Former Syrian secret agent convicted after torture victims recognize him in German soil
Former Syrian secret agent convicted after torture victims recognize him in German soil
Credit: Tasnim News Agency / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

For the first time worldwide, an individual was sentenced for aiding crimes against humanity in another country. A German court convicted a former Syrian secret service agent for delivering victims to a detention center in Douma, Syria, where they were tortured. War crimes are covered by international law allowing the prosecution of foreigners for crimes committed in other countries.

Climate & Environment
An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 strikes 40 km southeast of Nicosia, Cyprus
An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 strikes 40 km southeast of Nicosia, Cyprus
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The earthquake of magnitude 5.1 on the Richter scale could be felt in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan according to first reports.

Regional News • Middle East
Syria: at least 25 killed in ambush on bus

A bus was attacked in Syria’s eastern Deir Az Zor province. 13 were wounded and sources report 25-30 people were killed. The bus carried soldiers and pro-government fighters on their way back to their base. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Regional News • Middle East
Syrian President Assad halts speech after suffering from low blood pressure
Syrian President Assad halts speech after suffering from low blood pressure
Credit: Kremlin (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

During a speech in the Syrian parliament the president Bashar al-Assad has halted his speech after stating "I need to sit for a minute if you don't mind". While it is unclear for how long he took a break from his speech, al-Assad stated after returning that he had not "eaten since yesterday afternoon. I have no sugar or salt, and this happens". Adding that "doctors are the worst patients" referencing his training as an eye doctor.

Bashar al-Assad has no known underlying health conditions.

Climate & Environment
Iraq experiences hottest day in recorded history at 51,8°C
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq Credit: Aziz1005 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With the previously hottest recorded temperature in Baghdad in June 2015 being 51°C, the country has now reported 51,8°C on Tuesday, and 51,1°C on Wednesday.

In other countries of the Middle East such as Lebanon temperature records of 45,4°C have been documented. The capital of Syria, Damascus has recorded 46°C - tying with the hottest previously recorded temperature.

Regional News • Middle East
US pressures Assad with new round of sanctions

The US has introduced new sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The sanctions fall under the Caesar Act, which went into effect in June, 2020 and targets industries and entities that deal with the Assad administration, including those in Iran and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the purpose of the sanctions is to pressure Assad into ending the war, which has entered its ninth year.

Syria is currently facing an economic crisis, with many struggling to find food and other basic goods. Syrian officials have blamed the worsening conditions on American and EU sanctions.

Kelly Craft, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, stated the sanctions are not meant to harm civilians, nor do they target humanitarian efforts.

Regional News • World
The German Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee calls the new UN agreement for aid to Syria as a "failure of the West all along the line"
Norbert Röttgen in 2021
Norbert Röttgen in 2021 Credit: Wolfgang Henry / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On Saturday the UN Security Council agreed to continue the humanitarian aid to Syria only in a limited way. Due to the new regulation, only one border crossing for aid deliveries from Turkey to Northern Syria is planned, before there were two. According to aid organizations, this new regulation could endanger the care of millions of people in need.

Norbert Röttgen, the german chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, calls this decision a "failure of the West all along the line".

He further said to the newspaper "Die Welt": "This failure is due to the withdrawal of the United States and the subsequent vacuum that Russia was happy to fill. And it is the utter reluctance of Europeans not to represent their own interests in the region. The consequences of the displacement and killing of civilians by Assad and Putin, now with China's support in the UN Security Council, affect Europe. The displaced persons will seek protection from us through Turkey."

Science • Medicine
German Red Cross: More violence against medical personnel

Since March 2020, more than 200 cases in the Middle East have been documented - e.g. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, but also Venezuela. Basically, however, more cases have to be assumed, since the documentation in such crisis areas is difficult.

However, it can be said that the behavior of people in conflict areas does not change due to a pandemic.

Regional News • Middle East
Turkey Deployed Over 2,800 Military Vehicles In Syria’s Greater Idlib

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed Turkish military has deployed 2,810 vehicles in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib since the ceasefire became active on March 5 and a total of 10,300 Turkish service members have been sent to the region since last February.