epa06261911 Displaced Syrian men who fled from Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqa cities occupied by Islamic State (IS) group fighters, carry humanitarian aid in Qana refugee camp, southern Hassakeh province, 11 October 2017 (Issued 12 October 2017). The flow of displaced Syrians from the governorates of Deir Ezzor and al-Raqqa continues to Qana camp south of al-Hassakah city, to escape the fighting between the Islamic state organization and the fighting forces. The number of displaced people reached 27 thousand, while the capacity of the camp is 12 thousand, which let for the camp to stop receiving refugees for four days.  EPA/YOUSSEF RABIH YOUSSEF
Displaced Syrian men who fled from the cities of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa carry humanitarian aid in Qana refugee camp, southern Hassakeh province, October 11, 2017. Youssef Rabih Youssef / EPA

Humanitarian situation around Raqqa most severe to date in Syria’s war



As the battle for the city of Raqqa ends, aid organisations and activists are calling attention to what appears to be the most significant humanitarian crisis of Syria’s six-year civil war.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from the northern city, which was ISIL’s de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate.

Eighty per cent of the city was destroyed, according to some estimates, and many of the displaced are living in rudimentary camps outside Raqqa, where access to the most basic services is limited.

Nonetheless, tens of thousands of Syrians are reported to be joining those already displaced as fighting intensifies around the city of Deir Ezzor, about 140 kilometres southeast of Raqqa.

An International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus spokeswoman said that an ICRC delegation visiting one camp on Tuesday found that its population had more than quadrupled since August.

“The number has gone from 6,000 to 26,000,” said Ingy Sedky, referring to the Arisha camp near the city of Hasaka, about 200 kilometres east of Raqqa.

“There are an additional 7,000 people waiting for a place to stay. They are waiting in the open without shelter, without tents and without access to basic needs.”

She said that 15 buses carrying people were arriving in the space of an hour.

“The increase in the number is beyond the ability of any actor to respond,” Ms Sedky said.

“The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC have been able to provide bottles of water for the people who are waiting, and we will begin very soon trucking in water.

“We have been sending some supplies, including food and winter clothes, also mattresses, but we have not been able to begin distribution.”

Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation, echoes the ICRC’s concerns, saying that some 270,000 people who left Raqqa were in critical need of aid and the camps are “bursting at the seams”.

“With high levels of destruction reported in and around Raqqa, most families have little or nothing to return home to and will likely be stuck in camps for months or years to come,” it said in a statement released on Tuesday. “In addition, more than 10,000 people a day are now fleeing ongoing fighting in ISIS strongholds around Deir Ezzor.”

Save the Children also referenced the psychological damage suffered by Raqqa’s residents.

“Children in camps around Raqqa have told Save the Children of witnessing executions and decapitations, seeing friends and relatives blown up by landmines, and homes reduced to rubble by bombing,” the statement said.

Abdulkarim Al Huaidi, who is involved in humanitarian aid projects, said there was not enough organisation to cover the needs of civilians.

“The water network has been destroyed because of bombing,” he said. “No hospitals can deal with the number of injured.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, more than 1,000 civilians had been killed since June, along with at least 2,000 combatants.

Mr Al Huaidi expected the toll from the fighting to rise, saying: “There are still civilians under the rubble.”

The political situation is also a concern for Raqqa residents who hope to return in spite of the destruction. It was the Syrian Democratic Forces — a militia backed by US air power, artillery and advisers — that defeated ISIL.

The SDF is dominated by Syrian Kurds, many of whom have an affiliation with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia that serves as the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Though PYD’s exact intentions are unclear, they now control large parts of northeastern Syria and have been accused of systematically displacing Arabs. PYD advocates greater autonomy for Syrian Kurds, who make up about 10 per cent of the country’s population and have been oppressed for decades by the country’s Baathist government.

“I expect to come back to Raqqa after six months and work politically against PYD and YPG,” Mr Al Huaidi said.

Others from Raqqa went further, referring to the People’s Protection Units and the Syrian Democratic Forces as “occupiers”.

Col Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria, put the SDF’s numbers at 57,000, about 31,000 of whom are Kurds. He acknowledged that in some cases, YPG units had been incorporated wholesale.

The SDF also controls many of the refugee camps, including Arisha.

One source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that because the SDF screens displaced Syrians waiting to enter camps under their control, as many as 40,000 additional people were waiting at SDF checkpoints for permission to enter the camps.

Tightening the screw on rogue recruiters

The UAE overhauled the procedure to recruit housemaids and domestic workers with a law in 2017 to protect low-income labour from being exploited.

 Only recruitment companies authorised by the government are permitted as part of Tadbeer, a network of labour ministry-regulated centres.

A contract must be drawn up for domestic workers, the wages and job offer clearly stating the nature of work.

The contract stating the wages, work entailed and accommodation must be sent to the employee in their home country before they depart for the UAE.

The contract will be signed by the employer and employee when the domestic worker arrives in the UAE.

Only recruitment agencies registered with the ministry can undertake recruitment and employment applications for domestic workers.

Penalties for illegal recruitment in the UAE include fines of up to Dh100,000 and imprisonment

But agents not authorised by the government sidestep the law by illegally getting women into the country on visit visas.

The specs

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Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

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Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The specs: 2018 Ducati SuperSport S

Price, base / as tested: Dh74,900 / Dh85,900

Engine: 937cc

Transmission: Six-speed gearbox

Power: 110hp @ 9,000rpm

Torque: 93Nm @ 6,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 5.9L / 100km

The specs: 2018 Peugeot 5008

Price, base / as tested: Dh99,900 / Dh134,900

Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power: 165hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 240Nm @ 1,400rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 5.8L / 100km

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 247hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm from 1,500-3,500rpm

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 7.8L/100km

Price: from Dh94,900

On sale: now

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg

Bayern Munich 1
Kimmich (27')

Real Madrid 2
Marcelo (43'), Asensio (56')

UAE squad

Ali Kashief, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout, Omar Abdelrahman, Mohammed Al Attas (Al Jazira), Mohmmed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Barghash, Khalil Al Hammadi (Al Wahda), Khalid Eisa, Mohammed Shakir, Ahmed Barman, Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Adel Al Hosani, Al Hassan Saleh, Majid Suroor (Sharjah), Waleed Abbas, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai) Habib Fardan, Tariq Ahmed, Mohammed Al Akbari (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh, Ali Salmeen (Al Wasl), Hassan Al Mahrami (Baniyas)

EGYPT SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Ahmed El Shennawy, Mohamed El Shennawy, Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Mahmoud Abdel Rehem "Genesh"
Defenders: Ahmed Elmohamady, Ahmed Hegazi, Omar Gaber, Ali Gazal, Ayman Ahsraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Baher Elmohamady, Ahmed Ayman Mansour, Mahmoud Alaa, Ahmed Abou-Elfotouh
Midfielders: Walid Soliman, Abdallah El Said, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan, Amr Warda, Nabil Emad
Forwards: Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Salah, Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed "Kouka" Hassan.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

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Creator: Steven Knight

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti

Rating: 1/5 

Company profile

Name: Yabi by Souqalmal 

Started: May 2022, launched June 2023

Founder: Ambareen Musa

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: undisclosed but soon to be announced 

Number of staff: 12 

Investment stage: seed  

Investors: Shuaa Capital

SUNDAY'S ABU DHABI T10 MATCHES

Northern Warriors v Team Abu Dhabi, 3.30pm
Bangla Tigers v Karnataka Tuskers, 5.45pm
Qalandars v Maratha Arabians, 8pm

ANDROID VERSION NAMES, IN ORDER

Android Alpha

Android Beta

Android Cupcake

Android Donut

Android Eclair

Android Froyo

Android Gingerbread

Android Honeycomb

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Jelly Bean

Android KitKat

Android Lollipop

Android Marshmallow

Android Nougat

Android Oreo

Android Pie

Android 10 (Quince Tart*)

Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake*)

Android 12 (Snow Cone*)

Android 13 (Tiramisu*)

Android 14 (Upside Down Cake*)

Android 15 (Vanilla Ice Cream*)

* internal codenames

U19 WORLD CUP, WEST INDIES

UAE group fixtures (all in St Kitts)
Saturday 15 January: v Canada
Thursday 20 January: v England
Saturday 22 January: v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Alishan Sharafu (captain), Shival Bawa, Jash Giyanani, Sailles Jaishankar, Nilansh Keswani, Aayan Khan, Punya Mehra, Ali Naseer, Ronak Panoly, Dhruv Parashar, Vinayak Raghavan, Soorya Sathish, Aryansh Sharma, Adithya Shetty, Kai Smith

FULL FIGHT CARD

Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
Bantamweight Bout: Elias Boudegzdame v Hassan Mandour
Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya


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