Syria: Russian Missiles against Nusra Front in Idlib, Israeli Raids near Damascus

A Russian TU-22M3 long-range strategic bomber dropping bombs in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
A Russian TU-22M3 long-range strategic bomber dropping bombs in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
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Syria: Russian Missiles against Nusra Front in Idlib, Israeli Raids near Damascus

A Russian TU-22M3 long-range strategic bomber dropping bombs in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
A Russian TU-22M3 long-range strategic bomber dropping bombs in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

A submarine from the Russian Black Sea fleet launched Kalibr cruise missiles against al-Nusra Front positions in Idlib, Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

The ministry said that the attack against terrorist targets came in wake of an al-Nusra Front attack on a Russian military police unit in northern Hama on September 20.

"The missile strike destroyed important command centers, training bases and armored vehicles of the terrorists, who tried to capture 29 Russian military policemen in the north of the Hama Province," the ministry's statement said.

Meanwhile, US Department of State accused Russian and Syrian forces of hitting civilian targets in the cities of Idlib and Hama earlier this week.

"The United States is concerned by reports of airstrikes in Idlib province and northern Hama province on September 19 and 20 that killed at least three medical personnel and damaged a number of medical facilities, emergency equipment and civil defense centers," Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

According to the US Department of State, these attacks fit a familiar pattern in which medical facilities and personnel and the civilians they serve are victims of strikes by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies.

In related news, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that recent developments in Syria call for "cautious optimism".

Addressing the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Lavrov said that even though ISIS is pulling back in Syria and Iraq, considerable additional effort is required to stabilize the region.

“It should be recalled that it is necessary to fight not only ISIS, but also al-Nusra, the latter being tolerated for whatever reason by the US coalition members," he added.

On chemical attacks in Syria, the Russian minister stated that the alleged use of chemical weapons is a separate issue, stressing that all such cases "must be investigated honestly and professionally, without attempts to manipulate the activities of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN/OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism.

At an EU-organized conference held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said aid was being used as a political tool to build pressure on Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

“The politicization of issues related to aid and the statements on the need to wait for the end of the political process are unacceptable,” he added.

He stressed that aid was needed now “to rebuild schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, Israeli jets have reportedly bombed an area near Damascus International Airport, targeting Lebanon’s “Hezbollah”.

According to social media reports, Israeli planes fired at least two missiles from outside Syrian airspace, hitting either a weapons depot or a convoy.

Opposition activists said on Friday that the overnight attacks caused destruction and damage and "the explosion shook the Damascus International Airport."

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the shelling was heard in Damascus and its suburbs, saying that it targeted “Hezbollah” weapons caches near the international airport.

Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen also reported the attack as well as the Facebook page of the National Guard for the Defense of the Homeland.

National Guard stated that “an area near the Damascus International Airport was attacked by a hostile missile”, while images showed a fire burning in the early hours of Friday.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."