Air strikes pound rebel-held area in Syria’s eastern Ghouta, killing 42

Friday, 16 March 2018

Heavy air strikes targeted a rebel-held area of eastern Ghouta on Friday, killing 42 people and leaving more than 100 injuired in the town of Saqba and Kafr Batna neighbourhood, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Observatory said Russian jets carried out the strikes, citing its activist network on the ground. Advancing Syrian government forces have splintered eastern Ghouta into three enclaves in an offensive that has been underway for a month. The latest wave of air strikes hit ...

Raining gold in Russia as plane accidentally drops 3 tons of the precious metal

Friday, 16 March 2018

Russian news reports say the hatch of a cargo plane carrying precious metals accidentally flew open upon takeoff — scattering at least 3 tons of gold on the runway. An investigation is underway after the incident Thursday at the airport in the far east city of Yakutsk, according to the Tass news agency. An An-12 plane operated by the airline Nimbus took off for Krasnoyarsk carrying 9.3 tons of gold and other precious metals, according to a statement from the state Investigative Committee ...

US hits Russia with sanctions for election meddling

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday levied sanctions against Russia’s top spy agencies and more than a dozen individuals for trying to influence the 2016 US presidential election and conducting separate cyberattacks. The announcement follows a lengthy delay that had caused anger on Capitol Hill and raised questions about Trump’s willingness to confront Moscow. The measures target five entities and 19 individuals -- including the FSB, Russia’s top spy service; the ...

Russia still working on retaliatory measures against Britain

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Moscow is still working on retaliatory measures against Britain for London’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats, Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday.Britain is to kick out 23 Russian diplomats, the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War, over a chemical attack on a former Russian double agent in England that Prime Minister Theresa May blamed on Moscow, an assessment backed by the United States.Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Britain of refusing to ...

Lies as the distinguishing feature of Syria, Russia and Iran

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The cruel Syrian war launched by Bashar al-Assad on his people seven years ago under the name of counterterrorism demonstrated that the culture of lies connects the three allies Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime. The Syrian regime’s indiscriminate shelling of Eastern Ghouta, targeting hospitals and blocking access to humanitarian convoys, confirms what is already obvious to everyone: That Russia is not committing to enforcing the UN Security Council Resolution that it had agreed to ...

Randa Takieddine

Turkey ramps up assault on Kurdish enclave in Syria

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Turkey turned up the heat on Syria’s Afrin on Wednesday, as pro-Ankara forces bombarded the Kurdish enclave and closed in on its main city. The development -- which could redraw the map of northern Syria as the conflict enters its eighth year -- came as Russian-backed regime forces pounded shrinking rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, killing 31 civilians. Turkish-led bombardment killed 10 civilians in Afrin city, which lies in the heart of a Kurdish-majority enclave against ...

Iran and Russia sign deal to develop two oilfields - Iranian state TV

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Iran and Russia signed a deal on Wednesday to develop two oilfields in Iran, according to Iranian state TV. The National Iranian Oil Company signed a deal with Russia’s Zarubezhneft to develop the fields, according to SHANA, the news site of the Iranian oil ministry. "This is a very important point. This is the first time that we are signing a deal to develop oilfields with a prominent Russian company," Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said at the signing ceremony. He added ...

Video explainer: How nerve agents break down the body

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter makes it "highly likely" that Russia was involved in the incident, according to the British government. Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War, ostensibly created to avoid a recently signed international chemical weapons treaty which did not cover new chemical agents. Novichok behaves slightly differently than other nerve ...

Britain expels 23 Russian diplomats over ex-spy attack, US calls for action

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The White House said the US “stands in solidarity” with Britain after it expelled 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for Russia's alleged use of a nerve agent against a former Russian spy and his daughter. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the United States “shares the United Kingdom's assessment that Russia is responsible” for the attack. The White House was not announcing any actions in response to what it was calling an “abhorrent attack.” Sanders said ...

Kremlin: Moscow-Washington relations cannot fall lower

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Relations between Moscow and Washington cannot fall further after the departure of the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said the Kremlin Wednesday. Replacing Tillerson is head of the CIA Mike Pompeo. US President Donald Trump remarked on Tuesday that he had "difficult relations" with Tillerson. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Piskov said that Russia is hoping for a "constructive" approach from the United States. "It is difficult to fall from this point. It is ...

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