Daesh claims responsibility for deadly car bomb in Syrian Kurdish town Qamishli

People gather at the site of an explosion in the northeastern Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli on October 11, 2019. (AFP/Mohammed Ahmad)
Updated 12 October 2019

Daesh claims responsibility for deadly car bomb in Syrian Kurdish town Qamishli

  • Qamishli has been hit by several car bomb attacks in recent months, usually claimed by Daesh
  • Daesh has not controlled fixed positions in the area since an SDF-led operation eliminated the last bastion of the extremist “caliphate” earlier this year

QAMISHLI: Three civilians were killed Friday when an explosives-laden vehicle detonated in a busy neighborhood of Qamishli, one of the main Kurdish towns in northeastern Syria, officials said.
The attack, which wounded nine others, came as Kurdish forces pushed to hold off a massive cross-border assault by Turkey and its proxies.

Daesh has claimed responsibilty for the attack.
“A car bomb targeted a restaurant at a time when civilians, including journalists who came to cover the offensive, were inside,” the Kurdish internal security services known as Asayish said in a statement.
A video distributed by the Syrian Democratic Forces — the autonomous Kurds’ de facto army — shows firemen trying to put out flames at the site of the blast, where at least five completely destroyed vehicles could be seen.
Qamishli has been hit by several car bomb attacks in recent months, usually claimed by Daesh.
Daesh has not controlled fixed positions in the area since an SDF-led operation eliminated the last bastion of the extremist “caliphate” earlier this year.
But it has conducted regular deadly operations in remote areas with bomb attacks carried out by sleeper cells.
Analysts and officials have voiced fears that the White House’s plans to pull American troops out of northeastern Syria would create a vacuum that could spark an Daesh resurgence.
Security responsibility in Qamishli is shared between the Kurds and regime forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.


Lebanese MPs fail to reach agreement on draft amnesty law

Updated 29 May 2020

Lebanese MPs fail to reach agreement on draft amnesty law

  • The Free Patriotic Movement tried to amend the law by excluding “perpetrators of crimes against public funds and terrorist crimes” from the amnesty

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Parliament on Thursday failed to approve a draft law on general amnesty, after tensions rose during a vote and the Future Movement, led by former prime minister Saad Hariri, walked out of the legislative session.

“They want to bring us back to square one,” he said. “Every party has its own arguments, as if they want to score points.”

The Free Patriotic Movement tried to amend the law by excluding “perpetrators of crimes against public funds and terrorist crimes” from the amnesty. Minister of Justice Marie Claude Najm, who is affiliated with the FPM, asked for “amendments to the draft law so that it does not include those accused of tax evasion and violating maritime property.”

The draft law was referred to the parliament despite disagreements between parliamentary committees over the basic issue of who should and should not be included in the amnesty. The former government, led by Hariri, proposed a general amnesty law before it resigned last October in the face of mounting pressure resulting from public protests.

There were a number of protests during the legislative session, some opposing the adoption of the law entirely, while others were directed at specific provisions within it.

The draft law includes an amnesty for about 1,200 Sunni convicts, 700 of whom are Lebanese. Some are accused of killing soldiers in the Lebanese Army, possessing, transporting or using explosives, kidnap and participating in bombings.

It was also covers about 6,000 Lebanese Christians, most of whom fled to Israel following the withdrawal of occupying Israeli soldiers from southern Lebanon in 2000, as well as nearly 30,000 people from the Bekaa region, the majority of whom are from the Shiite community and wanted for drug trafficking, drug abuse, murder, kidnap, robbery and other crimes.

Hezbollah appeared to agree to a pardon for entering Israel, but object to a pardon for anyone who worked or communicated with the enemy or acquired Israeli citizenship.

Before the session, the Lebanese Order of Physicians highlighted overcrowding in Lebanese prisons, and this health risk this poses during COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are 20 prisons for men, four for women and one juvenile prison holding a total of 8,300 inmates, 57 percent of whom are in the Roumieh Central Prison,” the LOP said. It added that 57 percent of prisoners are Lebanese and 23 percent are Syrian, one third have been convicted while the rest are awaiting trial, and the overcrowding is so bad each prisoner has the equivalent of only one square meter of space. The organization described the situation as “a time bomb that must be avoided.”

In other business during the session, as part of anticorruption reforms required as a condition for receiving international economic aid, the Parliament approved a law to increase transparency in the banking sector, with responsibility for this resting with the Investigation Authority of the Lebanese Central Bank and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

It also endorsed a draft law to create a mechanism for top-level appointments in public administrations, centers and institutions. An amendment was added to prevent ministers from changing or adding candidates for the position of director general. The FPM opposed this, while Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces voted in favor. Hariri accused the FPM of having a “desire to possess the entire country.”

MPs rejected a draft law to allow Lebanon to join the International Organization for Migration because, said MP Gebran Bassil, “it’s unconstitutional and facilitates the accession, integration and settlement process.” Lebanon hosts about 200,000 Palestinian and a million Syrian refugees.

The session sparked a wave of street protests. Some of them, led by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Lebanese Communist Party, opposed the approval of a general amnesty that includes those who fled to Israel.

Protesters burned the Israeli flag in Sidon in protest against a law that “affects Israeli agents who sold their land, fought their people, and plotted against them.” They set up a symbolic gallows on which they wrote: “This is the fate of Zionist agents who fled execution.”

Others, including the families of Muslim detainees, staged demonstrations in support of the amnesty.