Russia's stance on Syria uprising unchanged as fierce clashes shake Deraa



BEIRUT // Syrian troops shelled a southern village and clashed with army defectors holed up inside in violence that killed a 15-year-old boy and five government soldiers, activists said yesterday.

The clashes in Hirak were some of the worst lately in Deraa province, birthplace of the uprising to oust President Bashar Al Assad. Explosions shook the village as shells slammed into residential areas suspected of sheltering defectors. Even mosques were targeted, activists said.

"The clashes are very intense and have been going on since the morning," said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.

Also yesterday Russia's foreign ministry dealt a blow to western hopes that Moscow might drop its support for Mr Al Assad, saying firmly that it sees no reason to change its stance.

"We are deeply convinced that we are right," Sergei Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister, told reporters. "That is why we call on our partners not to adopt a hard-line stance, but to seek compromise, stimulate negotiations and a political process." In Damascus, a special Chinese envoy to Syria was expected to visit and press the regime for a cease-fire.

China, like Russia, has remained a key Syrian ally throughout the nearly year-old uprising against Mr Al Assad. As international condemnation of Mr Al Assad's deadly crackdown on dissent has grown, China and Russia have protected Syria from condemnation by the UN Security Council.

Both countries fear such a resolution could lead to military intervention against Mr Al Assad, as it did last year against Muammar Qaddafi of Libya.

Beijing remains firmly opposed to any foreign intervention in Syria.

Li Huaqing, a former Chinese ambassador to Syria, will meet with government officials during his two-day visit. He is not expected to meet figures from the opposition seeking to overthrow Mr Al Assad.

The operation in Deraa began just days after Syrian forces captured a key rebel-held neighbourhood in central Homs province, another opposition stronghold. Government troops intensely shelled Homs for four weeks before they captured the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs, wresting it from rebels who had held it for months. Activists said hundreds were killed in the month-long offensive.

The assault on Homs was accompanied by a steady rise in international demands for Mr Al Assad to stop the bloodshed and give up power immediately. On Monday, US Sentor John McCain called for airstrikes against Syria, saying the United States has a moral and strategic obligation to force out Mr Al Assad and his loyalists. The US administration has said Mr Al Assad must got but has said it will not intervene militarily.

A video posted online by activists yesterday shows what it said was the inside of the Abu Bakr Al Saddiq mosque in Hirak. The video showed rubble littering the mosque's entryway, doors blown from their frames and shattered glass covering the floor.

An unidentified man on camera says a tank fired on the mosque after town residents sought refuge there.

Another video shows men, women and children fleeing a building after it appears to be hit by a shell. Heavy automatic gunfire is heard in the background. A third video shows a man with a deep gash in this thigh that the video says was caused by shrapnel from a tank shell.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said the army was fighting a large number of army defectors in Hirak.

He said the rebels ambushed an armoured personnel carrier, killing five soldiers and wounding several. He and the Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said a 15-year-old boy was killed by snipers.

Security forces were conducting raids in pursuit of defectors and activists, making arbitrary arrests and burning homes, the LCC said. The group reported at least 21 deaths across Syria Tuesday.

The Al Assad regime agreed on Monday to allow visits by two other prominent international emissaries it had previously rebuffed - former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the new special envoy to Syria, and UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

Mr Annan is to reach Damascus on Friday representing the UN and the Arab League. Ms Amos is to arrive today and leave on Friday.

Ms Amos said the aim of her visit is "to urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers so they can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies".

In a message welcoming her visit, Syria said she would be able to visit "some areas" - making it unlikely she will see some of the places hardest-hit by Mr Al Assad's forces, such as the Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs.

Syrian authorities have not allowed Red Cross aid teams to enter the area since then, despite assurances they would be able to. Activists accuse the regime of trying to hide the area's destruction.

A Syrian Red Crescent official said Syrian authorities were citing security concerns for the delay.

"The Syrian government has informed us that it is cleaning the area from explosives and mines to ensure safe access for us," head of operations in Syria Khaled Erq Sousi told The Associated Press. He said Red Crescent volunteers were continuing their mission by distributing humanitarian aids to the village of Abel, some 10 kilometres from Homs.

The UN says more than 7,500 people have been killed since Syria's uprising started in March 2011. Activists put the death toll at more than 8,000.

* Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

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).

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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).

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).

SERIES INFO

Schedule:
All matches at the Harare Sports Club
1st ODI, Wed Apr 10
2nd ODI, Fri Apr 12
3rd ODI, Sun Apr 14
4th ODI, Sun Apr 16

UAE squad
Mohammed Naveed (captain), Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Usman, CP Rizwan, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Sultan Ahmed, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

Zimbabwe squad
Peter Moor (captain), Solomon Mire, Brian Chari, Regis Chakabva, Sean Williams, Timycen Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Craig Ervine, Brandon Mavuta, Ainsley Ndlovu, Tony Munyonga, Elton Chigumbura

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Wonka

Director: Paul King

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

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Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5

Results

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7.50pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (D) 1,200m, Winner: Madkal, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

8.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 1,200m, Winner: Taneen, Dane O’Neill, Musabah Al Muhairi

Our legal consultant

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Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Results

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THE BIO

Occupation: Specialised chief medical laboratory technologist

Age: 78

Favourite destination: Always Al Ain “Dar Al Zain”

Hobbies: his work  - “ the thing which I am most passionate for and which occupied all my time in the morning and evening from 1963 to 2019”

Other hobbies: football

Favorite football club: Al Ain Sports Club

 

No more lice

Defining head lice

Pediculus humanus capitis are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. The adult head louse is up to 3mm long, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white in colour. The female lives up to four weeks and, once mature, can lay up to 10 eggs per day. These tiny nits firmly attach to the base of the hair shaft, get incubated by body heat and hatch in eight days or so.

Identifying lice

Lice can be identified by itching or a tickling sensation of something moving within the hair. One can confirm that a person has lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs or lice. Head lice are most frequently located behind the ears and near the neckline.

Treating lice at home

Head lice must be treated as soon as they are spotted. Start by checking everyone in the family for them, then follow these steps. Remove and wash all clothing and bedding with hot water. Apply medicine according to the label instructions. If some live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
After the initial treatment, check for, comb and remove nits and lice from hair every two to three days. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes.Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

Courtesy Dr Vishal Rajmal Mehta, specialist paediatrics, RAK Hospital

MATCH INFO

Europa League final

Marseille 0

Atletico Madrid 3
Greizmann (21', 49'), Gabi (89')

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

A QUIET PLACE

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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Saturday
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Burnley v Huddersfield Town (7pm)
Everton v Bournemouth (7pm)
Manchester City v Crystal Palace (7pm)
Southampton v Manchester United (7pm)
Stoke City v Chelsea (7pm)
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Leicester City v Liverpool (8.30pm)

Sunday
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United (7pm)

Monday
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion (11pm)

Results

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m; Winner: Mcmanaman, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

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6.40pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Dirt) 1,400m; Winner: Bochart, Fabrice Veron, Satish Seemar

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7.50pm: Longines Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,00 (D) 1,900m; Winner: Rare Ninja, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.25pm: Zabeel Trophy – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Alfareeq, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 2,410m; Winner: Good Tidings, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9.35pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Zorion, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, Helal Al Alawi

 

Gorillaz 
The Now Now 

THE SPECS

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 275hp at 6,600rpm

Torque: 353Nm from 1,450-4,700rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Top speed: 250kph

Fuel consumption: 6.8L/100km

On sale: Now

Price: Dh146,999

LIKELY TEAMS

South Africa
Faf du Plessis (captain), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi.

India (from)
Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wkt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Basquiat in Abu Dhabi

One of Basquiat’s paintings, the vibrant Cabra (1981–82), now hangs in Louvre Abu Dhabi temporarily, on loan from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. 

The latter museum is not open physically, but has assembled a collection and puts together a series of events called Talking Art, such as this discussion, moderated by writer Chaedria LaBouvier. 

It's something of a Basquiat season in Abu Dhabi at the moment. Last week, The Radiant Child, a documentary on Basquiat was shown at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and tonight (April 18) the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is throwing the re-creation of a party tonight, of the legendary Canal Zone party thrown in 1979, which epitomised the collaborative scene of the time. It was at Canal Zone that Basquiat met prominent members of the art world and moved from unknown graffiti artist into someone in the spotlight.  

“We’ve invited local resident arists, we’ll have spray cans at the ready,” says curator Maisa Al Qassemi of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. 

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's Canal Zone Remix is at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Thursday April 18, from 8pm. Free entry to all. Basquiat's Cabra is on view at Louvre Abu Dhabi until October

A Little to the Left

Developer: Max Inferno
Consoles: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Afghanistan Premier League - at a glance

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Fixtures:

Tue, Oct 16, 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Kabul Zwanan; Wed, Oct 17, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Nangarhar Leopards; 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Paktia Panthers; Thu, Oct 18, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Kandahar Knights; 8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers; Fri, Oct 19, 8pm: First semi-final; Sat, Oct 20, 8pm: Second semi-final; Sun, Oct 21, 8pm: final

Table:

1. Balkh Legends 6 5 1 10

2. Paktia Panthers 6 4 2 8

3. Kabul Zwanan 6 3 3 6

4. Nagarhar Leopards 7 2 5 4

5. Kandahar Knights 5 1 4 2

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 536hp (including 138hp e-motor)
Torque: 750Nm (including 400Nm e-motor)
Price: From Dh1,380,000
On sale: now

How to report a beggar

Abu Dhabi – Call 999 or 8002626 (Aman Service)

Dubai – Call 800243

Sharjah – Call 065632222

Ras Al Khaimah - Call 072053372

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