Iranian Deputy FM Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari held talks Tue. during the 4th round of Syria’s international conference in Astana. During the meeting attended by Iranian and Syrian delegations in Astana, the two sides conferred on the latest developments on Astana talks and the political and ground situation in Syria.General and specialized meetings of the fourth International Conference on Syria will be held on Wednesday and Thursday 3-4 May 2017 in the Kazakh capital. Delegations from Astana Process guarantor states (Iran, Russia, and Turkey) together with delegations from observer states will take part in the meetings to find ways to settle the Syrian crisis.
Iraqi Shiite paramilitary units captured the northern province of Hatra, cutting off several desert tracks used by Islamic State to move between Iraq and Syria, the military. The operations in Hatra are carried out by Popular Mobilisation, a coalition of mostly Iranian-trained militias of Shi’ite volunteers formed in 2014 after Islamic State, a hardline Sunni group, overran a third of Iraq. The militias on Wednesday dislodged Islamic State from the ancient ruins of Hatra, which suffered great destruction under the militants’ three-year rule, a military spokesman said. Hatra, a city that flourished in the first century AD, lies 125 km (80 miles) south of Mosul, where the militants have been fighting off a U.S.-backed offensive since October. Hatra is also located west of Hawija, a region north of Baghdad still under Islamic State control. Popular Mobilisation, which operates with the approval of Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government, said the Hatra campaign aims at cutting off Islamic State’s routes between Hawija, Mosul and eastern Syria.
Ministry of Defense’s Falcon Intelligence Cell revealed, on Monday, that the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is still alive and staying in Syria, while warned of the “political terrorism” after the liberation of Mosul. Head of the Falcon Intelligence Cell said in a press statement that the criminal al-Baghdadi is still alive and moving freely on the Syrian borders to Iraq. He also warned of the Islamic State danger on the country, calling it the phase of political terrorism after the liberation of Mosul, while pointed out that the terrorist group is planning to extend its strategy to some politicians, who are taking advantage of the invasion of the Northern provinces.
Concerning the Kingdom’s long-term rejection of terrorism in all forms, the Saudi Cabinet on Monday condemned the use of chemical attack in Syria committed by the Syrian regime. The Cabinet also expressed all its support to the US military operation against selected targets in Syria. The Kingdom also lauded the Arab Coalition’s efforts to support the restoration in Yemen and to provide humanitarian aid through King Salman Center for Humanitarian and Relief Aids. Moreover the Cabinet appreciated King’s efforts to unify Arab and Muslim ranks in facing the difficult conditions of the Arab and Islamic countries. In fine the Cabinet approved a series of decisions.
The press conference is underway in Tehran with over 200 local and international press covering the event. The press conference comes ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled to be held on May 19th. Rouhani is the incumbent candidate. The President commenced the press conference by hailing his administration’s various achievments including higher payments, better conditions for farmers, increase of trade balance from – 8.1 at the start of his government to – 2.6 this year, increase of agriculture products and foodstuff from 97 million tons in 2013 to in 95 118,000m tons in 2016, better healthcare and environmental conditions, and more progress in technology, especially in the field of nuclear technology after the implementation of the JCPOA. To The Wall Street Journal’s question on Iran’s next move after the US missile attack in Syria, and what measures Iran and Russia have agreed upon in regard to the Syrian conflict following the US attack, President Rouhani stressed that Iran still believes the only viable solution to end the crisis in Syria is a political approach and the progress of peace talks. He expressed regret that the US attack had hurt the process of Syrian peace talks and aided terrorists into thinking they had now an upper hand during the negotiations. President Rouhani noted that Iran-Russia-Turkey cooperation is focused on the success of Astana peace talks, while Iran-Russia-Syria cooperation is concerned with fighting terrorism on the ground; “During my recent visit to Moscow as well the telephone conversation with President Putin, we agreed on more coordination about the operations in Syria”, he added.
Following an apparent chemical attack against innocent civilians by President Assad’s regime and the US missile strike in response to it on Friday, Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s support for the military operations against military targets in Syria. On Thursday US President Trump ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base and the Saudi Ministry described this action as “a corageous decision” after the failure of the international community to stop Syrian regime. Moreover Bahrain also expressed support to the military US response, saying that the action was necessary to save the lives of Syrian people.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that the idea of laying blame for the suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria’s Idlib province on Damascus did not receive wide support at the conference in Brussels. The idea of laying blame for the suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria’s Idlib province on Damascus did not receive wide support at the conference in Brussels, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said, warning against the use of the incident to disrupt Syria peace talks. The UN Security Council (UNSC) is held an emergency meeting to discuss the suspected chemical attack in Syria’s province of Idlib. The United Kingdom, France and the United States introduced a draft resolution in the UNSC claiming that the alleged April 4 chemical attack in Idlib was carried out by the Syrian army. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow categorically rejected the draft resolution. The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and some other sources reported on Tuesday that some 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a chemical weapon attack in Idlib, blaming the Syrian army for the incident. The Syrian Armed Forces rejected the allegations.
During the 136th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Dhaka, the Shoura Council condemned Iran’s interventions in the region and its attempts to provoke seditions and support armed militias. For that reason the Shoura Council called for countering and exposing threats to peace and security in the region. Moreover the humanitarian situation was discussed and the Saudi delegation expressed the necessity of more diplomatic and parliamentary efforts to end world crises. According to the Council the IPU meetings are a precious opportunity to discuss world problems and it also noted the efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Yemeni crisis, as they offered the GCC initiative as a basis for a solution between the Yemeni political parties. Concerning the situation in Yemen the Council said the response of the Kingdom and other Gulf countries was an ethical duty and that the operation Decisive Storm is conformed to regional and international charters. In fine the Council expressed regret over the failure of the UN Security Council and the international community to find a solution to the crisis in Syria.
The Brussels Conference brings together ministerial representatives from over 70 delegations, including from the EU and the region but also the wider international community, the United Nations, major donors and civil society, humanitarian and development organisations. It will address the situation in Syria and the impact of the crisis in the region. The conference will assess where the international community stands collectively in fulfilling commitments made at the London Conference in February 2016 and agree on additional efforts needed to meet the needs of those affected by the crisis. Discussions will also focus on how the international community can support a lasting political resolution to the Syrian conflict through an inclusive and Syrian-led political transition process based on the Security Council resolutions.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Monday it was too early to assess results of the fifth round of the Geneva talks on Syria. Gatilov’s remarks came upon his arrival to Geneva accompanied by Sergey Vershinin, the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry. He is expected to hold two meetings with the official delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic and representatives of “Moscow platform” opposition on Tuesday and a meeting with al-Riyadh opposition delegation on Wednesday.