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Syrian army resumes offensive in south Damascus

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Syrian army resumed its offensive against ISIS militants in south Damascus on Monday after a short ceasefire to allow women, children and old people leave, state television said. The Syrian army and its allies have been battling for weeks to recapture the tiny ISIS enclave, the last area outside government control in or around the capital. State television broadcast footage of the shattered area and said air strikes “were targeting the last terrorist remnants” in the area after ...

Paraguay opens its Israel embassy in Jerusalem, second country to follow US lead

Monday, 21 May 2018

Paraguay opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the second country to follow the United States in making the politically sensitive move from Tel Aviv. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin attended the inauguration ceremony. The United States relocated its embassy to Jerusalem a week ago, drawing Palestinian anger, and was followed by Guatemala on Wednesday. Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the inauguration of the new ...

Top UN peacekeeper in Sudan regrets new Darfur clashes

Monday, 21 May 2018

The chief of the UN peacekeeping force in Darfur on Sunday expressed regret over recent clashes in Sudan's western war-torn region, which he said has left villages burnt and people displaced. The latest fighting, in the Jebel Marra mountains, came despite a ceasefire unilaterally announced by Khartoum in March, applying to Darfur and another conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The fighting had erupted in Jebel Marra between the Sudanese government forces and the Sudan Liberation ...

Second batch of ISIS militants leave final Damascus stronghold

Monday, 21 May 2018

A second batch of ISIS fighters left their final Damascus stronghold overnight, a monitor said Monday, bringing the Syrian regime closer to a major milestone.The government has so far not confirmed any deal with ISIS but a military source quoted by the official SANA news agency said a brief ceasefire was being observed to allow for the evacuation of civilians.Yarmouk is the last Damascus district to escape government control and its full evacuation would bring the entire capital and its ...

Iraq’s Amiri congratulates Sadr over election win, discuss cabinet formation

Monday, 21 May 2018

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sairoon alliance which won the recent Iraqi parliamentary elections, met with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Fatah Alliance which came in second, in his residence in Baghdad. Amiri congratulated Sadr over his victory and the two men discussed the political developments and voiced the importance of forming a national cabinet which Sadr described as “paternal” and that offers services to the Iraqi people and fulfill their legitimate aspirations. ...

Palestinian publicly sets himself on fire in Gaza

Monday, 21 May 2018

A 20-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition on Sunday after publicly setting himself on fire but his motives remain unclear with family believing he was despairing over Gaza’s dire living conditions and Hamas, the militant group that rules the territory, alleging personal problems. Suicide is strictly forbidden in Islam and cases are rare in conservative Gaza but dozens were reported last year. Several cases of self-immolation have also been reported in Gaza over the past years. ...

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in hospital: source

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to hospital on Sunday with a high fever after having undergone ear surgery last week, a source familiar with his condition said. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity did not provide further details on the condition of the 83-year-old, who was at the Istishari Arab Hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It was the third time he was in hospital in a week. On Tuesday, Abbas underwent what was called a minor ear surgery. Late Saturday, ...

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr meets PM Abadi, hinting at coalition

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A meeting between nationalist cleric Moqtada Sadr and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was held a day after the announcement of the Iraqi parliamentary election results to reaffirm close ties between both parties in forming a future government, a source close to Sadr revealed. A statement released by Abadi on Saturday said that the meeting with Sadr came for the sake of working together to speed up the process of forming a new government, and ensure that the government will be strong, ...

First ISIS fighters evacuate south Damascus around Yarmouk Camp

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A first batch of Islamic State group fighters left their final stronghold in Syria’s capital early Sunday under a deal struck after weeks of fierce combat, a monitor said. “At dawn, six buses of ISIS fighters and their relatives left the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp and adjacent district of Tadamun,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Abdel Rahman said the buses headed east for Syria’s vast desert, where ISIS still ...

Hariri speaks at Saudi embassy iftar: ‘Lebanon’s Arabism is a red line’

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Saudi embassy in Lebanon on Saturday held an iftar (meal to break the Ramadan fast) banquet attended by Lebanon’s diplomats, representing a mix of political parties and all sectarian components in the country. Among the attendees were Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Saudi envoy Nizar Al Alula. Saudi Charge d'Affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari welcomed the invitees, saying: "Welcome to the House of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, home of all the Lebanese." On the ...

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