French President Macron welcomes Lebanon’s Hariri to Elysee Palace

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Elysee Presidential Palace on November 18. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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French President Macron welcomes Lebanon’s Hariri to Elysee Palace

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Saad Hariri for talks Saturday, an AFP reporter said, hours after the Lebanese premier arrived from Saudi Arabia in the midst of a political crisis.
Hariri, who made a resignation announcement on November 4 and has since fended off claims he was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will, was also due to have lunch with Macron.
Macron has been attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon’s fragile democracy.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation while he remains abroad, and Macron said ahead of the talks that he would be welcomed “with the honors due to a prime minister.”
Aoun said on Saturday that he had spoken by telephone to the premier after his arrival in Paris, and that Hariri said he would be back in Lebanon for Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.
VIDEO: Saad Hariri and his family meet French President Macron at Elysee
 


Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters get a major boost as Ankara backs them with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them hold their ground. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2019
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Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

  • Ankara signals readiness to preserve its influence in Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern region

AMMAN: Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian opposition fighters it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and opposition sources said on Saturday.
Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of opposition-held territory in the northwest of the country.
Syria’s Bashar Assad launched the assault last month, saying fighters had breached an existing cease-fire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and the opposition fighters in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.
Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

FASTFACT

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior opposition commander said. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near opposition-held Jabal Al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a fighter and a witness said.
The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda.