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Syrian army regains full control over Damascus after 7 years

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018



A Syrian army soldier walks past the rubble of damaged buildings in al-Hajar al-Aswad, May 21. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki


The Syrian government forces on Monday announced that the last extremist stronghold in southern Damascus, the al-Hajar al-Aswad District, has been recaptured, marking the military’s complete control over Damascus and its suburb areas after seven years of fighting.

The al-Hajar al-Aswad District is seven kilometers to downtown Damascus. The government troops on April 19 began its military operation to take back the district, along with the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp which was occupied by extremists, using airstrikes and intensive cannon and rocket strikes.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian government denied reports that the government forces observed a brief ceasefire with extremists on Sunday.

It stated that the government forces only implemented a short-term moratorium so that women, children, and the elderly could withdraw, and resumed cleanup operations on the afternoon of Monday, eventually ending the extremists’ presence in the capital and its surrounding areas.

“In the last period (of the operation), we surrounded the local extremists, and the encirclement became very small as we are closing in. The combat with extremists became very short-ranged, and we eventually neutralized them,” said Colonel Ahmad Ezzeldin.

The recapture of al-Hajar al-Aswad District marks the complete liberation of Damascus since 2011. The government forces will continue to sweep houses and tunnels for hidden suicide attackers and snipers next. — Reuters

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U.S. voices outrage as Syria assumes presidency of U.N. disarmament body

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

A U.S. national flag and its shadow on the Harry S. Truman Building at the Department of State are pictured in Washington, in this October 24, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files


The U.S. State Department voiced outrage on Tuesday (May 29) over the Syrian government’s assumption of the presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament for the next month, saying Damascus lacked credibility to preside over the body because of its use of chemical weapons.

“We are outraged at the Syrian regime’s blatant disregard for human life, its serial violations of and contempt for its international obligations and its audaciousness in assuming the presidency of an international body committed to advancing disarmament and nonproliferation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing. “Syria lacks the credibility to assume the presidency.” — Reuters

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US says chemical arms inspectors still have not entered site of Syrian attack

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

A boy walks along a damaged street at the city of Douma in Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

The United States believes inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog have not yet been able to enter the site of the April 7 alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons had been able to see the site but the team has not entered Douma.

She said the United States had information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack and was concerned that evidence was deteriorating the longer inspectors were kept from reaching the site.

“The longer that it takes to get OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get on the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that’s on the ground. So that is our chief concern,” Nauert said. — Reuters

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DFA monitors status of Filipinos amid airstrikes in Syria

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018

Foreign affairs department said in a statement there are no reported Filipino casualties in Syrian airstrikes.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that Filipinos in Syria are safe following the massive joint airstrikes by US, France and Britain against it.

DFA said over a thousand Filipinos are staying in Syria and the Philippine Embassy in Damascus has assured that it is closely monitoring their situation in the country.

The missile strikes on Saturday targeted three alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reiterated that the total deployment ban of Filipino workers in Syria remains in effect.

He added that the government, as always, is prepared to assist all OFWs especially those who will be affected by the conflict.

“We still coordinate. Basta (as long as) overseas worker, documented or not, we also extend help to them especially on the issue of reintegration and repatriation,” Bello assured. — UNTV News & Rescue

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