Strikes blamed on Israel killed 9 pro-regime fighters in Syria: monitor

Suspected Israeli air strikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in Homs and Hama in the past. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Strikes blamed on Israel killed 9 pro-regime fighters in Syria: monitor

  • Syrian state media had accused Israel of bombing a military position in Aleppo province late Sunday
  • Israel has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate an entrenched presence of its archfoe Iran in the neighboring country

BEIRUT: At least nine pro-regime fighters died in an overnight strike in northern Syria blamed on Israel, a monitor said Monday.
Syrian state media had accused Israel of bombing a military position in Aleppo province late Sunday, in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in the war-ravaged country.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said that those killed included at least six Syrians and that Iranian fighters were also stationed at the base.
State news agency SANA on Sunday reported a missile strike near a strategic air base but said there were no casualties.
“The Zionist enemy... targeted with its missiles one of our military positions north of the Neirab military airport, but the damage was only material,” it said, citing a military source.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military, which very rarely confirms strikes on targets in Syria.
Israel has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate an entrenched presence of its archfoe Iran in the neighboring country.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside the country, said it had recorded a wave of blasts around Neirab on Sunday night.
It said that a suspected Israeli missile strike had targeted “positions held by Syria’s regime and its allies at the Neirab airport” and its surroundings.
Suspected Israeli air strikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in the central provinces of Homs and Hama in the past but they rarely occur as far north as Aleppo.
Tehran has dispatched military advisers to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad’s efforts to fight back a seven-year uprising against his rule.


Trump: Turkey making ‘terrible mistake’

Turkish government officials did not comment on Trump’s remarks when they spoke after prayers to mark the start of the festival. (AFP)
Updated 57 sec ago
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Trump: Turkey making ‘terrible mistake’

  • Turkey has demanded that the US hand over Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in the US and who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup attempt
  • A Turkish court last week rejected Brunson’s appeal for release, drawing a stiff rebuke from Trump

ISTANBUL: The lira weakened against the dollar on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump said he would give Turkey no concessions in return for the release of a detained American pastor, the latest salvo in a worsening rift between the NATO allies.
In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Trump criticized Ankara over the detention of the evangelical Christian pastor, Andrew Brunson, and said he was not concerned that his tough stance against Turkey could end up hurting European and emerging market economies.
Brunson, who is originally from North Carolina and has lived in Turkey for two decades, has been detained for 21 months on terrorism charges, which he denies. The pastor has become an unwitting flashpoint for the diplomatic tension, which has accelerated the crisis in the lira.
Trump said that, after he helped persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen, he thought Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would then release Brunson.
“I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions,” Trump said.
The lira weakened to 6.0925 against the US currency by 1111 GMT, from a close of 6.0865 on Monday, when Turkish markets began a holiday to mark the Muslim Eid Al-Adha festival that continues for the rest of this week.
Trade was thinner than usual and probably mainly offshore, with local markets closed for the holiday. The currency has lost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year. However, selling on Tuesday was limited due to a broadly weaker dollar.
Turkish government officials did not comment on Trump’s remarks when they spoke after prayers to mark the start of the festival.
Devlet Bahceli, leader of a nationalist party allied with Erdogan’s AK Party, told reporters: “We have no business with those who love Brunson more than us.”

Prayers and gifts
Erdogan, who had been expected to speak to reporters after morning prayers, made no public statement.
He has repeatedly cast the currency crisis as an attack on Turkey but has stopped short of singling out any one country.
He prayed on Tuesday morning at a mosque near the tourist resort of Marmaris on the south coast and then handed out gifts to local children, the Milliyet newspaper reported.
He also spoke by phone to soldiers stationed near the border with Iraq, sending them greetings for Eid Al-Adha.
“I believe that as long as you stand tall our flag will not fall, our call to prayer will not fall silent and this homeland of ours will not be divided,” the Hurriyet newspaper reported him as saying.
On Monday, he appealed to Turks’ religious and patriotic feelings ahead of the holiday, promising they would not be brought “to their knees” by the economic crisis.
Turkey has demanded that the US hand over Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in the US and who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup attempt, but Washington has balked at this.
A Turkish court last week rejected Brunson’s appeal for release, drawing a stiff rebuke from Trump. The US president — who counts evangelical Christians among his core supporters — has said he would double previously announced tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.
On Monday Turkey initiated a dispute complaint with the World Trade Organization over the tariffs.
Separately, ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday that tight liquidity amplified risks for Turkish companies.
Another ratings agency, DBRS, said European banks with Turkey exposure face a manageable capital impact.
Underlining the increased diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the US, the US Embassy in Ankara came under gunfire on Monday. Nobody was injured and Turkish authorities later detained two men over the incident.