IRBIL, Iraq, August 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Iraqi security officials said on Friday that the Iraq's air force carried out two airstrikes targeting Islamic State group inside Syria, killing at least 28 IS militants.
They say one of the two airstrikes by F-16s targeted a meeting of would-be suicide bombers who intended to strike in Iraq during next week's Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
About 20 militants were killed in that airstrike, while eight died in the second one. Both targets were inside Syria near the Iraqi border.
Iraq announced the strikes on Thursday but details on targets and casualties only emerged on Friday. The statement said the targets were identified by the Eagles Cell, Iraq's top counterterrorism agency.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
LONDON, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - Seven elements of the Syrian army have been killed in an attack that was launched by Daesh terrorist group in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor military airport, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Clashes erupted between Daesh militants and the Syrian forces after Daesh fighters infiltrated into an area near Deir Ezzor military airport and large numbers of Daesh terrorists were reportedly killed and injured, SOHR was quoted by Al Hurra news channel on Friday.
In Syrian Badeya area, heavy clashes broke out between the Syrian troops and Daesh terrorists, as casualties from both sides reported, SOHR said.
It added that the Syrian forces intensified bombardment of Daesh posts in Badeya region, in a bid to control the remaining sites held by Daesh there so that the terrorist group would accept the terms of negotiations and release hostages it had taken from As- Suwayda countryside.
IDLIB CITY, August 14, 2018 (AFP) - An antiquities museum in Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, said to house one of the world's oldest dictionaries, reopened on Monday after five years, an AFP correspondent said.
Dozens of visitors trickled into the museum in Idlib city to see what an official said represented just a fraction of the building's collection.
Ayman al-Nabu, head of antiquities for the city controlled by an alliance of rebels and jihadists, said the museum had been damaged by air strikes and looting during Syria's nearly seven-year conflict.
After it was closed in 2013, “we carried out maintenance and rehabilitated the museum to give it new life,” he said.
Organisers are planning “visits for a whole generation of students who have been unable to visit archeological sites due to the war,” he added.
The museum is said to house a collection of clay tablets dating back to 2400-2300 BC, which bear witness to the invention of the first alphabet.
They were discovered in Idlib province's site of Ebla, which was the seat of one of ancient Syria's earliest kingdoms.
Nabu urged Unesco to help preserve the archeological sites of the province, and said archeology has nothing to do with politics.
Yesterday, a man admired clay lamps displayed in a glass cabinet, while a women took a picture with her phone of a collection including a large amphora. A dark grey statuette stood beheaded on a pedestal in a corner.
Archeologist Fayez Qawsara said he remembers the museum's opening in 1989.
“I attended the founding of Idlib museum in my youth... and today, after all these dark happenings, the museum is reopening with what remains in it,” he said.
Important objects in the collection included “the Ebla tablets and basalt statues showing ancient religious rites,” he said.
Major historical sites or monuments have been destroyed in fighting during Syria's war, including in the Unesco-listed world heritage site of Palmyra.
Idlib is the last province in Syria that is still largely under opposition control.
President Bashar al-Assad has warned that government forces intend to retake the province after the Russia-backed Syrian army seized territory from rebels and terrorists in other parts of Syria.
The war has killed 350,000 people and displaced millions more.
BERLIN, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office says she plans weekend talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany on issues including the development of a contentious Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday the two leaders will meet Saturday at the German government’s guest house outside Berlin.
The Nord Stream 2 project will add to an existing direct Russian-German pipeline, increasing the amount of natural gas Russia can send to central Europe skirting transit countries to Germany’s east. Several eastern European countries object to the plan, which the United States also opposes.
Seibert says Germany’s position is it’s “important Ukraine retains a role as a transit country” for Russian gas.
The leaders will also discuss ending the Syrian conflict, the situation in eastern Ukraine and bilateral topics.
MOSCOW, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Monday a four-way Syria summit "is planned in the upcoming future", with the leaders of Russia, France, Turkey and Germany attending.
It said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Ankara on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the four-way meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
BEIRUT, August 12, 2018 (News Wires) — Syrian opposition activists say an explosion in the country's north has killed at least 18 people and wounded many others. The cause of the blast wasn't immediately known.
The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, says the blast occurred on Sunday in the village of Sarmada near the Turkish border and "killed and wounded dozens." The explosion collapsed a five-story building, burying many of the victims.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 18. It's unclear if the casualties are all civilians.
The Observatory says an arms depot in the basement of a building had detonated. It says the depot was run by an arms dealer close to the al-Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee.
Meanwhile, Syrian government forces are fighting rebels in Idlib province.