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

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.

Qatari royal takes to Twitter to condemn 'unbearable' conditions under Sheikh Tamim

Updated 53 min 38 sec ago

Qatari royal takes to Twitter to condemn 'unbearable' conditions under Sheikh Tamim

JEDDAH: A member of the Qatari royal family has taken to Twitter to attack the government of Emir Sheikh Tamim, accusing Doha of foreign and domestic mismanagement and the harassment of other royal family members. 

Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Thani claimed the domestic situation in Qatar has become unbearable, according to a translation by Al Arabiya of some of the points made in a Twitter question and answer session on the account carrying his name.

He said the boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries over Doha’s links to extremist groups meant that the internal problems were not just the rising prices but also “the complete isolation the regime has imposed on its people.”

He said large numbers of the royal family had been banned from travelling.

“The Al-Thani family cannot travel without prior permission. Anyone who did get approval from the regime was not allowed to travel especially after opposition within the family increased as they tried to save their country from this dark crisis.”

Sheikh Fahad said the “tragedies” that had befallen his country 

were down to the former Emir’s reliance on the radical cleric Youssef Al-Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Although the people of Qatar have no links with this terrorist group,” he said.