Middle East

Iraq: UN demining agency rejects desecration accusations, involving historic Mosul churches

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq issued a statement on Thursday rejecting allegations made earlier this week by a non-profit organization  there, alleging that personnel had carried out explosive hazard clearance inside two historic churches in Mosul “in a barbaric and arbitrary manner.”

Iran: women hunger strikers entitled to medical care, UN rights experts urge

A group of six independent United Nations rights experts called on Iran Wednesday to urgently provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi access to appropriate health care, and reiterated calls for their immediate release, as they continue a hunger strike in protest.

Yemen: Security Council backs new mission in support of key port city truce

The Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday in favour of deploying up to 75 observers to monitor a fragile ceasefire in Yemen's port city of Hudaydah which went into effect late last month; a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the verge of starvation.

Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, UN warns

Conditions in a makeshift Syrian camp near the border with Jordan are “increasingly desperate” and “have become a matter of life and death”, United Nations officials warned on Tuesday, after at least eight children died there from extreme cold and a lack of medical care.

First aid in six months reaches families in western Yemen, 'timelines' slip over Hudaydah ceasefire talks

Thousands of families in conflict-affected communities south of the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah in Yemen have received aid for the first time since last July, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.

Thousands risk lives fleeing fighting in Syria’s last ISIL stronghold

North-east Syria is seeing increasing numbers of civilian casualties and large-scale displacement amid intensifying efforts to defeat extremists from ISIL, otherwise known as Da’esh, in Deir-ez-Zor governorate, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

Storm-force winds and snow across Lebanon have worsened the plight for tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who’ve been forced from their homes by nearly eight years of conflict, a top UN humanitarian official said on Thursday.

‘We cannot lose momentum’ on the road to peace in Yemen, UN envoy warns

“The difficult part” of reaching a lasting political settlement in Yemen “is still ahead of us” said the UN Special Envoy on Wednesday, urging the Security Council to support the “speedy implementation” of the fragile ceasefire agreed in and around the crucial port city of Hudaydah, at breakthrough talks in Sweden last month.

Killing of aid worker in Syria part of ‘disturbing trend’

The abduction and killing of an aid worker last week in Syria’s Idleb region, brings into focus the daily risks faced by humanitarians working in conflict zones, said the Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, in a statement deploring the killing on Monday.

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Miraculous’ music made by hearing-impaired children

A group of deaf and hard-of-hearing Syrian refugee and local Lebanese children have sung in a choir in Beirut giving a performance that was “nothing short of miraculous,” according to conductor Pascal Khairallah.