Tag Archives: Assad

UPDATE 2-Syria's Assad discusses peace talks, Tartus port with Russians

UPDATE 2-Syria's Assad discusses peace talks, Tartus port with RussiansBEIRUT/MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met senior officials from his strongest ally Russia in Damascus on Friday and Saturday to discuss upcoming peace talks, renting out Tartus port and trade between the two countries, state media in Syria reported. Russia has helped Assad’s forces to take back most of the country but the eight-year-long war continues. Swathes of the northeast and northwest are out of his control, while sanctions and a fuel shortage are constricting the economy.



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Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talks

Assad urges progress on Idlib deal ahead of Syria talksSyrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday called for progress on a stalled buffer zone deal around jihadist-dominated Idlib region ahead of fresh talks aimed at ending his country’s eight-year war. Assad met envoy Alexander Lavrentiev from key ally Russia in Damascus to discuss the negotiations due April 25-26 in Kazakhstan. Iran and Russia are the major supporters of the Syrian regime, and along with rebel backer Turkey have sponsored repeated rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation.



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Assad says Syria facing 'economic siege'

Assad says Syria facing 'economic siege'President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday Syria was suffering an “economic siege” as his regime faces a raft of international sanctions over the eight-year civil war. “The war on Syria has taken on a new form that is basically siege and economic war,” he said, according to a statement released by the presidency. “International political tools have changed,” he said, as he met Chinese assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong in Damascus.



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Syria's Assad pledges no bargaining over constitution

Syria's Assad pledges no bargaining over constitutionSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday his government would not bargain over the country’s constitution with the Turkey-backed opposition, lambasting a U.N. peace process that aims to rewrite its terms. A congress convened by Russia, Assad’s key ally, last year tasked the U.N. envoy for Syria with forming a committee to draft a new constitution, after many rounds of talks to end the war had failed. “The constitution is the fate of the country and as a result, it does not succumb to any bargains that could have a bigger price than the war itself,” Assad said in a televised speech.



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Assad Is Close to Victory, But New Conflicts Are Bubbling Up in Syria

Assad Is Close to Victory, But New Conflicts Are Bubbling Up in SyriaPresident Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops has fanned much of the flames. While it would leave the field to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s Russian and Iranian allies, it has also emboldened Israel to advertise that it’s pummeling Iranian positions, practically taunting Tehran to respond. Some analysts warn of a confrontation between them that could spark a regional war also drawing in Lebanon and Iraq.



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Syria opposition urges Arab states not to mend ties with Assad

Syria opposition urges Arab states not to mend ties with AssadSyria’s opposition chief on Sunday urged Arab leaders not to rebuild relations with President Bashar al-Assad’s government, voicing frustration amid apparent efforts to bring the Damascus regime back into the Arab fold. After years of frosty ties, the United Arab Emirates last month reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital, and fellow Gulf state Bahrain has followed suit. “We hope that our brothers, the leaders of Arab nations, will not abandon the Syrian people,” he added, urging them to reconsider their decisions.



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UK foreign minister Hunt: Syria's Assad will be around for a while

UK foreign minister Hunt: Syria's Assad will be around for a whileBritish foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will remain in place for “a while” thanks to support from Russia, even though Britain’s position was still that he remains a block to lasting peace. “The British long-standing position is that we won’t have lasting peace in Syria with that (Assad-led) regime, but regretfully, we do think he’s going to be around for a while,” Hunt told Sky News. Nearly eight years into a war that has displaced millions of Syrians, Assad has recovered control of most of the country with support from Russia, Iran, and Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.



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Syria's Assad authorizes Iraqi forces to strike IS in Syria

Syria's Assad authorizes Iraqi forces to strike IS in SyriaDAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad authorized Iraqi forces on Sunday to attack the Islamic State group inside Syria without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, the state news agency SANA said, as the two allies coordinate their fight against extremists ahead of a planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria.



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Russia Says Syria's Assad Is Popular, Likely to Win New Vote

Russia Says Syria's Assad Is Popular, Likely to Win New Vote“He’s fairly popular, if he wasn’t, the results of the last few years would have been different,” President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, said in an interview in Moscow this week. “Of course, I think so,” he added, when asked whether the Syrian leader can triumph in the next presidential vote. Work is scheduled to start early next year on a new constitution for Syria ahead of UN-supervised elections.



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UAE re-opens embassy in Syria as Arab leaders begin to welcome Assad back from the cold

UAE re-opens embassy in Syria as Arab leaders begin to welcome Assad back from the coldThe United Arab Emirates (UAE) has re-opened its embassy in Syria, taking a major public step towards welcoming Bashar al-Assad back into the fold of Arab leaders after years of estrangement.   Syria was suspended from the Arab League shortly after the Syrian war broke out in 2011 and most Arab states closed their embassies in Damascus in protest at Assad’s violent crackdown against the opposition.  However, as it has becoming increasingly clear that Assad is likely to stay in power and prevail over downtrodden rebel forces, Syria’s Arab neighbours have begun moving to restore diplomatic ties with the former pariah.   The re-opening of the UAE’s embassy in Damascus is the most significant public step so far towards Assad’s rehabilitation in the Arab world. The move is likely to have been coordinated with Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s more powerful neighbour and close ally.  Syria state media reported that Bahrain may re-open its own embassy in Damascus next week.  One complicating factor is the role of Iran, which has strongly supported the Syrian regime throughout the seven-year war but is considered a major enemy by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies. Pictures circulating on social media purportedly showing the (defunct) UAE Embassy in Damascus being renovated ahead of a potential resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries #Syria#UAEpic.twitter.com/5cdwC9nwx6— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) December 26, 2018 In a statement, the UAE presented the embassy re-opening as a part of an effort to bring Syria back into the orbit of its fellow Arab states as opposed to its Persian Iranian allies.   The UAE said said it was keen to “restore relations between the two brotherly countries to their normal course” and wanted to enhance “the Arab role” in supporting Syria’s independence and sovereignty.  “This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs,” the UAE foreign ministry said, in a veiled reference to Iran’s role in Syria.   The UAE helped finance some anti-Assad rebels in the early stages of the the war but played a smaller role than Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Turkey. Much of the Gulf funding for rebel groups has now dried up.  Jalel Harchaoui, a lecturer in geopolitics at Versailles university, said both the UAE and Egypt had grown sceptical about overthrowing Assad because they saw him as a bulwark against their shared Islamist enemies. “As Assad’s survival in Damascus is now an indisputable fact of life, and as the West’s 2012 bet appears as a miserable failure, the ideological stance of the UAE and Egypt is being largely vindicated. Both states will now lead the campaign consisting in having the rest of the Arab world embrace that reality,” he said.  Omar Bashir, the president of Sudan, this month became the first Arab leader to travel to Damascus since 2011. His visit was hailed by regime media as sign that Syria was being welcomed back in from the cold.  There also appears to be increasing momentum for Syria to be re-admitted into the Arab League. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian who serves as the League’s secretary general, said earlier this year that Syria’s suspension had been hasty. The next meeting of the Arab League will take place in Tunisia in March. Thursday also saw the first commercial flight from Damascus to Tunisia since 2011. "This trip is the reopening of tourism links between Syria and Tunisia," said Moataz Tarbin, the head of the tourism firm that organised the flight. Syrian state media said earlier this week that Major General Ali Mamlouk, one of Assad’s top security officials, had visited Cairo to discuss terrorism issues with his Egyptian counterparts.  The UAE’s charge d’affaires at the embassy resumed work on Thursday as the UAE’s red, black, and green flag was hoisted for the first time in seven years. Syria regime media showed last-minute construction work to restore the UAE’s state seal on the embassy’s outer wall.  “The UAE expressed its wish that peace, security and stability would prevail throughout Syria,” the foreign ministry said. 



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