Tag Archives: Damascus

Bomb blasts rock Syria's Damascus and Afrin

Bomb blasts rock Syria's Damascus and AfrinA bomb blast hit Damascus on Sunday, in a rare attack in the Syrian capital that has been largely insulated from violence during nearly eight years of war. The explosion came as another bomb in the northern city of Afrin killed three people and wounded nine others, according to a war monitor, on the first anniversary of a Turkish offensive on the Kurdish-majority region. Also on Sunday Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Syria after Damascus accused the Jewish state of carrying out air raids on the south of the country.



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Damascus seeks 'intensified' talks with Kurds: official

Damascus seeks 'intensified' talks with Kurds: officialThe Syrian government hopes dialogue with Syrian Kurdish groups will intensify, a minister said on Sunday, signaling support for talks the Kurds hope will lead to a political deal between two of the main players in the multi-sided war. The Kurds have sought Russian meditation for the talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s government, part of their strategy to fill a vacuum that will be left when U.S. forces withdraw from the country, as instructed by President Donald Trump. Many of the Kurdish statements were positive regarding their concern for the unity of Syria,” Assistant Syrian Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan told a small group of journalists in Damascus.



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UAE to reopen Damascus embassy after 7 years: official

UAE to reopen Damascus embassy after 7 years: officialThe United Arab Emirates will reopen its embassy in Damascus Thursday, an official said, seven years after it severed ties with Syria over the violent repression that triggered the war. An official at the information ministry invited journalists “to cover the reopening of the Emirati embassy in Damascus today”. The move is seen as another step in efforts to bring the regime of President Bashar al-Assad back into the Arab fold after years of diplomatic isolation.



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UAE reopens Damascus embassy after seven years

UAE reopens Damascus embassy after seven yearsThe United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus Thursday, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian government back into the Arab fold. The UAE broke ties with Syria in February 2012, as the repression of nationwide protests demanding regime change was escalating into a devastating war. An acting charge d’affaires has already started working, an Emirati statement said, stressing that the UAE was “keen to put relations back on their normal track”.



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Israel resumes airstrikes in Syria with attack outside Damascus

Israel resumes airstrikes in Syria with attack outside DamascusIsraeli jets struck reportedly struck Hizbollah targets outside Damascus on Tuesday, reasserting Israeli airpower in Syria after several months of restraint following the accidental downing of a Russian military plane.  The air raid was the first since Donald Trump announced he was pulling US troops out of Syria, prompting Israel’s government to say it would continue and expand its fight against Iran and its proxies in the country.  The Israeli aircraft hit three Hizbollah arms depots south of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syrian state media said three Syrian regime soldiers were wounded in the attack.  Israel’s military refused to comment, as is its custom with air strikes in Syria. However, it said that it fired air defence weapons in response to a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was launched on Tuesday night. No injuries or damage was reported.   Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iran, Hizbollah, and occasionally the Syrian regime as part of its campaign to prevent Iranian forces and their allies from entrenching in Syria. However, Israel has been more muted in its attacks since September, when a Russian military aircraft got caught up in an aerial battle over Damascus and was accidentally shot down by Syrian air defence systems.  All 15 Russian servicemen onboard were killed and Russia blamed Israel for their deaths, accusing Israeli pilots of maneuvering behind the Russian aircraft when they were fired upon by the Syrian regime.  Israel denied that its pilots took cover behind the Russian plane and sent a senior delegation to Moscow to try to calm Russian anger over the incident.  Tuesday night’s attack was the largest air raid since the downing of the Russian plane. It was also the first attack since Mr Trump alarmed Israel by announcing that he was pulling US forces out of Syria.  Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, vowed that he would continue to fight against Iran and Hizbollah even after the US withdrew.   "We will continue to act very aggressively against Iran's efforts to entrench in Syria,” Mr Netanyahu said last week. "We do not intend to reduce our efforts. We will intensify them, and I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the United States." Analysts said Tuesday’s large strike was a sign of Israel’s intention to resume regular attacks in Syria.  “Israel is signaling that from its perspective, it's business as usual again: Despite Trump's announcement and despite Russia's fury about its Ilyushin plane getting shot down last September, Israel sees itself as free to continue attacking targets in Syria, when necessary,” said Amos Harel, a military analyst with the Haaretz newspaper.



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Syria state media says Israeli planes attack targets near Damascus

Syria state media says Israeli planes attack targets near DamascusIsraeli war planes attacked with missiles unspecified targets near Damascus, the Syrian capital, on Tuesday and injured three Syrian soldiers, Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying. “Our air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets,” the military source said. The nature of the Israeli missiles targets was unclear.



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Syria: Israel launched missile attack on Damascus airport

Syria: Israel launched missile attack on Damascus airportDAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Israel attacked Damascus International Airport with missiles Saturday night, Syrian state media said, adding that air defenses shot down some of them. A war monitoring group said the attack targeted an arms depot for Iranian forces or Lebanon's Hezbollah group.



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Israeli missiles hit near Damascus Airport: SANA, monitor

Israeli missiles hit near Damascus Airport: SANA, monitorSyrian state news agency SANA said two Israeli missiles hit in the vicinity of Damascus international airport in the early hours of Tuesday morning, without giving further details. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian air defense systems failed to intercept the missiles. The Britain-based war monitor said an explosion heard at 1 a.m. (2200 GMT Monday) near the airport was caused by missiles fired by Israeli planes from the direction of the Golan Heights.



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Islamic State fighters 'evacuate Damascus enclave' as Bashar Assad moves to reclaim western Syria

Islamic State fighters 'evacuate Damascus enclave' as Bashar Assad moves to reclaim western SyriaA war monitor said buses evacuated Islamic State fighters from an enclave south of Damascus on Sunday in a withdrawal deal, though state media denied the report and said the Syrian army was fighting to finish off the insurgents. The recovery of the enclave south of Damascus will mark another milestone in President Bashar al-Assad's war effort, crushing the last besieged rebel enclave in western Syria. Swathes of territory at the borders with Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, however, remain outside state control. Syrian government forces and their allies have been battling to recover the enclave south of Damascus since defeating rebels in eastern Ghouta, also near the capital, in April. The area is centred around the al-Hajar al-Aswad district and the adjoining Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. In a live broadcast, a reporter with Syrian state TV said the Syrian army operations in the Hajar al-Aswad area were nearing their end and insurgent lines were collapsing as columns of smoke rose from the area behind him. Smoke billowing from the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk during regime strikes targeting the Islamic State group in the camp Credit: Stringer/AFP The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier said buses had entered the enclave after midnight to take out fighters and their families. They had left towards the Syrian Badia, a sparsely populated expanse of territory east of the capital that extends to the border with Jordan and Iraq, it said. Islamic State militants had torched their offices in the Yarmouk enclave, the Observatory said. Negotiated withdrawals have been a common feature of the Syrian war in recent years as the government, aided by the Russian military and Iran-backed forces, has steadily clawed back territory. The rebels have mostly been given safe passage to northwestern Syria. In the last two months alone, the United Nations says 110,000 people have been evacuated to northwestern Syria and rebel-held areas north of Aleppo. Syrian president Bashar Assad meets Vladimir Putin for talks in Sochi on May 17 Credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP The opposition has called it a policy of forced displacement amounting to demographic change to drive out Assad's opponents. The Syrian government has said nobody is forced to leave and those who stay must accept state rule. While Assad has vowed to win back "every inch" of Syria, the map of the conflict suggests a more complicated time ahead from now on. The U.S. military is in much of the east and northeast, which is controlled by Kurdish groups that want autonomy from Damascus. It has used force to defend the territory from pro-Assad forces. Turkey has sent forces into the northwest to counter those same Kurdish groups, carving out a buffer zone where anti-Assad rebels have regrouped. In the southwest, where rebels hold territory at the Israeli and Jordanian border, Assad faces the risk of conflict with Israel, which wants his Iranian-backed allies kept well away from the frontier and has mounted air strikes in Syria.



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Rebels begin leaving new area outside Damascus: state media

Rebels begin leaving new area outside Damascus: state mediaRebels started leaving a new area outside the Syrian capital Saturday, state media said, after a new deal was reached between opposition fighters and the Russia-backed regime. The agreement for the East Qalamun area is the latest in a string of deals that have seen rebels and civilians bussed out of former opposition strongholds near Damascus. “Buses carrying terrorists and their families start exiting Al-Ruhayba”, a town in East Qalamun some 60 kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Damascus, state news agency SANA said, using its usual term for rebels.



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