SYRIA: ‘ Denies rebels took over Army Airport on border with Jordan ‘

#AceNewsReport – SYRIA:June.13: Syria denied claims by rebels that they took over an army airport in southern Syria along the border with Jordan on Thursday.

A news flash on state television said the army had so far repelled three attacks on the outskirts of the al-Thala airport, Reuters reported. Rebels said they seized the airbase in a renewed offensive.

The loss of the airport would compound setbacks for Damascus in the area after losing a nearby military base this week.

They also recently denied that a military plane had crashed in southern Syria, according to state television. Rebels said earlier they had shot down a Russian-made MIG jet, Reuters reported. The released video featured what appeared to be a burnt-out plane.

It was shown near the site of fighting around a military airport that rebels have been trying to gain control of since Wednesday.

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` President Bashar-Al-Assad Wins Third Term With Landslide Victory ‘

#AceWorldNews – SYRIA – DAMASCUS –  June 04 – Incumbent President Bashar Assad has overwhelmingly won Syria’s presidential election, the speaker of the Syrian parliament said Wednesday.

A total of 88.7% of voters (10.2 million people) voted for Assad, he said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a third term in office after securing 88.7% of votes in Tuesday’s presidential election, the parliamentary speaker says.

Earlier, Syria’s constitutional court put the vote turnout at 73.47%.

Voting took place in government-controlled areas, but not in parts of the north and east held by rebels.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have died in three years of civil war in Syria, with millions more displaced.

President Assad’s key challengers, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, received 4.3% and 3.2% of the vote respectively.

It was the first time in decades that more than one name – outside of the Assad family – had been allowed to stand as presidential candidate.

But the Syrian opposition in rebel-held areas had dismissed the election as a farce, arguing that it has no credibility in the midst of a civil war.

The results of the election were announced by parliamentary speaker Jihad Laham on Wednesday.

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` Syrian Opposition Leader `Ahmad Jarba ‘ urges `Arab League ‘ to grant `Syria’s ‘ vacant seat to National Coalition ‘

#AceWorldNews – KUWAIT – March 25 – Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba urged Arab leaders at a summit Tuesday to grant Syria’s vacant Arab League seat to his National Coalition.

Jarba, who was speaking at the opening session of the Arab-League summit in Kuwait, also said the opposition should be given the opportunity to take over Syria’s embassies abroad.

“Reality requires that the Syrian embassies are also handed over to the National Coalition,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

#ANS2014

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#Geneva2 `Syrian Opposition will not meet with the Government Delegation on Friday”

#AceWorldNews says the Syrian opposition will not meet in Geneva on Friday with the government delegation in view of the latter’s ” non-constructive attitude,” Louai Safi, spokesman for the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCROF), told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“There will be no meeting with the government team,” the NCROF spokesman said. “The government has taken up an utterly non-constructive attitude, and they do not conduct negotiations”.

“We shall hold a separate meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, UN/LAS special representative on Syria. We expect to understand whether there is a possibility of headway. It will also become clear when we shall leave Geneva,” Safi said.

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#Geneva2 : “Syria’s Government Delegation Arrives in Geneva for Peace Talks”

#AceNewsServices says `Syria’s Government Delegation arrives in Geneva for `Second Round’of Peace Talks’

Syria’s government delegation has arrived in Geneva to take part in the second round of intra-Syrian talks due to begin on Monday, February 10, a well-informed source told Itar-Tass.

Syria's Foreign Minister and head of the“The delegation is led by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem,” the source said.

However, the composition of the opposition delegation is not yet clear. Representatives from the United Nations European office cannot tell whether the delegation would remain as it was, comprised of representatives from the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), or whether other opposition groups would join it.

 

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`Government and Opposition in Syria Has Failed to Agree List’s for Exchange of Prisoner’s’

#AceNewsServices says `Lists for Exchange of Syria prisoners not agreed upon yet’

Unrest in DamascusThe government and the opposition in Syria had failed to agree on the lists for the exchange of prisoners, Gatilov said.

“The opposition has handed the list of persons detained by the government. But the government has also requested the opposition to produce a list of persons who are detained by them. So far, the opposition has not presented such a list. But we believe that this issue could be resolved with the good will of both parties,” the senior diplomat said.

Exchange of prisoners between the government and opposition forces is considered as one of the stages at the negotiations of the parties. This issue was discussed at the first round of the inter-Syrian discussions in the framework of the Geneva-2 conference. Russia, the USA and the UN took part in this work, too.

Voice of Russia, RIA

 

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#Geneva2 : ” Formal Discussions on `How’ to Alleviate this `Ferocious Civil War’ Ready to Commence”

#AceNewsServices says `Syrian Opposition‘ refuses to meet govt face-to-face at #Geneva2 talks

Published time: January 24, 2014 00:41
Edited time: January 24, 2014 01:53
Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the "Geneva II" peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the “Geneva II” peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)
The Syrian opposition involved in the Geneva 2 peace talks said a face-to-face meeting with President Bashar Assad’s representatives is unlikely to happen. Formal discussions on how to alleviate the ferocious civil war are set to begin on Friday.

United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will move between the two delegations at the talks in Switzerland, which will ramp up Friday under the patronage of the UN and world powers like Russia and the United States.

Haitham Al-Maleh, a senior member of the opposition coalition, said it was “not easy” to sit in the same room with Assad’s regime during Wednesday’s opening of the conference. He does not expect the more intensive negotiations to involve the two sides sitting down with one another, either.

“I don’t think we’re ready for that yet. The gap is too big,” he told the Times of Israel.

On Thursday, the opposition stayed firm with its major demand that President Assad should step down, as his “regime is dead” and the country is looking “into the future without him.”

“This is the basis of our negotiations and we will demand it,” Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Jarba said, according to Reuters.

Syrian government officials in attendance left the talks on Thursday without making a statement, insisting that Assad has no plans to step down.

“Obviously he is not ready at this point in time,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.

Jarba also said that Russia, Assad’s ally, has pledged it is not “holding on” to the Syrian president.“When I met Lavrov last week in Paris, he confirmed that Russia isn’t holding on to Assad,” he said.

The palpable fragility of the talks centers around arguments for and against Assad’s role in a transitional government. Both sides are threatening to pull out if their demands are not met.

“We have started to look into the future without him. Assad and all of his regime is in the past now. Nobody should have any doubt that the head of the regime is finished. This regime is dead,” Jarba said, underscoring a tenor of limited expectations at the Geneva 2 talks.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

The first day of talks in Switzerland, on Wednesday, was riddled with harsh denunciations made by both sides of the other’s lack of compromise and brutality on the ground during a fierce civil war.

Meanwhile, other participants defended their own prerogatives. Western countries, Arab states, and Turkey supported the opposition in calling for a transitional government that excludes Assad. Russia pushed for the talks to be focused on tamping down terrorism.

One opposition representative has stated that a slower, step-by-step process is needed. He said that practical moves like prisoner swaps, ceasefires, weapons withdrawals, and aid centers should be established before any talk of Syria’s political future begins.

Islamist fighters antagonistic to both Assad and the opposition officially backed by the US and others are not represented at the talks. Al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militant groups, which control large swaths of territory, have accused opposition members in attendance of being traitors. Assad’s main regional ally, Iran, is also not involved in the Geneva 2 conference. The nation’s invitation was rescinded by the UN shortly before talks began this week.

Over 130,000 people are believed to have perished since the country’s civil war broke out in 2011. Nearly a third of Syria’s 22 million residents have been displaced, and half are in need of international aid, according to Reuters.

 

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#AceNewsDesk : ” World News – Latest Headlines – 22 January 2014″

Ace News Group

Israel – Palestine – Gaza Strip – Syria – Bashar Assad – Al Qaeda – Germany – Latvia – Saudi – United States – Ukraine – Security – Cyber-Crime    

15:23

Israel detains 2 Palestinians in Jerusalem ‘planning attacks’ for Al-Qaeda

Israel has arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were planning to carry out attacks for Al-Qaeda, with the help of foreign suicide bombers posing as Russian tourists, the Shin Bet intelligence agency said. The men were recruited by another Al-Qaeda agent in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported. Hamas Islamists governing Gaza rejected the spy agency’s account as “silly fabrications” and described it as an attempt to justify Israeli military strikes in the territory.

14:56

Syria govt, opposition to start talks in Geneva on Friday – UN

Delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition will start bilateral talks on Friday, Itar-Tass reported, citing the UN secretary-general’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky. UN chief Ban Ki-moon earlier met with representatives of the Syrian opposition. He will also meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

14:32

German cyber crime watchdog knew of mass cyber theft

Germany’s cyber crime watchdog said on Wednesday it had learnt last month of the mass theft of 16 million digital identities through a criminal probe. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said it required weeks of investigation before alerting the public, AFP reported. Cyber criminals stole email addresses and matching passwords, which could also compromise linked social media, shopping and other online services.

13:15

Assad ‘won’t step down’ – Syrian minister

President Bashar Assad will not step down, as demanded by some of the international powers, Syria’s Information Minister said on Wednesday. “Assad isn’t going,” AFP quoted Omaran Zoabi as saying on the sidelines of peace talks in the Swiss resort of Montreux. The Syrian opposition had just before called on the Syrian leader to hand over power to a transitional government.

11:52

Straujuma becomes Latvia’s first female PM

Latvian lawmakers have confirmed the country’s first government led by a female prime minister, Laimdota Straujuma. Sixty-four votes were cast in favor of the center-right government, while 27 were against on Wednesday, AP reported. Straujuma, 62, a long-time civil servant, is a compromise figure after Latvia’s president rejected several other candidates. She joined the senior coalition party Unity earlier this month to take the post. The previous government of Valdis Dombrovskis resigned in November after a supermarket roof collapse killed 54 people.

11:24

No role for Assad in Syria transition – Saudi FM

There can be no role in Syria’s transition for President Bashar Assad and those whose hands are “stained in blood,” Reuters quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as saying on Wednesday. Speaking at an international conference on Syria in Switzerland, Prince Saud called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They are backing the Syrian government against rebel forces.

10:49

US revokes Ukrainian officials’ visas for crushing protesters

The US has revoked the visas of several Ukrainian citizens who were allegedly linked to violent actions against the protestors in Kiev in November and December 2013. Their names were not disclosed due to US confidential policy. The US Embassy in Kiev said it is considering further sanctions against people responsible for violence in Kiev.

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#AceNewsDesk : ” World News – Latest Headlines – 21 January 2014″

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15:53

Syrian opposition forms delegation for Geneva 2 peace conference

The National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCROF) of Syria has formed a ten-member delegation for the Geneva 2 peace conference set to begin on Wednesday, Itar-Tass reports, citing the opposition groups official press service. NCROF leader Ahmed al-Jarboe will reportedly lead the delegation, with vice presidents Nur al- Amir and Abdel Hakim, along with Syrian national council board member Badr Dzharmus, set to participate. Louay Safi, chairman of the Syrian American Council, will also be present at Montreux.

15:32

​Pakistan militant bus bombing kills at least 18

A bomb, detonated near a convoy of buses in western Pakistan, has killed at least 18 Shiite pilgrims, according to initial reports. However, local officials told Reuters that at least 22 had died as a result of the blast. The groups on the bus were returning from an excursion to Iran, and were passing through the city of Quetta when the bomb detonated. A police officer, Mohammad Aslam, told AP that the likely death toll of 18 could rise as several of the 24 others injured were in a critical condition.

15:21

Spain retakes number three spot in world tourism

Spain announced on Tuesday that it retook the number three position in world tourism in 2013. The country overtook China by luring a record 60.6 million international visitors, AFP reported. Foreign tourist arrivals surged by 5.6 percent in the year, the government said, boosting the euro zone’s fourth largest economy. “The new figures for 2013 allow our country to retake the number three position in this indicator after having overtaken China,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said. Spain stood behind only France with 83 million international tourist arrivals and the US with 67 million.

14:50

Syrian opposition to demand removal of Assad in peace talks

Syria’s opposition group, the National Coalition, warned on Tuesday it would demand the removal of “criminal” President Bashar Assad. On his arrival in Switzerland ahead of a peace conference, Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the National Coalition and member of its negotiating team, said: “We will not accept less than the removal of the criminal Bashar Assad and changing the regime and holding the murderers accountable.” The regime in Damascus “does not deserve less than being sent to stand trial in front of the International Criminal Court,” he told Reuters.

14:15

Obama to visit pope in March

US President Barack Obama plans to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican in March during a trip to Europe, Reuters reported. The president is scheduled to meet with the pope on March 27, the White House said on Tuesday. The trip will include stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.

13:56

Senegal releases Russia’s trawler

The authorities in Senegal have released the Oleg Naidyonov trawler which was detained by Senegalese servicemen and convoyed to Dakar’s port in early January. Yury Parshev, director of the Murmansk company Phoenix that owns the ship, told Interfax that the authorities were ready to stand bail for the detained trawler. The Russian Foreign Ministry had demanded immediate release of trawler.

13:24

Gunmen briefly hold 60 Afghan de-miners hostage

Armed men briefly held about 60 de-miners hostage in the northwest of Afghanistan on Tuesday before an operation by security forces freed them, AFP reported. The mine clearance workers, all Afghans, working for the British Halo Trust, were taken by gunmen from a camp in the Pashtun Zarghun district of Herat province. Halo said the kidnappers were not Taliban members. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry said that all the abducted de-miners have been freed.

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#Syria : “Bashar Al Assad’ says `Significant Chance’ he Will Stand in Next Election”

#AceNewsServices says Assad: Significant chance I will stand for next elections

Published time: January 20, 2014 09:48
Edited time: January 20, 2014 12:21
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters / SANA)

Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters / SANA)

President Bashar Assad said in an exclusive interview to AFP that he has decided to participate in Syria’s future presidential elections. He also stressed that the War on Terror should be the major focus of the #Geneva2peaceconference.

With the Geneva 2 peace talks starting on Wednesday, January 22, Assad set the record straight on what he and his government expect from the negotiations with the Syrian opposition in Switzerland.

“I see no reason why I should not stand [for elections],” said Assad, hosting foreign journalists at the presidential palace in Damascus.

Since “there is public desire and a public opinion in favor of my candidacy, I will not hesitate for a second to run for election,” he told AFP, adding that chances for his candidacy are “significant.”

After two days of heated debate, the Syrian National Coalition of opposition forces has voted in favor of going to Switzerland for peace talks scheduled for January 22.

But even moderate Western-backed political opposition group the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC), continues to insist that future transitional government should be “free of Assad and his inner circle,” as the head of the opposition group’s media office, Khalid Saleh, put it.

Assad dismissed this stance, saying the objective to oust him was imposed on the moderate opposition by Western sponsors.

Speaking about the second major demand, that the position of PM in the future transitional government should be allocated to one of the key opposition leaders, Assad labeled these propositions as “totally unrealistic,” but “a good joke.”

“How could they be ministers in the government?” asked the Syrian president, if all they are capable of is coming to the Syrian border “for a 30-minute photo opportunity,” after which they prefer to flee.

Assad has no illusions about the conflict in Syria continuing, but he acknowledged that government troops are making a positive progress in the conflict, which has raged since March 2011.

“What we can say is that we are making progress and moving forward. This doesn’t mean that victory is near at hand; these kinds of battles are complicated, difficult and they need a lot of time,” said Assad, warning that if Damascus is going to lose the battle, that would mean the “spread of chaos throughout the Middle East.”

Assad particularly stressed that “The Geneva conference should produce clear results with regard to the fight against terrorism in Syria.”

“This is the most important decision or result that the Geneva conference could produce. Any political solution that is reached without fighting terrorism has no value,” he said.

President Assad also ashed out at France, accusing Paris of selling principles in return for petro-dollars from the Persian Gulf monarchies.

“France has become a proxy state implementing Qatari policies. This is also what we see happening now between France and Saudi Arabia,” he said, accusing French politicians of selling “the principles of the French Revolution in return for a few billion dollars.”

What’s more, Assad claimed that all policies of the Western states and the Gulf monarchies working on exporting terrorism into Syria are essentially an implementation of a single policy of only one state – the United States of America.

“Ever since 2001 and the terrorist attacks on New York, there has been no European policy-making to speak of,” Assad said, adding that “in the West there is only an American policy, which is implemented by some European countries.”

“I don’t think that France will play a role in the immediate future, unless it changes its policy completely and from its core and returns to the politically independent state it once was,” he said, rejecting France’s playing any significant role in the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis.

 

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#AceWorldNews latest AFP The exiled Syrian opposition voted…

#AceWorldNews latest AFP – The exiled Syrian opposition voted on Saturday to take part in an international conference next week aimed at finding a political solution to the brutal three-year year conflict.
In a secret ballot, the National Coalition agreed by 58 votes to 14 with two abstentions and one blank vote to take part in the talks opening in Switzerland on Wednesday, according to an official tally.

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Friends of #Syria Meeting to be Hosted in London#Peace

William Hague speaks on behalf of ‘London 11’ after core group of the Friends of Syria and President of National Coalition meet in London.

After the conclusion of a core group of the Friends of Syria meeting which he had hosted in London, the Foreign Secretary spoke on behalf of the group.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

We have just concluded an important and productive meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of Syria core group, including the President of the Syrian National Coalition.

We have met against the backdrop of the regime’s escalating use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force against the people of Syria. They are using tanks, torture, artillery, SCUD missiles, air attacks; laying siege to desperate people; and presiding over the creation of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Members of the opposition have spoken powerfully about people starving and women and children suffering at the hands of the regime. The only sustainable way to end this conflict and the suffering of innocent Syrian civilians is through a political transition in Syria. The purpose of our meeting today has been to send a signal of our resolve, our unity and determination in brining that about, building on the diplomatic progress made during the UN General Assembly last month.

We have agreed a number of important steps today:

First, we agreed that we would put our united and collective weight behind the UN-led Geneva II process, which must lead to establishing by mutual consent a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers as set out in the Communiqué in 2012. By definition that means that it can only be agreed with the consent of the Syrian National Coalition. So Assad will play no role in that future Government of Syria.

Second, despite the enormous challenges faced by the Syrian opposition, we urged the National Coalition to commit itself fully to the Geneva II process and to lead and form the heart of any opposition delegation. Geneva offers the Syrian people the best hope to improve their lives.

Third, we agreed with them that we will provide the intensive political and practical support that will be required to give the Geneva II process the best chance of success.

Fourth, we agreed a set of principles, attached to today’s communiqué, that underline the unity of our approach to the Geneva II process as the Friends of Syria core group.

We agreed the Syrian opposition, including the moderate armed groups, and moderate opposition represented by the coalition continue to need our strong collective backing. There can be no peaceful and political settlement in Syria without the participation of the moderate opposition. So we pledged further support to them.

Syria

Syria (Photo credit: Yishac – Isaac Alvarez i Brugada)

President Al Jarba attended lunch and made clear, as in New York, his support. We are as clear as he is that Assad has no part in the future of Syria.

The UK will continue to support the opposition in its efforts to help and protect the Syrian people from the murderous abuses of the regime through the more than £20 million in support to the opposition that we have provided this year. This is support that to helps to save lives and provide services to the Syrian population – including search and rescue equipment and training, power generators, communications, support and training to civil administrations.

Between now and Geneva II Conference, we plan to announce a further package of UK support, including substantial non-lethal support to the National Coalition working with General Idris of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council. This assistance is likely to take the form of communications, medical, and logistics equipment. It will help them to save lives on the ground.

None of us has lost sight of the deepening humanitarian disaster.

As winter approaches, the risks are growing to the nearly 7 million Syrians in need. This is compounded still further by the actions of the regime. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said yesterday that the UN continues to be denied access on the ground to those in need of humanitarian assistance by obstacles placed by the Syrian regime. In the suburbs of Damascus, many innocent Syrians remain trapped as a result of the regime’s siege tactics. This is unacceptable and full and uninhibited access for humanitarian aid to people in need must be allowed.

We have intensified the humanitarian support our eleven countries are providing, and encourage others to do the same through further funding pledges and we will be pressing the case for humanitarian access as called for by the UN Security Council on 2 October.

The UK is the second largest humanitarian donor to the Syria conflict with over £500 million of aid allocated to date. Yesterday, we announced a further £15.5 million of lifesaving support to Palestinian refugees both inside Syrian and in neighbouring countries. This will include food for over 150,000 people and clothing for people in need of urgent help.

Our eleven countries will continue to work closely together in the weeks leading up to a Geneva Conference to ensure it has the best possible chance of success, and the people of Syria finally get the political transition they so desperately need and deserve.

 

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