Smuggling Weapons to Lebanon, Fighters to Syria and Iraq: Daesh Back on Track

Islam Times - Whenever vetting of groups linked to Daesh returning on track in Lebanon takes place – just like the new reactivation of the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria- some Lebanese politicians assume that it is just an introduction to a political or security act against a Lebanese area for political reasons.
| Lebanon |

France detains man for shipping chemical weapons parts to Syria regime

French police have detained a French-Syrian man on suspicion of supplying the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad with components to develop its chemical weapons capabilities. According to the news agency, AFP, which cited anonymous sources close to the case, the 59-year-old was arrested on Saturday in the south of France after returning to the country with his family for the
| Europe & Russia, France, International Organisations |

Syria opposition making 'unacceptable' demands, Russia envoy says

The Syrian opposition is making demands that are "unacceptable" in the ongoing Syrian peace talks, Russia's presidential envoy has claimed. Following consultations with the Turkish and Iranian delegations in Kazakhstan, at the 17th round of Astana talks for the Syrian process, the Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev claimed on Tuesday that the Syrian opposition often makes demands and requests that allegedly force
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Iran |

Official accuses Qatar, Saudi of obstructing Syria's return to Arab League

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar Al-Jaafari has accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of obstructing the regime's return to the Arab League. "We did not leave the Arab League, we are one of the founding countries and we did not abandon our national identity," Al-Jaafari said, adding that his country does not accept "any conditions imposed on it in return for
| Arab League, International Organisations, Middle East |

Astana Guarantor States Affirm Commitment to Syria’s Sovereignty, Rejection of Coercive Measures

Islam Times - The guarantor states of the Astana process reiterated on Wednesday their strong commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, stressing the continuation of joint action to combat terrorism in all its forms and names in Syria and rejecting separatist agendas aimed at undermining its sovereignty
| Syria |

Iran says further talks with Saudi depend on Riyadh's 'seriousness'

Further talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia depend on the kingdom's "seriousness", Iran's Foreign Ministry has said. Earlier this year, direct talks began between Tehran and Riyadh in an effort to achieve reconciliation after decades of regional rivalry, with Iraq announcing in August that it had hosted a series of secret dialogues. Jordan also announced that it hosted some of the talks and the United States
| Iran, Iraq, Lebanon |

Aoun: Lebanon to continue indirect border demarcation talks with Israel

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said yesterday that Beirut is committed to its full rights to invest its natural resources, especially gas and oil, and is willing to continue indirect negotiations with Israel to demarcate the maritime borders. Speaking at a joint press conference with the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in Beirut, Aoun affirmed Lebanon's commitment to implementing UN Security Council
| Israel, Lebanon, Middle East |

US-backed Kurdish group says no progress in talks with Syria regime

The Chief Executive of Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), Ilham Ahmad, said no progress has been achieved with the Syrian regime over the last period. Speaking in Raqqa on Saturday, Ahmad said, "no steps have been achieved towards dialogue with Damascus during the last period," adding that the Russians have tried to play the role of guarantor of dialogue with the
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Saudi footballer covers Israel flag on FIFA Legends uniform

A Saudi Arabian footballer is among several other players who scribbled out the Israeli flag from their uniform ahead of an exhibition match between former stars from Arab countries against those from around the world. The fixture was a showcase event the FIFA Arab Cup Final yesterday, which saw Algeria defeat neighbours Tunisia 2-0. Nawaf Al-Temyat of Saudi Arabia playing
| FIFA, International Organisations, Israel |

Turkey: US report on terrorism 'incomplete and biased'

Ankara stated on Friday that the US State Department's Country Report on Terrorism for 2020 "reflects an incomplete and biased approach" regarding Turkish efforts to fight terrorist groups. In a statement for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç responded that in the report: "It is seen that Türkiye's fight against terrorist organisations such as PKK, DHKP-C and
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, News |

Torrential rains leave 8 dead in northern Iraq

At least eight people, including a girl, have died as a result of torrential rains in Erbil province in northern Iraq, an official said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reported. In a statement, Omid Khoshnaw, governor of Erbil in the northern Kurdish region, said: "The floods also caused great material losses." Torrents swept through residential areas in Erbil province in the past few
| Iraq, Kurdistan, Middle East |

Cross-border aid is essential to millions of Syrians in Idlib, UN head says

The Head of the United Nations has reiterated the importance of cross-border aid to north-west Syria as essential for millions of people, as the authorisation to use the last border crossing is set to expire next month. In a confidential internal report obtained by the news agency AFP, yesterday, the UN's Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that "Cross-border assistance remains life-saving
| International Organisations, Middle East, News |

Rockets hit US base in Syria's Deir Ez-Zor countryside

An American military base in Al-Omar Oil Field in eastern Syria came under rocket attack yesterday, Rai Al-Youm reported, no party claimed responsibility for the incident. The military base is located in the countryside of Syria's Deir Ez-Zor region, local sources said. Al-Omar is the largest oil field in Syria. Sources reported the sound of four explosions and smoke around the oil field which
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Sweden boosts funding for YPG to $376 million

Sweden has pledged to increase its funding and assistance to the Kurdish militia in Syria – the People's Protection Units (YPG) – to a staggering $376 million in 2023, in a move announced by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Ann Linde, yesterday. Following a meeting with, co-President of the Kurdish autonomous administration's Executive Council, Linde expressed on Twitter her appreciation of
| Asia & Americas, EU, Europe & Russia |

Syrian media says US forces kidnapped civilians near Deir Ez-Zor

Syria's SANA News Agency has reported that US forces carried out a "large airborne operation" yesterday at dawn, which led to the kidnapping of civilians and killed three people. The raid is said to have taken place in the town of Busayra, near the eastern city of Deir Ez-Zor and, according to local sources, involved the support of the Syrian
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Austin Tice's mother says White House is the "hurdle" obstructing his release from Syria

The mother of Austin Tice, the American student and journalist who was abducted by the Syrian regime almost a decade ago, has accused the White House of being a "hurdle" in the way of her son's release. Debra Tice, who has been in the capital Washington over the past five weeks to hold meetings with US officials, admitted in a
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

UN Passes Resolution against Israeli Annexation Plans in Syria’s Occupied Golan Heights

Islam Times - The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution declaring that the Israeli regime’s decision to impose its jurisdiction in Syria’s Golan Heights with the aim of changing the character and legal status of the strategic territory are “null and void” and constitute a flagrant violation of international law.
| Syria |

HRW: Lebanon must extend school registration deadline for Syria refugee children

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on Lebanon to extend the school registration deadline, ending on 4 December, for Syrian refugee children. According to HRW, Lebanon should: "End policies that are blocking Syrian refugee children's access to education." The rights group shared: "Thousands of Syrian refugee children have been out of school, blocked by policies that require certified educational
| HRW, International Organisations, Lebanon |

Turkish, Russian leaders discuss regional issues over phone

The presidents of Turkey and Russia held a phone call on Friday to discuss bilateral ties and regional issues, according to the Turkish Communications Directorate and reported by Anadolu News Agency. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin also evaluated ways to enhance bilateral ties. They also discussed developments between Azerbaijan and Armenia and regional issues, particularly Syria, Libya and Ukraine.
| Europe & Russia, News, Russia |

Turkish-Russian Foreign Ministers discuss bilateral ties, regional issues

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Thursday, discussed bilateral relations and regional challenges with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Stockholm, Sweden's capital, Anadolu News Agency reports. Cavusoglu tweeted that he "discussed bilateral relations & regional issues including Syria, Libya, Ukraine & Caucasus" with Lavrov on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council
| Europe & Russia, News, Russia |

Turkey military digs trench in Northern Syria to secure areas against Kurdish militias

The Turkish military has dug a trench along the key M4 highway in northern Syria, in an attempt to prevent Kurdish militias from launching attacks on and infiltration areas controlled by Turkish forces. The trench, which extends 230 kilometres (143 miles) and is 4 meters deep and 4 meters wide, was announced by Turkish media yesterday. Turkish forces aim to
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

UAE releases Turkish businessman after more than three years in custody

Turkish businessman and aid worker, Mehmet Ali Ozturk, who had been kept in Emirati custody since February 2018, was released on Monday, Middle East Eye reports. According to the report, he was released as part of an annual pardon issued by UAE President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. "I'm very happy to be back in my country, and be healthy and with my
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Pentagon launches new investigation into airstrike on Syria, which killed civilians

The Pentagon has launched a new investigation into an airstrike on Syria by the US military which killed dozens of civilians in 2019, following a recent report by the New York Times alleging that the civilian casualties were concealed. The investigation was announced yesterday by Pentagon Press Secretary, John Kirby, who said that the Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, picked the
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

'Syria has not disclosed its chemical weapons arsenal yet'

The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Fernando Arias, said yesterday that Syria has not yet declared its entire arsenal of chemical weapons and has not allowed OPCW inspectors to work in the country. Syria denies using any chemical weapons and stresses that it handed over its entire stockpile in accordance with the agreement concluded
| Middle East, News, Syria |

Turkey releases Syrian singer

Syrian musician Omar Souleyman was released from custody in Turkey today, his manager and a local security source said, two days after he was detained for alleged links to Kurdish militants, Reuters reports. Omar Almasikh – the singer's real name – was allowed to walk free by a local court in Turkey's Syrian border province of Sanliurfa after giving a statement to
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

UN holds Israel liable for damages in 2006 oil slick in Lebanon

The UN General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution acknowledging that $856.4 million in damage was caused by an oil slick in 2006 and calling for Israel to assume responsibility by compensating its northern neighbour and Syria. Some 161 countries voted in favour of the draft titled "Oil slick on Lebanese shores", eight – including Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of
| International Organisations, Israel, Lebanon |

Turkish development aid agency opens classrooms for special needs children in northern Syria

The Turkish state aid agency on Thursday inaugurated special classrooms set up for physically disabled children in an opposition-held area of northern Syria, Anadolu News Agency reports. Established in cooperation with the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the education directorate in Turkey's southern border province of Kilis, two classrooms offering physical support and rehabilitation were opened at Ali
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Syria: rights groups concerned about Interpol cooperation with regime

Nineteen Syrian human rights and monitoring organisations have raised concerns about the resumption of cooperation between the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and the Syrian regime. The decision, say the groups, has created fear among Syrians inside and outside their country. Although Interpol is "politically neutral" and is keen not to harm those wanted for political reasons, the organisations said
| International Organisations, INTERPOL, Middle East |

Hackers in Syria, Pakistan taken down by Meta after sustained cyber attacks

The social media company Meta – previously known as Facebook – has taken down four malicious cyber hacking networks operating in Syria and Pakistan, which targeted Syrian opposition elements and governmental entities in Afghanistan. In a report on Tuesday, Meta announced that it "took action against four distinct groups of hackers from Pakistan and Syria" which targeted a number of
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Iraq warns Turkey of effects of dam on water levels

The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources yesterday warned Turkey that its plan to build a new dam on the Tigris River would affect Iraq's share of the river's waters. Ministry spokesperson, Ali Radi, said Turkish authorities had been contacted via the Foreign Affairs Ministry to warn them of the new project's impact on Baghdad's share of the river's water in
| Europe & Russia, Iraq, Middle East |

Assad family member admits to use of barrel bombs for 'cleansing the earth of insects'

A family member of Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, has admitted that the Syrian military has been using barrel bombs against civilians and the opposition throughout the ongoing decade-long conflict, saying that the weapons "cleansed" Syria. In a livestream on his Facebook account on Saturday, Rifat Ali al-Assad—part of the ruling Assad family—said that "we came with the barrel bombs. What's
| Middle East, News, Syria |

Inside Wagnergate: Ukraine’s Brazen Sting Operation to Snare Russian Mercenaries

On 29 July 2020, Belarusian state media announced that the country’s security services had arrested 33 fighters from the Wagner private military contractor. These men were, according to the report, part of a group of more than 200 fighters present in Belarus to destabilise the country in the run-up to its Presidential elections in early August. All of the men,
| UK & Europe, Belarus, Ukraine |

Turkey deports Syrians over 'provocative' banana videos

The Turkish authorities have started deportation proceedings against several Syrian migrants over "provocative" viral videos of them eating bananas. The eight Syrians, including one minor, are accused of "inciting hatred" amid growing tension between locals and refugees, and an economic crisis. According to Demiroren News Agency they were arrested on Friday in the western city of Izmir and sent to
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

European tourism agencies begin offering tours to Assad's Syria

European tourism companies have begun hosting tours throughout Syria, in a move both widely celebrated and condemned as the world restores ties with the Syrian government. According to a report by the German newspaper Deutsche Welle (DW), a number of tourism agencies based in Europe are enabling trips to and throughout Syria. Companies cited in the report include some based
| Europe & Russia, France, Germany |

How Islamist Militants Elsewhere View the Taliban’s Victory in Afghanistan

While Islamist insurgents around the world are inspired by the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, the question of whether and how they will benefit as a result is more complicated, as Crisis Group experts explain in this 360-degree view. It appears that … some outside powers will deal with the Taliban, affording the group a measure of international legitimacy.   Syria Members of
| Conflict/Crime, Opinion/Analysis, Al Qaeda |

Giant refugee puppet 'Amal' reaches Paris en route to UK

"Little Amal", the 3.5-metre-tall puppet depicting the journey of a Syrian refugee, arrived in the French capital on Wednesday. She met on Friday with children at Place du Trocadero near the Eiffel tower, Anadolu Agency reported. Her stop in Paris is part of "The Walk", an 8,000-kilometre journey across Europe hoping to raise awareness about the plight of millions of young Syrian refugees making the long journey from Syria
| Big Slide, Europe & Russia, France |

Over 20 countries call for the combating racism, racial discrimination

This statement, issued by countries such as Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Palestine, Pakistan, Belarus, Venezuela, Bolivia and Saudi Arabia, was presented by the Nigerian Representative to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. The full text of his message reads: I have the honor to deliver a joint statement on behalf of the African Group and China, as well as
| News |

UN envoy: Syria constitution drafting committee to meet in October

Invitations have been issued for a sixth meeting of the committee charged with producing a new constitution for war-torn Syria, United Nations special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said yesterday. "We should all now expect the Constitutional Committee to begin to work seriously on a process of drafting – not just preparing – a constitutional reform," Pedersen told the Security
| International Organisations, Middle East, News |

Jordan to resume flights to Damascus

The Jordanian government has agreed to resume flights to the Syrian capital Damascus as of 3 October after a 10-year hiatus as a result of the Syrian civil war. Jordan's Interior Minister Mazen Al-Faraya also announced the reopening of the Jordanian-Syrian border from tomorrow morning to allow for the movement of freight and travellers. The Ministry of Interior said, in a
| Jordan, Middle East, News |

Ex-PM says Israel does not have capacity to strike Iran nuclear sites

Israel does not have conventional military capabilities that enable it to strike and permanently eliminate the Iranian nuclear project, as it did in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an opinion piece published in Haaretz's Hebrew site. Olmert said the policy adopted by former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu over the past few years and
| Iran, Israel, Middle East |

Russia, Turkey to discuss developments in Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will discuss the most prominent developments in Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya during their meeting tomorrow, the Kremlin spokesman announced yesterday. Dmitry Peskov said preparations for the meeting were "underway," adding that it would be held in the Russian city of Sochi. "Putin and Erdogan always have a lot to
| Afghanistan, Africa, Asia & Americas |

Jordan to fully reopen main crossing with Syria this week

Jordan will fully reopen its main border crossing with Syria from Wednesday, government and industry officials said, as a high-level Syrian team arrived in Amman to discuss how to ease the flow of goods hit by the pandemic and a decade of conflict, Reuters reported. Although the Jaber crossing has been open since 2018 after the Syrian government drove rebels from southern Syria, trade
| Jordan, Middle East, News |

Jordan: minister says Syria crisis can only be resolved with US-Russian dialogue

Jordan's foreign minister has said that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved through exclusively US-Russian dialogue, alongside a collective Arab role. "Russia has a major role in any effort to resolve the Syrian crisis, and an important role in stabilising southern Syria," Ayman Safadi told Asharq news channel. "The crisis cannot be resolved without US-Russian dialogue, but it is
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Jordan |

Second Iranian fuel laden ship for Lebanon docks in Syria

Lebanon's Hezbollah announced the arrival of a second ship loaded with diesel coming from Iran to Syria's Baniyas port yesterday evening, the group's Al-Manar TV said early today. The Iran-aligned group says the fuel shipments should ease a crippling energy crisis in Lebanon, while Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Iranian shipments constitute a breach of Lebanon's sovereignty. Both Syria and
| Iran, Lebanon, Middle East |

Qatar Emir urges international community not to neglect Syria

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, yesterday urged the international community not to neglect the Syrian issue. Speaking at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sheikh Tamim said this year marked a decade since the start of the Syrian civil war while the crisis continues to pose "immense perils", including the increased
| Middle East, News, Qatar |

US drone strikes kill senior Al-Qaeda figure in Syria

Drone strikes by the United States-led international coalition have killed a commander reportedly belonging to Al-Qaeda in the north-west Syrian province of Idlib. After initially telling the AFP news agency that it had not conducted any strikes on Idlib, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) then acknowledged that it had killed an Al-Qaeda official in the province. In a statement yesterday, CENTCOM spokeswoman
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Jordan: chief of staff meets Syrian defence minister over border security

Jordan's chief of staff met with the Syrian defence minister in Amman yesterday to discuss border security, Hala Akhbar has reported. The meeting between Jordan's General Yousef Huneiti and General Ali Ayoub looked at ways to "increase coordination in border security" in the interests of both countries. The agenda included the recent fighting in southern Syria as well as drug
| Jordan, Middle East, News |

Iran will supply Lebanon with more fuel, if requested

Iran will provide Lebanon with additional fuel whenever the Lebanese government requests it, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said yesterday. "Iran is determined to cooperate with and assist friendly governments. In this case, there was a request from Lebanese businessmen. The buying and selling process took place normally and the shipment had been sent," Khatibzadeh said. "If the Lebanese government wants
| Asia & Americas, Iran, Lebanon |