Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs SamehShoukry received a phone call from the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday to discuss the latest updates regarding the situation in Syria. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the importance of Egypt’s role in supporting the agreement by urging different Syrian parties to implement the ceasefire agreement. The statement also cited De Mistura who asserted Egypt’s leading role in the Arab world, especially after its membership in the UN Security Council. Egypt has supported the political solution in Syria several times; however, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in an interview with a Portuguese TV channel, said that Egypt is siding with the Syrian Arab army, which is affiliated with Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. However, Shoukry denied this statement several times last December, saying that Al-Sisi was not referring to the current Syrian government when he spoke of Egypt’s stance on Syria. Shoukry argued that Al-Sisi had been saying that national armies would be better in taking responsibility for fighting terrorism in their countries instead of relying on foreign intervention.
General Security agents arrested overnight in the Choueifat area a Syrian young man suspected of plotting to carry out an act of terror. “The detainee was working as a delivery boy for one of the restaurants and he was plotting to prepare an explosive device”. On Wednesday, General Security announced the arrest of two Islamic State-linked men suspected of planning a suicide attack in central Beirut, confirming earlier media reports. The arrests come two weeks after an attempted suicide attack at Hamra’s Costa cafe. He “confessed that he monitored the movements and addresses of political figures and their convoys crossing the city center,” General Security said in its statement on Wednesday. He had worked with a Palestinian operative to plan a suicide attack in the center of the capital, it said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is willing to take part in direct talks with representatives of all oppositon groups, Russian news agency Tass reported MP Dmitry Sablin, coordinator of the Duma’s friendship group with the Parliament of Syria, as saying Wednesday. “(Assad) has said Syria is ready for direct talks with opposition representatives, including the armed opposition,” Sablin said following a meeting with the Syrian president. “Assad supports the Astana peace talks,” he added. In the meantime, Syria’s government rejected recent claims by Amnesty International of alleged human rights violations at Saydnaya prison near Damascus, saying the reports are groundless. In a statement to government news agency Sana the justice ministry said that “the news circulating in the media” based on a report released by the international human rights watchdog on Tuesday “is totally unfounded” and “intended to ruin Syria’s international reputation”.
Lavrov stated that all attempts at starting a serious discussion with the US over Syria conflict had proved futile. He said he has the impression, that Washington tries to discredit Kerry’s statements and actions after the agreements had been concluded at meetings with him. He also pointed out that “it’s a pity that Western countries who are so proud of being concerned over human rights violations and the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, in fact continue to support radical activists and extremists,” and concluded saying that militants who will refuse to leave eastern Aleppo will be considered as terrorists.