It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Outbreak of Chicken Pox, Lice and Scabies in Assyrian Refugee Camp in Arbel

Ankawa Mall, an uncompleted building in Ankawa, Iraq, now housing nearly 1,800 Assyrian refugees. (See more photos from this refugee "camp" below)

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Eight months after ISIS drove nearly 200,000 Assyrians from their villages in the Nineveh Plains north of Mosul, Assyrians are now battling disease in the refugee camps they are living in. Refugees are living in uncompleted buildings, with no walls, windows or dividers.

One location, called the Ankawa Mall, is a 7 story building which was never completed. It has open floors on all levels. There are 420 Assyrian families living there, about 1,800 people, mostly from Baghdede (Qaraqosh), Tel Afar and Bertella. According to Fr. Immanuel Callo, there is now an outbreak of chicken pox, lice and scabies in this building.

There a severe water shortage. Six tankers of water, each bringing at least 12,000 liters of water, are purchased daily. $200 per day is spent on the generator for the building.

There is also a critical shortage of bathrooms, with most floors having only 2 or 3.


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Outbreak of Chicken Pox, Lice and Scabies in Assyrian Refugee Camp in Arbel






Iraq Foreign Minister Backs Syria Fight Against 'Terror'

A picture released on March 24, 2015 by the official Syrian Arab News Agency shows President Bashar al-Assad (R) meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Damascus (AFP Photo).

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Damascus (AFP) -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday in the first visit by a senior Baghdad official since Syria's conflict began in 2011.
Speaking after meeting Assad and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, Jaafari urged regional support for Damascus as it battles "terrorism".

"Arab countries should support Syria in its fight against terrorism," Jaafari said, calling on "neighbouring countries to stand with Iraq and Syria".

He said extremism "would reach all the countries if there is no cooperation".

Jaafari expressed the hope that his visit would "increase the level of cooperation between Syria and Iraq to counter the dangers threatening our brotherly nations".

In June 2014, Damascus announced its readiness to coordinate with Baghdad in order to face the threat posed by the Islamic State group, which has a strong presence in both countries.

Muallem emphasised the joint threat, saying that both countries were "in the same trench (fighting) against terrorism".

"We have great confidence... in the Iraqi leaders who will not spare any effort to support Syria and break the embargo imposed on it," Muallem said.

The Syrian minister also called for increased cooperation with Egypt, saying: "Syria, Egypt, and Iraq can change the way events are unfolding in the region."


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Iraq Foreign Minister Backs Syria Fight Against 'Terror'


Syria's Assad Urges United Front With Iraq Against Terrorism

Rebel fighters work on a computer to determine their target points ahead of an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the frontline of Idlib city in northern Syria March 23, 2015. Picture taken March 23, 2015 (REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI)


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(Reuters) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on Tuesday during talks with Iraq's foreign minister in Damascus for a united front with Baghdad in tackling terrorism as the two countries battle Islamic State militants on their territory.

The Shi'ite Muslim-led government in Baghdad, along with Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, has been an important ally for Assad. Shi'ite Iraqi militias have fought on Assad's side against the insurgency spearheaded by Sunni Islamists.

But Iraqi armed forces are also the main partner on the ground for a U.S.-led coalition bombing the Islamic State militants in Iraq. Washington and its Western allies have dismissed the idea of cooperating directly with Assad in the same fight due to his actions during Syria's civil war.

Assad was quoted on his official Twitter account as saying "consultation and coordination between Syria and Iraq reinforces the successes of their people and their armed forces in the face of terrorism".

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, one of the most senior foreign officials to visit Damascus recently, said Syria "will emerge from the crisis stronger and strategic relations between the two countries will continue to evolve", state news agency SANA said.


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Syria's Assad Urges United Front With Iraq Against Terrorism

Islamic State Recruits 400 Children Since January: Syria Monitor



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(Reuters) -- Islamic State has recruited at least 400 children in Syria in the past three months and given these so-called "Cubs of the Caliphate" military training and hardline indoctrination, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the children, all aged under 18, were recruited near schools, mosques and in public areas where Islamic State carries out killings and brutal punishments on local people.

One such young boy appeared in a video early this month shooting dead an Israeli Arab accused by Islamic State of being as spy. A French police source said the boy might be the half-brother of Mohamed Merah, who killed three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in Toulouse in 2012.

"They use children because it is easy to brainwash them. They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead," said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the British-based Observatory.

Islamic State declared a caliphate last year in territory it controls in Syria and Iraq and is being targeted by U.S.-led air strikes in both countries.

It has beheaded or shot dead Syrian civilians, combatants, foreign aid workers and journalists and has released videos appearing to show children witnessing or participating in some of the killings. The group persecutes people across sects and ethnicities who do not adhere to its ultra-hardline doctrine.

The group may be resorting to children because it has been having difficulties recruiting adults since the start of the year, with only 120 joining its ranks, Abdulrahman said.

This was partly due to tighter controls on the Turkish border, where foreign fighters tend to enter, he added.

Islamic State has encouraged parents to send children to training camps or has recruited them without their parents' consent, often luring them with money, said the Observatory, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground.


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Islamic State Recruits 400 Children Since January: Syria Monitor


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