What Others Are Saying
First Syrian baby born in Israeli hospital
Israel21c reports: For the first time since Syria’s civil war broke out, a woman in labor – who had not been injured in the infighting but simply needed medical assistance – was brought into Israel for help. The 20-year-old woman arrived at the Ziv Medical Center overnight and gave birth to a healthy 3.2-kg boy this morning (November 3). The little one is the first Syrian baby to be born in an Israeli hospital. The first-time mother, a nurse by training, told Ziv Medical Staff that the village in which she lives near Kuneitra is under strict curfew and getting to a nearby hospital was out of the question. “There are no midwives in my village and therefore no one to deliver my baby,” she told the Israeli medical team. “I’m a nurse by training and I knew Syrian victims had gone to Israel for medical help. As soon as I felt myself going into labor, I asked to be taken to the border in the hope that the Israeli army would agree to help me. I was very worried about coming into Israel but I was more worried about the health of my baby. The Israeli midwives and doctors have treated me with the utmost respect. I don’t feel like I’m in an enemy country, everyone is so helpful.”
Iranians mark US embassy takeover anniversary
ISNA, Iran reports: Large crowds of Iranians across the country have marked the 34th anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, dubbed the “den of espionage,”. The demonstration started in 770 cities across Iran. Clergymen, students and university professors have taken part in the demonstration. Over 600 journalists and reporters are covering the march.
Turkey tight-lipped on ambassador to Israel
Today’s Zaman, Turkey, reports: While Tel Aviv has made up its mind on who will be appointed as the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, Ankara is remaining tight-lipped on the appointment of a new ambassador to Israel, insisting first on the normalization of ties between two countries, which have been strained since the Mavi Mamara incident in 2010. Israeli sources recently told a group of Turkish journalists in Jerusalem that Israel is looking to appoint an ambassador to Turkey as soon as possible, although Turkey still has not given any hint on who will be appointed as the Turkish envoy. According to Israeli sources, Tel Aviv is considering appointing Raphael Schutz to Ankara. Schutz is currently head of the European affairs department at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israeli sources added that Schutz would be posted after the two countries overcome some disagreements and agree on the mutual appointment of ambassadors.
Iran Guards commander killed in Syria: reports
Arab News, Saudi Arabia reports: An Iranian commander of the Revolutionary Guards was killed in Syria by opposition fighters in fighting near Damascus, media reports said Monday. Iran — a key ally of President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime — has repeatedly denied it has troops fighting in Syria. The Mehr news agency said commander Mohammad Jamali Paqale, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, had recently volunteered to defend a Shiite shrine near the Syrian capital. The ISNA news agency said Jamali’s funeral was to be held Tuesday in the southern city of Kerman. Jamali, the Mehr report said, hailed from the same Guards outfit that had trained General Qassem Soleimani — who now heads the elite special operations Quds Force — in his early days. The Quds Force is accused by Western and Arab governments as well as Syrian opposition groups of orchestrating Iran’s alleged military backing of the Assad regime. Tehran says it has provided Damascus with material and intelligence support but denies having sent combat troops to aid the regime.
Muslims [in Iraq] Urge Christians To Stay
Arab Times, Kuwait reports: Dozens of Muslims gathered [last] Thursday outside a Baghdad church where an Islamist assault killed 44 worshippers and two priests three years ago, appealing for Christians to stay in Iraq. Clergy led low-key prayers inside Our Lady of Salvation church in the capital’s main commercial district of Karrada, on the anniversary of the Oct 31, 2010 attack. There was a heavy security presence outside, and people were barred from entering unless they could produce documents showing they were Christian. At the same time, journalists were not allowed to take photographs or film in the vicinity. “It is a wound that will never heal, and a crime that I will never forget,” said Rafid, a Christian man who was walking to the church. “On this day, with all this pain, all I can think of is leaving the country, because the country is finished,” said the 56-year-old carpenter, two of whose cousins were killed on that day. The attack, the single bloodiest one against Christians since the 2003 US-led invasion, shocked Iraq and the international community and sparked a massive flight of Iraqi Christians from the country.
Egypt central bank returns $500 million deposit to Qatar
Egypt News reports: Egypt returned a $500 million deposit to Qatar at the start of November after Qatar refused to renew it upon its maturity, a central bank official told Reuters on Monday. The central bank expects to return a further $500 million in early December, the official, who declined to be named, added. Qatar had deposited the funds with the central bank in late 2012. Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July. Qatar had been a firm backer of Mursis Muslim Brotherhood and lent or gave Egypt $7.5 billion during the year he was in power. In September, Egypt returned $2 billion that Qatar had deposited with its central bank, after talks to convert the funds into three-year bonds broke down.Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates promised Egypt a combined $12 billion in aid in July.
Syria Kurds rout jihadists across northeast: activists
The Daily Star, Lebanon reports: Kurdish fighters have driven jihadists from 19 towns and villages across northeastern Syria in recent days, a week after capturing a key Iraqi border crossing, a monitoring group said Monday. The Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPJ), the main Kurdish militia in Syria, has battled other rebel groups in a bid to carve out an autonomous region in the northeast, where the army is no longer deployed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that relies on local activists and other sources, said that “since Saturday, a total of 19 localities have fallen into the hands of Kurdish fighters.” “The jihadists have been trying to regroup their fighters to reclaim lost ground,” it said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusra Front, hardline groups linked to Al-Qaeda. The Kurdish and jihadist fighters have long been battling for control of the northeastern Hasake province bordering Turkey and Iraq, which is rich in petroleum and grain.
Turkey seizes huge chemical haul at Syria border
Gulf News, UAE reports: Turkish authorities have seized a large quantity of chemicals from a convoy trying to illegally enter the country from Syria, which “could be transformed into weapons”, the army said on Sunday. The convoy of three vehicles refused to stop as it attempted to illegally cross the border on Saturday near the southeastern town Turkish town of Reyhanli, the army said in a statement. Para-military police were forced to shoot out the tyres of the vehicles to stop them, and three drivers jumped out and fled in the direction of Syria. One of them was arrested, the army said without specifying his nationality.
Egypt tunnel closure ‘costs Gaza $230 million monthly’
Ma’an News Agency, Palestinian Territories reports: Egypt’s closure of tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip has caused monthly losses of $230 million to its economy, a Hamas official said Sunday. The “closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors” of around $230 million monthly, said Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister of Hamas. Essential materials were for years smuggled from Egypt into Gaza through tunnels, bypassing Israel’s blockade, but the Egyptian army recently destroyed many of those after ousting president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Hamas ally.
Iran Guards say “Death to America” anti-US slogan to stay
Gulf Times, Qatar reports: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said yesterday that “Death to America” will remain their slogan, regardless of signs of detente between the Islamic Republic and Washington. “Death to America is the manifestation of our nation’s determination and resistance against the dominance of oppressive and untrustworthy America,” it said on its sepahnews.com website. “The revolutionary hatred of Iranians will be manifested nationwide with slogans of ‘Death to America’” tomorrow, the Guards said. November 4 is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, during which Islamist students captured and held 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days.
(Photo Credits: Syrian baby- Chana Bikel/Ziv Medical Center and Israeli 21c; Iran USA Embassy takeover- IRNA; Basiji volunteers- Gulf Times)