Netanyahu to Putin: Israeli airstrikes in Syria will continue

Netanyahu to Putin: Israeli airstrikes in Syria will continue
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israeli forces will continue airstrikes in Syria if they deem it necessary.

“If there is feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue,” Netanyahu said during a visit to China, adding that he had informed Putin of Israel’s intentions.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli PM also dismissed reports that Russia was insisting that Israel cease its military operations on Syrian territory.

On Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told visiting Russian MPs that he is counting on Russia to prevent further Israeli attacks on Syrian soil and to help Damascus avoid a full-blown conflict with Tel Aviv.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, to demand explanations for the airstrikes Israel conducted near the Syrian city of Palmyra on Friday morning. Israeli Defence Force (IDF) warplanes hit several targets near Palmyra, allegedly destroying advanced arms provided to the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah.

Syria’s air defense force fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli planes as they were returning to base. Syrian media reported that one plane was downed, while Israel denied any losses.

Israel also said that it shot down one of the interceptor missiles with its Arrow long-range SAMs, which saw the first-ever use of the system in battle.

After the incident, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that “next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it.”

READ MORE: Syria claims Israeli jet shot down after strike near Palmyra, IDF says all aircraft undamaged

In January, Damascus accused Tel Aviv of bombing the Mezzeh military airport west of the country’s capital. The airport was rocked by multiple explosions, with ambulances rushing to the scene.

The IDF has violated Syrian air space on a number of occasions, even before the conflict broke out in the country back in 2011.

Possibly the most infamous incident occurred in 2007 when an alleged Israeli raid destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor governorate.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter


Germany criticized by UNICEF over treatment of child refugees, after accepting 350,000

Germany criticized by UNICEF over treatment of child refugees, after accepting 350,000
A new report produced by the German branch of UNICEF criticizes the government for providing insufficient quality housing and schooling for the record-breaking number of minors it has accepted since 2015.

“Compared to many other countries in the European Union, Germany has invested a lot in hosting the refugees in the last two years,” Sebastian Sedlmayr, head of children’s rights and education at UNICEF Germany, told Deutsche Welle. “But it’s important to flag that there are still some shortcomings.”

„Geflüchteten Kindern Starthilfe zu geben, ist eine der wichtigsten Investitionen für unsere Gesellschaft.“ 

Kindheit im Wartezustand

Laut einer neuen UNICEF-Studie „Kindheit im Wartezustand“ verbringen viele von Flüchtlingskinder Monate oder sogar Jahre in Flüchtlingsunterkünften, die häufig nicht sicher und nicht kindgerecht sind.

Out of over 1 million migrants who arrived in Germany since the outbreak of the refugee crisis two years ago, about 350,000 stated that they were under 18 at the time of their arrival, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Africa and Eastern Europe. The authors of the 68-page German-language study, titled “Childhood Postponed,” interviewed 447 staff and 18 migrant families at the refugee shelters hosting them last year.

UNICEF says that while much media attention has been on unaccompanied minors traveling thousands of miles to Europe, they are taken in by the state, and receive round-the-clock priority care, while those with families are left to the adults to care for them.

“Children who have come with their families are explicitly excluded from that system and legislation. They have to rely on the capacity of their parents, and of course the capacity of their parents in a situation like that – not knowing the language and the rules of the country – is very limited,” said Seldmayer.

Most of these children are taken into so-called first reception centers, where, according to the authors, they live 10-12 to a room.

“Non-cash benefits, lack of private space, non-lockable sanitation facilities and the experience of violence and conflicts lead to dangerous moments and a hindrance of the development of refugee children and young people,” said Adam Naber, from the Federal Association for Unaccompanied Minor Refugees (BumF), during a public presentation of the report in Berlin.

As a result, only about one-third of such children regularly attend school, and most are not receiving medical attention to their physical and psychological state comparable with that available to already-settled minors.

By law, initially families in Germany were supposed to spend no more than three months in the initial accommodation centers, but that period was extended to six months in October 2015, and according to the UNICEF survey as many as one-fifth of the families said that they had spent up to a year waiting for a more permanent home.

“The children should stay for as little time as possible in asylum shelters and get as quickly as possible into kindergartens, schools and job training… so they don’t lose more precious time of their childhood,” said Chirstian Schneider, head of UNICEF Germany.

With Germany accepting more migrants than any other country in Europe over the past three years, Sedlmayr believes that the neglect is a result of being overwhelmed, and can be corrected through setting new priorities.

“I wouldn’t say it was a question of money, it’s much more the attention,” he said. “We need more attention on the children, and especially the children that are accompanied.”

With sentiment towards all migrants cooling in Germany, and frequent media stories questioning the veracity of the underage claims of many newcomers, the political climate for allocating greater resources to shelters and children’s education, is more hostile than in September 2015, when the media mourned the death of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, and “Refugees are Welcome” signs were put up in public squares.

But Schneider urged that politics be left out of a humanitarian crisis.

“Children who have lost their homeland and experienced horrible things have to quickly find their way back to normality. First and foremost, kids are not asylum seekers, migrants or refugees, but simply kids,” said the UNICEF official.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter


Ukrainian radicals vandalize Russian banks as police look on (VIDEO)

Ukrainian radicals vandalize Russian banks as police look on (VIDEO)
Ukrainian nationalists have spray-painted graffiti and plastered flyers all over the offices of Russian-owned Alfa Bank and Sberbank in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev. The vandals proceeded unimpeded in plain view of police as some officers took photos.

Footage posted by RT’s video agency Ruptly shows a bunch of young men, wearing dark blue jackets with words “National Corps” written on their backs, painting political slogans and gluing posters to the offices of two Russian banks. Sberbank is a state bank, while Alfa Bank is privately owned.

“In the city of Nikolayev, as well as across Ukraine, the action has been organized by All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda, the National Corps and the Right Sector,” one of the activists at the offices of Sberbank said in Ukrainian.

National Corps is a Ukrainian far-right nationalist party formed last year on the basis of the Azov Civil Corps, a regiment of Ukraine’s National Guard, and veterans of another far-right armed group, the militant Azov battalion.

The Right Sector, described as a far-right and neo-fascist party, has been one of the major forces behind the Ukrainian military coup that saw President Viktor Yanukovych in February deposed in 2014.

The nationalists taking part in the defacing of the bank offices were operating in broad daylight, with onlookers and police alike watching without showing any intent to intervene.

Multiple blue and yellow posters plastered onto the Sberbank’s offices walls, windows and doors read “#rusbankover.” The same was sprayed onto its walls with a red paint. The activists also used black paint to scribble “Get out of Ukraine” and “Kremlin’s allies.”

Members of the same group have staged a similarly hashtagged “action” at the offices of Alfa Bank located in a business center, while shouting anti-Russian slogans. The scene soon drew attention of passersby and police.

READ MORE: Radicals brick up Russian bank branch in central Kiev (VIDEO)

While some of the onlookers cheered on the vandals, police officers in full gear were standing nearby and did nothing to discourage the vandalism. A female officer even captured the moment on her smartphone while sporting a smile.

It is not the first time that Russian banks have become targets of nationalist attacks in Ukraine, with far-right groups using vandalism in broad daylight apparently to score political points. Earlier in March, the activists, reportedly from the Azov battalion and the Right Sector, built a brick wall blocking the entrance and windows of a Sberbank office in central Kiev. The perpetrators were heralded by a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andrey Biletsky, who is also a founder of the National Corps.

Following the incident, Russian authorities strongly urged Kiev to secure Russian banks operating on its territory, with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, saying that such action by “lynch mobs” runs against the law and “undermines property rights protected by Ukrainian legislation.”

The glaring police inaction in view of such scenes has been known to happen before. The Russian Embassy in Kiev has come under three major attacks since conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014. Nationalist mobs have vandalized the premises and vehicles parked at the embassy in June 2014, March 2016  and most recently in September when radicals launched a barrage of firecrackers at the building ahead of the Russian parliamentary election.

READ MORE: Russia announces last-minute entry for Eurovision in Ukraine, ending boycott rumors

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s