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Missile strikes on Syria kill 26, mostly Iranian, forces

DAMASCUS: Missile strikes on central Syria killed 26 pro-regime fighters, most of them Iranians, a monitor said Monday, in a raid that bore the hallmarks of Tehran's archfoe Israel. The Syrian regime, which denounced a "fresh aggression" after the strikes, meanwhile continued to flush out armed groups from the capital with more deals to transfer fighters to the country's north. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, missile strikes hit two military targets in Aleppo and Hama provinces…

Chemical weapons watchdog inspectors have samples from Syria’s Douma

AMSTERDAM: A team of inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited a site in Douma, Syria on Saturday to collect samples as it tries to determine whether such weapons were used there on April 7, the agency said. In a statement, the OPCW said it would now evaluate and consider whether the team needs to make a second visit to Douma. Samples will be transported back to the Netherlands and onward to the organisation’s network of designated labs for analysis. Based on the…

May, Macron face lawmakers angry over Syria strikes

LONDON/PARIS: British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday faced anger from lawmakers for conducting air strikes with the United States in Syria in their first major military action since coming to power. May was due to address MPs after proceeding with the joint strikes without prior parliamentary approval -- a sensitive subject in Britain where memories of participation in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 are still raw. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party,…

Assad supporters rally in Damascus after Western strikes

DAMASCUS: Thousands of Syrians gathered Monday in Damascus in defiance of Western strikes on the country and to celebrate the regime reconquering a former rebel bastion outside the capital. The United States, France and Britain early Saturday targeted what they said were chemical weapon sites after an alleged toxic attack on Eastern Ghouta on April 7. Later Saturday, President Bashar al-Assad's army announced it had retaken the whole of the region east of Damascus from rebels after an almost two-month military assault.…

Allies keep Syria options open as Britain says no strikes planned

LONDON/DAMASCUS: Western powers have no plans for further missile strikes on Syria but will assess their options if Damascus uses chemical weapons again, Britain’s foreign minister said on Sunday as debate raged over the legality and effectiveness of the raids. US, French and British missile attacks struck at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program on Saturday in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago, and the three countries insisted they were not aimed at toppling President Bashar al-Assad or…

Russian strikes kill 45 Syrian rebels: monitor

DAMASCUS: Russian air strikes have killed 45 members of a rebel group in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Sunday. It was unclear why the strikes, which took place Saturday, targeted members of the Faylaq al-Sham rebel group, which has taken part in peace talks supervised by Moscow in the Kazakh capital Astana. The strikes hit the group in the province of Idlib, which is part of a so-called "de-confliction" zone agreed in a deal between Syrian regime allies…

Strikes destroy seven hospitals in Syria’s Idlib: medics

IDLIB: Seven hospitals and clinics in northwestern Syria have been knocked out of action this month in air strikes by the regime or its ally Russia, medical sources said on Sunday. "In April, hospitals in the south of the province of Idlib were systematically targeted," Abdel Hamid Dabbak, who is in charge of hospitals in the rebel-controlled province, told a news conference. He named seven hospitals which he said were put out of service by air raids, including a gynaecological clinic. Dabbak said work to reopen the…

Israel strikes Iran-supplied arms depot near Damascus airport

AMMAN/BEIRUT: Israel struck an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese group Hezbollah near Damascus airport on Thursday, Syrian rebel and regional intelligence sources said, targeting weapons sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes. Video carried on Lebanese TV and shared on social media showed the pre-dawn airstrikes caused a fire around the airport east of the Syrian capital, suggesting fuel sources or weapons containing explosives were hit. Syrian state media said Israeli missiles hit a military…

North Korea calls US strikes on Syria ‘unforgivable’

SEOUL: North Korea said on Saturday US missile strikes against a Syrian airfield on Friday were "an unforgivable act of aggression" that showed its decision to develop nuclear weapons was "the right choice a million times over". The response by North Korea's foreign ministry, carried by the official KCNA news agency, was the first since U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea launched dozens of missiles at a Syrian air base which the Pentagon says was involved in a chemical weapons attack earlier in the week. "The US…