Connect with us

Middle East

Awamiyah: Three-year-old boy dies from wounds after Saudi security forces ‘open fire on family’

- 1502414835 saajad awamiyahjpg - Awamiyah: Three-year-old boy dies from wounds after Saudi security forces ‘open fire on family’


A three-year-old boy has died from injuries sustained from gunfire in the contested Saudi town of Awamiyah, the child’s uncle and several activists have confirmed to The Independent.

Sajaad Mohamed Abu Abdallah, who would have turned four in October, passed away on Wednesday at nearby Dammam Maternity and Children’s Hospital, where he had been cared for since a bullet hit him in the torso and right hand in the 12 June incident. 

Sajaad’s uncle – who asked not to be named – said that he, his sister, her five-year-old daughter and her son Sajaad tried to drive past Awamiyah police station, one of the main headquarters for the Saudi security services in the stand-off with armed Shia protesters, when the shooting occurred.

X-rays provided by the family showed that several fragments remained in the child’s torso at the time of his death

There was an armoured vehicle with a mounted gun turret outside the station, he said, and a road barrier which meant he had to take an exit to the right. 

“So I slowed down and I heard shooting. When I heard this, I sped up. I was twisting and turning and then I heard shooting at the car. My sister and her five-year-old daughter were crying and Sajaad was silent. I looked back and saw he was injured… my sister cried and took him to the front seat,” the man said. They then drove to the nearest medical centre.

The street had been completely empty at the time, he added, and there had been no warning before the shooting began. 

Photographs taken by Sajaad’s uncle showed that one bullet entered the car through the left rear door, where the boy was sitting. It hit the toddler in the right hand, then travelled through his waist and exited his body.  

X-rays provided by the family showed that several fragments remained in the child’s torso at the time of his death. 

The boy’s family, and pro-Awamiyah activists, say that the fatal wounds could not have been the result of anything other than the security forces’ armed car aiming at civilians. 

 

The Saudi government was contacted for comment on the allegation that its troops or police had caused the boy’s death, but did not immediately respond. 

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), among other organisations, are now calling for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sajaad’s death. 

At least one other child – a two-year-old boy – has been killed in the clashes between government forces and armed Shia protesters in Awamiyah, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern Qatif province, since violence broke out on 10 May. 

Locals say between 12-25 people have died in indiscriminate shelling and sniper fire which has completely flattened parts of the old al-Musawara neighbourhood. Riyadh has repeatedly denied such claims.  

While there has been periodic violence, including car bombs and attacks on police in the region since 2011 Arab Spring calls for equality for the country’s minority Shia citizens, a full-blown siege situation developed in May after attempts to evict residents from Awamiyah turned violent three months ago. The militarised conflict between the state and its citizens is “unprecendented”, Human Rights Watch previously told The Independent.

Information from the contested district has been difficult to verify as it is heavily controlled by the Saudi state, but sources both inside and outside the city say that the humanitarian situation for Awamiyah’s 30,000 residents has been untenable – people have been too afraid to leave their homes, and in many cases the electricity supply and water had been shut off. 

Journalists were allowed into the area on a government-chaperoned trip for the first time in months on Wednesday, reporting back scenes of devastation more usual in a war zone than one of the wealthiest cities in the Gulf. 

Rusted cars and half-destroyed buildings were peppered with bullet holes. 

“The land which is mixed with the blood of martyrs gets sufficiently watered by God’s light to defeat the mighty,” a Reuters report said one piece of graffiti read.

The neighbourhood was deserted, suggesting the heaviest fighting may be over after most residents fled the town in the last week through two government-approved routes out. At least one explosion was heard later in the day. 

In a statement provided to The Independent on 8 August, a spokesperson for the Saudi government said that “Due to its narrow streets, the al-Musawara neighbourhood became a haven for terrorists and suspicious activities ranging from terrorism and kidnapping to selling drugs and weapons,” which is why it had been targeted for demolition and redevelopment.

Locals had been given ample notice and compensation for moving, the authorities said although several local accounts contest these claims.

While some accommodation in nearby towns has been provided, it has been criticised as not nearly enough to cope with demand. 

There are reportedly huge discrepancies in what is on offer. Pictures shared by activists and a Berlin-based Saudi lawyer attempting to help those moved out their homes show cramped and very dirty apartments meant to house large families.

While people living nearby initially opened their doors to those fleeing Awamiyah, a 3 July letter reportedly from the Ministry of Social Development shared with The Independent ordered local charities to stop providing shelter or other help for those displaced because the “security sensitive operation” lay outside their geographical remit. 

In April a UN panel condemned the Saudi government’s redevelopment plans, accusing the authorities of attempting to forcibly remove residents from Awamiyah without offering adequate resettlement options in an operation which threatens the “historical and cultural heritage of the town with irreparable harm”.

Esam Abdullatef Almulla, the region’s acting mayor, dismissed the UN’s concerns on Wednesday, telling reporters: “We informed everyone in the community there would be development stages for several areas in Qatif, starting with Musawara.” 

“Of course, we didn’t get approval from everyone, but most Qatif and Awamiya residents wanted to see their neighbourhoods developed,” he added.

Independent

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Middle East

Jalalabad bombing: Explosion at Save The Children offices in Afghan city as gunmen clash with security forces

- 1516778066 breaking - Jalalabad bombing: Explosion at Save The Children offices in Afghan city as gunmen clash with security forces


Attackers set off a car bomb near the office of the Save The Children aid agency in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and then clashed with security forces, a provincial government spokesman said.

“There was a blast and the target was Save The Children,” said the spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani. A clash was going on after the blast, he said.

Khogyani had no word on casualties but the director of the provincial health department said 11 wounded people had been taken to hospital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

There were several other aid groups and government offices in the immediate area, raising the possibility that Save The Children was not the target.

Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province, on the porous border with Pakistan.

The province has become a stronghold for Isis, which has grown to become one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous militant groups since it appeared around the beginning of 2015.

Backed by intensive US air strikes, Afghan forces have claimed growing success against the Taliban and other militant groups, including Isis, but attacks on civilian targets have continued, causing heavy casualties.

The attack in Jalalabad came just days after Taliban militants attacked the Hotel Intercontinental in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 20 people, including 13 foreigners. 

Reuters

Independent

Continue Reading

Middle East

Manbij becomes key as US looks to rein in Turkey’s Syrian offensive

- 1516747391 tirkey syria tank - Manbij becomes key as US looks to rein in Turkey’s Syrian offensive


The US is trying to prevent the fighting in Afrin between Turkish forces and Syrian Kurds spreading east into the main Kurdish enclave in Syria where US troops are based. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to drive the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters not just from Afrin, but from Manbij, a strategic town west of the Euphrates.

“Terrorists in Manbij are constantly firing provocation shots,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “If the US does not stop this, we will stop it.”

Some 6,000 Turkish troops backed by 10,000 Free Syrian Army fighters controlled by Turkey are seeking to fight their way into the isolated Kurdish canton of Afrin in northern Syria. Their progress has so far been slow, with thick cloud hindering air strikes in the hilly terrain. The YPG and Turkish-led forces have been fighting for the Bursaya Hill, with the summit, which overlooks the eastern side of Afrin town, changing hands several times.

The US has so far given muted support to its Kurdish allies in Syria, who provided the ground troops for the successful campaign against Isis. The US has supported the YPG during the war against Isis with massive air power, military equipment and some 2,000 specialised US troops.

The US is hoping to keep the present fighting confined to Afrin, which is separate from the bulk of Kurdish territory. There have never been any US military forces in this enclave, though there were Russian observers that have now been withdrawn. But if Turkey attacks Manbij then the US will have to decide if it is going to be seen as betraying its Kurdish ally or risk a military confrontation with its Nato partner Turkey.  

The Kurdish authorities in north-east Syria are calling for a mass mobilisation in defence of Afrin. But they already have large numbers of experienced combat troops previously fighting Isis that they can deploy if they wish. “The Turkish state has been trying to enter north Syria for days, but it will not be able to,” said Siyamund Walat, a YPG general. “We have forces in Afrin, thousands… they are protecting the border and the people. If necessary all the soldiers will go to Afrin.”

It may be in the interests of the Syrian Kurds to prolong the fighting in Afrin so international diplomatic pressure increases on Turkey to end Operation Olive Branch, as it calls its campaign. On the other hand, Afrin is cut off from the rest of the Kurdish-held area and the one supply road to the south is held by the Syrian Army. Syrian soldiers have been refusing to allow refugees from Afrin through their checkpoints to reach Kurdish areas in Aleppo city 25 miles away.

Explosions as Turkey confirms airstrikes on Afrin, Syria

The Turkish campaign only became possible when Russia agreed not to oppose it and, above all, allowed Turkish jets to operate in Syrian airspace. This is under Russian control west of the Euphrates. The long-contemplated Turkish assault was finally provoked by the US announcement last week that its forces would be staying in Syrian Kurdish territory for the foreseeable future. This de facto guarantee of the Kurdish statelet, directed against the Syrian government and Iran by the US, radically changed the strategic balance in Syria. The US had assured the Turks since the end of 2014 that its military cooperation with the YPG was purely tactical, directed against Isis and would end when Isis was defeated.

Mr Erdogan is taking advantage of a wave of patriotic support in Turkey for the Afrin operation to arrest dozens of politicians, journalists and activists who are accused of criticising the offensive. Many of those arrested, often for critical media posts, belong to the pro-Kurdish HDP party. “Journalists are having their doors rammed down without anybody knocking,” said HDP spokesman Ayhan Bilgen. “People are [becoming] afraid of keyboards, pens, words and writing”

Independent

Continue Reading

Middle East

Syrian Kurds Refuse to Participate in Sochi Talks

- acdbaa5482f0c834200ff60cc8e9a0ad L - Syrian Kurds Refuse to Participate in Sochi Talks


ERBIL — Syrian Kurds will under no circumstances attend the Syrian National dialogue Congress in Sochi, said Aldar Khalil, the co-chairperson of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM).

Khalil said in an interview with Reuters that on one hand Russia consented Turkey’s attack on Afrin and on the other hand also invited the Syrian Kurds to participate in Sochi. 

“It is  contradictory,” he said, arguing that in such a situation, taking part in a Russian-brokered talk is of no significance.

He pointed out that the Kurdish participation in the congress is a weak possibility.

Continue Reading

Recent News

- Barzanikingabdullah3 400x240 - KRG delegation meets King of Jordan, Armenian PM, UN official in Davos - Barzanikingabdullah3 80x80 - KRG delegation meets King of Jordan, Armenian PM, UN official in Davos
kurdistan10 mins ago

KRG delegation meets King of Jordan, Armenian PM, UN official in Davos

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation led by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is scheduled...

- Coalitiontrainngpeshmerga34 400x240 - Peshmerga complete personal protection, riot-control training provided by coalition - Coalitiontrainngpeshmerga34 80x80 - Peshmerga complete personal protection, riot-control training provided by coalition
kurdistan1 hour ago

Peshmerga complete personal protection, riot-control training provided by coalition

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Peshmerga on Wednesday finished an eight-week training session for personal protection and riot control...

- 5a6855e0fc7e93733d8b4567 - Turkey will ‘thwart games’ along its borders, starting at Manbij in Syria – Erdogan - 5a6855e0fc7e93733d8b4567 - Turkey will ‘thwart games’ along its borders, starting at Manbij in Syria – Erdogan
Syria1 hour ago

Turkey will ‘thwart games’ along its borders, starting at Manbij in Syria – Erdogan

A Turkish military tank is seen near Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria January 23, 2018 © Khalil Ashawi /...

- 398817 - U.S, British citizens join battle against Turkey in Syria’s Afrin – Middle East - 398817 - U.S, British citizens join battle against Turkey in Syria’s Afrin – Middle East
kurdistan2 hours ago

U.S, British citizens join battle against Turkey in Syria’s Afrin – Middle East

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand together in Raqqa, Syria, October 16, 2017. . (photo credit: REUTERS) BEIRUT...

- 20180124 20180124 dus1kqswsaas3b8f2a416 imagee54086 image 400x240 - Turkish jets hit an ambulance in Afrin  - 20180124 20180124 dus1kqswsaas3b8f2a416 imagee54086 image 80x80 - Turkish jets hit an ambulance in Afrin 
Rojava2 hours ago

Turkish jets hit an ambulance in Afrin 

Turkish fighter jets continue to bomb civilian residential areas in Afrin’s Cindires district. The invading Turkish army’s jet fighters have...

- Turkeyafrin343 400x240 - US increases criticism of Turkey’s attack on Syrian Kurds - Turkeyafrin343 80x80 - US increases criticism of Turkey’s attack on Syrian Kurds
kurdistan2 hours ago

US increases criticism of Turkey’s attack on Syrian Kurds

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – The US increased its criticism of Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection...

- benghazibomb34 400x240 - Twin car bomb in Benghazi kills over 30, wounds 50 people: Officials - benghazibomb34 80x80 - Twin car bomb in Benghazi kills over 30, wounds 50 people: Officials
kurdistan4 hours ago

Twin car bomb in Benghazi kills over 30, wounds 50 people: Officials

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Two car bombs in the east of Libya’s Benghazi city on Tuesday killed over...

- 20180124 20180124 efrin lev u tevgera turki se rojen daw 58a68e4 image82bb31 image 400x240 - Turkish warplanes bomb Bilbile district  - 20180124 20180124 efrin lev u tevgera turki se rojen daw 58a68e4 image82bb31 image 80x80 - Turkish warplanes bomb Bilbile district 
Rojava4 hours ago

Turkish warplanes bomb Bilbile district 

Local sources reported airstrikes on Bilbile, north of Afrin city center, on Wednesday morning. No further details are available about...

- 1516778066 breaking 400x240 - Jalalabad bombing: Explosion at Save The Children offices in Afghan city as gunmen clash with security forces - 1516778066 breaking 80x80 - Jalalabad bombing: Explosion at Save The Children offices in Afghan city as gunmen clash with security forces
Middle East4 hours ago

Jalalabad bombing: Explosion at Save The Children offices in Afghan city as gunmen clash with security forces

Attackers set off a car bomb near the office of the Save The Children aid agency in the eastern Afghan...

- 24turkey1 facebookJumbo 400x240 - Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds - 24turkey1 facebookJumbo 80x80 - Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds
Syria9 hours ago

Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds

Photo Turkish soldiers around the area of Mount Bersaya, north of the Syrian town of Azaz, on Tuesday. Credit Saleh...

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 KurdDaily.com