Iran signs agreement to bolster Syria’s air defense systems

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, met with Syria President Bashar Assad during his second visit to Syria since 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Iran signs agreement to bolster Syria’s air defense systems

  • Assad said the agreement is the result of “years of cooperation for confronting terrorism” in Syria
  • Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri met with Syria President Assad during his second visit to Syria since 2019

TEHRAN: Iran’s military chief has signed an agreement with Syria’s president to reinforce Syria’s air defense systems as part of a military cooperation agreement, Iranian state TV reported Friday.
Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, met with Syria President Bashar Assad during his second visit to Syria since 2019.
Assad said the agreement signed by both sides is the result of “years of cooperation for confronting terrorism” in Syria.
Bagheri said it “will improve the determination of the two nations to confront US pressures.” He didn’t elaborate.
US ally Israel has occasionally attacked Iranian forces in Syria that Iran says are there to support Syria’s fight against rebel groups as part of the country’s 9-year civil war.
Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In a brief video aired on Iranian state TV, Assad is seen receiving Bagheri and his delegation.
In November, Israeli fighter jets hit multiple targets belonging to Iran’s elite Quds force in Syria following rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Iran, which rarely comments on Israeli strikes, is the No. 1 regional supporter of Assad while also supporting anti-Israel militant groups like Palestinian Hamas and Hezbollah.


COVID-19 infection rates among UAE citizens increased by 30%

Updated 12 min 33 sec ago

COVID-19 infection rates among UAE citizens increased by 30%

  • The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is 61,845 and 354 deaths
  • Meanwhile, the UAE celebrated reaching 5000 vaccinated volunteers in its phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine

DUBAI: The UAE’s Minister of Health and Prevention announced a 30 percent rise in new COVID-19 cases among citizens on Thursday and warned of the dangers of gatherings that do not follow measures.

The minister called for those in the UAE to exercise caution and care in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The official spokesman for the UAE Government, Omar Al-Hammadi, said that the total number of recorded cases in the UAE is 61,845 and 354 deaths, while the current number of patients receiving treatment has reached 5,752.

Meanwhile, the UAE celebrated reaching 5000 vaccinated volunteers in its phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19, state news agency WAM reported.

The trials began in Abu Dhabi last month after China’s Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer, developed an inactivated vaccine that successfully completed phase I and II of testing.

Phase I and Phase II trials, which were conducted in China, resulted in 100 percent of the volunteers generating antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after two doses in 28 days.

Over 80 nationalities in the UAE have volunteered to participate in the trails, according to WAM.

“This milestone marks a significant achievement for the ongoing clinical trials and is testament to the global commitment to humanity of everyone who calls the UAE home,” Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee, Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi, said.

"We reached the 5000 vaccinations faster than anticipated and believe that our trials of the inactivated vaccine are moving faster than comparable trials processes anywhere in the world,” he added.

Alkaabi said that the UAE aims to vaccinate 15,000 volunteers.

The thousands of volunteers who have been vaccinated come from a diverse background and are of all ages between 18 and 60.