatively wealthy country.
“The ongoing crisis in Syria is having a devastating effect on the health and nutrition of an entire generation of children,” Adam Yao, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) acting representative in Syria, said on Tuesday, ahead of the start of the school year.FAO is helping some 17 primary schools in both government and opposition-controlled areas to plant up to 500 meter-square fruit and vegetable plots in war-torn areas including Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.
FAO is helping some 17 primary schools in both government and opposition-controlled areas to plant up to 500 meter-square fruit and vegetable plots in war-torn areas including Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis, which can have serious and long-lasting effects on their growth and future development.
Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis, which can have serious and long-lasting effects on their growth and future development.
“Good nutrition is a child’s first defense against common diseases and important for children to be able to lead an active and healthy life,” Yao added.
The primary schools, which began planting in May, have produced 12 tons of fruit and vegetables. Another 35 schools are expected to start transforming their playgrounds soon in Aleppo and in rural areas around Damascus.
The price of food has risen since the start of the war — agriculture production has plummeted, and the country now relies on food imports to make up the shortfall. Transporting food around the country has also become difficult and costly.
About 13.5 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of those, 7 million are unable to meet their basic food needs.
Some 5 million people receive international food aid, but not everyone in need can be reached, and the World Food Program says it has had to cut a number of calories in its family food baskets because of funding shortages.
“The donors are generous, but we don’t know how long they can continue to be generous and rely on taxpayers’ money,” the FAO’s Yao told Reuters.
Vulnerable families are receiving help from FAO to grow food at home, so they can become less reliant on food aid.
“Food aid is very important, but … we should combine both, in a way that people grow their own food and move away from food aid gradually,” he said.
In a country where more than half the population has been forced to flee their homes, many moving several times, investing in agriculture helps people to stay put for as long as it is safe, Yao added.
“Agriculture has become a hope for [many] because they can grow their own food and survive — even in the besieged areas.” (VOA)