Browsing 'syria' News

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Yesterday’s deadly chemical gas attack on Syrian citizens was a “heinous” crime against innocent people, Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry has said.

According to Al Jazeera, at least 58 people, including 11 children, were killed in a rebel-held town in the Idlib province during the assault.

Observers on the ground said many people died through asphyxiation. Some victims were seen writhing on the ground and foaming at the mouth.

The United Nations is planning to investigate the attack as a possible war crime. This is because it may have involved the use of a gas akin to sarin.

International criticism of the attack has been swift and strong. The US for example denounced Assad for operating with “brutal, unabashed barbarism” and France called yesterday a “massacre.”

Qatar’s foreign minister also minced no words with his thoughts, saying in a tweet in Arabic:

“History has not witnessed such brutal and inhuman crimes as those committed by Assad regime against innocent people in Syria. Shame on humanity’s silence.”

Demanding justice

In a statement, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported an international investigation. It also urged the community to take “immediate measures” to protect the Syrian people.

And it called for embattled Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s government to be held accountable for the attack.

“Letting the perpetrators go unpunished could have severe implications represented in further increase of violations and crimes in Syria,” the ministry concluded.

An emergency UN Security Council meeting about the attack and the Syrian conflict, which has dragged on for six years, is scheduled for today.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s foreign ministry has denounced the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, calling the action “a criminal act” that contradicts religion, human values and diplomatic norms.

Andrei Karlov was shot by a Turkish police officer during the opening of an art exhibition in Ankara yesterday.

The 22-year-old assassin was “neutralized” by authorities, AFP reports. According to film of the incident, he held Russia responsible for deteriorating conditions in Syria.

“Don’t forget about Syria, don’t forget about Aleppo. All those who participate in this tyranny will be held accountable,” he said.

Politics

Russia is a supporter of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad’s government, and has been assisting the embattled leader in fighting for rebel groups in Syria.

Qatar and Turkey meanwhile both strongly favor a regime change, though leaders from the two nations quickly condemned yesterday’s killing as an act of terrorism.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said it would “not allow this attack to cast a shadow on Turkey-Russia relations.”

And both Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack was an attempt to derail ties between the two countries.

Putin added in a statement, “We must find out who directed the killer’s hand,” and said Turkey would be increasing security in the coming days.

For its part, Qatar extended its condolences to Russia and the family of the victim.

It also expressed “confidence in the Turkish authorities’ ability to detain the assailants and bring them to justice.”

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QRCS

Aleppo fundraiser

An urgent relief campaign for the people of Aleppo has netted nearly QR245 million in the first few hours of its launch, Qatar charity organizers have said.

Helping Syrians in the war-ravaged city was the focus of this year’s Qatar National Day, and the money was raised last night during a fundraising session at Darb Al Saai in Al Sadd.

The campaign will last through Dec. 20 and is being organized by five of the country’s leading local charities.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Aleppo fundraiser

They include Qatar Charity, Eid Charity, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) and Afif Charity.

Donations pour in

Last night, more than QR243 million in donations were collected from some 100 charity boxes scattered around the Darb Al Saai grounds.

Donations of all types, including money, jewelry and vehicles were received.

Throughout the evening, the fundraising campaign was broadcast live on speakers around the venue, as well as on local TV stations.

Speaking to Doha News, Afif Charity’s marketing coordinator Tamer Hasabo explained that the money will go toward winter clothes, food baskets, healthcare and shelter for Syrians in need.

Housing includes tents large enough to fit a family. These will come with beds, pillows, blankets, bedding sheets and a fireplace, among other things.

“This is not like any fundraiser because unlike others that usually take place, this one is considered an urgent relief. Aleppo in this case is crying out for help and we are trying to meet their needs and heed their call,” Hasabo said.

“Hopefully after the campaign ends, we will have accomplished one of the largest urgent relief projects so far,” he added.

Proceeds from items sold at Darb Al Saai, including at food stalls, were also reportedly collected for the campaign.

‘My favorite’ QND

While last night’s event was originally scheduled to end at 10pm, donations along with live broadcasting continued late into the night due to a large response from the public.

Though most QND celebrations, including the annual morning parade on the Corniche and fireworks at night, were called off, many people didn’t appear to mind.

Speaking to Doha News at Darb Al Saai, 23-year-old Palestinian expat Sara Abbas said that this year’s National Day has so far been her favorite.

“Seeing this makes me so happy and proud to be living here. I usually spend National Day in my bed and I never leave the house. This is the first time I actually do something both useful and rewarding on Dec. 18.”

Donations will continue to be collected over the next couple of days. For more on how to help the people of Aleppo, see our guide here.

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