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The News Line: Feature SYRIA PREPARES TO LIBERATE IDLIB
Syrian president BASHAR AL-ASSAD greeted by Syrian troops after the victory in Eastern Ghouta
RUSSIAN fighter jets have bombed terrorist positions in Syria’s Idlib, as the Syrian government troops are preparing for a ground operation to liberate the territory, the Russian army said.

The ministry, in a statement released on Wednesday, announced that the aerial attack had only pounded members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, dismissing allegations that it had struck populated areas. The statement said that the planes involved in the airstrikes had taken off from the Russian-run Hmeimim air base in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday that Russian military aircraft had battered Idlib for the first time in three weeks. ‘Russian warplanes resumed bombing Idlib province after a 22-day pause,’ Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based monitor group, said.

He added that the aerial attacks came a day after militants in Idlib hit Syrian army positions in neighbouring Latakia province, which killed three pro-government fighters.
Russia has dismissed US President Donald Trump’s warning about an imminent anti-terror offensive in Syria’s Idlib.

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 army troopers, backed by allied fighters from popular defence groups, have recently made major territorial gains in battles against IS and other foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire southern part of the country after securing the capital Damascus and other key areas.

The major militant stronghold remains in Idlib province, where government forces are preparing to launch a full-scale military offensive. Takfiri militants are also in control of some areas of the western-central province of Hama, and are holding some desert regions near the border with Turkey. Moreover, negotiations have been taking place between the political wing of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by the US, and the Syrian government on ways to end violence in Syria.

Meanwhile Syrian government forces found large amounts of weapons and medical supplies left behind by terrorists in the southern countryside of Quneitra.
The authorities discovered the weapons during the sweeping operation in al-Rafid and al-Braiqa villages.

The weapons include US TOW missiles, Israeli-made grenades, rocket launchers, night-vision goggles, various kinds of ammunition, RPG launchers and mortar rounds of 130 mm and 80 mm. Amounts of medical supplies and medicines were also discovered in the area in addition to equipment for the so called ‘White Helmets’, including fake blood, cosmetics and plastic body organs used for media fabrications.

Terrorists in Syria have been targeting the infrastructure and citizens’ houses.
On Wednesday terrorist groups destroyed al-Twaineh bridge in Hama northern countryside. Al-Twaineh Bridge is 2 km to the west of al-Madiq Castle in the northern countryside. The terrorists planted huge amounts of high explosive materials in different parts of the bridge. Al-Twaineh Bridge is considered the third bridge destroyed by terrorist groups after the bridges of al-Sharyia and Beit Ras in al-Ghab Plain.

Meanwhile speaker of the People’s Assembly, Hammoudeh Sabbagh, stressed the Syrian state’s keenness on the return of all its displaced people, saying that Syria is determined to fulfil reconciliations and continue its efforts to eliminate terrorist hotbeds as well. Sabbagh made his remarks during a meeting with US Senator Richard Black who is currently visiting Syria.

He pointed out that eradication of remaining terrorist hotbeds is a priority for the Syrian state in preparation for reconstruction stage, adding that the Syrian Arab army’s heroic sacrifices and the faith of Syrian people and their confidence in their leadership played a key role in achieving victory over terrorism and its supporters.

For his part, Senator Black expressed confidence that Syria is in the final stage of battle against terrorism, indicating that the US support to those who fight against the Syrian state in Idleb is considered as support to those who killed thousands of American citizens in the September 11 attacks in 2001.

He stated that the unilateral coercive procedures imposed by some western countries on Syria are a crime and a breach of international laws. The US diplomat added that during the tour, he felt the citizens’ commitment to reconciliations and their desire to return to their houses and areas which they were forced to leave due to terrorism.
Black visited Ma’aloula city and met a number of orphaned children who receive care at the Monastery of Our Lady of Seydnaya. He regretted the US approach which is mainly intended to spread sectarian sedition among the Syrian people who lived in peace and security for centuries.

• Syria has signed a Universal Health Coverage Global Compact (UHC2030) aiming at demonstrating a high level of commitment to take action to make progress towards universal health coverage by all countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The Compact also aims at enhancing the commitment of states to develop a vision and implement national programmes to move towards universal health coverage. The signing of the Compact took place within a ministerial meeting of health ministers and representatives from 22 countries from Eastern Mediterranean region in the Omani city of Salalah under the title of the ‘Ministerial meeting on the road towards universal health coverage’.

In a press statement, Health Minister Nizar Yazigi said that means preventive and curative health services to all citizens via hospitals, health centres, and mobile clinics.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Yazigi discussed with his Omni counterpart Ahmed Mohammed Obaid Al Saidi means of bolstering bilateral cooperation in the health sector.

Yazigi also discussed with WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari the health cooperation between the two sides and importance of supporting efforts to rehabilitate the heath institutions damaged due to terrorism, in addition to providing the heath sector with non-locally produced medicines and medical equipment affected by unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Syrian people.

Universal health coverage (UHC) ensures that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. The WHO statistics show that 100 million people worldwide suffer from poverty as a result of spending on health care, of whom 7.7 million live in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

 
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