Is Syria any closer to political solution after Astana talks?

People walk past a billboard depicting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government-controlled area of Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 17, 2016

International peace talks have been taking place for several years now in an effort to come to a political solution for the ongoing war in Syria. Yet the recent Astana talks, much like the previous Geneva talks, have demonstrated that they have little impact on the ground, as both the Syrian government and regional actors continue to push their own agendas.

From the get-go, the Syrian government has made it clear that its agenda is to take back “all of Syria,” and the talks in Astana — brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, between the Syrian government and certain Syrian opposition factions — did little to deter the Syrian government as it worked diligently on its own plan, irrespective of what was being discussed at the talks.

Rather, it continued to pursue its policy of local reconciliations — truces and agreements conducted with local opposition factions in opposition-held towns and areas in Syria, an initiative it has been following since 2014 that does not fall within the realms of any of the peace talks — and just prior to the talks, it launched its own offensive toward al-Bab, putting its ally Russia in a difficult position with Turkey.

As far as the government is concerned, the only tolerable end to the Syrian war is to regain all of Syria without much compromise — whether with the opposition or with its external enemies. This is indeed the solution that the regime is attempting to achieve through its own actions on the ground — either through local truces, whose terms the government dictates, or the recent string of military successes that have enabled it to recapture previously lost territory. And in this endeavor to regain all of Syria, Damascus is keen not to lose to either its opponents and its allies.

This is further evidenced by what appears to be a government plan to launch an offensive toward west Aleppo, treating it in the same way as the regime treated the area of Wadi Barada, which the government does not consider part of the nationwide cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey. The government claims al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (previously Jabhat al-Nusra) is present in these areas.

With regard to the talks themselves, the government’s delegation, as noted by a government insider, further proved how little interest it actually had in the talks and its outcome.

“The government delegation to Astana was the usual Geneva delegation, plus a retired army officer, Maj. Gen. Salim Harba, and another low-ranking officer,” the insider told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, adding that no one of high significance attended. “This is proof of the government’s disregard of the talks,” the government source said.

Also, opposition sources both inside and outside Syria have voiced frustrations over the lack of impact that international conferences and the unofficial Track II initiatives promoted by foreign governments and think tanks have had on bringing the war in Syria to a political solution.

One opposition source requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter told Al-Monitor, “These talks and initiatives are largely useless. It Is clear that some initiatives are just interested in promoting their own goals for Syria rather than what is best for the Syrians, and focus on impractical solutions around transition and transfer of authority.”

He added, “Each player, each country is working for his own interest only.”

Moreover, the opposition is so fractured — between those who have military might on the ground and those who play politics in hotels in Turkey, London, Paris and Washington — and ideologically separated — again between those who are pushing for the implementation of a Sharia state and those who are willing to work on a more secular notion of state — that such talks have largely been ineffective in implementing anything sustainable. This is further complicated by the fluid alliances between opposition groups and terrorist organizations such as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, making any talks, in particular regarding the implementation of cease-fires, especially difficult, and something the government does not hesitate to capitalize on.

The actions of various opposition groups on the ground have signaled to Damascus that adhering to the cease-fire is also not a priority for the groups. According to one source in Damascus, recent attacks on government checkpoints by the opposition in Harasta, for instance, is evidence that the opposition will, within its limited capacity, still act according to its own agenda.

“They attack the checkpoints, and when there is retaliation from the army on those attacks, they cry that the government has broken the cease-fire,” he said.

However, the Astana talks did serve a purpose for some; the regional players used the opportunity to re-establish their respective roles in the Syrian war.

According to Syrian political and military analyst Mohammed Saleh al-Ftayeh, the purpose of such talks is precisely to gather all the influential regional and international powers, as well as the Syrian government, in one place.

“Even though no one acknowledges this, these meetings in essence aim at convincing external players to pursue their politics in means other than continuing the war,” he explained. “The road to these meetings and the meetings themselves are an opportunity for influential players to negotiate their own demands.”

And today the balance of power has shifted between the regional players. The United States did not have a role at all in these talks (apart from the presence of its ambassador as an observer only), while Turkey played a very significant role, largely as a result of its cooperation with Russia over the recent Aleppo deal.

In fact, according to multiple sources present in Astana, the talks were successful in that the major players used the opportunity to redefine their roles. Russia came across as a more neutral partner, and is now seen as willing to compromise to achieve a political solution. The Russian presentation of the draft constitutional amendments, plus the follow-up meeting in Moscow, left the opposition with the impression that Russia is the most reasonable actor in the government’s axis. Meanwhile, the role of Turkey and Iran in the war were recognized and taken more seriously by both the Syrian government and the opposition. The fact that Iran was included as one of the guarantors of the cease-fire forces the opposition to recognize it as a legitimate party, while also forcing on Iran the responsibility to rein in its allies and maintain the cease-fire.

Ftayeh told Al-Monitor, “The role of Turkey as one of the most important players in Syria has been acknowledged by Russia, but not by all other players who may feel threatened by this Russian-Turkish rapprochement, and by the notion of a political solution in general. Eastern Aleppo would not have fallen without Turkey’s cooperation with Russia, especially when it pressured armed opposition factions to negotiate surrendering the city.”

He added, “Turkey gained much from this cooperation; its national security fears were taken into consideration and Russia is now supporting Turkey in its offensive to take al-Bab.”

If Turkey can capture al-Bab, with the help of Russian airstrikes, it can prevent the Democratic Union Party (the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party) from connecting its three cantons and eventually create a Kurdish state along Turkey’s border.

The success — or lack thereof — of the Astana talks will become clear over the coming months, and in the meantime all players involved will continue working on their agendas to ensure they can obtain as much as possible before the next round of negotiations, when the cycle will start over again.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

Israel returns body of Palestinian teen killed in November


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities released on Wednesday evening the body of a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces after holding it for more than two months, allowing Palestinian officials to carry out an autopsy.

Muhammad Zeidan, 16, was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard on Nov. 25 after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near the Shufat checkpoint in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank.
The chief prosecutor in Ramallah, Alaa al-Tamimi, said that forensic experts had begun an autopsy to uncover the circumstances surrounding Zeidan’s death.
Al-Tamimi said that Zeidan was shot in the stomach and deliberately left bleeding on the ground without medical treatment until he died.
He added that Zeidan’s body would be released to his family for burial upon the completion of all legal procedures.
Zeidan was one of 112 Palestinians to have died in 2016 as part of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Fifteen Israelis died during the same time period.
Rights groups have repeatedly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces’ “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
Amid the increase in violence since October 2015, Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces, claiming that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.
However, the majority of bodies of Palestinians slain since then have since been returned to their families, despite the Israeli security cabinet deciding in January that bodies of Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas movement who were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis would be withheld indefinitely.
A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as “a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.”
PLO official Saeb Erekat has also urged the international community to pressure Israel to release Palestinian bodies held by Israeli, saying: “Israel’s collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead.”
(Source / 02.02.2017)

Bethlehem: Israeli Soldiers Abduct Twelve Palestinians In Aida Refugee Camp, One In Husan

02 FEB
8:54 AM

Updated: Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, searched many homes and abducted twelve young Palestinian men. The soldiers also summoned two Palestinians for interrogation, and abducted one Palestinian in Husan town, west of Bethlehem.

The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers violently invaded and searched many homes in the refugee camp, and interrogated many Palestinians before abducting twelve.

The abducted Palestinians have been identified as As’ad Rashid Darwish, 19, Ali Mohammad Abu Srour, 20, Ali Ahmad Abu Srour, 19, Mohammad Khader Odah, Lutfi Qneiss, 23, Abdullah Ali Hammad, 18, Samed Ahmad Hammad, 23, Ramzi Omar Quwwar, 37, Mohammad Jom’a ‘Oweiss, 18, Fathi Yassin Abu Srour, Amjad Abu Khdeir and Islam Jawareesh.

The soldiers also summoned two young men, identified as Mohannad Barhoum and Homam Majed Qaraqe’, for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, north of Bethlehem.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded Husan town, west of Bethlehem, and abducted one Palestinian, identified as Mahmoud Ahmad Sabateen, 45.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

EU: Israel’s settlement announcements “a worrying trend”


EU Foreign Policy Chief, Fredrica Moghreini

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Wednesday has expressed strong opposition to Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, saying that such announcements are “a very worrying trend.”

In a statement, Mogherini said “the EU deeply regrets that Israel is proceeding with this, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels.”

“The announcement marks a very worrying trend, posing a direct challenge to the prospects of a viable two-state solution, which is increasingly difficult and risks becoming impossible.”

As the Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday has ordered the eviction of Amona illegal settlement outpost near Ramallah, Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) have proceeded to approve the construction of 3,000 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank.

This announcement followed several other announcements to build settlement units, which made up the total of 6,000 units during  the past two weeks alone.

The settlement expansion was particularly emboldened when Donald Trump took office as U.S. president, and gave green light to settlements.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

781 Civilians Killed in January 2017

The Lowest Death and Destruction Toll by Russian Forces since they First Intervened in Syria

Civilians Killed

SNHR has published its periodic death toll report for the month of January 2017 in which it documented the killing of 781 civilians at the hands of the main influential parties in Syria.
The report notes that there has been a decent and notable drop in the rates of killing throughout Syria, since the Ankara Ceasefire Agreement went into effect, especially in the areas under the control of armed opposition factions, as the Syrian regime-held areas aren’t subjected to heavy, daily aerial bombardment, which has resulted in the killing of no less than 60% the victims, and destroyed buildings, displacing the people of Syria.

The report sheds light on the fallouts in the wake of the agreement regarding the aspects of live for civilians, where more patients are now going to hospitals and medical points, and many children are enrolling again in schools after they were denied that for fear of being killed in light of the frequent targeting of schools, as well as hospitals. Also, markets are more lively, and many infrastructure services are being rehabilitated. Nonetheless, breaches didn’t stop, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be affected the most should the ceasefire go on, especially crimes of extrajudicial killing, and, more horrendously, dying due to torture, which strongly proves that there is some sort of ceasefire on the table. The crimes, however, that the international community wasn’t able to notice, and particularly the Turkish and Russian sponsors, are still ongoing as nothing has changed in that regard.

The report says that January 2017 saw the lowest death toll by Russian forces since the start of the Russian intervention in Syria. Also, targeting vital centers by Russian forces is less severe than any previous month since the start of the Russian intervention.
The report notes that SNHR team encounters difficulties in documenting victims from armed opposition factions as many of those victims are killed on battlefronts and not inside cities. Also, we aren’t able to obtain details such as names, pictures and other important details on account of the armed opposition forces’ unwillingness to reveal such information for security concerns among other reasons. Therefore, the actual number of victims is much greater than what is being recorded.

On the other side, the report affirms that it is almost impossible to access information about victims from Syrian regime forces or from ISIS and the margin of error is considerably higher due to the lack of any applicable methodology in this type of documentation. The Syrian government and ISIS don’t publish, reveal, or record their victims. From our perspective, the statistics published by some groups on this category of victims are fictitious and are not based on any actual data.
Therefore, the report only incudes civilian victims who were killed by all parties and compare them.

The report breaks down the death toll of January 2017 where Syrian regime forces killed 346 civilians including 48 children (two children are killed every day) and 37 women. Additionally, among the victims were 19 civilians who died due to torture.
The report notes that forces we believe are Russian killed 48 civilians including 20 children and 14 women.
Additionally, the report documented the killing of one civilian at the hands of the Self-management forces.
Furthermore, the report notes that ISIS killed 99 civilians including 28 children and 12 women. In addition, armed opposition factions killed eight civilians including two children. Also, among the victims killed by armed opposition factions were three civilians who died due to torture.

In addition, the report records that 91 civilians, including 28 children and 12 women, were killed by the international coalition forces in January.
The report documents that 188 civilians, including 32 children and 20 women, have either died drowning as they were fleeing by sea or in bombings that SNHR hasn’t been able to identify its perpetrators, as of this writing, or by bullets or landmines that we couldn’t determine their source, or by Turkish, Jordanian, or Lebanese forces.

The report emphasizes that Syrian regime forces and Russian forces have violated the international human rights law which guarantees the right to life. Furthermore, evidences and proofs, according to hundreds of eyewitnesses’ accounts, suggest that 90% at least of the widespread and single attacks were directed against civilians and civil facilities.
Also, ISIS perpetrated many crimes of extrajudicial killing which constitute war crimes.
Moreover, some of the armed opposition factions committed crimes of extrajudicial killing that qualify as war crimes. Also, Self-management forces and international coalition forces have both committed war crimes that manifested in the crime of extrajudicial killing.

The report calls on the Security Council and the international community to uphold their responsibilities in relation to the crimes of killing that is being perpetrated ceaselessly and to apply pressure on the Syrian government to stop the deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of civilians.
Finally, the report considers the Russian regime, all Shiite militias, and ISIS as foreign parties that are effectively involved in the killings and holds all of these parties and the financiers and supports of the Syrian regime legally and judicially responsible.

View full Report

(Source / 02.02.2017)

Collective punishment on the way to school: The task of IOF


On Wednesday, 1st February 2017, Israeli forces intimidated school-children on their way to school. In the process, they closed one of the main checkpoints delaying teachers and school-children as they were on their way to school.

As groups of children were passing the checkpoint in both directions to reach their schools, a few children ran up to the checkpoint throwing pebbles at the big metal structure. These children were immediately stopped by Palestinian adults and shortly after ran off. Despite the fact that the checkpoint is fenced off with metal and it is therefore impossible to actually hit anyone, the Israeli forces immediately came out of the checkpoint-box, as the children ran away.The soldiers immediately locked the turnstiles, the one leading into the checkpoint box and the one allowing people that have passed the checkpoint to go out onto the street. Three boys, after having passed the metal detector, were locked inside the checkpoint, as soldiers prohibited them from passing the turnstile, keeping it locked. When asked by ISMers to allow the boys to leave, a female soldier told them that she’s ‘doing her job’, and they will have to wait till everything is over. This was after the boys throwing the stones had already left the area. She refused to let the boys go even though they clearly were not involved–insisting that it was ‘her job’. This constitutes a form of collective punishment illegal under Art. 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime.


School-children locked inside the checkpoint as Israeli forces deny them to pass and leave – collective punishment of school-children discounted by the soldiers as ‘their job’

Shortly after, people were gathering at the turnstile at the entrance to the checkpoint. A total of two men, two school-boys and one school-girl were trapped on this side of the checkpoint. When they asked the soldiers to open, they were yelled at and told to ‘shut up’. Several left, but others patiently waited for the Israeli forces to allow them in – one by one only, a process that goes very slowly.


Several Palestinian are standing in line at the entry of the checkpoint, as Israeli forces stand by and deny them the right to pass.


Palestinians trapped at the locked turnstile as Israeli forces refuse to open. The checkpoint is the only possible way for Palestinians to reach the other side, always at the mercy of the occupying forces.

Shortly after, a group of Israeli forces went through the gate at the checkpoint, walking towards the cluster of schools located behind the checkpoint.


A group of Palestinian school children waiting for their school-bus, as the heavily-armed Israeli forces stand by watching a group of children outside their schools.

As the Israeli forces approached the schools, teachers made sure that their students would get to school, safely past the Israeli forces.


Israeli forces watching school-children as they go to school.

The soldiers pointed their live-ammunition assault-rifles several times at school-children: a form of intimidation used on school children regardless of their age.


Israeli forces pointing their guns and aiming at school-children.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

Shiite militias open offices in Iraq’s liberated Sunni areas

Shiite fighters ride on the back of a truck with their weapons in al-Fatha, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2015

BAGHDAD — After the liberation of Sunni areas from the clutches of the Islamic State (IS), Shiite parties and their affiliated armed factions have established offices in those areas, despite not having a popular base there.

The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) opened a bureau in the city of Fallujah on Jan. 16. Sunni journalists have expressed concern about this development, commenting that the PMU is trying to “a get a foothold in the liberated Sunni areas.”

Some media commentators are highly alarmed, warning that this step is a prelude to annihilating the Sunni identity. Jamila al-Obaidi, a parliament member for the National Iraqi Alliance, told Al-Monitor, “The PMU offices in the Sunni areas are politically motivated. It is an attempt to gain popularity in such areas in order to draw a new policy in the country in line with the aspirations of the [Shiite] parties in the liberated areas.”

In the Fallujah district, which was liberated a few months ago from IS, the PMU-affiliated armed factions are interfering in the work of the security forces stationed there, sometimes contravening the policies and efforts of the local police.

Mohammed al-Alwani, a citizen of Fallujah in Anbar governorate, was surprised to see the picture of a Shiite cleric hung on a wall near the office of an armed Shiite faction. “I don’t have any problem with Shiites as a community. They are my brethren. However, I do have a problem with their politics. I don’t know what the motives are behind these bureaus, which don’t have any supporters or followers in our city,” Alwani told Al-Monitor.

Some believe that Iran is seeking to expand its influence from the Shiite areas to Sunni ones through the PMU, gaining a foothold in more Iraqi cities as part of the rise of the political Shiite tide.

PMU spokesman Youssef al-Kilabi told Al-Monitor, “The opening of the resistance factions’ bureaus in the Sunni areas has nothing to do with the concept of political Shiism. The PMU is an official, lawful institution that represents all Iraqis. It is also a military institution as legitimate as the army, whose vision is not different from that of the government. The PMU was established to fight terrorism.”

He added, “The majority of the PMU factions had a political presence before the establishment of the institution. They have the right to engage in political activity, but apart from the PMU and according to the law regulating political parties. We will not allow the establishment of militia bureaus in the Sunni areas, and we are working on distributing tasks according to the appropriate powers.”

On Dec. 21, 2016, some local police sources revealed to reporters on condition of anonymity that some PMU factions, including Hezbollah, the Badr Organization and the Ali al-Akbar Brigade, planned to open three official bureaus in the liberated districts of Ramadi and Fallujah, affiliated with Anbar governorate.

Salem al-Issawi, a member of parliament for Anbar, told Al-Monitor, “The existence of armed factions’ bureaus in the Sunni areas is a provocation and a politically motivated step that would benefit no one.” He added, “I do not know what the purpose is of opening bureaus for political parties that do not have wide popular bases in the Sunni areas. All this could aggravate the security and social situation in the Sunni areas.”

Despite the Sunni residents’ dissatisfaction with these bureaus, some local residents revealed to Fath News that they are being established according to the wishes of some tribal leaders and dignitaries who requested a PMU presence in the Sunni areas to help maintain security.

The PMU has already established at least 10 offices in the past few months in Ramadi, Fallujah, Saqlawiyah, Ratba and Haditha.

In the cities of Tarmiyah and Taji, north of Baghdad, the PMU factions opened bureaus ostensibly to maintain security in the areas that were liberated by these forces. The moves suggest that more bureaus will open in other areas where the PMU took part in the liberation operations.

According to Issawi, all this could further escalate tension in these areas, though some believe that the PMU is a lawful official institution that has the right to be present where it deems appropriate. It could be a risky venture for armed factions that were once accused of committing human rights violations and of being affiliated with Iran to build a presence in Sunni areas. However, their presence may be justified by local forces’ inability to protect the lands and maintain security.

Preserving security in the liberated Sunni areas will not be easy. While the locals are demanding that their own forces take care of security, the PMU is insisting on extending its influence and taking control of the situation. These new offices could themselves be attacked or boycotted by Sunni locals, destabilizing the areas rather than securing them.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

Israeli demolition orders issued in Jordan Valley


The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) issued Thursday demolition orders against Palestinian-owned facilities in the Jordan Valley under the pretext of being built without permit.

The local activist Mutaz Basharat affirmed that Israeli military crews handed over demolition notifications against four houses and tents in Bardala village in the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli forces threatened to start demolishing the notified facilities in the near future, claiming that they were built without Israeli permit.

Basharat also pointed out that Israeli authorities issued confiscation orders against agricultural lands in the village.

36 dunums were notified with confiscation as per the route of the apartheid wall, he added.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

Report: 41 Israeli violations against journalists last month


The Palestinian Committee for the Support of Journalists said that 41 Israeli violations occurred against journalists in January 2017.

In a report, the committee said that January had seen an Israeli escalation against journalists, which entails an action from Arab and international human rights groups and press unions to curb Israel’s violations.

The committee stressed the need to hold Israel fully responsible for any harm happening to journalists at the hands of its security and military forces.

Among those violations against journalists, physical assaults, arrests and acts of harassment, and removal of web pages, according to the report.

(Source / 02.02.2017)

US raids in Yemen bolstering al-Qaeda: Think tank

This file photo shows al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Yemen.

This file photo shows al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Yemen

A Belgium-based think tank has warned about al-Qaeda advances in Yemen as a result of foreign military interventions in the country, including a recent deadly attack by elite US forces.

“The Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda is stronger than it has ever been,” the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a Thursday report on the spread of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The report was released after Sunday’s US air raid ordered by President Donald Trump on Bayda province in which more than a dozen civilians were killed in attacks on a school, a mosque and a hospital.

“The first military actions by the [US President Donald] Trump administration in Yemen bode poorly for the prospect of smartly and effectively countering AQAP,” read the report.

Although the US has said the strike killed at least 14 suspected terrorists and one US Navy force, the ICG said the death toll included “many civilians, including at least 10 women and children.”

The think tank warned that similar attacks could escalate fear and anti-US sentiments among civilians, laying the groundwork for recruitment by AQAP.

“The use of US soldiers, high civilian casualties and disregard for local tribal and political dynamics… plays into AQAP’s narrative of defending Muslims against the West and could increase anti-US sentiment and with it AQAP’s pool of recruits,” it said.

According to a Yemeni provincial official in Bayda, the US attack on Sunday killed 41 suspected militants and 16 civilians, eight of whom were women and eight children.

AQAP, however, announced in a statement that the strike killed 30 people “only women and children… with some tribal leaders who have no connections” to the group.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen has taken advantage of the chaos fueled by a deadly Saudi military campaign to tighten its grip on parts of southeast Yemen.

The Takfiri Daesh group has also gained ground in and around the main southern city of Aden after the army and their Houthi allies were evicted by the Saudi-led offensive launched in support of the former Hadi government.

Riyadh’s attacks have killed at least 11,400 people in the kingdom’s impoverished neighbor since March 2015, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

Demonstrators protest in Chicago, Illinois, on February 1, 2017, against US President Donald Trump’s entry ban on the citizens of seven Muslim nations

Yemenis stranded in Djibouti

Apart from the deadly strike on Bayda, Trump’s orders continue to harm the routine lives of more Yemeni civilians.

Over 200 Yemenis with US visas have been stranded in Djibouti following the US president’s ban on the entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. More than half of the stranded Yemenis are children.

Many of the stranded Yemenis in Djibouti have expressed frustration over their conditions, saying that they are running out of money and that they cannot return home fearing for their lives.

The US Embassy in Djibouti has posted an online notice, telling the citizens of the seven countries affected by Trump’s order, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and those with dual nationalities, not to schedule visa appointments or even attend existing visa appointments.

(Source / 02.02.2017)