Sham Jaff
Last updated: 2 February, 2014

This week’s top news stories

Your Middle East's Sham Jaff looks back at the events that caught our attention. From a big West Bank-Gaza wedding to the plight of migrants in Qatar.

New figures compiled by the Iraqi Ministry of Health showed that 1,013 people were killed in January.

The issue of crafting an interim government in Syria is far off but UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says “Nobody is walking out, nobody is running away”, showing that neither of the warring sides was prepared to give up. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem talks of no tangible results and blames a “lack of maturity and seriousness” on the part of the rival delegation. The talks will be resumed on February 10. But time is running: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday that nearly 1,900 people have been killed in Syria since peace talks opened in Switzerland on January 22.

New figures highlight the grim plight of labourers in the Gulf nation – nearly 200 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar last year.

As part of the nuclear deal, UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran Tuesday to visit Iran’s Gachin uranium mine for the first time in several years. Implemented in January, the agreement will be in effect for six months while further negotiations are held aimed at reaching a permanent accord eliminating concerns that Tehran might build nuclear weapons. 

Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi was defiant as he went on trial Tuesday for a prison break during the 2011 uprising.

On a more lighthearted note…

Nearly 600 Palestinians were married in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip Tuesday in a mass wedding funded by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

And famous Egyptian television satirist Bassem Youssef has joined MBC Egypt to resume his widely watched show poking fun at the political life in a country still engulfed in unrest seven months after President Mohammad Mursi was ousted in July 2013.