Obama warns Syria over chemical arms as fighting flares



WASHINGTON // US President Barack Obama warned Syria yesterday that Washington will not tolerate any deployment of chemical weapons, as fighting raged from the north to the south of the country.

Obama put Bashar Al Assad's Syrian regime on notice that, while he had not ordered intervention "at this point," Washington is "monitoring the situation very carefully," and has put together a range of contingency plans.

"There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons... That would change my calculations significantly," he told reporters at a White House briefing.

The president added that the United States would regard any recourse by Damascus to its deadly arsenal as crossing what he dubbed a "red line."

Syria's admission in July that it has chemical weapons and could use them in case of any "external aggression" added a dangerous new dimension to a conflict which the new UN peace envoy already describes as civil war.

More than 130 people were killed Monday, including two children in shelling in Daraa, the birthplace of the revolution, a watchdog said, as the United Nations brought an end to its troubled observer mission.

And a female Japanese journalist died in Aleppo, where she was covering clashes between troops and rebel fighters in Suleiman Al Halabi, a district of Syria's commercial capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Three other reporters are missing -- a Lebanese woman, an Arab male working for a US media outlet and a Turkish national, the Observatory said.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who has replaced Kofi Annan as the international point man for Syria, warned on Sunday that it was now a matter of stopping rather than avoiding civil war after 17 months of bloodshed.

"There are a lot of people who say that we must avoid civil war in Syria, me I believe that we are already there for some time now. What's necessary is to stop the civil war and that is not going to be easy," he said.

But Syria -- which insists it is fighting an insurgency by "armed terrorist groups" backed by the West, Gulf states and Turkey -- reacted angrily.

"To speak of civil war in Syria contradicts reality and is found only in the heads of conspirators," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the state SANA news agency.

This came as French President Francois Hollande bluntly told Brahimi at a meeting in Paris there "cannot be a political solution without the departure of Bashar Al Assad."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory, meanwhile, reported fierce fighting across the country on the second day of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Observatory said troops backed by helicopters also pounded several areas of Aleppo, including the local Baath party headquarters and a military tribunal in the northern city.

An AFP correspondent said warplanes and helicopters circled Aleppo all day, and reported heavy fighting in southwestern districts, where the regime's military operation against rebels is focused.

"Where can we go, we don't have anywhere to go," lamented Tahani, 40, one of a group of women sheltering with children in the entrance of a house.

"In this situation having children is a curse. If it were just me, I wouldn't be afraid but I am always afraid for them."

Aleppo, Syria's commercial capital, has become the epicenter of the conflict since rebels seized large swathes of the city in a July offensive. Government officials have said its recapture will be the "mother of all battles."

The opposition Syrian National Council complained that government forces using combat helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery have carried out "savage" attacks on Herak, warning that food and medicines are running out.

Fighting also flared in southern parts of Damascus as the army battles persistent pockets of resistance despite claiming it retook most of the capital last month. In the province, 29 people were killed, half of them civilians.

UN observers wound up their troubled mission on Sunday amid a failure by world powers to agree how to respond to Assad's crackdown and bring peace to the strategic Middle East state.

Its operations were largely suspended in June and observer numbers cut back in the face of the mounting violence, as both sides violated a ceasefire that was meant to have been the cornerstone of Annan's plan for peace.

A total of 23,000 people have now been killed since March last year, according to the Observatory, while the UN puts the death toll at around 17,000.

The conflict has raised fears of a spillover of violence into neighboring countries, most notably Lebanon.

Yuki Means Happiness
Alison Jean Lester
John Murray

UAE SQUAD

Jemma Eley, Maria Michailidou, Molly Fuller, Chloe Andrews (of Dubai College), Eliza Petricola, Holly Guerin, Yasmin Craig, Caitlin Gowdy (Dubai English Speaking College), Claire Janssen, Cristiana Morall (Jumeirah English Speaking School), Tessa Mies (Jebel Ali School), Mila Morgan (Cranleigh Abu Dhabi).

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The biog:

From: Wimbledon, London, UK

Education: Medical doctor

Hobbies: Travelling, meeting new people and cultures 

Favourite animals: All of them 

A Bad Moms Christmas
Dir: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines
Two stars

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

RACE CARD

4.30pm: Maiden Dh80,000 1,400m
5pm: Conditions Dh80,000 1,400m
5.30pm: Liwa Oasis Group 3 Dh300,000 1,400m
6pm: The President’s Cup Listed Dh380,000 1,400m
6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown Group 2 Dh300,000 2,200m
7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (30-60) Dh80,000 1,600m
7.30pm: Handicap (40-70) Dh80,000 1,600m.

Expert advice

“Join in with a group like Cycle Safe Dubai or TrainYAS, where you’ll meet like-minded people and always have support on hand.”

Stewart Howison, co-founder of Cycle Safe Dubai and owner of Revolution Cycles

“When you sweat a lot, you lose a lot of salt and other electrolytes from your body. If your electrolytes drop enough, you will be at risk of cramping. To prevent salt deficiency, simply add an electrolyte mix to your water.”

Cornelia Gloor, head of RAK Hospital’s Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy Centre 

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can ride as fast or as far during the summer as you do in cooler weather. The heat will make you expend more energy to maintain a speed that might normally be comfortable, so pace yourself when riding during the hotter parts of the day.”

Chandrashekar Nandi, physiotherapist at Burjeel Hospital in Dubai
 

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The specs

Engine: Dual permanently excited synchronous motors
Power: 516hp or 400Kw
Torque: 858Nm
Transmission: Single speed auto
Range: 485km
Price: From Dh699,000

Ultra processed foods

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Top 10 most polluted cities
  1. Bhiwadi, India
  2. Ghaziabad, India
  3. Hotan, China
  4. Delhi, India
  5. Jaunpur, India
  6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
  7. Noida, India
  8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  9. Peshawar, Pakistan
  10. Bagpat, India
THE BIO

BIO:
Born in RAK on December 9, 1983
Lives in Abu Dhabi with her family
She graduated from Emirates University in 2007 with a BA in architectural engineering
Her motto in life is her grandmother’s saying “That who created you will not have you get lost”
Her ambition is to spread UAE’s culture of love and acceptance through serving coffee, the country’s traditional coffee in particular.

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines with return fares from Dh1,700. Nashulai Journeys offers tailormade and ready made trips in Africa while Tesfa Tours has a number of different community trekking tours throughout northern Ethiopia. The Ben Abeba Lodge has rooms from Dh228, and champions a programme of re-forestation in the surrounding area.



MOTHER OF STRANGERS

Author: Suad Amiry
Publisher: Pantheon

Pages: 304
Available: Now

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

MATCH INFO

Cricket World Cup League Two
Oman, UAE, Namibia
Al Amerat, Muscat
 
Results
Oman beat UAE by five wickets
UAE beat Namibia by eight runs
Namibia beat Oman by 52 runs
UAE beat Namibia by eight wickets
UAE v Oman - abandoned
Oman v Namibia - abandoned


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