Russia in search of a new strategy in Syria

Al Jazeera

For the second time in months, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said "we will fight on to liberate every inch of our land". The last time Assad made a similar statement, he was scolded by the Russian ambassador to the UN who said this was not in line with the Kremlin's policies. At the time, it wasn't - Russia was pushing for a political settlement and was involved in efforts with the United States to bring about a cessation of hostilities to create a conducive atmosphere for peace talks. This time around, however, Assad has so far not been told off. Instead, Russia sent its defence minister to Iran's capital Tehran to take part in talks with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts.


Israel hints it could hit Iran's 'air force' in Syria

The Japan Times

JERUSALEM – Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate. Iran, along with Damascus and its big-power backer Russia, blamed Israel for an April 9 airstrike on a Syrian air base, T-4, that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Iranian officials have promised unspecified reprisals. Israeli media ran satellite images and a map of five Syrian air bases allegedly used to field Iranian drones or cargo aircraft, as well as the names of three senior IRGC officers suspected of commanding related projects, such as missile units. The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites.


US military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria

Associated Press

In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria. Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force in charge of the country's missile program, said it launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan. In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria. In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria.


U.N. hopes to build momentum for humanitarian aid in Syria if cease-fire holds

Los Angeles Times

As a cease-fire in Syria entered its third day, authorities said Wednesday that the government was to begin withdrawing forces from a strategic road in the besieged rebel-held area of Aleppo, a move that would open the way for U.N. relief shipments. Syrian forces, with Russian air support, closed the road in July, thereby completing the encirclement of rebel districts with a population of as many as 300,000. A withdrawal south of Castello Road was to begin Thursday morning, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Rebel forces reportedly were to retreat simultaneously to positions north of the road. But it remained unclear whether residents of the city would accept the sacks of flour and food baskets the United Nations hopes to deliver.


Prince William arrives in Jordan, praises 'historic ties and friendship'

FOX News

Britain's Prince William on Sunday praised "historic ties and friendship" with Jordan and the kingdom's commitment to Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as he began a historic five-day tour that also includes Israel and the Palestinian territories. Though billed as non-political, it's a high-profile visit for William, 36, second in line to the throne. He is meeting with young scientists, refugees and political leaders in a tumultuous region Britain controlled between the two world wars. In Jordan, the prince was hosted by Crown Prince Hussein, 23, a member of the Hashemite dynasty Britain helped install in then-Transjordan almost a century ago. The pair capped the day Sunday by watching England's World Cup match against Panama which the heir to the Jordanian throne had recorded earlier, Press Association said.