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21 dead from attack on Syrian rebel base

Neither IS nor any other group, however, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Syrian Rebale Base

Damascus, May 22 : At least 21 fighters from a Syrian Islamist rebel group were killed on Sunday in an attack on a village in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Two explosions rocked a base belonging to the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group in the village of Tell Touqan, located east of Idlib, Efe quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.

Among the dead was a commander of Ahrar al-Sham, one of the main rebel organisations in Syria.

The remains of two people, suspected of being the suicide bombers who targeted the base, were also found at the scene of the attack.

In a message posted on Telegram, Ahrar al-Sham blamed the Islamic State (IS) terror organisation for the attack.

Neither IS nor any other group, however, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Almost all of Idlib is controlled by Islamist and rebel groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, which usually operates with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Business

Bill would remove U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia

The spread of the coronavirus has crushed crude demand at the same time that Saudi Arabia and Russia have pumped oil flat- out in a race for market share, pushing prices to 18-year lows.

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US troops from Syria
File Picture of US troops

WASHINGTON : A Republican U.S. senator introduced legislation on Thursday to remove American troops from Saudi Arabia, adding pressure on the kingdom to tighten its oil taps to reverse the crude price drop that has hurt domestic energy companies.

The legislation from Senator Bill Cassidy, of oil-producing Louisiana, would remove U.S. troops 30 days after enactment, a full month faster than similar legislation introduced by two other Republican senators in March.

The spread of the coronavirus has crushed crude demand at the same time that Saudi Arabia and Russia have pumped oil flat- out in a race for market share, pushing prices to 18-year lows.

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Middle East

Palestine warns Israel against annexation policy

The prime minister stressed the need for mobilizing international support for UNRWA to be able to play its vital role during the novel coronavirus crisis, according to the statement.

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Mohammed Ishtaye

Ramallah, April 8 : Palestine warned Israel against pressing ahead with annexation policy amid its process to form a new government.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye on Tuesday warned of the danger of an Israeli government coalition favoring the annexation of parts of the West Bank and emphasized the importance of an international role to confront such illegal plans that undermine international law and resolutions and threaten to end the two-state solution, according to a statement by his office, reported Xinhua news agency.

Ishtaye made the remarks in two separate video-conference and telephone meetings with the new Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, and the UN Envoy for the Peace Process in the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov.

They also talked over international support for the efforts of the Palestinian government amidst the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.

Ishtaye briefed both Lazzarini and Mladenov on the obstacles facing the coronavirus outbreak and ways to alleviate its economic and financial consequences on the government and the Palestinian economy, which is affected by the unilateral Israeli measures against Palestinians and their territory.

The prime minister stressed the need for mobilizing international support for UNRWA to be able to play its vital role during the novel coronavirus crisis, according to the statement.

“We have received promises of aid, few of which have been translated on the ground and we’re awaiting the rest. We will face this pandemic with a comprehensive national plan covering the West Bank, the Gaza strip, and the diaspora,” Ishtaye was quoted as saying.

Palestine declared a state of emergency on March 5, as the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the West Bank, and has taken measures to implement an austere budget, amidst forecasts of a significant negative economic impact.

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Iran FM urges US to stop sanctions on oil exports

Iran has asked the world to oppose U.S. sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Zarif

Tehran, April 8 : Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the US government to stop sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.

“Iran is rich in human & natural resources. We don’t need charity from (US President) Donald Trump,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday, reported Xinhua news agency

The remarks of Zarif was an allusion to the recent help offer by Trump amid the surge of the novel coronavirus in Iran.

“What we want is for him to stop preventing Iran from selling oil & other products, buying its needs & making & receiving payments,” said Zarif.

Iran has asked the world to oppose U.S. sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic.

Iran is the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East, with 62,589 confirmed cases and 3,872 deaths so far.

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