THREE children were killed in air strikes carried out by the US-led coalition on the small Syrian town of Al-Shaafah in the Deir Ezzor region on Monday. They used banned white phosphorus munitions for the second time in three days. The Syrian SANA news agency reported that the city of Hajin in the same area of Deir Ezzor also came under the strike.
On Saturday the US-led coalition launched a new aggression on Syrian territory under the pretext of combatting Daesh, bombarding residential buildings in Hajin, (which is just 110km east of Deir Ezzor) killing and wounding dozens of civilians.
Local witnesses say these attacks are the most aggressive in several months, claiming the lives of 15 civilians and wounding many others, most of them women and children who had been living in the houses near the Khaled Ibn al-Waleed Mosque. On October 29th, the US-led coalition launched attacks on several areas in Hajin using internationally-banned white phosphorus bombs.
Meanwhile, while completing mopping up operations in the villages and towns in the countryside around Damascus and Quneitra, the competent authorities found large amounts of weapons, ammunition and medical equipment, most of them US and British made.
Engineering units from the competent authorities, in cooperation with the national reconciliation committees in Jibat al-Khashab village in Quneitra Countryside and in Beit Jin village in Damascus Countryside, found them. Among the seized weapons were machineguns, US-made snipers, TOW rockets, US-made anti-armour shells and huge amounts of machinegun bullets, in addition to mortar shells and telecommunication devices.
An electrical machine for filling oxygen cylinders was also found, in addition to surgical equipment, full laboratory equipment and operating rooms, and US-made emergency equipment. ECG machines, dental clinics, medical beds and wheelchairs were also found.
Meanwhile on Monday, the 3rd Industrial Conference, organised by the Syrian Ministry of Industry, opened at the Shahba Hotel in Aleppo with Prime Minister Imad Khamis and a number of ministers atttending. In his speech, Premier Khamis said that the government is working on a package of procedures to support national industry so that it may recover its production capabilities.
He said that these procedures include providing what the industrialists need to overcome the circumstances spawned by the war and the Western sanctions. Khamis added that throughout the war, terrorists and their supporters targeted the industrial sector, causing massive damage, but today Syria’s factories are resuming productions thanks to the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army.
Participants in the conference are discussing issues related to developing the industrial and trade reality and the industrial cities and zones, in addition to the social insurance, and the banking and financial affairs and the requirements of industrialists.
Obstacles facing industrialists and the work of industrial facilities and means to allow them to return to the production line, are also on the table. The participants will also tackle the reality of the textiles, food, medical and plastic industries, as well as the facilitations provided to the industrialists.
• On Sunday, Syria’s Foreign and Expatriates Ministry slammed the decision of the US administration to slap fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran which came into effect on November 5th. An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates ministry said in a statement that Syria considers this step to be in line with the US policies aimed at undermining regional peace and security.
The decision, according to the statement ‘reflects the US failure to deliver on its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed upon between Iran and the P5+1 nations.’ It strongly blasted the US tendency to impose unilateral coercive measures against the countries which refuse to succumb to its diktats in a way that contravenes the UN Charter, international law and the multilateral trade system, and magnifies the humanitarian suffering of nations hit by these sanctions.
The statement concluded by reaffirming Syria’s solidarity and support for the Iranian government and people, voicing confidence that the new package of sanctions will only make Iran more determined to abort the US ‘unethical policies’.
Meanwhile, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has demanded that ‘occupation’ forces from Turkey must immediately leave Syrian soil in order for security and stability to be restored. ‘The Syrian Arab Army is the only party that stands against the Turkish occupation of the Syrian territories,’ Mekdad told the al-Watan daily newspaper.
‘We believe that these (Kurdish parties) should return to the spirit of citizenship and to believe in their homeland; not to use Americans, Israelis and others against the interests of their native soil,’ he said when asked about calls by some Kurdish militant groups in the areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to stand against Turkish attacks.
Mekdad added, ‘The Syrian army stands with all groups, parties and tribes in order to tackle terrorism for the benefit of the Syrian people.’ He stated that Syria will eventually emerge victorious over terrorism and its sponsors, and all areas will be liberated from the clutches of Americans, Turks and separatists, thanks to the high motivation and sacrifices made by the Syrian nation and the Syrian army.
Mekdad stressed that the Damascus government cannot trust Turkish assurances, because Ankara’s objectives are colonial and expansionist. ‘The Ankara government misleads public opinion inside Turkey and in the (Middle East) region by announcing something but implementing something else,’ he said.
Mekdad added that Damascus will cooperate with new UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, if he avoids the ‘methods’ of his predecessor Staffan de
Mistura. And he went on to cite other conditions for his government’s cooperation with Pedersen.
‘He must declare his commitment to Syrian territorial integrity and to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic. He cannot side with the terrorists as his predecessor did. ‘He should stand for the ideals and the superior values enshrined in the UN Charter, which aim at ensuring people’s freedom within the framework of the fight on terrorism,’ the Syrian deputy foreign minister declared.
On October 31, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he had appointed the Norwegian diplomat to serve as his Special Envoy for Syria, replacing outgoing envoy de Mistura. Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has discussed a yet-to-be-formed constitutional committee with a delegation of high-ranking Russian officials in the capital Damascus. According to a statement released by the Syrian Presidency Office on Sunday, the Syrian leader met with Russian special envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Verchinen at the Presidential Palace in Damascus earlier in the day.
President Assad held talks with Lavrentiev on ‘forming the committee to discuss the current constitution’, the statement said, adding that they agreed ‘to continue joint Syrian-Russian work towards removing the obstacles still in the way of forming this committee.’