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Jihadists who attacked Palmyra came to the city with support of US, says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Al-Assad accused US troops involved in operations against the IS in Mosul and al-Raqqa of allowing terrorists to leave those areas without any hindrance

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Syria's President says jihadists came to Palmyra with US support
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Wikimedia

Damascus, December 14, 2016: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the jihadists who attacked Palmyra a few days ago came to the city with the support of the United States, or at least with its knowledge.

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Al-Assad said that many of those terrorists came from al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zour either with American direct support or at least with their knowledge, and then they allowed Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to complete the mission by supporting and co-sponsoring the Islamic State, reports Efe.

“This is what is happening in Palmyra, the issue is not just related to Mosul,” he added, referring to reports that the guerrillas came from Mosul after the US offensive here.

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“The jihadist attack on Palmyra, with a large number of combatants who traveled with weapons that were previously not available, demonstrates the direct support,” the Syrian President said.

Al-Assad accused US troops involved in operations against the IS in Mosul and al-Raqqa of allowing terrorists to leave those areas without any hindrance.

The Syrian leader also denounced that western countries for only caring about the civilian population when the offensives are of the government army, but not when people die from attacks by the terrorists.

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“They do not worry when the opposite happens, when the terrorists are killing those civilians or attacking Palmyra and destroying the human heritage, not only the Syrian heritage,” he said. (IANS)

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US Will Deploy Necessary Resources to Counter Dangerous Actions by Iran, Says General

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration last year withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions

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FILE - Then-Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 4, 2018. VOA

U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said Saturday that the United States would deploy the necessary resources to counter any dangerous actions by Iran, Sky News Arabia reported.

“We’re going to continue to reach out to our partners and friends in the region to ensure that we make common cause against the threat of Iran,” McKenzie, on an official visit to the Gulf region, was quoted as saying.

“I believe we’ll have the resources necessary to deter Iran from taking actions that will be dangerous,” he said, according to a transcript released by the Abu Dhabi-based channel. “We will be able to respond effectively.”

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Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops Syria in December after he said they had defeated Islamic State militants there. VOA

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration last year withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions. Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

Sanctions for oil purchases

Washington on Monday demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers that allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran oil exports. McKenzie also said a reduction of U.S. troops in Syria would be done cautiously.

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Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration last year withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions. VOA

“On the long term, we’re going to reduce our forces in Syria. We recognize that; that’s the guidance in which we are operating. That will be something that we will look at very carefully as we go forward,” the general said.

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President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops Syria in December after he said they had defeated Islamic State militants there. In February, a senior administration official said the United States would leave about 400 U.S. troops split between two different regions of Syria.

McKenzie also said he was confident that the U.S. is going to have “a long-term presence in Iraq, focused on the counterterror mission.” (VOA)