The European Union will not invite Russia to an upcoming pledging conference on the conflict in Syria, saying that Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine shows it lacks “a genuine interest to contribute to peace in the world.” The annual event, set for next month, features governments, international organizations, and civil society groups and provides a platform for Syrians and the region to be heard. “We are inviting those partners who have a genuine interest to contribute to peace in the world, which Russia has also through its aggressions on Ukraine proven not to have,” an EU spokesperson said Friday in an email to Devex regarding the Syria conference.
The U.S. State Department condemned on Saturday the atrocities depicted in a recently released video, showing blindfolded, unarmed civilians being shot point-blank by an Assad regime official before falling into a mass grave. Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, shared with Asharq al-Awsat, that the massacre suggests additional evidence of war crimes committed by the Assad regime, and is yet another harrowing example of the horrors that the Syrian people have endured for more than a decade. The State Department then commended the brave individuals who work to bring Assad and his regime to justice, often at the risk of their own lives. “This includes the vital work of Syrian civil society organizations to document violations of the law of armed conflict as well as human rights abuses and violations and their efforts to advance transitional justice,” Price stressed.
Syria’s Oil Minister Bassam Tohme announced on Sunday a partial breakthrough in the country’s recent gasoline crisis, pointing to the arrival of new crude oil supplies “soon,” Asharq Al-Awsat reported. Ending the crisis depends on the arrival of oil shipments to Syria, Tohme explained. He said the Syrian government is working to resolve this issue in cooperation with “friendly countries.” He did not disclose the countries he referred to. Tohme said the country has resumed distributing 95 octane gasoline, adding that regular 90 octane gasoline will be boosted from Sunday to all provinces, up by 620,000 litres. The minister said these additional quantities would gradually limit the queues at gas stations, hoping that the crisis would end completely within a few weeks with the arrival of the oil shipments to the Baniyas and Homs refineries.
Syria’s continued failure to remedy outstanding issues prevents the international community from confirming the elimination of its chemical weapons program, a top UN disarmament official said Friday, according to the UN website. This came in a brief in front of the Security Council regarding the implementation of resolution 2118 (2013) as members traded allegations that the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is being politicized to suit national interests.“It is unfortunate that today, many of that treaty’s historic accomplishments have been overshadowed by the continued use of chemical weapons. No example showcases that better than the numerous instances of such use in Syria, which OPCW continues to document despite that country’s accession to the Convention,” she added.
Syrian soldiers were wounded in different attacks launched by militants in Aleppo and Lattakia, northwestern Syria, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced on Saturday, North Press reported. “One Syrian soldier was wounded in an artillery shelling carried out by terrorists [Turkish-backed Syrian opposition militants] from areas west of Aleppo on government forces’ positions in Kafr Halab in the southwest of Aleppo,” Oleg Zhuravlev, deputy chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, announced yesterday. “Two other soldiers were wounded in machine-gun attacks carried out by “terrorists” from Tamil village on Ajel area west of Aleppo, as well as the terrorists stationed in the Makbis area, targeted the Bala area,” Zhuravlev added.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.