Putin to talk with Saudi’s King Salman following Assad’s Russia meeting

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as seen in Damascus, Syria November 14, 2017. (Reuters)
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(Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)
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(Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2017
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Putin to talk with Saudi’s King Salman following Assad’s Russia meeting

DUBAI: Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a telephone conversation with the king of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to inform him about his meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Kremlin said.
“Today there will be Putin’s telephone conversation with the king of Saudi Arabia, and one can certainly expect that Putin will inform his Saudi counterpart about yesterday’s meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.
Putin had previously said he planned to talk to US counterpart Donald Trump on the telephone on Tuesday after the unannounced meeting with Assad in Sochi.
Putin said he intended to “hold consultations” with the leaders of other countries.
Assad visited Sochi in Russia on Monday to meet with Putin, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.
Russian state TV said the two leaders held bilateral talks on Monday and then met with Russian military chiefs.
It was the second time Assad has traveled to Russia to meet with Putin in the course of the country’s six-year civil war.
The first was in October 2015, shortly after Russia launched its military campaign in Syria to shore up Assad’s forces. The Russian intervention has turned the war in favor of Assad.
According to the Kremlin, Assad said that Damascus is interested in promoting a political process after the government defeats “terrorists” in the country and added that he is interested in working with any party that seeks a political settlement. Assad also thanked Russia for its role in “saving our country.”
Meanwhile, Putin hailed Assad’s apparent readiness to cooperate with all parties seeking a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis and added that he plans to speak to US President Donald Trump and regional leaders about the Syrian issue.
Putin also said that the visit by Assad came ahead of visits by the presidents of Turkey and Iran to Russia, planned for this week.
The meeting in Sochi comes a week before UN-sponsored peace talks are to resume in Geneva.
Assad’s office confirmed the visit on its Facebook page.

(With AFP and Reuters)


Iraq carries out more air strikes against Daesh in Syria

Updated 25 May 2018
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Iraq carries out more air strikes against Daesh in Syria

  • At least 65 senior Daesh leaders live in Hajjin.
  • Hajjin is in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, about 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) from Iraq’s border.

BAGHDAD: Iraq announced Friday it had carried out air strikes against Daesh in Syria, the third cross border aerial operation inside a month in its war-torn neighbor.
“Iraqi F-16 planes carried out (Thursday) morning raids against the headquarters of Daesh terrorist gang leaders and an explosives depot occupied by terrorists in Syria’s Hajjin region,” a statement by Iraq’s operations command said.
A video released with the text shows a strike on a huge building surrounded by palm trees and a wall.
The images show the wall and the building collapsing simultaneously.
Several strikes have been carried out by Iraq or the international coalition since Thursday against the center of Hajjin, the last major area held by Daesh in Syria, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
At least 65 senior Daesh leaders live in Hajjin, the Observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Hajjin is in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, about 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) from Iraq’s border.
It has been surrounded since the end of 2017 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States and France, Abdel Rahman said.
Several hundred prisoners are still held by the militants in Hajjin, he added.
Since April, Iraq’s air force has carried out several air strikes on Daesh held Syrian territory close to the border between the two countries.
Daesh seized a third of Iraq in 2014, before the government declared victory in December, but the military has continued regular operations along the porous Syrian border.