Daesh attack in Syria desert kills more than 30 regime troops and allied militia

File photo showing regime troops take up positions near the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh in an operation on March 2, 2017. ( AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Daesh attack in Syria desert kills more than 30 regime troops and allied militia

  • Daesh militants attacked regime troops in the Badiya area, the destination for extremists evacuated from southern Damascus.
  • Syrian troops and allied foreign militia members among the dead in the Badiya attack near Palmyra.

BEIRUT: More than two dozen pro-government forces based in Syria’s desert died in a surprise Daesh attack Tuesday, a day after the extremists militants were removed from the outskirts of Damascus, a monitor said.
“At least 30 regime soldiers and allied militia were killed in an Daesh attack at dawn today, against one of their posts in the Syrian Badiya,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Among them were Iranian militiamen, said the Britain-based monitor.
The Badiya is a vast desert region stretching from central Syria to the eastern border with Iraq, where Daesh still holds small pockets.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the attack hit a small base east of Palmyra, the famed ancient city that Daesh has overrun twice in Syria’s war.
“It began with a car bomb targeting regime forces that set off clashes that are still ongoing,” he said.
Five Daesh militants were also killed.
Daesh militants launched their attack from a pocket they control in the Badiya, and which was the destination for extremists evacuated from southern Damascus on Sunday and Monday,” Abdel Rahman added.
Syria’s government on Monday seized a southern pocket of the capital from Daesh, announcing that the regime was back in full control of Damascus and its outskirts.
The Observatory, as well as a military source close to the regime, said the capture came after Daesh militants were bussed out of the zone to desert territory.


Iran must stop supporting militias for peace offer to be taken seriously: Expert 

Updated 26 May 2019
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Iran must stop supporting militias for peace offer to be taken seriously: Expert 

  • Iran has for long pursued a policy of outsourcing its meddling to external militias
  • Among these are the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen

JEDDAH: Iran needs to dismantle its proxies and end its interventions in Arab affairs before seeking to normalize relations with its Gulf neighbors, a political expert told Arab News on Sunday.

“The Gulf countries have been calling for normal relations with their neighbors for years, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears on the Iranian side,” Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said.

Accusing Tehran of “playing games,” Al-Shehri described Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s suggestion that Iran wanted to improve relations with its Gulf neighbors as worthless “as long as it continues meddling in the affairs of other countries, and fails to halt its evil militias from sabotaging and destabilizing regional security.”

Iran has for long pursued a policy of outsourcing its meddling to external militias, which indirectly supports, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. 

Zarif, who is on a two-day visit to Iraq, told a joint news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Al-Hakim that Iran wants to build balanced relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors and had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.

However, Al-Shehri said that Tehran needs to address three key issues — its nuclear program; its terrorist militias, which have been spreading chaos in the Gulf region and beyond; and its ballistic missile program — before making any such proposals.

“The question is, would Iran be ready to give up all three files? If they want their neighbors to accept them and normalize relations with them, they have to be honest and stop playing games,” he said.

Al-Shehri described Zarif’s regional tour as an attempt to rally support and send a false message that Iran has friends and allies who would stand by them in their crisis with the US.

“Where were these countries when Iran’s terrorist proxies in Yemen, the Houthi militias, launched missiles and drones attacking the holiest Islamic site in Makkah and other Saudi facilities?” Al-Shehri asked.

Zarif said Iran will defend itself against any military or economic aggression, calling on European states to do more to preserve a nuclear agreement his country signed.

“We will defend (ourselves) against any war efforts, whether it be an economic war or a military one, and we will face these efforts with strength,” he said.

Strains have increased between Iran and the US following this month’s sabotage attack on oil tankers in the Gulf. Washington and other regional allies have concluded that Iran is most likely behind the attacks. 

Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the US has sent an aircraft carrier and extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns over the risk of conflict in the volatile region.