Syria Today – Opposition Criticizes Arab League; Syria Reveals New Mineral Deposits; AANES Evacuates Syrians from Sudan

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.

The Syrian opposition expressed dissatisfaction on Sunday with the Arab League’s approach to resolving the Syrian crisis. Meanwhile, Syria has recently uncovered fresh mineral deposits in different regions of the country. Simultaneously, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) successfully evacuated 161 Syrian citizens who were stranded in Sudan on Monday.
Opposition denounces 

Syrian opposition National Coalition (SNC) said on Sunday that Arab League is taking the “wrong” approach to solving the Syrian crisis.

Haitham Rahma, SNC Secretary–General, stressed that “the Arab League should have exerted real pressure to implement UN Resolution No. 2254 through Arab force, and with regional and international cooperation, to protect the Syrian people.”

Rahma added that “the third term of the League’s statement will not achieve any objectives even if it follows the step-by-step approach.”

He noted that the Arab bloc “involved itself morally and politically by ignoring the al-Assad regime’s massacres and crimes against humanity, as it, through its unconditional readmission [to the League], evaded responsibility towards future practices of the al-Assad regime against the Syrian people.”

The SNC Secretary–General called on Arab countries to help the Syrian people by supporting a political solution under the UN Resolution No. 2254 for a political transition to benefit Syrians.

On May 19th, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad officially joint the 32nd session of the Arab Summit of the Arab League, hosted in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the first time after 12 years of war.

On May 7th, Arab ministers of the Arab League agreed on Syria’s official return to its seat in the Arab League after more than 10 years of suspension.

Syria discovers new mineral deposits, oil minister says

Syria reveals that it has discovered new mineral deposits in the country as it grapples with the US plundering the country’s resources, pro-government Lebanese Network Al Mayadeen reported.

New mineral deposits were discovered in various parts of Syria, Syrian Oil, and Mineral Resources Minister Firas Kaddour told Sputnik on Monday.

Work is underway in Syria to extract the precious resources and attract local and foreign investment, the Syrian minister added.

“We have discovered new mineral deposits in Syria. Studies have confirmed their presence,” Kaddour revealed.

The government is working on making the country’s mineral resources sector more attractive for local and foreign investors, he further said.

“Syria is making changes to the legislation in order to promote investments in the minerals sector,” he added.

Syria’s sector of natural resources has been deeply hit by the US occupation of the country, as it has been plundering the country’s resources through its presence there.

This comes after Syrian news agency SANA reported last week that US occupation forces sent a convoy of 42 tankers loaded with hundreds of tons of looted oil from the Al-Jazira region toward US bases in Iraq.

Reportedly, the oil plundering transfer operation was conducted through the illegal crossing of Al-Muhamadiya, SANA reported. 

Economists praise Syria’s return to Arab fold

Economists on Sunday welcomed the decision of the League of Arab States to reinstate Syria’s membership, noting that the move will positively affect the economy of the Arab world.

“Syria’s return to the Arab League and re-bridging relations between Syria and the other Arab countries, specifically Jordan, will open new economic horizons,” economist Alaa Garalleh told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Bilateral trade relations between Jordan and Syria are of significant economic depth, with imports and trade exchange previously reaching a considerable volume, especially in the agricultural sector, Garalleh added.

“In the coming period, Syria will witness reconstruction. This means a greater need and the Jordanian market may be among those adopted due to proximity and the availability of a strategic port at Aqaba,” he said.

Economist Husam Ayesh told The Jordan Times that “commercial dealings between Jordan and Syria are still ongoing, but they may develop further”.

The return of economic relations is notable, and the return signals the potential for increased Jordanian exports to Syria, especially in the food, industrial or pharmaceutical industries, Ayesh said.

The League of Arab States has decided to reinstate Syria’s seat after suspending its membership for more than 10 years, furthering regional efforts to normalize relations with Syrian President Bashar Assad in a move criticized by Washington.

US probes claim air strike killed Syria civilian instead of Al-Qaeda leader

The United States military has announced that it is investigating whether an air strike on an alleged Al-Qaeda leader in Syria killed a civilian instead,  MEMO reported.

On May 3rd, the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that it struck a “senior Al Qaeda leader” in north-west Syria, as part of its continued targeting of the group and its waning presence in the region.

Only hours later, however, a 72-year-old man named Mohammed Misto reported that his brother – a civilian named Lotfi Hassan Misto – was killed by the strike on the outskirts of the village of Qurqania.

Misto said that his 56-year-old brother “was happy with his life and everyone loved him and appreciated him. He minded his own business and lived at the edge of the village.”

He insisted that Lotfi did not have any ties to Al-Qaeda, had 12 children, owned a chicken farm, and “was tending to his sheep in the mountain when the aircraft came and targeted him”. He was “not in Al-Qaeda and everything being said about him being in Al-Qaeda or in the Nusra Front is all lies upon lies. Even the American propaganda is all false.”

In a statement, CENTCOM spokesman Maj John Moore announced that it “continues to assess the outcome of the strike and has been made aware of allegations that it may have resulted in a civilian casualty.” He stated that CENTCOM is “investigating to determine whether or not the action may have unintentionally resulted in harm to civilians.”

According to the Washington Post, two anonymous US defence officials said, “We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official”, but that although “we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda.”

The paper also cited Jerome Drevon, a senior analyst on jihadism and modern conflict with the International Crisis Group, as saying that Al-Qaeda sympathizers usually announce leaders’ deaths online to commemorate martyrdom and that people close to lower-level operatives will often express their connection. In this case, Drevon said, “there was nothing.”

Assad banks on new ‘global order’ to help his own rehabilitation

CNN published a long analysis arguing that Assad is seeking Arab support in rehabilitating his image amidst shifting global dynamics.

The Network said that Assad seeks to capitalize on a new global order, aiming to rehabilitate his image with the support of Arab states. During a regional summit, Assad emphasized the need for rearranging international affairs without Western interference. His appearance at the summit, where he was embraced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, marked a significant comeback for the former pariah leader. 

CNN added that Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while maintaining ties with the West, have been actively engaging with Syria and other sanctioned countries, signalling a shift in their international relations. Syria hopes that the Arab world’s normalization efforts will challenge the US and Europe to follow suit. 

However, according to the network, the success of Syria’s international rehabilitation remains uncertain due to Western sanctions and the reliance on Western financial systems. Economic cooperation with Syria is hindered by these sanctions, limiting major investment projects and impacting regional stability. 

Nevertheless, there are opportunities for humanitarian and reconstruction work through NGOs, the United Nations, and potential partnerships with Russia and Iran. Assad’s ultimate objective is to have sanctions lifted, and he believes that the support of Arab states is crucial in achieving that goal.

Syria denies drug trafficking accusations

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad rejected all statements accusing Damascus of facilitating drug trafficking and called for international cooperation to eradicate this scourge.

The terrorist war imposed on the country turned it into a corridor and trafficking zone for drugs to Jordan and the Gulf states, Al-Mekdad said in statements broadcast by the national media.

The foreign minister stated that some outlawed people take advantage that the Syrian army and security forces plunged into fighting terrorism and they engage in drug smuggling.

We are suffering from this problem, which is a potential danger to the Syrian people, and we hope that other countries will sincerely cooperate with us to eradicate it, the head of diplomacy said.

He revealed that during the recent meeting of foreign ministers from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a committee was formed to cooperate in eliminating this phenomenon, reiterating the State’s willingness to eradicate it.

The Syrian authorities have recently intensified operations against criminal networks, arrested dozens of traffickers, and seized large quantities of drugs.

AANES evacuates 161 Syrians from Sudan

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) evacuated on Monday 161 Syrian citizens who were stranded in Sudan, a country that has been witnessing fierce clashes for about a month, North Press reported.

The AANES announced on April 27 the formation of a committee to help the Syrians stranded in Sudan and evacuate them.

“During this month, the AANES’ Foreign Relation Department and we, the committee tasked with the repatriation, contacted our trapped people in Sudan,” said Mustafa Bali, a member of the committee formed to evacuate the Syrians from Sudan.

Bali told North Press that they had formed a committee in Sudan to coordinate with the AANES for helping the citizens and that they managed to plan for the launch of the first flight from Sudan to Qamishli.

“The flight arrived today from Sudan with 161 Syrians onboard,” he said. “Later, work will continue to organize other flights to repatriate all Syrians.”

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, have been clashing across the country since April 15, leaving behind hundreds of casualties, most of whom are civilians.

Sabil Muhammad, a woman who lived in Sudan with her husband for a year, said the situation in Sudan “has worsened.”

“Planes hovered in the sky, we witnessed water and power outage, and food shortage, so the number of the thieves increased, and they robbed houses,” she told North Press. “The Kurds there were beaten and stripped of their money.”

 

 

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