Kremlin: No information about reports of Russian mercenaries killed in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu talk to each other after visiting an exhibition at the Russian military's headquarters as part of a conference on the Russian campaign in Syria in Moscow, Russia, in this Jan. 30, 2018 photo. (AP)
Updated 14 February 2018
0

Kremlin: No information about reports of Russian mercenaries killed in Syria

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had no information about Russian mercenaries reportedly being killed in Syria, saying it only knew about Russian nationals who had been deployed there as members of the Russian armed forces.
It was responding to media reports citing associates of Russian mercenaries saying some of them had been killed this month when US-led coalition forces clashed with pro-government forces in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.
“We don’t have information about other Russians who might be in Syria,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call when asked about the alleged deaths.
Speaking with reporters in Europe, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he had seen the media reports.
“There is now reporting in the press. I don’t have any reporting that some Russians, non-Russian Federation soldiers, but Russian contractors, were among the casualties. I can’t give you anything on that, we have not received that word at Central Command or the Pentagon,” Mattis said.
In Washington, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the top US Air Force general in the Middle East, said he would not speculate on the forces.
“I will not speculate on the composition of this force or whose control they were under,” Harrigian told reporters.


Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

Updated 17 August 2018
0

Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

  • United States, which leads the anti-Daesh coalition, expressed its  thanks for the funds
  • The money will help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has contributed $100 million to help reconstruct areas of north-eastern Syria formerly held by Daesh.

The Kingdom said the contribution would go toward a campaign by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to “stabilize” the former Daesh bastion and help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat.

The United States, which leads the coalition, expressed its  thanks and appreciation to Riyadh.

“This significant contribution is critical to stabilization and early recovery efforts,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “Saudi Arabia has been a leading partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS from the outset.”

The funds are the biggest single financial  contribution yet for reconstruction efforts in areas formerly controlled by the extremists.

The money would “save lives, help facilitate the return of displaced Syrians, and help ensure that Daesh cannot reemerge to threaten Syria, its neighbors, or plan attacks against the international community,” the Saudi Embassy in Washington said.

The contribution aims to support “stabilization projects” and “will play a critical role in the coalition’s efforts to revitalize communities, such as Raqqa, that have been devastated by Daesh terrorists.”

The statement said the money showed Saudi Arabia’s continued commitment to serve as a stabilizing force in the region.

The funds, part of a pledge made by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir last month, will go towards projects to restore essential services in the areas of health, agriculture, electricity, water, education, and transportation.

The United Nations has said reconstruction in Syria would cost at least $250 billion. The Daesh takeover of large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014 led to huge levels of destruction. 

A conference on the reconstruction of Iraq held in Kuwait in February raised $30 billion in funding commitment. Saudi Arabia said at the event it would contribute $1.5 billion in financial and reconstruction support. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the founding conference for the coalition in Jeddah in September 2014, and soon after flew the first air missions to bomb Daesh targets in Syria.