Archive for April 29th, 2016

Britain to admit 3,000 Syrian child refugees from camps

April 22, 2016

The British government announced yesterday its intention to take in 3,000 Syrian refugees, all of them minors, who are currently in refugee camps in countries neighboring Syria.

“Taking in this number of children is considered to be the largest initiative of its kind in the world,” said Immigration Minister James Brokenshire in a press release. He explained that the process is being carried out in coordination with the UNHCR. The minister stressed that Britain is committed to providing a save haven for thousands of orphan children and those prone to danger due to their situation in the camps.

He added that the British government has always been clear that the vast majority of vulnerable children are better off remaining in host countries in the region so that they can be reunited with surviving family members. “However, there are exceptional circumstances in which it is in a child’s best interests to be resettled in the UK.”

In this context, he announced that Britain is to send 75 officials to Greece to help with the processing and administration in detention centers and deal with the cases of the refugees who will be sent back to Turkey in line with the latest EU agreement with Ankara.

The agreement is to send back refugees in exchange for resettling those who came to Turkey legally. The fact that Britain will hold a referendum in June over its membership of the EU is considered to be one of the main motives behind increasing the number of migrants to be allowed into the UK.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160422-britain-to-admit-3000-syrian-child-refugees-from-camps/.

Russia asks UN to blacklist 2 powerful Syrian rebel groups

April 28, 2016

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia said Wednesday it has asked the U.N. Security Council to blacklist two powerful Syrian rebel groups that it considers “terrorist organizations,” one which is playing a key role in political negotiations aimed at ending the five-year conflict.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters the two hardline Islamic groups — Jaish al-Islam, or the Army of Islam, and Ahrar al-Sham — aren’t observing the cessation of hostilities in Syria “and are engaged in terrorist activities” and therefore should be subject to sanctions.

Mohammed Alloush, a leading figure in Jaish al-Islam, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, heads the High Negotiating Committee, the main opposition umbrella group, at the Geneva peace talks which are largely stalled. The High Negotiating Committee postponed its participation in the talks, which wrapped up their latest round on Wednesday, citing an escalation in fighting and insufficient aid deliveries to besieged areas.

The Syrian government, which Russia backs, also considers the two groups “terrorist” organizations and opposed their representation in the Geneva talks. Churkin said Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham “are not participating in negotiations and they’re not participating in the cessation of hostilities so it’s time to call a spade a spade.”

But Russia’s attempt to get the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida and the Islamic State extremist group to add the two Syrian rebel groups to the blacklist is facing an uphill struggle.

New Zealand’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen said Russia’s attempt to sanction the two groups was raised during closed-door council consultations on Syria following a briefing by U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura and sparked “controversy” IN THE ROOM.

Van Bohemen said he told the council that there are a lot of bad people in Syria, but not every one of them is “a terrorist.”