Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels: state news

A general view shows moke rising from buildings following an air strike on Jobar, a rebel-held district on the eastern outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday. (AFP / AMER ALMOHIBANY)
Updated 24 March 2017
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Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels: state news

DAMASCUS: Syrian government troops on Friday recaptured all points taken by rebels in a surprise offensive launched late last week in the east of the capital Damascus, state media said.
“The army has retaken all the areas infiltrated by the terrorists in the area between the Jobar and Qabun neighborhoods... after intensive military operations,” the official SANA news agency reported.
State television showed a reporter greeting cheering soldiers near Abbasid Square, which had been emptied of its usual traffic at the beginning of the rebel assault on Sunday.
Footage showed burned out cars in the streets and a building with a hole blasted through its side.
The surprise attack, which sparked heavy fighting and shelling, was launched from the Jobar neighborhood, where control is divided between rebels and government forces.
The assault was intended to assist allied rebel fighters in the nearby districts of Barzeh, Tishreen and Qabun, as they came under government attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
The assault involved rebels including the Islamist Faylaq Al-Rahman group, as well as the jihadist Fateh Al-Sham Front, known as Al-Nusra Front before it renounced ties with Al-Qaeda.
Jobar in the east of Damascus has been a battleground for more than two years, with government forces seeking to push rebels out because of the neighborhood’s proximity to the heart of the capital.
During the fighting, rebels briefly penetrated the central Abbasid Square area, and schools were closed because of the fighting, as residents cowered at home.
More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria’s war began with anti-government protest in March 2011, but the capital has been insulated from much of the worst violence.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”