Saudi National Day celebrated by GCC neighbors

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A team of greeters welcome Saudis arriving at Dubai International Airport (Twitter)
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A man is welcomed to Dubai International Airport from Saudi Arabia (Twitter)
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Kuwait towers lit up with Saudi national flag (Twitter)
Updated 21 September 2017

Saudi National Day celebrated by GCC neighbors

DUBAI: UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed has congratulated Saudi Arabia on its 87th National Day.
Taking to Twitter the Dubai Ruler took to Twitter on Thursday saying: “Congratulations to our brothers in KSA on their 87th National Day; our countries share a cherished partnership and their joy is our joy.”
The Saudi national day is being marked across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) with various events taking place over Thursday and Friday.
In the UAE events include spectacular firework displays across Dubai and Arab pop stars Balqees, Dalia Mubarak, Waed, and Rakan Khaled will all be performing concerts over the two days.
Meanwhile the UAE has also taken to social media to mark the event with a special Arabic hashtag which translates to Together_Forever.
The hashtag creates an emoji Saudi King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

And mobile customers in the UAE will probably have noticed that both Etisalat and du have the message “UAE KSA TOGETHER” running across the top of their phone screens.
In a prayer also tweeted by Sheikh Mohammed he called on “Almighty Allah” to “bring glory on the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his Crown Prince.”
He added: “Together_Forever Saudi Arabia and the UAE, their success is our success, their country is our country and their ruler is our pride. Together forever in fate, in the service of Islam and in defense of our nations.”
The celebrations were also marked on Wednesday at the arrivals area of Dubai International Airport where visitors were met by a team of greeters handing out sweets, flowers and gifts.

In Dubai Creek at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday there will be a fireworks display, and visitors to the various malls will be able to watch and participate in various events.
And in Kuwait Souq Al-Mubarakeya market was decorated and the iconic Kuwait Towers were lit up with the Saudi flag.
Meanwhile shoppers in Bahrain will be entertained with traditional music and dance at the country’s largest shopping mall “City Center Bahrain.”
There will also be a selection of prizes to be won and special promotions laid on to mark the event.
This weekend also marks the Islamic New Year — Hijri – but while much of the GCC was given the day off to celebrate on Thursday, Oman announced late Wednesday that Sunday would be a national holiday.
The announcement came after the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs said it could not sight the moon of Muharram of the new Hijri year 1439 AH on Wednesday evening.
But the ministry added that Thursday, Sept. 21 would be the last day of the current Islamic year.
“Friday will be the first day of Muharram which falls on September 22, 2017,” the ministry said in its moon sighting statement.


Turkey-backed fighters retaliate against Syria-allied troops

Updated 18 min 39 sec ago

Turkey-backed fighters retaliate against Syria-allied troops

  • Renewed violence has undermined an already shaky cease-fire in place since March

BEIRUT: Syrian opposition groups lobbed hundreds of missiles and artillery rockets at government posts in northwestern Syria on Tuesday, in retaliation for a deadly attack that killed dozens of their fighters a day earlier.
The renewed violence has undermined an already shaky cease-fire in place since March that aimed to quell military operations and government troop advances in the overcrowded rebel enclave.
The Turkey-backed groups, operating under the umbrella of the National Front for Liberation, fired hundreds of artillery rounds and missiles since late Monday at government posts in territories adjacent to areas they control in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.
A spokesman for the NFL, Naji Al-Mustafa, said the rebel’s military retaliation targeted and killed Russian officers in southern Idlib, as well as Syrian soldiers working in the area.
The report could not be independently verified and there was no immediate comment from Russia or Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded hundreds of projectiles lobbed by opposition fighters at nearly 20 government posts in different locations in southern Idlib, western Aleppo and the coastal province of Latakia. The Observatory said there were casualties but had no details.
Monday’s strike was the deadliest in Idlib since the Turkish-Russian-brokered truce there came into effect in March, raising fears that the truce could further fray. Some 1 million people were displaced by the last offensive inside the already packed enclave, home to over 3 million.
The airstrike on a rebel training camp near the border with Turkey killed more than 50 Turkish-backed fighters, according to one opposition spokesman, and wounded nearly as many, in one of the heaviest blows to the opposition’s strongest groups. The Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, put the toll at 78 fighters dead and nearly 90 wounded.
The camp, operated by Faylaq Al-Sham, an NFL faction, was hosting training sessions for new recruits. The NFL said a “large number” of fighters were killed, but declined to give details. It vowed retaliation and blamed Russia for the attack.
US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey said the escalation in Idlib in violation of the March cease-fire deal is “dangerous” and threatens to prolong the conflict and deepen the Syrian people’s suffering. Jeffrey said the UN-led political process is the only way to peace and stability in Syria.
“By continuing their quest for a military victory, the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are threatening the stability of the surrounding region,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “It is time for the Assad regime and its allies to end their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people.”
Russia and Turkey, although they support opposite sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, have worked together to maintain a cease-fire in the last enclave of Syria’s rebels. But the attack comes as relations between the two countries have shown signs of strain over Turkey’s increased military involvement in a region stretching from Syria to the Caucasus and the Mediterranean.