Archive for Syria
Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned Morocco’s ambassador here on Sunday in protest of Morocco’s accusations that Algeria expelled Syrian refugees into Morocco. “Following serious accusations by Moroccan authorities that blame Algeria for forcing Syrian refugees to illegally enter Moroccan territories from the two countries’ shared border, Algeria has expressed to the Ambassador of Morocco its categorical rejection for these false allegations,” a ministry statement said. Earlier on Sunday, Moroccan media reported that 55 Syrian refugees from Algeria were left helpless near the country’s borders with Algeria, noting that Moroccan authorities prevented them from entering the country and accused its western neighbor of forcing them into Morocco.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in an interview that she sees regime change in Syria as one of the Trump administration’s priorities in the country wrecked by civil war. “Every time Assad has crossed the line of human decency, Russian Federation has stood beside him”, Haley told the council. Moscow has sought to deflect blame from its long-time ally Assad over the incident and says Syrian jets struck a rebel arms depot where “toxic substances” were being put inside bombs.
Police in Venezuela arrested six government office workers last week in a story largely lost amid the ongoing violent police crackdown on anti-socialist dissidents. The employees stand accused of selling authentic Venezuelan government documents, like passports and birth certificates, to Syrian nationals at $5,000 each. The arrests are a tacit admission of reports dating back to 2015 that accuse Caracas of selling identification documents to Mideast nationals from its embassies in the region, including individuals believed to have ties to the Hezbollah Shiite terrorist group. CNN reports that the individuals arrested “all worked as data transcribers at the Venezuelan office that handles identification documents and passports,” the Administrative Service for Identification, Migration, and the Exterior (Saime). They stand accused of selling passports and other documents to people of “Syrian origin,” whom Venezuelan prosecutors did not identify. Those arrested face charges of “corruption, improper access or sabotage of protected systems, unauthorized issuance of identification documents and conspiracy to commit a crime.” The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional identifies those arrested as Jethaimet Wiher Blanco, 31; Isamar Gutiérrez Campos, 26; Chery Del Carmen Perdomo, 36; Lilian Irene Castillo, 41; Mariannys Peña Rivera, 27; and Yamilet Galvis Chacón, 45.
The United States warned on Friday it is ready to hit Syria again after a missile strike that infuriated Moscow and fueled calls for a push to end the six-year war. US Ambassador Nikki Haley delivered the warning at an emergency session of the UN Security Council called after the US strikes, which were launched to punish an alleged chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Assad’s ally Russia, meanwhile, declared President Donald Trump’s first strike against the Damascus regime a violation of international law and an “act of aggression.” “The United States took a very measured step last night,” Haley told the council. “We are prepared to do more, but we hope it will not be necessary.” Rights monitors warned, however, that Syrian jets were already flying sorties from the base again as night fell Friday.
Russia’s embassy in Damascus said on Friday it has no information yet on whether Russian citizens were hurt as a result of U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, the RIA news agency reported. The embassy was looking into the issue, the agency added. The United States fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase on Friday from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched this week.
Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren for questioning over recent Israeli airstrikes on Syrian state forces, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. Russia demands Israel more closely communicate its military plans in the region to avoid such incidents, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in comments carried by state news agency RIA Novosti. Israeli warplanes conducted air raids in Syria on Friday, with Syrian state forces retaliating using anti-aircraft weapons, in one of the more serious exchanges of fire in the six years of Syria’s multi-sided civil war. Russia has maintained close relations with Israel despite the decades-long animosity between Syria and the neighbouring Jewish state, including over Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. Israel has about a million Russian-speaking residents. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month in Moscow for talks that focused on the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu warned Putin about Iranian involvement in the conflict. Like Syria’s regime, Iran is also a regional rival of Israel but an ally of Russia.
One of the buildings that belong to the Russian Embassy in Damascus was damaged as a result of a Sunday shelling by militants, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said. “We have a building, which we temporarily do not use and it is located close to the epicenter of the yesterday’s armed clashes. As they told me, the blast wave had broken the window glass there. However, nobody is currently living there except for a local keeper,” Kinshchak told reporters. According to Kinshchak, this building was previously used and it was planned to station the consular office there, however, this building is located close to the district controlled by illegal armed groups. “We were forced to temporarily abandon the idea of using this building… all the employees moved to the main building of the embassy,” the ambassador added.