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US denies involvement in Syria missile strike which kills 12 

25.05.2018 13:16


A dozen pro-regime fighters were killed in an air strike on Syrian army positions a monitor said Thursday, claiming the attack was carried out by the US-led coalition, but the Pentagon denied the report. State media reported the overnight air raid in an area where both the regime and coalition have been battling holdout jihadists, but said it only caused material damage. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a broad network of sources across Syria, said the strike had hit army positions south of Albu Kamal, a town on the border with Iraq. "At least three vehicles were destroyed by the strike," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. He said the 12 pro-regime fighters killed were not Syrians, but he could not provide more details on their identity. A military source quoted by state news agency SANA said "some of our military positions between Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh were hit this morning in an aggression by American coalition warplanes". A United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation military observer uses binoculars near the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Credit: BAZ RATNER/Reuters The Pentagon denied the strikes were carried out by the coalition fighting the Islamic State group. "These reports are false, the coalition did not strike any Syrian army positions in eastern Syria," said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner. "The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS (IS) in designated parts of Iraq and Syria, and to set conditions for follow-on stability operations. This mission has not changed." Less than 24 hours after the overnight strikes, missiles targeted a weapons depot belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement at an airbase in the central province of Homs, according to the Observatory. A member of the pro-government forces puts a portrait of the Syrian president on a military weapon Credit:  LOUAI BESHARA/AFP Its director Abdel Rahman said the missiles "would have been fired by Israel". SANA said Syrian air defences had intercepted the missiles in Homs, but reported explosions in the area. Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh lie in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, where Russian-backed Syrian troops and the US-led coalition have been waging separate offensives against IS. A "de-confliction" line in place along the Euphrates River since last year is meant to keep the two assaults from crashing into each other. Loyalist troops are present west of the river while the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are on the east. A military source from forces allied to Syria's government said the strikes had targeted two regime military positions near a frontline with IS. Syrian security forces enter the town of Rastan in the central Homs province on May 16, 2018 after rebels and their relatives were evacuated Credit:  LOUAI BESHARA/AFP "There are no Iranian or Lebanese fighters among the dead," the source said. Iraqi Shiite militia are also fighting alongside Syrian regime forces in the area. The Observatory said the government was sending reinforcements. It was not immediately clear whether jihadists were active in the area at the time, nor whether the pro-regime casualties may have been accidental. The coalition has carried out several deadly strikes against Syrian government forces and allied fighters in recent months. In February, coalition bombing raids in Deir Ezzor province killed at least 100 regime and allied fighters, including Russian nationals, in retaliation for an attack on SDF positions. And in September 2016, US-led strikes on regime military positions in the east left more than 60 Syrian troops dead. The coalition later said it had mistaken the fighters for IS jihadists. Syria: timeline of British involvement since 2013 The Islamic State group has lost nearly all the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq but it still holds some villages in the Euphrates Valley area. On Monday, Syrian troops and allied forces ousted IS from the last districts it held in the capital Damascus. After a fierce month-long battle, an evacuation deal saw the remaining jihadists bussed out of the city towards small pockets of land still held by IS in the Badiya, a vast desert area stretching from central Syria to its eastern border with Iraq. The day after the transfer, IS fighters in the Badiya attacked a nearby government position, leaving more than two dozen Syrian troops and allied fighters dead. The Observatory said the IS fighters responsible were from the group that had just been transferred out of the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus.

Lebanon's Hariri named PM, wants unity government fast

25.05.2018 13:16


Saad al-Hariri was designated as Lebanon's next prime minister on Thursday and said all parties agreed that a national unity government must be formed as quickly as possible due to economic risks at home and growing dangers in the region. The new coalition government is expected to reflect the enhanced political position of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah and allies that support its possession of arms, which together won at least 70 of parliament's 128 seats in an election on May 6. Hariri won the support of nearly all the MPs in the new parliament during consultations with President Michel Aoun on Thursday, reflecting his status as the top Sunni politician despite his steep losses in the election.

Putin, Macron bond over shared unease at Trump's actions

25.05.2018 13:07

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday found a common cause in their shared unease at U.S. President Donald Trump's actions on Iran, climate change and international trade.

From: feeds.reuters.com

A shadowy Israeli firm is accused of trying to undermine the Iran deal

25.05.2018 12:31

An NBC News investigation reveals a business intelligence company with governmental contracts and a special department for politically motivated work.

From: www.nbcnews.com

Iran sets May 31 deadline in scramble to salvage nuclear deal

25.05.2018 12:07

European powers have until May 31 to present Iran with a plan to offset the U.S. pullout from its nuclear deal and Washington's renewed sanctions, a senior Iranian official said, with Tehran "weeks" away from deciding whether to quit the pact.

From: feeds.reuters.com

Putin says US exit from Iran deal could trigger instability

25.05.2018 12:02

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the global economy has suffered from politically driven sanctions.

From: feeds.foxbusiness.com

New US sanctions target aircraft used by Iran's Rouhani

25.05.2018 8:17

Analysts say sanctions imposed on Dena Airways' lone aircraft is aimed at 'humiliating' President Hassan Rouhani.

From: www.aljazeera.com

Saudi Arabia: OPEC and Russia to pump more oil 'in the near future'

25.05.2018 6:42

Saudi Arabia says OPEC and Russia could supply more oil to world markets "in the near future" to make up for a collapse in Venezuelan output and the impact of US sanctions on Iran.

From: rss.cnn.com

IRAN WARNING: Tehran threatens to develop NUCLEAR WEAPONS unless Europe buys its oil

25.05.2018 6:22

IRAN has threatened to resume the nation’s nuclear weapons programme if Europe does not promise to buy Iranian oil and oppose Donald Trump’s threats of crippling US sanctions.

From: feedproxy.google.com

Vienna Meeting Is A Last-Ditch Effort To Save Iran Nuclear Deal

25.05.2018 5:02

British, Chinese, French, German and Russian officials are meeting with Iran's deputy foreign minister for the first time since the U.S. pulled out of the deal.

From: www.npr.org

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