Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack

An explosion on the Arab gas pipeline has caused a total blackout in Syria on Sunday. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 24 August 2020

Syria says pipeline blast that caused blackout was terrorist attack

CAIRO: The Syrian government said an explosion on a main gas pipeline traversing the Middle East on Monday was the result of a terrorist attack, and the United States said it suspected Daesh militants of carrying out the sabotage.
The blast caused a blackout across Syria, but power was gradually being restored, officials said.
It took place on the Arab Gas Pipeline between the towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra, northwest of the capital Damascus.
"Assessments show that the explosion...was the result of a terrorist attack," Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem said, quoted by state news agency SANA. He did not provide further detail.
In Geneva, the US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said there had been an upsurge in Daesh activity in the southeast of the Syrian desert. Daesh lost its last territory in Syria in March 2019 but pockets of fighters remain.
"We are still looking into (the explosion). But it was almost certainly a strike by ISIS," Jeffrey told reporters at the start of UN-sponsored talks on the Syria conflict.
The Arab Gas Pipeline system extends from Egypt into Jordan and Syria. Syrian state-run Ikhbariya TV channel showed footage of a large fire after the explosion. The channel said later the blaze had been extinguished.
A Damascus resident said power had returned to the city.
In 2013, much of Syria was hit by a power cut after rebel shelling hit a gas pipeline.

No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

Updated 18 September 2020

No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

  • Kremlin observes ‘progress’ in the normalization of ties in the region

MOSCOW: Russia said it would be a “mistake” to think of peace in the Middle East without resolving the Palestinian issue.

The Foreign Ministry statement came on Thursday after Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the UAE at the White House on Tuesday.

Russia said it noted “progress” in the normalization of ties between Israel and several Arab countries but said that “the Palestinian problem remains acute.” 

“It would be a mistake to think that without finding a solution to it that it will be possible to secure lasting stabilization in the Middle East.” 

Moscow urged regional and global players to “ramp up coordinated efforts” to solve the issue. 

“Russia is ready for such joint work,” including in the framework of the diplomatic Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators and in close coordination with the Arab League, the Foreign Ministry said. 

US President Donald Trump has said similar US-brokered deals are close between the Jewish state and several other nations. 

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that only an Israeli withdrawal from its occupied territories could bring peace to the Middle East.