On August 7, the coalition of opposition forces to Assad’s regime, which also includes the former militants of Al-Nusra Front, broke the siege of Aleppo. During the thirty-day siege, when the city was bombed by Russia and loyalist forces, access to all forms of aid was denied, including food and health care. After that bombing have been continuing and weekly 48 hours truce was proposed to allow the arrival of food and medicines to the civilian population.
On August 27 the city of Daraya was evacuated, after four years of fighting. Daraya is one of the symbols of the Syrian war. Following the agreement reached between the warring parties, about seven thousands people abandoned the city. At least four thousands are civilians, which will be displaced inside Syria, together with three hundred families of militiamen and seven hundred anti-regime fighters.
In late August, Turkey entered militarily the Syrian territory and resumed bombing on YPG Kurds.
A UN report confirmed that Assad government and Daesh used chemical weapons in at least three attacks since the conflict began.
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The month of August was marked by an increase in the number of people with medical problems who turned to volunteers to be accompanied to health centers or to request assistance to other Organizations. Among the most critical cases I., a twenty-eight year-old man paralyzed after he got injured during the bombing of his house in Homs. Unlike other members of his family, he didn’t escape in time, and was trapped under the rubble. When volunteers visited his family, who has been in Lebanon for the past two years, they saw a great suffering. The elderly parents are not able to take care properly of their son and I. has many sores, his feet show signs of gangrene. The intervention of volunteers brought the case to the attention of International organizations. The man and his family are now waiting to leave through the UN program of resettlement.
Operazione Colomba was also involved in the drafting of two appeals regarding the situation of the Syrian population. After long talks with some refugees, the appeal containing the Peace proposal was drafted and delivered on Aug. 17 to Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy. Co-signatories of the appeal are the Colombian Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and the Palestinian South Hebron Hills Popular Committee.
In early September a new humanitarian channel, in collaboration with Sant’Egidio Community and the Waldensian Church, will start. Starting from September new volunteers are available to travel to Lebanon: unfortunately the war and refugees are still there, but together with hope and desire to build a future without violence!
During the month of August many “blood feuds” cases were recorded. Newspapers reported updates about the attempted murder in the jail of Vaqarr (see Report of July). The extradition procedure requested by the Albanian government to Italy for Genc Pjetri was brought to an end. Genc Pjetri is in charge of a murder carried out in 2003 for “blood feud” reasons. An on-line newspaper published an interview to a man self-recluded because of a “blood feud” broken out in 2010. Finally, in the centre of Shkoder a man was shot and injured, probably for reasons related to the “blood feud phenomenon”. Notwithstanding, on the good news front we could count on a reconciliation case. We hope that such a choice of forgiveness can be an example for all of the families still in conflict in Albania. (more…)
The official peace agreement reached on the 24th of August will be remembered as the most important event of the last 50 years in the Colombian conflict. The piece of news was widespread all over the world together with the probable official signature date, expected on the 23rd of September. After president Santos and the FARC chief Timochenko will sign the agreement, a national plebiscite will take place on the 2nd of October, when the Colombians will have to vote in favour or against the agreement itself. (more…)
Waiting and tension paced the torrid month of August: Palestinian population experienced moments of terror because of demolitions, military trainings within villages and violent harassments carried on by settlers.
In Area C (the part of occupied Palestinian territory under full Israeli civil and military control), Israeli authorities destroyed or confiscated 42 facilities. Six of these episodes occurred within Palestinian Bedouin communities which are already at risk of forced displacement. Many of those buildings had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance; they were emergency shelters, but also connections to water supply. Their confiscation means that nearly 1,000 Palestinians, distributed in 5 farming communities in the Jordan Valley, will continue to suffer water shortages. Such demolitions bring to 200 the number of support structures destroyed or confiscated since the beginning of 2016, almost doubling the 108 structures involved in 2015.
In the Palestinian village of Umm al Kheir, in the South Hebron Hills, two exemplar incidents occurred. On August 9, Israeli military forces demolished five structures (three of which were built with European Union funds), leaving 27 Palestinians, including 16 children, without a house. Two weeks later, on August 24, other two private houses and the community center were demolished in the same village. Another village in the South Hebron Hills, Khallet Athaba, experienced difficult times in the month of August: the Israeli military forces destroyed two water tanks and 700 olive trees, cutting off the trunks and poisoning to prevent regrowth.
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Thanks to the presence of a large group of volunteers, various activities were carried on: accompaniments, visits, exploratory trips, but mainly a constant presence during the emergencies that marked the days of August. The massive presence of Israeli forces in the area has resulted in raids in the villages of Massafer Yatta area at the end of the month. Such villages were monitored by Operation Dove volunteers who shared the pain and fear of the inhabitants of the area. Often during these raids, Israeli soldiers enter the houses, search, scare and sometimes hold people without any formal charges. The arrival of volunteers, armed with cameras and in touch with Israeli lawyers, stopped the raids on two occasions.
The Bedouin village of Umm al Kheir was demolished twice during the month: Operation Dove volunteers committed to monitor the demolitions and to participate in reconstruction efforts coordinated by Palestinians and Israeli activists.
At the end of the month the school began and, with it, the school patrol (children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayr al-Abeed go to school in At-Tuwani and back to their village escorted by the Israeli army; Operation Dove volunteers monitor the escort daily, trying to ensure the safety of children in the event of delays or not showing of the militarie).
On several occasions volunteers who were catching up with children to wait with them the delaying soldiers, were chased or attacked by settlers from Havat Ma’on, or were forced to take a longer road. As in the previous month, volunteers travelled farther than the South Hebron Hills area to continue accompaniments of some shepherds in the Nablus area.
OPERATION DOVE REPORT
Nonviolent peace corps (Association Community Pope John XXIII)
Updates from Projects in Palestine/Israel, Colombia, Albania and Lebanon/Syria (more…)