Tribal fighting has continued in Sebha for the fourth day with at least 15 people now killed and more than 35 wounded. The conflict between the Awlad Suleiman and the Qaddadfa tribes paused briefly this morning when a two-hour ceasefire was agreed. However, shooting resumed well before the period elapsed. The fighting has focused on the Al-Minshiya and Al-Mahdiya areas but families have been seeking to quit other areas of the town as the fire fights move around. Inhabitants confined in their homes for the battles reported properties shaking as heavy mortars and a tank cannon were fired as well as a heavy calibre DShKM (Dushka) machine gun. Sebha Medical Center called in all its staff to help with what it said was a state of emergency as more and more dead and injured were brought in. A spokesman warned that the hospital no longer had the medication nor the staff to deal with a crisis of this size.
Aid workers in eastern Aleppo were distribuiting the last available food rations on Thursday as the quarter of a milion people besieged in the syrian city entered what is expected to be a cruel winter, U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Engeland said. Speaking in Geneva, Egeland said he was hopeful of a deal on a four-part humanitarian plan the United Nations sent to all parties to the conflict several days ago. The plan covers delivery of food and medical supplies, medical evacuations and access for health workers. Syria’s government rejected a U.N. request to send aid to east Aleppo during November, but Egeland said he was confident that Damascus would give its permission if the new U.N. humanitarian initiative was accepted by all sides. He said he also had the clear impression that Russia would continue its pause in air strikes over the northern city.
Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, arrived on Wednesday in Ramallah ahead of the opening ceremony of Yasser Arafat Museum, and later met with President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah where they discussed the situation in Palestine in addition to Arab support for the Palestinian people. Abbas stressed the importance of coordination between the Arab League and the Palestinian leadership on future steps to protect Palestinian rights and to work towards ending the Israeli occupation. Abbas also said that it was important that there should be Arab backing to the French initiative to convene an international conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before the end of this year to resume the peace process.
On Wednesday the IDF launched an artillery strike on Syrian army targets in the norther Golan Heights in response to a mortar shell that fell in Israeli territory earlier in the day. The mortar shell was thought to have breached the border as fallout from fighting in Syria, however the IDF said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for all activities emanating from its territory. No injuries or damages were reported in the attack.
Errant fire from the conflict in Syrian has sporadically landed in Israeli territory during the country’s more than five-year civil war.
The International Crisis Group says the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat last December has to be changed. In a hard-hitting and lengthy report published today, it says that as it stands it cannot be implemented. The agreement has altered the conflict far more so than resolving it, it states. While the Presidency Council (the main outcome of the PLA) has been unable to deal with issues affecting ordinary people such as power and water shortages and the lack of money in the banks, divisions in the country have deepened over the past year as a result of changing situations on the ground. Libya potentially now faces free-fall, it warns. To save the country, the calls for new negotiations to create a united government “involving especially key security actors not at Skhirat” – a reference to Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan National Army. Not only has the agreement altered the conflict, the conflict has altered the circumstances. Hafter’s successes in Benghazi and in the oil fields have upset the international community’s calculations and changed the situation on the ground.