What Happened Over the Weekend

The U.S. kills a senior al-Qaeda figure in Syria, Assad diverts funds from international humanitarian aid, and China condemns the Damascus bus attack. Catch up on everything that happened over the weekend.
Weekend Syria U.S. Regime

The U.S. military has killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar in a drone strike in Syria, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said. “The removal of this al-Qaeda senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians,” U.S. Army Major John Rigsbee was quoted as saying by Al-Jazeera. The strike comes two days after a U.S. outpost in southern Syria was attacked.

The Syrian government has diverted at least $100 million in currency from international aid money to state coffers over the past two years, benefiting from variations in exchange rates, according to new research, spotted by Times of Israel. The currency manipulation deprives Syrians, most of them impoverished after a decade of war, of much-needed funds. It also allows the Damascus government to circumvent sanctions enforced by Western countries that hold it responsible for most of the war’s atrocities. “Western countries, despite sanctioning Syrian President Bashar Assad, have become one of the regime’s largest sources of hard currency,” said the report published this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research organization that focuses on international public policy issues. “Assad does not merely profit from the crisis he has created,” the report added. “He has created a system that rewards him more the worse things get.”

Read Also: Shadowy Rebel Group Claims Responsibility for Damascus Bus Attack

The industrial zone in the city of Tartous is significant for the private sectors, including craft and production facilities which guarantee continuity of the work of professionals and craftsmen, a representative of the industry said.  “2038 industrial, craft, and production facilities are located in Tartous industrial zone with a total area of 98 hectares, “said a member of the executive office of the Union of Craftsmen of Tartous, Mounzer Ramadan, according to SANA. 58 new facilities began production during the current year due to the increase in the number of investors, he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the terrorist bombing that targeted a military bus in Damascus last Wednesday, SANA reported. “China strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Damascus,” Chinese media outlets quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying, expressing his country’s sympathy with families of the martyrs and the injured.

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