Lavrov calls for western countries commitment to Geneva Statement

 

 Ashton: EU shares Russia's vision to solve the crisis in Syria peacefully

 LUXEMBOURG, (ST)_ The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, said on Monday that the EU shares Russia's vision to solve the crisis in Syria peacefully.

 "We reviewed with Lavrov the latest developments in Syria and stressed the need to seek a peaceful solution and support the mission of UN Envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi," Ashton said

 She said that the EU comprehends Russia's concern, particularly concerning the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Syria, stressing the necessity to stop violence inside Syria and not to allow this violence to spread.

 Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the western countries to adhere to Geneva statement as  to solve the crisis in Syria.

 During his meeting with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and Foreign Ministers of the EU, Lavrov told reporters in Luxembourg, that the only way to avoid increased internationalization of the crisis in Syria will be through commitment to Geneva statement."

 Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the western countries to adhere to Geneva statement as  to solve the crisis in Syria.

During his meeting with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and Foreign Ministers of the EU, Lavrov told reporters in Luxembourg, that the only way to avoid increased internationalization of the crisis in Syria will be through commitment to Geneva statement."

 

Sh/ Kh

Damascus Citadel (2)

Damascus Citadel, better known as "Qalaat Dimashq", is the only fortress in Damascus. It is located in the heart of the capital.

Historical records indicated that it was built by the Seljuks in 1078 A.D. with several gates. During the reign of Seljuks until 1104 and after, additional construction works were carried out in the citadel.

After attacks by the Crusaders and other invaders against the city of Damascus, some restorations were made in the citadel and more defenses were added to fortify the citadel against attacks. 

Between 1203 and 1216, King al-Adel, brother of the Ayyubid Sultan Salahuddin, ordered Damascus Citadel to be demolished only to be rebuilt again. Sons of King al-Adel contributed to the rebuilding of the citadel's towers and walls which took 15 years.

The castle was surrounded by a deep water trench. Each corner of the castle had a tower. There were two towers in the eastern side, one of which includes the eastern entrance to the castle, and three towers in the northern and southern fronts.

The towers are connected by thick walls, and behind the towers there is a roofed corridor around the castle securing the link between them and it is known as the defensive corridor.      

During the eras of Nur addin Zanki and Salahdin al-Aaubi, the Citadel played a vital role in protecting Damascus from the threat of Crusaders, and supported the politics of the city.

Since it was built, the citadel was a very important military castle. It was the residence for the Ayyubid sultans, and a place where political and social events were held.

It was a city within a city. New parts were discovered during its restoration in 1985, so the citadel could be seen from all sides. 

 The citadel `was surrounded by palaces, baths, mosques, houses and schools.

In mid-thirteenth century, however, the citadel was the main target for Tatar and Mongol attacks which damaged it severely.

When the Mongols were driven out by the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Qutuz, in the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, his successor Baibars rebuilt the citadel.

Between 1300 and 1401, Damascus Citadel was again under siege by Mongols, this time under Timor Lank.  In 1405, the Mamluks ruled Damascus, and the citadel was rebuilt again. However, Damascus and the citadel were surrendered to the Ottomans in 1516.

During the 18th century Damascus Citadel was badly damaged by earthquakes, but was restored by the Ottoman Sultan Mustafa III.

Later, the citadel was used as military barracks and  as prison under the French Colonization.

The present shape of the citadel is rectangular with 13 large towers and several dilapidated gates.

Damascus Citadel is really unique in Syria, as it was built on a flat ground at the same level of the rest of the city and not on a higher location.

One of the most important monuments in the citadel is the mosque of Abi al-Dardaa, one of Prophet Mohammad's (PBUH) companions whose tomb is still being visited.

Damascus citadel is considered as a symbol of old and modern civilization in Damascus, the most ancient continuously inhabited city in the world.

Raghda Sawas

Hind Haroun: Poetess of Maternity and Khansaa of her Age

Hind Haroun, a Syrian poetess from the city of Lattakia, was born in 1927 to a family whose members resisted the French occupation for years and suffered greatly from its inhuman practices. Some of the family members were displaced, others were persecuted, imprisoned or sentenced to death, a thing that forced the poetess’s uncle Sheikh Monah Haroun to flee the country to save his life.

 Poetess Haroun excelled in her study, she wrote poetry when she was in preparatory school and published her poems, at that time, in newspapers under the nickname of (Bint Alsahel). Haroun got a diploma of primary education, she worked as a teacher, then as the director of (Alkarama) Secondary School and later as the head of the Arab Writers Union in Lattakia.

 Haroun wrote more than 4,000 poems on several themes like, homeland, love, maternity, sadness and land-man relationship. Her most distinguished collections of poems are:  (The Temple Robber in 1977), (Diwan Ammar in 1979), ( Sun of Love in 1981), (Between Anchorage and Sail in 1984), and ( Ammar in the Conscience of Maternity).

The poetess experienced very tragic moments during the illness of her only son Ammar and after his death of cancer at the age of 17. This catastrophe inspired her to write unique poems lamenting her lost maternity and expressing the bitterness of losing a loved one.

On the beginning of her poetic career, Haroun once said: "I started to say poetry when I was a child and even before I knew how to write. In the beginning I wrote small innocent love poems and then moved to the nationalistic poetry which was a true revolution against the division of the Arab homeland, and a euphoria  because of attaining Arab unity,” (namely the 1958 Unity between Syria and Egypt.)

She pointed out that in literature, there is no difference between women and men and “I wonder why people make this kind of distinction.”

“I don’t classify my works as women poetry as I can't assess my position, but I admit that maternity poetry is more exclusive to women than men, and maybe I was distinguished in describing mothers’ feelings," Haroun said.

She added: “Among the pioneer women poetesses who enriched the poetry movement in Lattakia were: Fatat Ghassan, Talaat Al-Rifai, Aziza Haroun, Fatma Haddad and Nabiha Haddad, the poet of pain and image.”

Poetess Haroun participated in many poetry festivals in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and France. She got honorary doctorate from the World Federation of Authors. Some of her poems were translated into French, English, Bulgarian and German.

The poetess spent her last years with her daughters and at school until she died in 1995.

  

Maysaa Wassouf

Child labour: A reflection of current crisis

The phenomenon of child labor in Syria has become one of the hot debated issues, under the current crisis, as thousands of Syrian families  have become homeless along with their children, who  are obliged to stay in streets seeking work to support their families.

 The question raised is whether the Syrian child is taking his due right and the reasons  that pushed  the  Syrian children under this crisis   to join the labor market early.

The answers come from children themselves. Muhammad, is a 10 year old child, who came to Damascus from  Homs  with his family . He said he could not join 4th grade elementary school in Homs, because his school was demolished by the terrorists and he is now working in selling tobacco with his disabled father in the streets. Muhammad's  father, continued the child with tears in his eyes,  cannot  afford to provide education  for his other 5 brothers who  all dropped out of  school for the same reason.

Muhammad said that he saw two of his class-mates  laying dead in the street in front of their school after being shot by terrorist snipers, adding that  he no more likes the school and prefers to stay in the street selling tobacco from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. carrying the memory of his class-mates and school with him.

Ali, a 16 year old child  whose  fate was sealed into streets as to support his widowed mother, two sisters and two brothers  , after their father was killed in a terrorist explosion in Harasta, in the outskirt of Damascus, is another victim of the terrorist acts. He quitted the school to work in selling combs in the streets. He refused to get money from passersby or to be treated as a beggar. "I want to support my family with my own money and hard work", he insisted. He, all the day, has been quarreling with his rivals in this profession to attract more clients.

When I asked Ali if he still dreams of returning to school after the crisis, he said:" This gloomy condition would not kill my dreams to continue my study and be a human rights activist or a lawyer to disseminate national awareness among all Syrians to reconcile and leave their differences behind, and to build a new Syria for all Syrians." Ali, whose efforts are dedicated to ensure minimum  requirements  of food basics  to his family added : " I do not want to see more displaced children  like me in streets".

Evidences are numerous on the number of children, both boys and girls who come every day to Damascus from neighboring town to work hard and return back with little money to their displaced  and vulnerable families.  

It is extremely regrettable, under the current crisis to have local traders who exploit the situation and prefer to recruit children because of low wages and the possibility of having control on them for long work hours.

 

Tomader  Fateh

 

Child labour: A reflection of current crisis (2)

The phenomenon of child labor in Syria has become one of the hot debated issues, under the current crisis, as thousands of Syrian families  have become homeless along with their children, who  are obliged to stay in streets seeking work to support their families.

 The question raised is whether the Syrian child is taking his due right and the reasons  that pushed  the  Syrian children under this crisis   to join the labor market early.

The answers come from children themselves. Muhammad, is a 10 year old child, who came to Damascus from  Homs  with his family . He said he could not join 4th grade elementary school in Homs, because his school was demolished by the terrorists and he is now working in selling tobacco with his disabled father in the streets. Muhammad's  father, continued the child with tears in his eyes,  cannot  afford to provide education  for his other 5 brothers who  all dropped out of  school for the same reason.

Muhammad said that he saw two of his class-mates  laying dead in the street in front of their school after being shot by terrorist snipers, adding that  he no more likes the school and prefers to stay in the street selling tobacco from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. carrying the memory of his class-mates and school with him.

Ali, a 16 year old child  whose  fate was sealed into streets as to support his widowed mother, two sisters and two brothers  , after their father was killed in a terrorist explosion in Harasta, in the outskirt of Damascus, is another victim of the terrorist acts. He quitted the school to work in selling combs in the streets. He refused to get money from passersby or to be treated as a beggar. "I want to support my family with my own money and hard work", he insisted. He, all the day, has been quarreling with his rivals in this profession to attract more clients.

When I asked Ali if he still dreams of returning to school after the crisis, he said:" This gloomy condition would not kill my dreams to continue my study and be a human rights activist or a lawyer to disseminate national awareness among all Syrians to reconcile and leave their differences behind, and to build a new Syria for all Syrians." Ali, whose efforts are dedicated to ensure minimum  requirements  of food basics  to his family added : " I do not want to see more displaced children  like me in streets".

Evidences are numerous on the number of children, both boys and girls who come every day to Damascus from neighboring town to work hard and return back with little money to their displaced  and vulnerable families.  

It is extremely regrettable, under the current crisis to have local traders who exploit the situation and prefer to recruit children because of low wages and the possibility of having control on them for long work hours.

 

Tomader  Fateh