Sunday, 22 April 2018
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Experts take samples from site of alleged Syria gas attack

Added: 22.04.2018 5:05 | 0 views | 0 comments


Investigators from the global chemical arms watchdog collected samples Saturday from the site of a suspected gas attack in Syria two weeks ago, after security concerns delayed their probe. Gruesome footage of the alleged toxic attack on April 7 in the town of Douma, just outside Damascus, horrified the world and prompted unprecedented Western strikes on Syrian military installations. Just hours after the joint missile strikes, a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria to investigate the claims.

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Macron calls Sisi to discuss Syrian crisis

Added: 22.04.2018 4:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


French President Emmanuel Macron called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday to discuss the Syrian crisis, Sisi's office said. Macron addressed the military strike that France, the United States and Britain launched in Syria a week ago, pointing out that it comes within the framework of international legitimacy, it said in a statement. The three countries launched 105 missiles in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Syria, targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities.

Russia: U.S. strikes remove moral hurdles for S-300 missiles for Assad - RIA

Added: 22.04.2018 2:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


U.S. military strikes on Syria last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, according to RIA state news agency. Lavrov was also quoted as saying that, prior to the U.S. strikes on Syrian targets, Russia had told U.S. officials which areas of Syria represented "red lines" for Moscow, and the U.S. military action did not cross those lines.

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Chemical weapons inspectors collect samples from Syria site

Added: 22.04.2018 1:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


BEIRUT (AP) — Chemical weapons inspectors collected samples from Syria's Douma on Saturday, two weeks after a suspected gas attack there followed by retaliatory strikes by Western powers on the Syrian government's chemical facilities.

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'Flamboyant' jihadi linked to 9/11 terror cell captured by Kurdish forces in Syria

Added: 21.04.2018 23:05 | 0 views | 0 comments


A Syrian-German jihadist linked to the 9/11 attacks on the United States has been captured in Syria by US-backed forces, the Pentagon said on Thursday. Mohammad Haydar Zammar, who has been accused of recruiting some of the 9/11 Al-Qaeda hijackers, was captured over a month ago by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia backed by the US. News of his capture was first reported on Wednesday by the Kurdish group. The Pentagon had said it was looking into the reports before confirming Zammar’s arrest. "We can confirm that Mohammad Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German national, was captured more than a month ago by SDF partners as part of their ongoing operations to defeat ISIS inside Syria," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). "We are working with our SDF partners to obtain additional details," Pahon said. The 9/11 Commission report into the attacks in Washington and New York that led to the deaths of almost 3,000 people described Zammar as an “outspoken, flamboyant Islamist” who “had fought in Afghanistan and relished any opportunity to extol the virtues of violent jihad.” According to the report, Zammar took credit for influencing people linked to the attacks including Mohammed Atta, who hijacked an American Airlines plane and flew it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Zammar had come into contact with Atta and others linked to the attacks while living in Hamburg, in 1997, the report says. Seven foiled UK terror plots Zammar was detained in Morocco in December 2001 in an operation involving CIA agents, and was handed over to the Syrian authorities two weeks later. He was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2007 for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. He was reportedly freed from prison in 2014 in a prison swap organised with Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham. The SDF, which has been a key western ally in the fight against Isil, has detained several high-profile foreign members of Isil as the jihadist group’s grip on Syria has collapsed. They are currently holding two alleged members of the notorious Isil torture cell known as ‘the Beatles.’ El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexandra Kotey were captured by the group in February. The two are accused of being involved in the execution and torture of hostages. US officials believe there are hundreds of foreign fighters and thousands of Syrian Isil militants in SDF custody.

Emily Thornberry booed after denying Russia is attempting to block chemical weapons inspectors

Added: 21.04.2018 23:05 | 0 views | 0 comments


Emily Thornberry was booed by a Question Time audience last night after she denied Russia was interfering in a chemical weapons inspection by officials in Syria. The shadow foreign secretary faced an angry backlash when she suggested that delays holding up inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were the result of the United Nations and its “red tape...and their safety stuff”. Last night commentators on social media claimed that her remarks were strikingly similar to those made by Russian minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said earlier this week that inspectors had not been given UN “approval” to carry out their mission. They had. The latest controversy follows the decision by the UK, France and the US to launch strikes against the Assad regime for a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta. Reports suggest that as many as 75 people were killed during the attack, thought to have been carried out by Syrian regime forces, while several hundred were injured. Inspectors from the OPCW have been sent to Syria to examine the site of the attack but have been prevented from accessing the area after a UN security team were fired upon on Wednesday whilst doing reconnaissance. The Syrian regime and Russia have since been blamed for the incident, with the US defence secretary General Jim Mattis accusing President Assad of attempting to “clean up the evidence before the investigation team gets in”. Support for air strikes on Syria has increased in the past week His comments were last night echoed by Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who told the BBC audience that “the Russians have stopped the weapons inspectors from coming in”. “They have stopped action being taken and the reality is these dreadful chemical weapons that have been used to flush out innocent citizens from their homes in Syria have been backed, not just by the Assad regime but also Russia has turned a blind eye and Russia is on the security council,” she added. “Russia frankly is a rogue state that has been allowed to do this.” However, to the frustration of other panelists, Ms Thornberry fired back that she “did not accept” the allegation against Russia, adding: “My understanding is that it’s a United Nations problem with their red tape and their safety and getting their safety stuff through.” Turning to who was responsible for the attack, Ms Thornberry also appeared to cast doubt on the conclusions drawn by the UK, French and US Governments on the Syrian regime’s culpability. Syria strikes | Read latest “I was at the Security Council discussion when it was first happening and you have the American’s on one side saying ‘of course it was the Russian’s and Assad who were responsible for these chemicals’ and the Russians were saying there were no chemicals used at all,” she continued. “Listen, whatever my personal opinion is, there are weapon inspectors in Damascus and they are going in and what they need to do is they need to prove that the chemical weapons were used and that is the baseline and that is where we start. “I want Assad prosecuted for this and if he is going to be prosecuted we need to have evidence that everyone can agree on.” It comes after Jeremy Corbyn was openly challenged by his own MPs after he suggested that “other parties” could have been responsible for the attack because they had access to chlorine gas. Meanwhile, a group of senior MPs have today formed a cross-party group to  to ensure Britain can respond to any aggression from Russia "from an informed standpoint". Support for air strikes on Syria by party vote The group will be lead by Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, and will be also be guided by senior Tory Nicky Morgan, who chairs the treasury committee. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Tugendhat said that Britain could be doing "a lot more" to put pressure on Vladimir Putin's "gangster" regime. He added that the UK should follow the United State’s lead in bringing harsh sanctions against close associates of the Russian president in the wake of Salisbury and the chemical weapons attacks. "I am very keen that we respond in a particularly targeted fashion against those who are effectively the oligarchs, the princes around the new emperor in the Kremlin,” he added. "I think it is important we target those who support Putin and his effective gangster regime. "There is a lot more we can do and the reaction of the recent sanctions from the US on the Russian government were extremely powerful and were very clearly noted by the Kremlin regime."

France urges immediate access for Syria chemical inspectors

Added: 21.04.2018 22:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


France urged the Syrian regime and its ally Moscow on Friday to grant weapons inspectors immediate access to the site of an alleged chemical attack, accusing them of "obstruction" aimed at eroding the quality of the evidence. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who arrived in Damascus last Saturday, needed "full, immediate and unhindered access" to the site in the town of Douma.

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UN Security Council meets over Syria in remote Swedish farmhouse

Added: 21.04.2018 22:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


Backåkra (Sweden) (AFP) - The UN Security Council met in a secluded farmhouse on the southern tip of Sweden on Saturday in a bid to overcome deep divisions over how to end the war in Syria. In a first for the Security Council, which normally holds its annual brainstorming session in upstate New York, the 15 ambassadors and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres were this year invited to hold an informal meeting in Backakra by Sweden, a non-permanent member of the body.

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Syrian rebels give up Damascus area town to government

Added: 21.04.2018 21:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government took control of a town northeast of Damascus on Thursday after rebels evacuated to north Syria — the latest in a string of handovers by rebels to the government.

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Chemical weapons inspectors arrive in Douma

Added: 21.04.2018 17:55 | 0 views | 0 comments

US has accused Russia and Syria of tampering with site of alleged chemical attack

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