June 13, 2013
At least 93,000 people killed in Syria, says U.N.
There are 92,901 documented cases of people killed in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013, Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Thursday.
“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels, with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since Dec. 1,” Pillay said.
“Unfortunately… this is most likely a minimum casualty figure. The true number of those killed is potentially much higher,” she added.
Mortars fired at Damascus airport, delays 3 flights
Rebels fired two mortar rounds at Damascus international airport on Thursday, delaying two landings and one take-off, Syrian state television cited Transport Minister Mahmoud Said as saying.
“One mortar round hit at the airport’s edges, near the runway, causing two flights coming from Latakia (in northwestern Syria) and Kuwait to delay their landing. The take-off of a flight to Baghdad was also delayed,” said the minister.
Activist: Syrian rebels seize key army base
Activists say Syrian rebels have gained control of a key military base in the central Hama province after intense clashes with regime forces.
The base is on the northern edge of the town of Morek, which straddles the country’s strategic north-south highway leading to the province of Aleppo.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the rebels seized the base after intense clashes with regime forces on Thursday.
Syria Army Says ‘Respects Lebanon Sovereignty’
Hours after a helicopter gunship fired missiles at a majority Sunni town in eastern Lebanon Wednesday, Syria’s army command said it respects its neighbor’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, state news agency SANA said.
The army said it will continue to target rebels across Syrian territory, but that it is “committed to respecting the sovereignty of the Lebanese republic, its territorial integrity and the safety of its people”.
G-8 Summit to Press Russia on Syria
Britain and Germany aim to use next week’s summit of major economic powers to press Russia’s leader to use his leverage with the government of President Bashar Assad to calm the fighting in Syria.
Leaders at the G-8 meeting starting Monday will push President Vladimir Putin, “who has a special responsibility and a particular influence to contribute to a de-escalation as (Syria’s) weapons supplier,” a senior German official said Thursday.
Israel: U.N. talking to Sweden on Golan force
U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon is in exploratory talks with Sweden over plans it could lead a beefed-up peacekeeping force between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an Israeli official said on Thursday.
“It’s in very preliminary stages,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“It hasn’t been established yet who agrees, who wants it. The conditions are not clear.”
Israeli Pilots Say Training for Lebanon, Syria Threats
Israeli air force pilots are training daily to meet threats posed by instability in Lebanon and Syria, pilots at a base in the north of the Jewish state said on Wednesday.
Daily drills include preparing to counter “the transfer of all kinds of weapons that could lead to terror attacks,” Lieutenant Colonel N, who could not reveal his last name, told Agence France Presse on a rare visit by journalists to Ramat David air base.
Netanyahu vows at Auschwitz exhibition to prevent new Holocaust
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday opened a new Holocaust exhibition at the former Auschwitz death camp, vowing Israel would do everything to prevent another genocide of the Jewish people.
Sixty-five years on, “the only thing that has truly changed is our ability and our determination to operate in order to defend ourselves and to prevent another Holocaust,” he said.
Iran tightens noose on dissent ahead of elections
Iranian authorities have intensified their crackdown on journalists and political activists ahead of the June 14 elections, to avoid a scenario similar to the violence that marred the 2009 presidential poll.
Dozens of arbitrary arrests and other human rights abuses against dissidents have taken place in the run-up to Friday’s vote, Amnesty International said in a report published Wednesday.
Bahrain Swoops on Opposition Group, Accuses Hizbullah of Meddling in Internal Affairs
Bahraini authorities announced Thursday they have identified and arrested leading members of the opposition February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, an influential clandestine cyber-group accused of links to Iran.
“After an extensive investigation, several members of the February 14 terrorist organization were identified… (and) the main actors who took part in criminal acts have been arrested,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
Turkey PM issues ‘last warning’ for Istanbul park protesters
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a “last warning” for thousands of protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul on Thursday, saying government patience has come to an end.
“Our patience is at an end. I am making my warning for the last time. I say to the mothers and fathers please take your children in hand and bring them out… We cannot wait any more because Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces but to the people…,” Erdogan told an AK Party meeting in Ankara, according to Reuters.