UN Secretary-General: “Gravely Concerned”About Military Escalation in Southwestern Syria
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "gravely concerned by the recent military escalation, including ground offensives and aerial bombardments, in southwestern Syria," according to a statement from his spokesman.
"The attacks have resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians, the majority of whom are moving towards the Jordanian border. The Secretary-general is also concerned at the significant risks these offensives pose to regional security, " the statement says.
Guterres has called for "an immediate end to the current military escalation and urges all stakeholders to respect their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure."
Jordan brokered a cease-fire agreement in southern Syria between the U.S. and Russia in July 2017.
But the Syrian government has not agreed to the de-escalation agreement, despite the fact that its ally, Russia, was a party to the deal. The Syrian government continues to drop leaflets in the area giving armed opposition two choices — surrender or die.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement earlier this month expressing its concerns about the escalation by the Syrian government in the southwest, warning of “firm and appropriate measures” against the Syrian government’s violation of a cease-fire, and holding Russia responsible to compel the Syrian government to the agreement.
Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Drivers Sunday
Saudi Arabia on Sunday will lift the world’s only ban on women driving.
The move is a milestone for Saudi women who have had to rely on drivers, male relatives, taxis, or ride-hailing services to get around.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s government began issuing licenses to women who already held driving licenses from other countries, including Britain, Lebanon and Canada. The women took a brief driving test before receiving their new licenses.
However, most women in the country do not yet have driver’s licenses. Many women have not had a chance to take driving courses that have been only offered for a few months.
Bloomberg news agency said its interviews with Saudi women show the majority are conflicted about the new development, both being excited to drive but also wanting to respect their culture. Women say it will likely take some time for society to adapt to the change.