Russian planes in first Syria strikes since truce: monitor

Smoke rises after an air strike during fighting between members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria August 15, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2019
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Russian planes in first Syria strikes since truce: monitor

  • The truce had held despite persistent skirmishes on the ground
  • He said it was unclear whether the strikes were a one-off or heralded the breakdown of the latest truce

BEIRUT: Russia carried out air strikes on extremist targets in northwestern Syria on Tuesday for the first time since it declared a truce on August 31, a war monitor said.
The truce, which brought a halt to four months of devastating air and artillery bombardment by the Syrian government and its Russian ally, had held despite persistent skirmishes on the ground.
“Russian aircraft carried out two strikes on positions held by jihadist groups in the Kabani district of Latakia province which borders Idlib,” the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
He said it was unclear whether the strikes were a one-off or heralded the breakdown of the latest truce.
It is the second such agreement between the Syrian government and extremists since August 1. The previous one collapsed after just a few days.
The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, controls most of Idlib as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.
The region of some three million people is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces of President Bashar Assad.


Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

Updated 17 September 2019
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Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for a return to an international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activities as the only way to defuse tensions in the Middle East.
“We believe that the deal to stop Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to,” Merkel said during a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
“But there is also a long list of other burdens coming from Iran like the ballistic missiles program and its engagement in Syria,” she said. “In recent days tensions in the region rose and Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation and long-term solutions are only possible through a political process.”