World View: U.S., Britain Halt 'Non-Lethal Aid' to Syria's Rebels

This morning's key headlines from

  • Hong Kong activates its pandemic preparedness plan over H7N9 bird flu
  • U.S. and Britain halt 'non-lethal aid' to Syria's rebels
  • Turkey closes its border with Syria

Hong Kong activates its pandemic preparedness plan over H7N9 bird flu

A chicken is kept in a cage waiting to be inspected by health workers in Hong Kong. (AP)
A chicken is kept in a cage waiting to be inspected by health workers in Hong Kong. (AP)

A mutation in a new strain of H7N9 bird flu that's infecting people in China is making it resistant to Roche's Tamiflu, the principal drug used to treat people infected with the virus. The virus spreads readily among certain types of birds, but transmission from bird to human or from human to human is "fairly inefficient," according to experts. However, when it does spread to a human, it's often lethal.

Hong Kong, a city of 7.18 million people, is activating a pandemic preparedness plan, after two new cases of the new strain of bird flu were found in Shenzhen, an hour's train ride from Hong Kong, and a popular day-trip destination for shopping and dining. Reuters and Bloomberg

U.S. and Britain halt 'non-lethal aid' to Syria's rebels

The United States and Britain are suspending shipments of "non-lethal military aid" to the Syrian rebels opposed to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. The decision to end this aid came when the Islamic Front last week stormed and took control of several warehouses filled with American supplies.

The Islamic Front is described as a coalition of conservative Islamist groups who are not themselves linked to al-Qaeda, but who coordinate activities al-Qaeda linked units, including Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

Under U.S. law, non-lethal aid can include communications equipment, medical supplies, intelligence assistance and body armor. It's not believed that cutting off this aid will make any difference, since al-Assad massacring civilians with tanks, artillery, missiles, warplane bombing runs, and even chemical weapons, much of which has been supplied by the Russians, who are complicit in this genocidal slaughter.

The Russian policy has been a disaster, as it's drawn jihadists from as far away as Pakistan, Algerian and Dagestan to fight in Syria, causing sectarian tensions to surge throughout the Mideast. The Russians are responsible for the creation of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL, by supplying weapons to a genocidal monster. McClatchy and AP

Turkey closes its border with Syria

Because of increased fighting among rival Syrian opposition groups in northern Syria, all non-lethal assistance has been suspended, and Turkey has closed the border with Syria. According to a Turkish spokesman:

"Efforts to receive more information were not successful since yesterday [Tuesday] morning, but as of this morning [Wednesday] the issue has become clear. The clashes continued throughout last night.

“We are following the developments closely and if there are more we will inform the public. At this point, no pedestrians or vehicles are allowed to cross [at the gate]."

According to the latest information, the Islamic Front fighters have taken control of the bases used by the "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is favored by the United States and the West. Zaman (Istanbul) and CNN

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