Hariri’s Russia visit aims to deepen defense ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a meeting in Sochi on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Hariri’s Russia visit aims to deepen defense ties

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi.
Putin said Wednesday ahead of the meeting that agreements signed between the two countries during Hariri’s visit to Russia would “work toward the positive development of our bilateral inter-state relationship,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.
After the meeting, Hariri said that deepening military ties and reconstruction in war-torn Syria had been discussed.
Hariri met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.
The Lebanese leader told Russian state television channel Rossiya 24 on Wednesday that Beirut wanted to buy more Russian military equipment and that Russian energy companies are in line to win drilling licenses off Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast.


Syria police deploy in south Damascus after Daesh defeat

Updated 22 May 2018
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Syria police deploy in south Damascus after Daesh defeat

DAMASCUS: Syrian police deployed across devastated districts in southern Damascus on Tuesday, according to state media, a day after the government captured the area from the Daesh group.
The government on Monday seized the Yarmuk Palestinian camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajjar Al-Aswad, putting Damascus fully under its control for the first time since 2012.
On Tuesday, police units entered Yarmuk and Hajjar Al-Aswad and planted the two-star Syrian flag there, state television reported.
It broadcast images of security forces atop a pockmarked multi-story building in Yarmuk where they had hung the national flag.
They had also plastered pictures of President Bashar Assad and his predecessor and father Hafez.
Other police officers gathered in the ravaged streets below and fired in the air in celebration.
“The police are present round-the-clock,” said one officer interviewed on the state broadcaster.
“Special units are deployed across the camp to help any civilians and protect their belongings,” he said.
It also showed footage from Hajjar Al-Aswad of a convoy of police cars and motorcycles making its way through dusty streets lined with crumbling buildings.
There were no civilians in sight.
Yarmuk, Hajjar Al-Aswad and the nearby district of Tadamun all lie in a southern pocket of Damascus that had escaped regime control for several years.
The government began losing its grip on parts of the capital in 2012, just one year after the conflict in Syria erupted.
But it has made a comeback this year, with Assad using a mix of military pressure and evacuation deals to flush rebels and militants out of Damascus and its outskirts.
His troops and allied Palestinian fighters turned their sights on Yarmuk and the other Daesh-held parts of the capital last month.
Daesh overran Yarmuk in 2015, but the massive Palestinian camp had already been ravaged by years of rebel infighting and government attacks.
Syria’s army announced it had seized Yarmuk from Daesh on Monday.
Several sources, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a military source close to Damascus, said the capture came after a negotiated withdrawal of Daesh fighters. The government has denied such a deal.