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Iran to attend next international meeting on Syria

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Photo: www.worldbulletin.net

Tehran: Iran will attend the upcoming international talks on the future of Syria to be held in the Austrian capital of Vienna on November 12, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, Press TV reported.

The Iranian foreign ministry official asked the participants in the talks to adopt a “realistic” approach to help resolve the Syrian crisis.

Political means and national dialogue will help the people of Syria to decide their own future democratically, he said.

On November 2, Amir-Abdollahian criticized what he called Saudi Arabia’s ‘unconstructive’ role in the October international talks on Syria, threatening to walk out of the talks should the next meeting be ‘unproductive’.

At the meeting in Vienna, “some countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, played negative and unconstructive roles, as they could not provide a logic for their positions vis-a-vis Syria’s conflicts,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“If our assessment of the next talks is positive, we will continue to attend the next meetings,” he said. Otherwise, if the negotiations will be “a show” and if the rights of the Syrian people to decide on the future of their own country are ignored, Iran would pull out of the talks, he added.

Iran, who participated for the first time in the talks on Syria, said that it would not accept pressure for the ouster of President Al-Assad under the pretext of solving the Syria crisis.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said that the international community should unite against terrorism in the region, particularly in Syria.

The task of the international community is to fight terrorism in Syria and to leave the future of the Arab State to the Syrian people, he said.

Tehran has emerged as a staunch regional ally of the Assad government in Syria’s long-lasting conflict, saying it would keep its “military advisers” in Syria to help the Syrian government in its struggle against militants.

(IANS)

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“When I Took Over, It Was A Mess. They Were All Over The Place — All Over Syria and Iraq,” Claims Trump as IS Territory in Syria is Nearly Eliminated

Ciyager Amed, an official with the Kurdish-led SDF, said they were searching for any IS militants hiding in tunnels in a riverside pocket in the village of Baghuz. The SDF has not yet announced a victory over IS. 

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the last pocket of the Islamic State’s land in Syria would be liberated by U.S.-backed forces “by tonight.”

Trump previously announced the defeat of the group, but sleeper cells of fighters re-emerged. With no signs of fighting on Wednesday, however, the long-running battle to retake the militants’ last outpost in eastern Syria appeared to have reached its conclusion.

“The caliphate is gone as of tonight,” Trump said in a speech at a factory in Lima, Ohio, where military tanks are assembled.

End of caliphate

The complete fall of Baghuz would mark the end of IS’s self-declared caliphate, which at its height stretched across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

During his speech, Trump held up two maps of Syria — one covered in red representing territory held by the militant group when he was elected president in November 2016 and the other that had only a speck of red.

Donald Trump
Trump previously announced the defeat of the group, but sleeper cells of fighters re-emerged. With no signs of fighting on Wednesday, however, the long-running battle to retake the militants’ last outpost in eastern Syria appeared to have reached its conclusion. VOA

“When I took over, it was a mess. They were all over the place — all over Syria and Iraq,” said Trump, who has said the U.S. will keep 400 troops in Syria indefinitely.

For the past four years, U.S.-led forces have waged a destructive campaign against the group. But even after Baghuz’s fall, IS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.

The militants have been putting up a desperate fight, their propaganda machine working even as their hold on territory has been slipping away. The battle for Baghuz has dragged on for weeks and the encampment had proven to be a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels.

FILE - A child stands on the back of a truck after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghuz, Syria, March 4, 2019.
A child stands on the back of a truck after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghuz, Syria, March 4, 2019. VOA

Tens of thousands of civilians

The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghuz, most of them families of IS members. Over past weeks they have been flowing out, exhausted, hungry and often wounded. The sheer number who emerged — nearly 30,000 since early January, according to Kurdish officials — took the Syrian Democratic Forces by surprise.

Ciyager Amed, an official with the Kurdish-led SDF, said they were searching for any IS militants hiding in tunnels in a riverside pocket in the village of Baghuz. The SDF has not yet announced a victory over IS.

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Associated Press journalists saw SDF soldiers loading women and children into trailer trucks on the hilltop over Baghuz, a sign that evacuations were still underway Wednesday. Black smoke was rising from the village.

On Tuesday, the SDF seized control of the encampment held by IS after hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, signaling the group’s collapse after months of stiff resistance. (VOA)