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Arabic press review: Controversial Egyptian lawyer takes aim at Syrian refugees

Lawsuit sparks online campaign of solidarity with Syrians, while graves are exhumed in Damascus's Yarmouk camp in search of Israeli remains
Notorious lawyer Samir Sabry (Facebook)

Egypt lawyer calls for crackdown on Syrian businesses

An Egyptian lawyer has lodged a complaint to the prosecutor-general demanding strict government oversight on Syrian-run businesses over allegations of “financing terrorism”, according to London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi.

Samir Sabry, notorious for accusing celebrities of “indecency” in dozens of lawsuits, has called for drafting new laws that would impose strict surveillance mechanisms on Syrian business owners to prosecute “those who finance terrorism and hostility against their country”.

He said some Syrian investors who moved to Egypt in the aftermath of the Syrian uprising “have the most important clothing and textile factories”, and others “have dominated real estate development areas in the most important and prestigious areas of Egypt”.

“Are all these activities, funds, projects, shops, cafes, factories, restaurants and real estate subject to financial control? What is their source? How did they enter Egyptian territories? How are profits being returned and exported again? Are these funds subject to tax laws in Egypt?” the lawyer asked in his memorandum.

Sabry’s call has sparked a social media campaign in solidarity with Syrian refugees, with the hashtag “Syrians are welcome in Egypt” attracting thousands of tweets on Monday.

Egypt has at least 130,000 registered Syrian refugees, according to government figures. 

Syrian army searching for remains of Israelis

Syrian government forces and their Russian allies carried out an exhuming operation in the old martyrs cemetery in Damascus’s Yarmouk refugee camp, according to the London-based newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed, in search of the remains of Israeli soldiers.

Quoting the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, the newspaper said the remains date from battles waged in 1982 during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.

Yarmouk is one of the world’s largest Palestinian refugee camps. The bodies of dead refugees are buried in the camp’s cemetery, a large number of which were killed during the battles they fought against Israelis in Lebanon.

Residents of the Yarmouk camp said: "Syrian regime forces and their affiliate military groups erected barriers around the cemetery and prevented anyone from reaching it on the first day of Eid al-Fitr [Wednesday] to visit the graves," the newspaper reported.

The sources added that forces prevented delegations from Palestinian factions, who every year visit the graves and put flowers on them during Eid, from reaching the cemetery.

Russian forces imposed a cordon on Yarmouk camp last March as it searched for missing Israeli soldiers. The remains of Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel were handed over to Israel the next month after being found in Yarmouk.

Egyptian intelligence directing media

The Egyptian intelligence service has issued the foreign ministry and media outlets instructions on how to cover events in seven countries, documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar revealed.

Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Algeria, Turkey and Qatar are believed to be the seven countries Egyptian intelligence issued recommendations on, the paper said.

The parameters were set by intelligence chief Major-General Abbas Kamel and supervised by the presidency, before being sent to the foreign ministry for implementation, according to the documents.

Although the documents outline what can and cannot be covered, they remain subject to adjustment and reorientation following regional and international changes in a way that serves the Egyptian agenda, the paper said.

Algerian mother offers her children for adoption

Poverty has forced an Algerian mother to offer her children for adoption after they lost their father, the The New Khalij website reports.

The mother appeared in a video asking for anybody to take her four children, as she is poor, sick and can’t work to feed them.

One of her children is just seven days only, and the others are four, 12 and 15 years old. According to The New Khalij, the children’s father died recently and without his income the family have been made homeless.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.