Iran-backed Militias Use Vegetable Trucks to Smuggle Weapons into Syria

File photo of pro-Iran militias in Deir Ezzor. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
File photo of pro-Iran militias in Deir Ezzor. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
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Iran-backed Militias Use Vegetable Trucks to Smuggle Weapons into Syria

File photo of pro-Iran militias in Deir Ezzor. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
File photo of pro-Iran militias in Deir Ezzor. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

A shipment of arms and ammunition loaded on vegetable trucks entered Syrian territory from Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Observatory said that the shipment was smuggled out "fear of being targeted” by the United States or Israel.

It entered from the Syria through an unofficial border crossing.

The weapons, which included short-range rockets and their launchers, were moved to the town of al-Mayadin in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor. They were allegedly stored in tunnels dug beneath the town’s historic citadel.

Meanwhile, the Ain al-Furat Network said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shut its shared radio frequencies with the Syrian regime forces in the areas of the eastern countryside of Homs.

The forces only kept a single frequency for emergency purposes.

The network’s correspondent quoted a private military source as saying that the decision came at the request of the IRGC leadership at the T-4 military airport, east of Homs, without providing any further explanation.

The military source said there were seven open frequencies between the Syrian regime forces and the IRGC, including five for military purposes, one logistical, and one medical.

The Russian forces communicate with the Revolutionary Guards through the joint emergency frequency with the Syrian regime.

The relationship between the regime and the Iranian militias is witnessing tensions. Activists said "Hajj Askar," the official in charge of the pro-Iranian militias in al-Bukamal, east of Deir Ezzor, has refused to open halls for the regime forces so they can carry out the settlement agreements set to take effect on Monday.

Instead, the regime set up tents at the entrance of Deir Ezzor to handle the settlement, according to the Observatory.

Last month, over 1,000 people agreed to the settlement in the Reconciliation Center in al-Mayadin.

According to human rights sources, 1,050 persons, most of whom are former members of the opposition factions and defectors from the regime forces, arms dealers, and wanted persons on terrorism charges from different areas of the Deir Ezzor countryside, agreed to the settlement in the center inaugurated by the Syrian intelligence last month.



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."