updated 7:50 PM MDT, May 24, 2017

Donald Trump’s Saudi Arabia speech: eight key points

Unlike Obama, who somehow couldn’t find a way to use words like “terror” or “terrorism” in his speech, Trump made the common terrorist threat facing America and the Muslim world his central point.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday” that the primary goal of the visit was to confront the threat of terrorism and that human rights would improve as security and stability in the region did.Trump made no mention of the disputed travel ban, signed days after he took office, that temporarily banned immigration to the USA from seven majority Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

Rights group accuses Syria of several likely nerve agent attacks

 A civil defence member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah


Human Rights Watch on Monday accused Syrian government forces of likely dropping bombs containing nerve agents at least three times elsewhere in the country before an April 4 attack that killed dozens of people and sparked a retaliatory U.S. strike.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons. The Syrian U.N. mission was not immediately available to comment on the allegations by Human Rights Watch, which cited interviews with witnesses and medical personnel.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, a global watchdog, has said sarin or a similar banned toxin was used in the April 4 strike.

Human Rights Watch said that before the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun, government warplanes also appeared to have dropped nerve agents on eastern Hama on Dec. 11 and 12, 2016, and northern Hama, near Khan Sheikhoun, on March 30, 2017.

"All four of these attacks were in areas where opposition or ISIS forces were launching an offensive that threatened government military air bases," Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth told a news conference at the United Nations.

"The decision to ratchet up to this level seems to have been related to that unfavorable battlefield situation," he said.

The report said an opposition-affiliated activist and local residents provided the names of 64 people they say died from exposure to chemicals in the December attacks, which were in an area controlled by Islamic State militants.

It said no one died in the March 30 attack but dozens of people were injured, according to residents and medical workers.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds


ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday his country may take further action against Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria and insisted U.S. support for such groups "must come to an end."

The U.S. moved troops and armored vehicles through several Syrian cities and towns on Friday and Saturday in a show of force apparently intended to dissuade Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces from attacking each other.

Kurdish officials described the U.S. troop movement as a "buffer" between them and Turkey.

 
US forces patrol Syrian border amid clashes between Turkey and Kurdish militants

The U.S. has provided air cover and other support to Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, it is working with the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, but also includes Arab fighters.

Video from northern Syria shows the U.S. patrols parked alongside Kurdish units flying the YPG flag.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

VIDEO.Israel Attacks Syrian military base near Damascus airport


BEIRUT  Syrian state media blamed Israel on Thursday for an early morning missile attack on a military installation near Damascus International Airport that shook the capital with the force of the blasts.

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz would not comment directly on the incident but said any similar strike would be in line with established policy to interrupt the transfer of weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from Iran and Syria.

“It absolutely matches our declared policy, a policy that we also implement,” Katz told Israel’s Army Radio.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East
 
 

 

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