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Syrians desperately in need
2014.04.25 05:02:39

Access for foreign aid for millions of Syrians desperately in need has not improved, violating a Security Council resolution passed two months ago, the UN chief said in a report Wednesday.

In February, the Security Council passed the first humanitarian resolution of the three-year civil war, demanding that the government and armed opposition allow aid to reach civilians.

But almost 3.5 million people remain without access to essential goods and services, including life-saving medicines, in a "clear violation" of international law, wrote Ban Ki-moon.

The report sent to the Security Council blamed both sides in the war but singled out the government for particular censure.

The security situation is deteriorating and humanitarian access to those most in need is not improving. It remains an extremely challenging environment in which to work

said the document.

Thousands of people are not getting the medical care that they need, which Ban described as "arbitrary and unjustified" and "a clear violation of international humanitarian law."

"I must again urge the parties, and in particular the government.. to honor their obligations under international humanitarian law and act now," he said in the report.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria

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Removal of separatist protesters in Mariupol
2014.04.25 05:00:07

Yulia Lasazan, a spokeswoman for Mariupol's police department, told AP that about 30 men masked men armed with baseball bats stormed the town hall in the early hours of Thursday and started beating the protesters.

It was not clear why the protesters, some of whom were believed to be armed, did not offer resistance but called the police instead. Five people were taken to a hospital, Lasazan said.

He added that the police controlled the area around the town hall and were negotiating with the remaining protesters for them to leave the building.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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British police reached out to Muslim women
2014.04.25 04:58:12

British police reached out to Muslim women on Thursday in an attempt to prevent young people going to fight in Syria, after a sharp rise in arrests related to the conflict.

Counter-terrorism officials launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks of traveling to Syria, especially for those who just want to offer humanitarian aid.

The campaign was prompted by an increase in the number of Britons caught traveling or returning from Syria, from 25 arrests last year to 40 in the first three months of 2014.



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Avakov's Facebook post...
2014.04.25 04:57:27

This is the Bing translation of Avakov's Facebook post...

1. Mariupol.
City Hall released for normal operation. Is the role of civil society activists. The INTERIOR MINISTRY is pursuing the process of normal functioning. Bomb experts checked a building now. The City Council is taken under protection. The Mayor is already inside. As said before: dissident-dialogue and discourse, the terrorists hard answer to destruction. In this case, there were no casualties. And it is good and right. The normalization of the situation in the city would continue.

2. Artemivsk.
The current short report. The night was an attack on the military unit, in order to obtain weapons. Attacked a group of about 70 people, headed by the Russian military (caught on many images in slavyansk-with a vast beard). The military repulsed the attack. Wounded soldiers.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
2014.04.25 04:18:11

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Wednesday that the Security Council take action in Syria on violations of international law as he reported to the body that none of the warring parties was adhering to UN demands for aid access.

In his second monthly report to the 15-member council on the implementation of a resolution demanding great humanitarian aid access in Syria, Ban said "none of the parties to the conflict have adhered to the demands of the Council."

The Security Council must take action to deal with these flagrant violations of the basic principles of international law...

he wrote in the 21-page report. He did not specify what measures the council should take.

[Reuters]



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Ukraine repels raid on army base
2014.04.25 04:16:26

Following Lavrov's comments on Geneva, the Reuters news agency reports Ukraine as saying its forces were attacked by Russian soldiers, but also that one group of separatists had abided by the Geneva deal.

Ukraine repels raid on army base

The Ukrainian government said troops repelled an overnight raid on a base at Artemivsk, between Donetsk and Slaviansk, in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

A soldier was wounded in the attack by about 70 people. The interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on Facebook the attackers were led by Russian soldiers. Casualties for the attackers were unknown, he said.

Avakov also said pro-Russian protesters had left the town hall in Mariupol, an industrial city on the Black Sea coast, and the mayor was back in his office - meeting the agreements made with Russia at a Geneva meeting a week ago. [Reuters]



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Calling urgently on Syrian
2014.04.25 03:56:46

Calling urgently on Syrian authorities and the opposition to allow aid access, end siege warfare and halt the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, the top United Nations humanitarian officials today also issued a strong challenge to "those with the responsibility, power and influence" to find the courage to re-energize a thus-far failed diplomatic push to end the brutal three-year conflict.



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Geneva deal to be implemented 'in near-future'
2014.04.25 03:55:32

Russia expects that an international agreement to defuse the Ukraine crisis will be implemented in practical steps, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU signed the deal in Geneva last week but each side has since accused the other of failing to carry it out.

"Russia expects that the Geneva accords will be implemented in practical actions in the near-future," Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying. [Reuters]



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Syrian government forces attack
2014.04.25 03:10:12

Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press news agency interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side.

Syria flatly denied the allegations, and they have yet to be confirmed by any foreign country or international organization. But if true, they highlight the limitations of the global effort to rid President Bashar al-Assad's government of its chemical weapons.

Witnesses near Damascus and in a central rebel-held village told the AP of dozens of cases of choking, fainting and other afflictions from inhaling fumes that some said were yellowish and smelled like chlorine cleanser.

Some of those interviewed said they believe the gas was responsible for at least two deaths.

They said the fumes came from hand grenades and helicopter-dropped barrel bombs, which are crude containers packed with explosives and shrapnel.

The UN Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday. Council members expressed "grave concern" over the allegations, said Nigeria's UN Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, council president.

It's an accusation that carries high stakes, and the Syrian opposition has an interest in pushing such claims in hopes of spurring the world to take stern action against Assad, who has been locked in a civil war for three years and faces a Sunday deadline for handing over all his chemical weapons for destruction.



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Russia is not abiding by agreements
2014.04.25 03:08:54

The US president, Barack Obama, has said that Russia is not abiding by agreements over Ukraine agreed in a meeting in Geneva.

"So far at least, we have seen them not abide by the spirit or the letter of the agreement in Geneva," he said adding that if Russia continued to flout the deal there would be "consequences and we will ramp up further sanctions".

Obama's comments came during a visit to Japan. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Reports of alleged chlorine gas use
2014.04.25 02:59:36

The UN Security Council says it is concerned with reports of alleged chlorine gas use in Syrian towns. The use of gas has reportedly caused deaths and injuries. The UN is calling for formal investigations.

Nigeria's UN Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the council president has said that the chlorine gas attacks were raised during a meeting after a video briefing by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

It has been suggested that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons could play a role in investigating the latest allegations.

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari has said his government "denies categorically the use of chlorine gas by the Syrian army."

-AP



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State Department hits back
2014.04.25 02:57:24

The US State Department has hit back at the Russian Foreign Minister's claims that Washington was "running the show" in Ukraine. Spokesperson Jen Psaki called Sergey Lavrov's comments "ludicrous" [AFP]

US vice president Joe Biden earlier this week said the US had given Ukraine's military $20m in "non-lethal" equipment.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Member of the People's Assembly
2014.04.24 03:08:02

Syrian state media has reported a member of the People's Assembly has registered as a challenger to Bashar al-Assad in the upcoming presidential election.

The Syrian opposition in exile has criticized the planned election of June 3 as a "farce", while the UN and the Arab League have said it poses a major obstacle to efforts for a negotiated peace.

To read the full story, click here.



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Town of Mileha
2014.04.24 03:06:07

This video allegedly shows government forces bombing the town of Mileha, east Damascus.

MWC cannot independently confirm the content of this video.



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US troops have arrived in Poland
2014.04.24 03:04:36

The first of 600 US troops have arrived in Poland. Washington insists that they are not there to intervene, but the Kiev government hopes they will take action if Russia further provokes Ukraine.

"We hope that if there is aggression from the Russian Federation that this assistance will be more substantial. At least we have the support of the United States, they will not leave us alone with the aggressor," said Vitaly Yarema, Ukraine's first deputy prime minister. [RTV]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Poland

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Fighting in East Ghoutal
2014.04.24 03:03:33

This video allegedly shows fighting in East Ghouta, where regime forces launched an assault a few days ago.

MWC cannot independently verify the content of this video.



Tags: Syria

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Russia insist that Kiev pull back troops
2014.04.24 03:01:07

Russia has insisted that Kiev pull back its troops from eastern Ukraine as it accused Washington of distorting an agreement to ease the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War.

To read more, click here.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Foreign diplomats visit Moldova and Georgia
2014.04.24 02:52:35

France and Germany's foreign ministers are making a joint visit to Moldova and Georgia, former Soviet republics, as unrest continues in Ukraine.

Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier and France's Laurent Fabius on Wednesday traveled to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

The trip, which will also include a visit to Tunisia, was planned at the beginning of the year as part of an effort to build stronger foreign-policy ties between Berlin and Paris.

Germany and France "take very seriously the deep anxiety" with which their eastern partners view the situation in Ukraine, Steinmeier said.

The EU is pushing ahead with association agreements with Moldova and Georgia.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Moldova | Georgia | France | Germany

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Challenger to Bashar al-Assad
2014.04.24 02:50:56

Syrian state media has reported a member of the People's Assembly has registered as a challenger to Bashar al-Assad in the upcoming presidential election.

"The speaker of the Syrian People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham announced on Wednesday that the Assembly received from the Supreme Constitutional Court a candidacy application from MP Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar to run for president," SANA reported.

Sources in Syria say that  Hajjar, who is Aleppo-born, is member of the internal opposition and a member of Syrian People's Assembly representing Aleppo governorate.



Tags: Syria

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Rundown of what has happened
2014.04.24 02:49:10

Despite all the talk today, the resumption of hostilities has not actually resumed. Here's a rundown of what has happened:

* The Ukraine government says its Easter truce is over. It says it has the backing of the US to launch "appropriate measures" against Pro-Russian separatists in the east.

* A video has emerged of a pro-Kiev councilor being confronted by a pro-Russian mob, hours before he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and murdered before being dumped.

* Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said that Russia would respond if its interests were threatened. He referenced the action Russia took when Georgia moved to reoccupy its pro-Russian breakaway region of South Ossetia in 2008. Russian tanks were within a few dozen miles of Tblisi within five days).



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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