What Happened Over the weekend

The EU grants multi-million dollar aid packages to refugee host countries, an elderly man is tortured to death in Afrin, four die in a Russian airstrike on oil refineries, and Yazidi women survive sex slavery by ISIS. Catch up on everything that happened over the weekend.

The EU has approved an aid package of 130 million euros (155 million dollars) for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, the bloc said on Friday. The aid, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, is expected to enable host countries to provide social protection, healthcare, education, and sanitation to Syrian refugees, the EU said. Lebanon is set to receive 98 million euros (116 million dollars), while Jordan will get 32 million euros (38 million dollars), the Anadolu News Agency reported. The support is also expected to aid Lebanon in its vaccination drive, as well as in its efforts to rebuild Beirut’s port, following the August blast which devastated the area and affected both host communities and Syrian refugees.

On Saturday, an old man from the Afrin region, northwest Syria, was killed under torture after he was arrested four days ago, North Press reported. “The old man, Sheikhmous Qasem, 73, from the village of Midan Ekbas, Rajo district, was arrested by the Turkish-backed Sham Legion armed group four days ago, according to Afrin Post website. Qasem was murdered under torture after four days of his arrest. In addition to Qasem, Sa’id Qanbar (Merjan) was also kidnapped, and his fate is still unknown, Afrin Post added. 

Syria strongly condemned illegitimate coercive measures adopted by the US and EU against the Russian Federation, which in principle contradict international law and form a flagrant violation of Russian domestic affairs, SANA reported. “Syria reiterates that pressures exerted by the West through those measures, and the continuous attempts to impose its policies on other countries, are doomed to failure and will lead to nothing, but to the escalation of tension and the spread of instability at the international arena,” an official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said on Saturday. The source added that Syria renews its full solidarity with the Russian Federation in the face of arrogance and the hegemony methods that govern the US policy and its agents.

Missile strikes on makeshift oil refineries in northern Syria killed four people and injured more than 20 others, a war monitor said on Saturday, Arab News reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a series of strikes launched from Russian warships and by allied Syrian regime forces hit the makeshift refineries in Aleppo province on Friday night, causing a massive blaze as dozens of tankers caught fire in the area controlled by Turkey and its Syrian rebel proxies. The Britain-based monitor “documented the deaths of four people, while 24 others sustained various injuries and burns” in the attacks near the towns of Jarablus and Al-Bab. At least one Syrian rebel was among the dead.

Dozens of Yazidi women and girls survived sex slavery at the hands of IS jihadists in Syria and have since returned to Iraq, but many were forced to leave their children behind or risk being shunned by their community. According to Agence France-Presse, the children, aged between two and five, were all born to Yazidi mothers and fathered by IS members. They were handed over to their mothers on Thursday.

Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo said that his country has intended to repatriate its citizens of the Islamic State (ISIS) children and some women from camps run by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). Belgium’s decision to repatriate its citizens from Syria followed a court ruling issued in 2019 to repatriate ten children born to Belgian ISIS fighters in Syria, according to Reuters.

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