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BEIRUT, June 22, 2018 (MENA) - Lebanese House of Representative Speaker Nabih Berri said that talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel tackled a number of issues of mutual interest.

This came as Berri received Merkel in Ain al Tinah on Friday. "Besides relations binding Lebanon and Germany, the European country has a large and key Lebanese community," the speaker noted.

During the meeting, Merkel stressed boosting Germany's contribution to conference in support of Lebanon development and reforms, sources at Ain al Tinah said.

Hariri said his talks with Merkel tackled the support provided by Germany to carry out several development projects in Lebanon in a way that helps improve living conditions, provide job opportunities and implement the country's national framework in education and technical training.

This framework was introduced by Beirut in cooperation with the International Labor Organization and the UNICEF.

Hariri said the Lebanese government’s stance on the Syrian refugees is firm and clear, calling for their safe return to homeland.

On that score, the Lebanese prime minister-designate said it is Lebanon’s duty to receive the Syrian refugees and provide the best living conditions for them.

Lebanon seeks to gain money from the international community not only in light of this issue, but to boost the country’s economy as well, he stressed.

Separately, Hariri said the political powers in Lebanon agree on the necessity of maintaining internal stability amid the current state of instability that prevails in the Arab region.


MOSCOW, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Russia said Friday that the US and its allies have relied on fabricated evidence to accuse the Syrian government of launching chemical attacks against civilians.

Russia's foreign and defense ministries also charged the international chemical weapons watchdog with failing to objectively investigate the alleged chemical attacks and with being subject to political control.

Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the chief of the Russian military's radiation, chemical and biological protection unit, said investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had failed to visit the sites of alleged use of sarin and chlorine, and trusted evidence produced by activists, which he described as rigged. Syria has rejected the accusations of chemical attacks.

"The US, Britain, France and their allies have misled international community ... relying on fabrications to accuse Syria of violating the chemical weapons ban with Russian assistance," Kirillov said at a briefing.

Kirillov alleged that the White Helmets first responders working in rebel-controlled areas had doctored samples and used explosive devices to make craters that looked like those left by bombs. In the images presented by activists, they worked at the site of the alleged use of sarin without protective gear, which would have been impossible if the nerve agent had indeed been used there, he added.



LONDON, June 22, 2018 (MENA) – At least 34 persons have been killed in airstrikes and clashes in Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced on Friday.

The London-based observatory revealed that the US-led coalition conducted airstrikes against Daesh-held village of al Shaafa in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, leaving seven civilians and 11 Daesh elements dead.

It added that six personnel of the Syrian forces and 10 Daesh militants have also been killed in fierce clashes between the two sides in the Badia desert near the Iraqi border.

CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt desired to break the deadlock in the Syrian political track and get out of the current quagmire.

Shoukry’s remarks came during his reception to a delegation of the Syrian negotiation committee, including its president and his two deputies, Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said late Thursday.

Their talks touched on the latest developments in the Syrian file, coordinating efforts for completing the formation of the constitution committee to start its duties.

The foreign minister reiterated his country’s stance supporting the political solution in Syria, aimed at preserving the state’s unity and sovereignty and stop the bloodletting there.

For their part, the committee members hailed the Egyptian role seeking an end to the Syrian crisis at the political and humanitarian levels.

BEIRUT, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Syria said on Tuesday it rejected the presence of Turkish and US forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area.

Turkish and US troops Monday began independent patrols along the line separating Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria from the town of Manbij, which is controlled by a local militia affiliated to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia.

"Syria expresses its strong condemnation and absolute rejection of the incursion of Turkish and American forces in the vicinity of Manbij, which comes in the context of continued Turkish and American aggression," state news agency SANA said, quoting a foreign ministry statement.

The statement also said the Syrian army is determined to "liberate all of Syria's territory".



WASHINGTON, June 18, 2018 (MENA) - The US-led coalition Monday denied news that its warplanes had launched airstrikes near al-Bukamal area in eastern Syria.

Major Josh Jacques, a US Central Command spokesman, said: “No member of the US-led coalition carried out strikes near al-Bukamal.”

Earlier, a Syrian military source announced that coalition jets had hit a Syrian army position, leaving scores of people dead and injured.

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