#AceWorldNews – TEHRAN (FNA)- june 01 – More than 95 percent of registered Syrian voters living abroad cast their ballots in Syria’s presidential election.
The election is scheduled for June 3.
The advanced voting for those living abroad took place on Wednesday across 43 different Syrian embassies, SANA news agency reported.
The final results were received by the Higher Judicial Committee for Elections on Saturday.
The turnout “has dashed all that western propaganda has been propagating against them over three years,” the news agency quoted Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad as saying.
He said the turnout represents Syrians’ “remarkable awareness” and “belief” in their country, adding that “voting proceeded smoothly and democratically, and passed without a hitch”.
Fars News Agency – SANA
#AceWorldNews – GENEVA – April 08 – The United Nations is concerned about a drought that threatens Syria’s north-west, as it can bring the number of people in need of emergency food aid to 6.5 million.
Spokeswoman for the United Nations World Food Program (WPF) Elisabeth Byrs said that the rains have been scarce since September, and it could have a considerable impact on the wheat harvest due to start in May.
The WFP spokeswoman added that only one month is left before the rain season ends in the region, so there is little hope the situation will improve.
The looming drought will mostly hit farmers in the north-west of the country, in provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama, which produce half of Syria’s wheat.
The last time that Syria suffered from severe drought occurred in 2008. WPF experts forecast the wheat harvest to stand at 1.7-2 million tons this year, while an estimated 5.1 million tons is needed for domestic consumption.
Byrs said that up to 6.5 million people in Syria could face food shortages and would depend on international assistance to survive.
This means that the WFP will have to double the distribution of food aid in Syria, which already amounts to $41 million weekly. In April, the organization plans to provide food assistance for 4.25 million of Syrians.
WPF – Food and Media Sources
#AceNewsServices – DAMASCUS – April 06 – Report from UNICEF on April 04 2014 stated that 11 children had been killed in two separate attacks this week in Rural Damascus and in Al Qalamoun Mountains in Syria is a horrific and tragic reminder of the human cost of the conflict inflicted by all sides in the fighting.
Too many children have suffered from the violence and terror of a conflict over which they have no influence. This suffering has to end and all parties to the conflict must uphold their responsibilities to protect children.
UNICEF repeats its call for those involved in the fighting, and those with influence over them, to bring an immediate end to this crisis which has not only devastated the lives of millions of children, but is creating terrifying long-term consequences for the future stability of Syria and the region.
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 11 (UPI) — With 5.5 million children suffering in Syria, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake says it’s time to bring the hostilities to an end.
The civil war in Syria entered its fourth year in March. UNICEF said in a report on the conflict the number of children affected by ongoing violence has doubled since March 2013.
“For Syria’s children, the past three years have been the longest of their lives,” Lake said in a statement Monday. “Must they endure another year of suffering?”
UNICEF said there may be as many as 1 million children trapped by the fighting inside Syria. Of the 1.2 million children living as refugees outside the country, Lake said about 10 percent of them have entered the labour pool and 20 percent of Syrian girls are forced into early marriage.
UNICEF – UPI – ANS2014
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – April 05 – (RT) – US authorities are finalizing a plan to boost the training of Syrian rebels and will send shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan, along Syria’s southern border, according to two US security sources, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The additional supplies will not include surface-to-air missiles, the officials said.
Earlier in March, President Barack Obama considered authorizing a shipment of new air defence systems to rebels.
As RT reported last month, the Obama administration is interested in finding new ways to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and boost the opposing rebels, who have lost ground in the conflict over the last few months.
#AceWorldNews – SYRIA – April 02 – The German government said on Wednesday it would send a frigate to take part in an international mission in the Mediterranean Sea to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.
Up to 300 German soldiers will take part in the deployment to help protect the US vessel, MV Cape Ray, AFP reported.
The weapons will be broken down aboard that vessel at sea using hydrolysis.
#AceWorldNews – KUWAIT – March 25 – Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba urged Arab leaders at a summit Tuesday to grant Syria’s vacant Arab League seat to his National Coalition.
Jarba, who was speaking at the opening session of the Arab-League summit in Kuwait, also said the opposition should be given the opportunity to take over Syria’s embassies abroad.
“Reality requires that the Syrian embassies are also handed over to the National Coalition,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
#AceWorldNews – The White House has cancelled plans for a meeting later this month between US President Barack Obama and Persian Gulf monarchs in Saudi Arabia based on tensions among US allies in the region, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
The summit was to include leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait.
Diplomats informed of the decision to scuttle the meeting said the cancellation symbolizes the tumultuous political climate in the Middle East.
The US has worked with the GCC on security and economic issues in recent years, but the main points of contention include Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear operations.
In addition, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain withdrew ambassadors from Qatar this month based on its support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group.
Wall Street Journal – News and Media Sources
#AceBreakingNews – Retaliatory air strikes carried out by Israel against Syrian army positions killed one person and injured seven, according to Syria’s armed forces said. The strike came just hours after four IDF soldiers were wounded by a bomb attack in the Golan-Heights.
A Syrian armed forces statement said the strikes targeted three sites near the ruined city of Quneitra in south-western Syria, including an army training facility, a military headquarters and artillery batteries. Damascus warned the strikes could further destabilize the already strife-torn region.
Military sources confirmed that the Israeli Air Force had carried out four strikes at around 3:00 am local time, AFP reports.
The air raids took place 12 hours after four Israeli soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb – one of them seriously – while patrolling along the ceasefire line in Golan.
Related News Reports – 19 March – 10.36 GMT – Extract #AceWorldNews Israel’s air force mounted a strike against Syrian targets on Wednesday morning in response to an attack against an IDF vehicle the day prior in the occupied Golan-Heights border territory.http://wp.me/p165ui-4oz
#AceWorldNews Syrian troops on Sunday seized full control of the rebel bastion Yabrud in the strategic Qalamun region near the Lebanese border, Syrian state media reported.
“Our brave armed forces have full control over Yabrud in Damascus province and are combing through the town and removing explosive devices placed by terrorists,” state television said, citing a military source.
Opposition sources said civilians and activists from the town had fled across the nearby border into Lebanon overnight before Yabrud fell.
The loss of the town will be a symbolic and practical blow for the opposition.
It has been a rebel stronghold since early in the uprising that began in March 2011 and has proved a key strategic prize because of its proximity to the Lebanese border, across which weapons and fighters can be smuggled.
It also lies on the important highway that connects Damascus to Syria’s third city Homs.
#AceWorldNews says a chemical weapons watchdog has announced that almost 29 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile has been removed from the country.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that another delivery of Syria’s most deadly weapons had arrived at Latakia port on Saturday.
Syria is scheduled to complete the destruction of its entire chemical weapons stockpile by June 30.
#AceWorldNews says that `Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’ has said Syria’s worsening war poses a threat to the whole world.
International strategy including “real intelligence cooperation” and withdrawal of all foreign fighters is needed to end the conflict, he told Reuters.
Syria is becoming a risk for all European countries as well, “because of the presence of these terrorist groups based on the power vacuum and because of the totalitarian and autocratic nature of the regime,” he said.
#AceWorldNews says that the EU has allocated over 12 million euro to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Monday to help pay for the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons program, AFP said.
The funds had been pledged to the OPCW in December by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to help cover the 25-million to 30-million euro cost of destroying the chemical materials.
They were signed over to the OPCW by the EU’s Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
#AceWorldNews reports that Syria’s government is doing its best to improve humanitarian aid access, according to the `Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad’ on Friday.
UN aid chief Valerie Amos a day ago urged the UN Security Council to act to improve access in the country.
“While we have done our best and will continue to do our best, I think some of her statements were absolutely unacceptable,” Reuters quoted Mekdad as saying in Geneva.
Amos in many statements does not recognize that “there are terrorist organizations which are hindering the movement of goods and humanitarian assistance to many parts of Syria,” Mekdad said.
#AceWorldNews says Russia calls on participants in all armed conflicts to declare ‘Olympic truce’
Russia, as organizer and host of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, has called on participants in all in armed conflicts “to proclaim an Olympic truce” for this period, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, as cited by Interfax. “
Our message is primarily addressed to the sides in Syria’s bloody conflict, which is exerting a serious destabilizing impact both on the situation in that country and the region as a whole,” the ministry said.
#AceWorldNews says Renato Bellofiore, the mayor of Italy’s Gioia Tauro, is protesting against the choice of the town’s port as a place for reloading Syria’s chemical weapons. If something happens, the people “will destroy us,” Itar-Tass quoted the mayor as saying. Bellofiore accused the Italian Foreign Ministry of not knowing “what democracy is.” The operation to reload the chemical weapons from a Danish ship to a US one has yet to be officially announced by the Italian parliament’s commissions on foreign affairs and defense.