Syrian Kurds hand over 12 French orphans from Daesh families

Top foreign affairs official Abdulkarim Omar confirmed the news. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 June 2019

Syrian Kurds hand over 12 French orphans from Daesh families

QAMISHLI, Syria: The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria has handed over 12 French orphans born to militant families to a French government delegation, an official said Monday.

The children, the oldest of whom is aged 10, had been living in camps where tens of thousands of people who fled recent fighting against the Daesh group are still housed.

Kurdish officials handed over “12 orphaned French children from IS families to a delegation from the French ministry of foreign affairs,” top foreign affairs official Abdulkarim Omar said in a statement.

He said the transfer took place in the town of Ain Issa on Sunday and added that two orphaned Dutch children were also handed over to a government delegation from the Netherlands.

France has one of the largest contingents of suspected militants who were captured or turned themselves in, together with their families, in the final stages of the US-backed Kurdish assault on the last fragment of Daesh’s “caliphate.”

The militant proto-state eventually died in the village of Baghouz, on the banks of the Euphrates, in March this year, after a months-long US-backed Kurdish assault.

Larger than expected numbers of families emerged from the ruins of the last militant enclave and the fate of tens of thousands of them remains unclear.


Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

Updated 50 min 47 sec ago

Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

  • A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut
  • In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands

BEIRUT: Lebanese celebrities joined thousands of protesters on the streets of Beirut on Saturday to voice their anger at the country’s ruling elite.
Singers, actors and playwrights were among a host of high-profile artists who backed demands for action over government corruption and to counter Lebanon’s spiralling economic crisis.
Beirut has been shrouded in smoke for three days following widespread protests and rioting over government tax plans.
A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state.
The actress, wearing jeans and her face blackened, told protesters: “I am Nadine Al-Rassi. I was hungry for seven days. I have debts. Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s central bank) seized my house and I am unable to rent a home. Corrupt people should be held responsible.”


In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands, saying: “This is the first time I wish I were in Lebanon. My heart is with you.”
In another tweet, the high-profile singer, one of the Middle East’s best-selling performers, said: “I proudly follow the news of Beirut and its citizens ... who are demanding a decent life. It is time for people to get back their dignity.”
Meanwhile, singer and composer Ragheb Alama expressed his dismay at a Council of Ministers plan to impose a daily fee on WhatsApp calls.
“The people’s misfortunes are not funny. Why don’t you tax the polluted air people breathe? It is a great idea that brings money to your fathers’ treasury, too,” he wrote.
Alama accused the Parliament of responsibility for the country’s dire economy: “Why do deputies receive money, privileges and overheads, and what have they done? They covered up for looting and stealing for decades. They are responsible for destroying the economy and the country.”
Nancy Ajram, one of the Arab world’s most popular singers, wrote on Twitter: “My heart goes out to my country every moment and with every heartbeat. We are a people who deserves to live and it is our right to live with dignity. May God protect Lebanon.”
Singer and actress Haifa Wehbe tweeted: “There is nothing better than the Lebanese people when they stand in unity and under one slogan, without any political affiliation. We are all for our country.”
Comedian and prime-time TV host Hisham Haddad was among celebrities who joined protesters at Riad El-Solh Square, near the Prime Minister’s office, site of the biggest centralized demonstrations.
Actress Maguy Bou Ghosn, singer Moeen Shreif, actors Abdo Chahine, Badih Abou Chakra and Junaid Zeineldine, playwright Ziad Itani and musician Ziyad Sahhab also joined the protests.
Actor Wissam Hanna called on Twitter for protesters to close the Beirut Airport road to stop corrupt officials fleeing the country.
“I am all for closing down the airport road to stop thieves from fleeing. I am all for recovering stolen funds. Lebanon rises, revolts and it is time to hold them accountable,” he wrote.
Actress Gretta Aoun said: “We have to take to the streets. They must know the extent of our pain.”