GCC-Russia pact ‘will help resolve Mideast crises’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens to his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir (R) during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 May 2016
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GCC-Russia pact ‘will help resolve Mideast crises’

MOSCOW: Russia’s pact with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will help solve the crises facing the Middle East, particular Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said here Thursday.
Al-Jubeir made the comments following a meeting between the GCC’s foreign ministers and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the fourth GCC-Russian strategic dialogue gathering.
At a press conference with Lavrov, Al-Jubeir said the GCC and Russia have enjoyed solid ties over the years and share common interests. He said Russia also respected the sovereignty of nations and was committing to international law.
Al-Jubeir said the meeting was fruitful and that there had been intense discussion on seeking a cease-fire in Syria and tackling extremist and terrorist groups. “We are working with Russia to confront the challenges facing the region.” He also praised Moscow for supporting the Palestinian cause.
Lavrov said that Russia, under the auspices of the UN Security Council, supports attempts to seek peace in the Middle East and North Africa. He said the discussions focused on Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq among others.
Lavrov said the Russian government supports Saudi Arabia’s formation of an Islamic alliance to tackle terrorism globally. He said Russia was seeking to consolidate agreements with Saudi Arabia in the oil and nuclear fields.
Thursday’s meeting comes as rebels in northern Syria reportedly continue to make slow progress in their campaign to evict Daesh from its stronghold in the Iraqi city of Raqqa.


Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

Updated 27 min 52 sec ago
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Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

  • Syrian government claims Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen
  • Opposition leader says the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire

JEDDAH: Bashar Assad’s forces are using the threat of Daesh to justify brutal acts against civilians, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi said.

His remarks on Thursday came as Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen, surrendered by the terror group six months ago.

At least 13 insurgents were killed in the raid, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Daesh was continuing its advance on the town from the Badia desert, observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The attack was the largest since the terror group was expelled from the town in October 2017, he added.

However, the opposition spokesman described the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire.

“As for those so-called 25 regime soldiers, the regime is abducting people, training them on how to pull the trigger and sending them to die.

“They are being used to send a message that the regime is still fighting terrorism,” Al-Aridi told Arab News.

He claimed that Mayadeen “still holds people who could be classified as Daesh, and the regime exploits that any time it wants.”

Regime airstrikes and artillery fire also pounded Daesh-occupied areas in the south of Damascus on Thursday. Warplanes targeted “the dens of terrorists from Al-Nusra Front and Daesh in Hajjar Al-Aswad,” a southern district of the capital, pro-Assad media said.

Iraq’s air force also carried out “deadly” airstrikes on Daesh positions inside Syria, Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s office said.

Meanwhile, the US warned that the Assad regime could still carry out limited chemical attacks despite last week’s coalition strikes. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the US military’s Joint Staff, said the regime retained a “residual” chemical capability at sites across the country.

Separately, the regime took control of Dumayr, a town northeast of Damascus, after rebels evacuated to north Syria.