SYRIA

500000 Syrians will return to Afrin after fighting ends says Turkeys First Lady

 
 

Some half a million displaced Syrians are expected to return to Afrin after fleeing to Turkey during the Operation Olive Branch offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the northwestern Syrian province, Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan announced on Friday, it was reported by Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

“The aim of this operation is to ensure safety in the region. When security and stability is ensured in the region with Operation Olive Branch, new flows will be stopped and those who are already here [in Turkey] are expected to be able to go back to their country,” the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a conference in Istanbul.Despite her husband’s concerted show of political and military might in the region, which many believe to demonstrate his designs for the Middle East, Emine Erdogan stressed Turkey’s humanitarian efforts during the Syrian conflict.

“We face a moral issue in Syria, not a political one. People have been losing their homes, their family members and their health for seven years in Syria. International institutions, non-governmental organisations and states need to come together around alarming problems,” Erdogan said.

“Turkey has been hosting nearly four million Syrian refugees for several years. The government, NGOs and people are all doing their best to improve the situation for these people. There is no other country demonstrating this level of unified effort for refugees anywhere in the world,” she added.

“After Operation Olive Branch, nearly 500,000 people are expected to return to Afrin,” she noted. She did not elaborate further on the process of returning Syrian refugees.

Continued fighting in Syria’s northern provinces has spurred new waves of immigration across the border into Turkey, consisting of tens of thousands of families, according to aid organisations.

Reports that Turkish border forces have been shooting indiscriminately at fleeing Syrians led to Human Rights Watch (HRW) to issue an urgent plea to Turkey to end its use of “lethal force” against Syrian refugees, and to stop forcibly returning them back to the unsafe conditions from which they fled.

“Conditions in Syria are not safe for refugee returns,” HRW’s deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih said.

“With hostilities in Afrin contributing to the growing displacement crisis in the country, Turkey should allow the thousands of desperate Syrians seeking refuge to cross the border,” Fakih added.

 

How one family’s loss led to a Syrian family’s home in Cape Breton

Before he died, a Baddeck man decided he wanted his house to become home to a Syrian refugee family

By Wendy Martin, CBC News Posted: Feb 18, 2018

Bill Fraser of Baddeck, N.S., passed away last month, but his empty house will now become a home for a Syrian family of six.

Bill Fraser of Baddeck, N.S., passed away last month, but his empty house will now become a home for a Syrian family of six. (Submitted by Lorna Fraser)

 

Shortly before he entered a care facility a few months ago, Bill Fraser of Baddeck, N.S., was thinking of what might happen to his empty house.

“He said to me, ‘Lorna, what do you think of this family of Syrian refugees? Could that be a nice use of my home?'” recalled his sister, Lorna Fraser.

Bill Fraser thought he would eventually recover from ill health and return to Baddeck. But he died last month.

Now, his sister has arranged to lease his house and has donated most of its furnishings to a Syrian family of six who will arrive in the Cape Breton village later this spring.

 

Esmaeels family

The Esmaeels will soon arrive in Baddeck, N.S., from Jordan. (Submitted by Syria to Baddeck Committee)

 

“Out of sadness comes good things, sometimes,” said Jennifer MacDonald, a member of the Syria to Baddeck steering committee.

She said the committee had been looking for months for a suitable house, but there was little available in the community of 800.

Fraser’s house is ideal, she said, adding that it has three bedrooms and is within walking distance of the school and grocery store.

“It’s also avoided us having to do any sort of major furniture drive,” said MacDonald, “because the house is essentially move-in ready.”

 

Big relief to have living arrangements

The Syria to Baddeck committee began raising money in November 2015 to bring a family to the island. To date, the group has raised close to $40,000.

MacDonald said there have been a number of delays, due largely to a backlog in the private sponsorship refugee program.

 

Bill Fraser 2

Lorna Fraser says her brother Bill Fraser, pictured here, would be pleased that the Syrian family will be moving into his former home. (Submitted by Lorna Fraser)

 

The committee now expects the family, which includes four children between the ages of four and 14, to arrive in March or April.

MacDonald said it’s a big relief to know their living arrangements are in place.

A man ‘supportive of community’

Lorna Fraser said she believes her brother would be pleased with the outcome.

“He was very much supportive of community, and what community could do for you, and would really want to be helping this family.”

Article from:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/baddeck-home-syrian-family-bill-fraser-1.4539430

Surviving as a child in the longest military siege in modern history

15-year-old Muhammad Najem from Eastern Ghouta (Twitter: @muhammadnajem20)

The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, Syria is home to more than 350,000 people. Once renowned for its fertile soils and rich agricultural production, Eastern Ghouta is now better known for the Assad regime’s brutal Sarin attack in August 2013, killing more than 1,500 people, and for being home to the longest military siege in modern history. As of February 2018, Eastern Ghouta has been besieged by forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for four years and 10 months, a full year longer than the siege of Sarajevo.

 

During that time Eastern Ghouta has suffered from chemical weapons attacks and intense bombardment at the hands of pro-regime forces, with hundreds killed in the first few days of February alone. Amnesty International have condemned the Syrian government and its allies, saying that its ‘surrender or starve‘ policy amounts to a crime against humanity.

 

Half of Eastern Ghouta’s population are estimated to be children according to UNICEF. A recent survey of 27 locations in East Ghouta conducted in November 2017 has found that the proportion of children under five years old suffering from acute malnutrition was 11.9 per cent.

 

 

15-year-old Syrian boy Muhammad Najem inspects the damage at his school in Eastern Ghouta following regime bombardment. (Twitter @muhammadnajem20)

My name is Muhammad Najem and I am from eastern Ghouta in the Damascus countryside, I am 15-years-old I live here with my mother and siblings.

 

I am in eighth grade but I stopped studying three months ago because of the constant bombardment of the place in which I live.

 

My school was bombed by warplanes more than once but after each raid, we would return and try to complete our studies. But my school was bombed until it was completely destroyed and I no longer have a classroom within which to study or a playground to play in.

 

Schools destroyed

 

The other schools in Eastern Ghouta have also been targeted and destroyed.
I want to tell the world what is happening to us today and convey my suffering, which I live through every day because of the bombings and the siege.

 

I want to tell the truth and to tell people what is happening to us. We are besieged, we are hungry, we are under constant bombardment, we are exhausted from the displacement and the killing.

This war is not ending, but we are forced to grow up in these conditions and no one has done anything to protect and support the vulnerable here. Conferences and meetings and false peace talks fail while the Arabs and the rest of the world are still silent.

 

In this war we have already lost everything, and we are still losing more, every single day, every single one of us has lost something precious.

 

Losing my home and my father

 

I lost my house, which my father built with hard work and the sweat from his forehead. Then my father was killed two years ago after a shell landed on the mosque where he was praying.

 

Many of the children here have lost their fathers or their mothers, many of us have lost siblings and many of us have lost our homes.

 

We have been dismembered, we have lost parts of our bodies, our hands, our feet and our eyes.

 

The world will not be able to compensate us for anything that we lost. We have lost sight of the sky and the sun because of the war planes that fly over us day and night in order to bomb civilians.

Muhammad Najem studies by candlelight in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta (Twitter: @muhammadnajem20)

The siege surrounds us. The specter of death and starvation hovers over us.

 

Last week the regime began to escalate its violent campaign against us. Planes indiscriminately drop bombs of hatred and destruction on us.

 

On Thursday, warplanes mounted yet more raids on residential buildings. Everyone went down to the cellars and we could hear the roar of the jets above us as we held each other’s hands.

muhammad najem‏ @muhammadnajem20 One of my friends was killed and the other was injured. This is the picture of my friend Salim after leaving the hospital yesterday after the violent raids on his house near my house. I love you so much and wish you and all the children of the world peace and safety❤ #saveghouta

https://twitter.com/muhammadnajem20/status/962976602765357057/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Finews.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fsurviving-child-longest-military-siege-modern-history%2F

I was walking in the street with some of my friends, including my friend Salim who lives next door to us when we heard the sound of jets approaching. We fled to the cellar, but Salim ran to his home to hide with his family and uncle. He did not know that at that moment six missiles were on their way to his house.

 

Smoke and black dust

 

Smoke and black dust filled the cellar, choking us and filling the cellar with darkness. Children cried and the women screamed as they tried to check on their terrified children.

 

When the dust settled, we saw that Salim’s house was completely destroyed and the Civil Defense teams were attempting to rescue the people, including Salim and his family, trapped under the rubble.

 

After hours of searching through the rubble, I found out that Salim had miraculously survived. But his younger sister had died, his mother suffered life-changing injuries and his younger brother is still missing. Salim’s little cousins Mohammed, Majid and Raghad were also killed in the air strike.

 

I find it hard to believe the life we are witnessing here in Ghouta. Today I am reassured at least because Salim has left the hospital, but he is unable to move because of his injury. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/world/surviving-child-longest-military-siege-modern-history/

More than 20 different methods of torture used against detainees by Assad regime

SYRIAN REVOLUTION During Arab Spring on 27th Feb 2011, a group of school children in Daraa city in SW Syria innocently wrote on the walls: “Down with the regime”, “Go away Assad”.  The children were detained and tortured. Parents and locals protested. Assad security forces opened fire and arrested protesters. More protests followed and more killings by Assad regime.
It has not stopped…
Human Rights Watch documented more than 20 different methods of torture used against detainees.
Syrian children and boys are subject to Assad regime ill-treatment and cruelty!
— Prolonged and severe beatings with batons or wires
— Lashings with electric cables
— Painful stress positions
— Electrocution
— Burning with car battery acid
— Sexual assault
— Pulling out fingernails or teeth
— Gouging eyes
— Mock execution
— Sexual violence
— Use as human shields
Many were held in disgusting and cruelly overcrowded conditions; many who needed medical assistance were denied it, and some consequently died.
More than 20,000 children have been killed in the Syrian civil war, the United Nations says.