Syrian Regime, Iranian Militias Advance West of Euphrates

Destroyed buildings in Syria. (Reuters)
Destroyed buildings in Syria. (Reuters)
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Syrian Regime, Iranian Militias Advance West of Euphrates

Destroyed buildings in Syria. (Reuters)
Destroyed buildings in Syria. (Reuters)

The Syrian regime and its allies launched on Tuesday a military operation to retake ISIS-held regions west of the Euphrates River days after seizing control of the city of Albu Kamal near the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the regime is trying to impose its complete control over the city with the support of Lebanon’s “Hezbollah”, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Afghan Fatimid Brigade and Iraq’s al-Najba and Hezbollah parties.

The regime was able to make fast advances due to the weakening of ISIS’ combat power. The regime focused its attacks on the towns of al-Salehiya and al-Kamsha and the regions in between them.

Some eight towns are still under ISIS control in the region west of the Euphrates.

The regime and their allies were able to make their fast advance due to the air cover provided by Syrian and Russian fighter jets.

The Observatory said that the battle to seize Albu Kamal left 235 regime forces, allies and ISIS members dead in the five-day struggle for the city, making it one of the fiercest fights in the Deir al-Zour province.

The regime and its allies lost some 109 members, 44 of them Syrian and 15 from “Hezbollah”. The rest are casualties from Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and other Iraqi factions. Senior Guards members were also killed in the battle.

No less than 95 ISIS terrorists were killed in the fight in Albu Kamal and its surroundings.



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."