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SYRIA

Switzerland to consider humanitarian corridors in Syria

Switzerland will examine the idea of creating humanitarian corridors to help civilians in Syria, President Micheline Calmy-Rey was quoted as saying on Monday.

Switzerland to consider humanitarian corridors in Syria
World Economic Forum

The suggestion by France last week of setting up protected escape routes for Syrian civilians fleeing the unrest “is an interesting idea,” Calmy-Rey told the press club in Geneva, according to the ATS news agency.

“The humanitarian situation is deteriorating. We will examine the idea of humanitarian corridors,” she said. “If the project materialises, if it has positive effects, it will be a good thing.”

Investigators appointed by the United Nations said Monday that Syrian security forces shot and abused anti-regime demonstrators on orders hailing from the top of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The brutal crackdown on anti-regime protestors has killed at least 3,500 people since March, according to UN estimates.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Friday that international help is needed to feed 1.5 million people in crisis-torn Syria, but that humanitarian corridors were not yet justified.

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SYRIA

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State

A 31-year-old woman from Winterthur who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) is standing trial under Swiss anti-terror laws.

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Swiss Confederation/OFCL

The alleged ‘jihadi tourist' appeared before Switzerland's federal criminal court in Bellinzona on Friday, the Swiss news agency SDA reported. 

In December 2015, the woman, accompanied by her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join IS, the authorities allege. 

Her intended destination was Raqqa, which was at the time an IS stronghold in Syria.

The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and was arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016. 

The Swiss attorney general's office filed an indictment against the Swiss national for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis. 

According to the indictment, the woman radicalized herself through internet propaganda after converting to Islam in 2009.

It says the Swiss national believed it was the duty of all Muslims to support IS.

She said she rejected western values.

This is only the second case concerning a so-called ‘jihadi tourist' to go before Switzerland's federal criminal court. 

The first prosecution of its kind took place in 2016, when a 26-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to travel to join Isis and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Islamic State has been banned in Switzerland since 2014.