Mr. Zarif called Mr. Angelino Alfano, Italian counterpart Wednesday to discuss latest situation in bilateral relations as well as matters of mutual interest. Zarif rejected unilateral US missile attackg on al-Shayrat airfield purportedly to respond alleged Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians in Idlib province earlier this month; “this is totally unacceptable that a country hits a target in a sovereign nation on the conjectural matter that Assad had used chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhoun, a speculation many observers still cast doubt as to the certainty of the incident”, Mr. Zarif said in the phone call. Both sides shared the view that a fact-finding committee should look into the issue to provide to the international public some enlightenment on the disaster. Syrian government says an old depot of chemical weapons belonging to the rebel fighters was hit by airstrike and poisonous gases from the depot polluted the air in Khan Shaikhoun, Idlib province. Among the victims young people and children were detected. Opposition groups and western media had implicated President Assad in the incident while the Syrian government had totally given up its chemical weapons under UN control and confirmation.
The Internal Security Forces and a patrol of the Intelligence branch have managed to foil an attempt to kidnap a Syrian national on Bhersaf-Bikfaya highway, according to a statement issued by the ISF. A Lebanese man was arrested and his pistol and car were confiscated. The inmate admitted to having planned this operation. Meanwhile, work is underway to arrest the other people involved in this case.
The Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation forces launched an offensive on the Kurdish section of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northern Syria and pushed them back from several villages. They forces attacked the Kurdish fighters positions and seized control of Tal Tourin and Qarah villages in Eastern al-Bab after fierce clashes. Meantime, Sharafan Darvish, the spokesman of the military council of the Northern city of Manbij, said that the Turkish army and the Ankara-backed militants launched an offensive on the positions of the Kurdish troops on Wednesday, and captured several villages near Manbij and the military council of Manbij announced in a statement that the Kurdish forces will surrender the villages bordering the areas occupied by the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants to the Syrian army. The statement said that based on an agreement with the Russian side, the control of these villages will be given to the Syrian government’s border guards.
Kremlin’s spokesman says President Vladimir Putin has been informed by Russia’s defense minister that Syrian government forces have taken control of Palmyra, with support from Russian warplanes. Syrian state media said the government forces battling the Islamic State group re-entered Palmyra earlier in the day, aiming to retake the historic town that they had lost to the militants in December.
Syrian government forces have captured a third of the rebel-held territory in eastern Aleppo, monitors say. The advance, after heavy bombing from the air, is a major blow for the armed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. Thousands of civilians have fled the besieged districts after a weekend of heavy fighting. Hundreds of families have been displaced within the area.
Syrian rebels in besieged east Aleppo have agreed to a U.N. plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations, but the United Nations is awaiting a green light from Russia and the Syrian government, humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday. “We do now have written approval in principle by the armed opposition groups of east Aleppo,” he told reporters, specifying that he was referring to rebels with whom the U.N. is in contact – and do not include former Nusra Front militants. “We have verbal support also from the Russian Federation on our four-point plan. We need written support and we need unconditional support also from Russia and we are still waiting for the answer from the government of Syria”, he added.