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Arab News Syria

Iran to Help Syria To Build Ties With Turkey

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said his country welcomes any role played by Iran in easing the tension between Syria and Turkey and achieving political progress.

The tension has been brewing for weeks after Ankara declared a plan to impose a buffer zone in northern Syria on the border with Turkey through a military operation against the Kurdish militias in that region.

Any solution should lead to Turkey’s withdrawal from Syrian territories, an end of Turkish attacks on Syria and a halt of Turkish support for the rebel groups in Syria, Mekdad said at a joint press conference held with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who arrived in Syria to discuss ways to defuse the tension.

Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s willingness and full readiness to mediate to prevent a military operation in northern Syria and promote good relations between the two neighboring countries.

His visit to Syria comes days after he met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara.

Turkey has for long deemed the growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria as a threat to its security and has also carried out several military operations against Kurdish groups there, accusing them of having links to Kurdish separatist groups inside Turkey.

Assad’s Complain

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused the Turkish leadership of committing aggression against Syria, even as Turkey is planning a new offensive in northern Syria.

The pretexts Turkey uses to justify its aggression on Syrian territory are “false, misleading, and have nothing to do with reality,” Assad was quoted by the state SANA news agency as saying.

Turkey’s conduct has violated international law and principles including the UN Charter, he added.

Syria has repeatedly rejected Turkey’s plan to impose a buffer zone along the Turkish border in northern Syria.

Turkey has so far carried out several military operations against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, accusing them of having links to Kurdish separatist groups inside Turkey.

Meanwhile, a soldier and a civilian were killed and four people wounded in two attacks by militants of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in northern and central Iraq, security sources said.

In the northern province of Nineveh, a soldier was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb, believed to be planted by IS militants, went off near an Iranian security unit outside a village near the town of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of the provincial capital Mosul, an army officer told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

ALSO READ:Lebanon compelled to return refugees to Syria due to lack of int’l plan

The source said the attack took place when the troops were hunting down IS militants in the area.

In a separate incident, a civilian was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb, reportedly planted by IS militants, exploded in a village in the Tarmiyah area, some 30 km north of the capital Baghdad, Ihsan al-Rubaie from the Baghdad police told Xinhua.

Iraqi security forces have been fighting IS militants over the past months to crack down on their intensified activities.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, its remnants have since melted into urban centers, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against the security forces and civilians.



Categories
Arab News Syria

Syria welcomes Iran’s help to ease tension with Turkey

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said his country welcomes any role played by Iran in easing the tension between Syria and Turkey and achieving political progress…reports Asian Lite News

The tension has been brewing for weeks after Ankara declared a plan to impose a buffer zone in northern Syria on the border with Turkey through a military operation against the Kurdish militias in that region, Xinhua news agency reported.

Any solution should lead to Turkey’s withdrawal from Syrian territories, an end of Turkish attacks on Syria and a halt of Turkish support for the rebel groups in Syria, Mekdad said at a joint press conference held with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who arrived in Syria to discuss ways to defuse the tension.

Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s willingness and full readiness to mediate to prevent a military operation in northern Syria and promote good relations between the two neighboring countries.

ALSO READ:Syrian Prez accuses Turkish leadership of aggression as Iran attempts to ease tension

His visit to Syria comes days after he met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara.

Turkey has for long deemed the growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria as a threat to its security and has also carried out several military operations against Kurdish groups there, accusing them of having links to Kurdish separatist groups inside Turkey.

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Arab News Syria

Syrian Prez accuses Turkish leadership of aggression as Iran attempts to ease tension

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the Turkish leadership of committing aggression against Syria, even as Turkey is planning a new offensive in northern Syria…reports Asian Lite News

His remarks came during a meeting with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who arrived in Damascus earlier on Saturday, mainly to ease the tension between Syria and Turkey, Xinhua news agency reported.

The pretexts Turkey uses to justify its aggression on Syrian territory are “false, misleading, and have nothing to do with reality,” Assad was quoted by the state SANA news agency as saying.

Turkey’s conduct has violated international law and principles, including the UN Charter, he added.

Syria has repeatedly rejected Turkey’s plan to impose a buffer zone along the Turkish border in northern Syria.

ALSO READ:Decade of conflict in Syria claims over 306,000 civilian lives: UN report

Turkey has so far carried out several military operations against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, accusing them of having links to Kurdish separatist groups inside Turkey.

Before departure, Amir-Abdollahian said a goal of his visit is to mediate the Syrian-Turkish relationship as both countries have important ties with Iran, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

The top Iranian diplomat’s visit to Syria comes days after he met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, where he told a joint press conference that Iran “very well” understands Turkey’s security concerns.

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Arab News Syria

Decade of conflict in Syria claims over 306,000 civilian lives: UN report

The conflict in Syria claimed the lives of 306,887 civilians between March 1, 2011 and March 31, 2021, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office has said…reports Asian Lite News

In a report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, the office referred to 143,350 civilian deaths that have been individually documented by various sources with detailed information, including at least their full name, date and location of death.

By using statistical estimation techniques, a further 163,537 civilian deaths were estimated to have occurred, bringing the total civilian death toll to 306,887.

The estimate of 306,887 means that on average, every single day, for the past 10 years, 83 civilians suffered violent deaths due to the conflict, the report said.

The extent of civilian casualties in the past 10 years represents a staggering 1.5 per cent of the total population of the Syrian Arab Republic at the beginning of the conflict.

“The conflict-related casualty figures in this report are not simply a set of abstract numbers, but represent individual human beings,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said. “The impact of the killing of each of these 306,887 civilians would have had a profound, reverberating impact on the family and community to which they belonged,” Bachelet said.

ALSO READ:US drone strike kills militant leader in Syria

“And let me be clear: these are the people killed as a direct result of war operations. This does not include the many, many more civilians who died due to the loss of access to healthcare, to food, to clean water and other essential human rights, which remain to be assessed,” Bachelet stressed.

The armed conflict in Syria broke out in 2011 and quickly turned into a full-fledged war. Over the past years, the delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition have held several rounds of peace talks in Geneva, but they have yet to find a solution.

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India News Karnataka Syria

Indian Coast Guard rescues 15 Syrian mariners off Karnataka coast

Responding promptly to an SOS call, the Indian Coast Guard rescued 15 crew members of a merchant ship that had run aground off New Mangalore…reports Asian Lite News

In a prompt and swift search and rescue mission, the Indian Coast Guard saved the lives of 15 Syrian nationals working on the foreign flag ship MV Princess Miral, which ran aground off New Mangalore on Tuesday.

The rescue mission was coordinated by Indian Coast Guard ships ‘Vikram’ and ‘Amartya’ braving the rough weather condition. The crew of the grounded vessel has abandoned the ship due to breech in hull and ingress of water in holds. The vessel was bound for Lebanon from Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Syrian PM urges quick repair of Damascus airport

The successful operation reaffirms Indian Coast Guard’s capabilities as the nodal agency for search and rescue operations in the Indian Ocean Region, a note issued by the ICG stated.

Categories
Arab News Syria

Syrian PM urges quick repair of Damascus airport

Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous has urged a quick repair of the damage caused by the latest Israeli missile strikes on the Damascus airport…reports Asian Lite News

Arnous made the call during his visit to the airport, where he was briefed on the damage to the main runway of the airport and an operating room during the missile strikes on June 10, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Syrian Transport Ministry announced the suspension of flights at the Damascus airport in the wake of the Israeli strikes.

Some flights were diverted to the Aleppo airport.

The suspension of flights have prevented Syrians from travelling to the far northeastern province of Hasakah, which is possibly only accessible by air because of the presence of ultra-radical groups on the major roads leading to the province.

ALSO READ:Iran condemns missile attack on Damascus, vows support to Syria

It is worth noting that humanitarian organisations have been largely relying on air transport to reach Hasakah and Aleppo.

Israel often hits the vicinity of the Damascus airport, but this is the first time the entire airport is rendered out of service as a result of the strikes.

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Arab News Syria

Iran condemns missile attack on Damascus, vows support to Syria

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has condemned the recent Israeli missile attack on the Syrian capital Damascus and vowed his country’s continued support for the Arab state, local media reported…reports Asian Lite News

During a phone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Faisal al-Mekdad on Friday, Amir Abdollahian said, “Israel’s attacks on Syria’s infrastructure are not only in violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also contravene international laws and humanitarian principles.”

He also denounced “the silence of the international community and regional organisations,” stressing that the Islamic republic will continue the support to the Syrian government and nation, Xinhua news agency reported.

ALSO READ:Iran, Venezuela sign 20-yr partnership agreement

For his part, al-Mekdad expressed Syria’s gratitude to Iran, stressing resistance to “occupation and aggression”.

The Israeli missile strikes on sites south of the Syrian capital on Friday caused damage to technical devices and the runway at Damascus airport, injuring one civilian.

Categories
Arab News Syria

Turkey Plans New military operation in North Syria

Turkey’s forces and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members often exchange fire in the region and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.

Turkey is preparing for a new military operation in northern Syria to establish a 30-km deep safe zone along its southern border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

“As soon as the Turkish armed forces complete its intelligence and security preparations, these operations will begin,” Erdogan said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

The operation will target the regions in northern Syria where the Turkish military does not have control and are “centers of attacks to our country and our safe zones,” he said.

Turkey’s forces and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members often exchange fire in the region and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.

The Turkish National Security Council will discuss the issue on Thursday, he said.

The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria, aiming to eliminate terror threats and provide a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

Meanwhile, another report says three people were killed in an Israeli missile strike targeting military sites at south of the capital Damascus, according to a statement from the Syrian military.

All three persons were killed during missile strikes on Friday evening, Xinhua news agency reported.

 The statement said the air defences have intercepted most missiles, which were fired from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

ALSO READ: NATO chief vows to settle Turkey’s concerns over expansion

 The pro-government Sham FM radio said strikes at the international airport in Damascus have caused a fire near it, leading to the postponement of two flights.

 The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the Israelis targeted military sites in the Jamraya area, as well as sites in the southwestern countryside of Damascus and the international airport.

 It said most missiles reached their targets, adding this is the 13th Israeli attack on Syria in 2022.

Failed Coup  

The Turkish prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for 53 suspects over their alleged links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

The police have launched raids across 12 provinces as part of the capital Ankara chief prosecutor’s probe into the “establishment” of the Gulen Movement in the Turkish foreign ministry.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that 48 of the suspects were earlier dismissed from the ministry due to their contact with the group, five were on active duty, and others included resigned personnel.

They were accused of keeping illicit communication with the “private imams” of the group and leaking exam information of public institutions to them.

The Turkish government accuses the Gulen Movement of infiltrating into the state bureaucracy and then attempting a coup on July 15, 2016.

The movement, which mainly runs schools around the world, is a community of people named after Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who is regarded by followers as a spiritual leader.

Ankara accuses U.S.-based Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the attempted coup, in which at least 250 people were killed.

Turkey requests the extradition of Gulen, but Washington is reluctant to extradite the self-exiled Islamic cleric, saying that Ankara has not presented sufficient evidence against him.

The Turkish government has launched a massive crackdown on suspects with links to the network in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Categories
Arab News Syria

Inflation Drains Eid Spirit in Syria

Popular Eid al-Fitr food becomes less affordable in Syria as economy deteriorates … reports Hummam Sheikh Ali from Damascus

In the past, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, hundreds of Syrians would rush to the ancient souks in the capital Damascus to buy Eid sweets, following an old tradition to celebrate the end of the fasting month with a lot of local sweets.

However, the high prices of traditional Eid al-Fitr sweets this year have made them unaffordable for most Syrians, business owners have said.

Syria’s economy has deteriorated this year as a result of the prolonged conflict and the harsh economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its Western allies. Syrians’ purchasing power has further dwindled, making the sweets-selling business less profitable.

According to Misbah Kandah, a sweets chef, production is down this year compared to past years, when all sweets producers were mobilized in full force for three months prior to the Eid al-Fitr.

Because of the high prices of all the ingredients and the end product, the sweets producers now only work for three days before Eid to meet any possible demand for the sweets.

One kg of Maamoul, a butter cookie traditionally filled with dates or nuts, is sold at around 60,000 Syrian pounds (23.88 U.S. dollars), up from 600 in previous years, making it hardly affordable, according to Kandah. To lower the cost, more Syrians make such food at home, according to him.

Ali Ibrahim, another sweets maker, said Syrians have placed more emphasis on staple food instead of Eid sweets due to its high prices.

“We are in a difficult economic condition. Those who used to buy three or four kilograms can now barely afford one kilogram. Previously, Eid sweets were a top priority, but that is no longer the case,” he said.

Syria’s deteriorating economy has impacted more than just the food business. Fuel shortages and power outages have affected the country’s essential services, including health, education, as well as water and sanitation.

ALSO READ: ‘UK aid cuts will close down hundreds more Syrian schools’

Every month, food and gasoline prices rise, making the basic essentials out of reach for millions of Syrians. Food prices rose another 18 percent between February and March this year, according to the United Nations (UN).

The plight of Syrians has attracted attention from UN officials.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria on Tuesday, Joyce Msuya, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, said the situation of millions of Syrians has never been more dire since violence erupted in the country in 2011.

“For Syrians living through the 12th year of this crisis, the future looks bleak. As the economic and food security outlook worsens, the resources available for our emergency response are dwindling. We simply do not have the money needed,” said Msuya.

She feared “Syria is on the verge of becoming yet another forgotten crisis,” as the world is paying more attention to other conflicts.

Categories
Arab News Syria

Syrian air defence responds new Israeli missile strike in Damascus

Syrian air defence responded to a fresh Israeli missile strike in the capital Damascus after midnight, according to the state news agency SANA…reports Asian Lite News

People in the capital heard two powerful explosions as a result of the attack and the interception of the Syrian air defenses, Xinhua reported citig SANA.

The attack is the latest in a string of Israeli strikes against Syrian military sites over the pretext that it’s targeting pro-Iran militias and weapons shipments.

On Tuesday, Israel’s army had said that one of its drones fell into Syrian territory.

ALSO READ: Lebanon thwarts smuggling of 20 Syrian refugees

“An IDF (Israel Defense Forces) unmanned aerial vehicle fell in Syria,” a military spokesperson said in a statement, adding that no information from the drone was breached.

The spokesperson noted that the drone fell during “routine operations” and that the incident is being investigated.

The cause was not immediately clear.