Hard-line Iranian cleric Raisi gets second powerful job in a week

On Thursday March 7, 2019, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei named Raisi as the country's new judiciary chief. (File/AP/Vahid Salemi)
Updated 12 March 2019
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Hard-line Iranian cleric Raisi gets second powerful job in a week

GENEVA: Hard-line Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected on Tuesday as deputy chief of the Assembly of Experts, an influential clerical body which chooses the Supreme Leader, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
He got the job less than a week after he was appointed head of the judiciary — making the protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a key player in Iran’s politics.


Russia says Syrian government forces has halted fire in Idlib

Updated 20 May 2019
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Russia says Syrian government forces has halted fire in Idlib

  • The last round of violence also displaced some 180,000 in opposition-held areas
DAMASCUS: Syrian government forces have unilaterally ceased fire in the northern Idlib province, the last major opposition stronghold, Russia said on Sunday, while opposition activists reported continued shelling and airstrikes.
Fighting erupted in Idlib late last month, effectively shattering a cease-fire negotiated by Russia and Turkey that had been in place since September. Russia has firmly backed Syria’s Bashar Assad regime in the eight-year civil war, while Turkey has supported the opposition.
In a brief statement on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria said regime forces had ceased fire as of midnight. It described the move as unilateral, but did not give details.
The pro-government Syrian Central Military Media said regime forces responded to shelling by militants on Sunday on the edge of Idlib. It gave no further details.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitoring group, reported an airstrike on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, saying it inflicted casualties.
The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense also reported shelling near the town of Jisr Al-Shughour without reporting any casualties.
Syrian government forces intensified their attacks as of April 30 on Idlib. The area is home to some 3 million people, many of whom are internally displaced. The last round of violence also displaced some 180,000 in opposition-held areas.