Middle-east

No Picture

Syrian opposition in Turkey to prepare for Geneva talks

A Turkish diplomatic source said that representatives of the Syrian opposition had arrived yesterday in Ankara to discuss the upcoming negotiations in Geneva, Turkish state-run Anadolu reported. Anadolu said that the representatives of both the armed and the political opposition would attend a meeting at the Turkish foreign ministry. They are also expected to have discussed the outcomes of last month’s Astana talks, which focused on extending the ceasefire that came into effect in Syria on 30 December. The ceasefire was brokered by Russia who, alongside Iran, supports the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, and Turkey, which backs the opposition. Those travelling to Ankara included the chief of the Higher Negotiations Committee Riad Hijab, Syrian National Coalition President Anas […]


No Picture

Iran to US: We won’t start war, but will defend ourselves

Responding to the latest tweets of US President Donald Trump about his country, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said yesterday that his country would not start a war, but would defend itself. On his official Twitter account, Zarif wrote: “Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people.” He added in another tweet: “We will never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defence.” The top Iranian official also tweeted: “We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defence. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement.” On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should […]


No Picture

UNICEF calls for EU to protect minors crossing Mediterranean

UNICEF called on EU member states gathered in Malta yesterday to protect children migrants and refugees who cross the Mediterranean towards Europe, a statement reported by Quds Press said. The UN body asked EU nations to “adhere fully to the principle of non-refoulement, as sending children back into harm’s way or returning boats to Libya without a proper plan to protect them, would only add to their hardship.” It called for additional support to credible resettlement and family reunification programmes so that desperate refugees and migrants do not have to turn to smugglers and risk their lives. UNICEF records showed that the number of refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean reported over the past three months including an estimated 190 children. “The growing […]


No Picture

Yemen army chief: Houthi rebels ‘living their last days’

The Yemeni Chief of Staff General Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdeshi said on Thursday that the forces of the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi were very close to the capital Sana’a, and that the Houthi rebels and their backers were “living their last days”. Yemeni news agency Saba reported Al-Maqdeshi as saying that “the army achieves daily victories along its way towards the capital,” which has been controlled by the Iran-backed Shia Houthis and allied militias controlled by ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh since 2014. The senior military official said that the “putchist” Houthis and Saleh forces were “living their last days,” noting that fighting them needs “joint” and “loyal” efforts to liberate all the institutions of […]


No Picture

Trump’s chief strategist predicts wars with China, Middle East

Steve Bannon, top advisor and chief of staff to US President Donald Trump predicted wars between the United States and China, as well as another war in the Middle East, USA Today reported last week. The American news outlet said that it went back and listened to dozens of recordings of the radio show which Bannon used to host and found that he had made many controversial statements in 2015 and early 2016 about “expansionist” China and Islam. USA Today reported: “In one episode, Bannon said: ‘You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They are arrogant. They are on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat’.” VIDEO: Yemenis […]


No Picture

Syrian refugees stay in Lebanon ‘not permanent’, president says

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said yesterday world powers must work with Damascus to create safe zones in Syria so refugees can return to their country. It was the first time the Beirut government had lent its support to such a plan. At least a million people have fled the Syrian civil war since 2011 into Lebanon, which has an estimated total population of less than six million. Lebanon would not force unsafe return on any refugees, but the international community must make their return possible, Aoun’s office quoted him as saying in a meeting yesterday with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. He said it was “important to achieve a political solution” to the conflict. Aoun is an ally […]


No Picture

US embarrassed after deadly Yemen raid video outed as fake

In an awkward reversal, the US military promptly withdrew an old video by unidentified Yemeni militants it had released yesterday as evidence that a fatal raid in Yemen by American special forces this week that led to the deaths of at least 16 women and children was a counterterrorism success. An expert in radical Muslim media said the footage by unknown militants appeared to be part of videos first released by extremists online some ten years ago, undermining the Pentagon’s explanation about its value. A US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman confirmed that the video was removed from the website because the contents were old. Read: US raid kills 40 in southern Yemen “We didn’t want it to appear that we were […]


No Picture

Iran defies US sanctions, tests more missiles

Iran is holding a military exercise today to test its missile and radar systems, a day after US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on Tehran for a recent ballistic missile test. The United States sanctioned 13 individuals and 12 entities related to Iran’s missile programme and Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn said the United States was putting Iran on notice over its “destabilising activity”. Some of the individuals sanctioned also had close ties to Lebanon’s Shia jihadists Hezbollah, who are also Iranian proxies. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) website said that the aim of the military exercise in Semnan province was to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions.” Iranian state news agencies […]


No Picture

Clashes erupt as Israel evacuates Amona

Clashes erupted between Israeli settlers and Israeli forces at the illegal Amona outpost in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, as Israeli police began evacuating the settlement’s residents this morning in line with an order from the Israeli Supreme Court. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Al-Samri said in a statement at 14:45 that Israeli police had detained several “suspects” and taken them for interrogation following “rioters attacking and throwing bottles and irritating materials” at Israeli police. Al-Samri added that 20 police officers were lightly injured and 13 people had been arrested for “disturbances”, while 200 people were “removed from the area”. Twelve of the police officers were still being treated in the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. She stated that […]


No Picture

UN resumes aid drops in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor

The UN said yesterday that it had resumed air drops of desperately-needed aid to Deir ez-Zor in Syria after halting the deliveries over two weeks ago due to heavy fighting. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) had on 15 January suspended air drops to the eastern city due to heavy fighting after a fierce assault by Daesh fighters. Daesh laid siege to Deir ez-Zor and its 100,000 residents in 2015 and already controls large parts of the city, but earlier this month moved further into government-held territory, prompting fierce clashes and heavy bombardment by the Syrian military and Russia. The WFP said it had resumed the air drops – the only way to get aid into the city – on […]