Syria war has killed more than 360,000: monitor

This frame grab from video provided by Central Station for Turkish Intervention, an activist-operated media group monitoring Turkish activities in Syria, that is consistent with independent AP reporting, shows a Turkish military convoy heading to some of the 12 Turkish observations points that ring Idlib, Syria, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2018

Syria war has killed more than 360,000: monitor

  • It came amid rising international concern that a looming Syrian government assault against rebels in Idlib
  • The Syrian Observatory said it had recorded the deaths of 364,792 people, nearly a third of them civilians

BEIRUT: More than 360,000 people have been killed across war-ravaged Syria in seven years, a monitoring group said Thursday, in a new toll for the brutal conflict.
It came amid rising international concern that a looming Syrian government assault against rebels in the northwest province of Idlib would be a “bloodbath.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had recorded the deaths of 364,792 people, nearly a third of them civilians, since protests erupted in March 2011 against President Bashar Assad.
The toll represents an increase of about 13,000 people in the past six months, according to the Britain-based monitor, which uses a vast network of sources including fighters, officials and medical staff.
The war has killed 110,687 civilians, including more than 20,000 children and nearly 13,000 women.
More than 124,000 pro-government fighters have died, around half of them regime troops and the rest an assortment of Syrian and foreign militiamen loyal to Assad.
Among them are 1,665 from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.
The Observatory recorded the deaths of 64,000 hard-line Islamists and Islamist extremists, including from the Daesh group and former Al-Qaeda affiliate factions.
Another 64,800 fighters from other forces, including non-Islamist rebels, soldiers who defected and Kurdish factions, were also killed since 2011.
The Observatory said it had confirmed the deaths of another 250 people but could not specify their identities.
With help from his Russian and Iranian allies, Assad has recaptured nearly two-thirds of Syrian territory.
The lion’s share of the rest is the Kurdish-controlled northeast.
The largest chunk of rebel-held territory left comprises the province of Idlib and surrounding areas, where an estimated three million people live.
Assad’s troops have been amassing around the area for weeks ahead of a threatened assault.
The United Nations, world powers, and aid groups alike have warned a full-fledged offensive on Idlib could create a humanitarian calamity.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres this week urged the regime to pull back and for all sides to find a peaceful solution, saying Idlib “must not be transformed into a bloodbath.”


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 30 October 2020

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”