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Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

THE LEVANT NEWS – By Sundeep Waslekar* — In December 2009, I met Walid Muallem, Foreign Minister of Syria, in his office in Damascus, along with an eminent British politician. He rolled out before us his vision of peace process with Israel in phases. He had two essential conditions. First, …

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The Water Wars Waged by ISIS

HADITHA DAM, IRAQ

THE LEVANT NEWS — By Ambika Vishwanath for STRATFOR– The Islamic State’s use of natural resources to achieve its strategic goals is nothing new. Oil, one of the group’s biggest sources of funding, plays an especially important role in its calculations — something the countries fighting the Islamic State are …

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Syrian Forces Win Back Strategic Regions in Lattakia Province

THE LEVANT NEWS — The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) seized back more strategic areas in the Northern parts of Lattakia province on Saturday. The Syrian forces regained control of al-Markashileh and Jab al-Ahmar regions after several days of fierce clashes with the militants in Lattakia countryside. The …

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The End of a Russian-Turkish “Golden Age”

THE LEVANT NEWS — By Pavel Shlykov for Carnegie Centre–  The downing of a Russian plane by Turkey is jeopardizing the strong business and political relationship built by Ankara and Moscow. The two countries’ clash over Syria suggests that relations will get worse before they get better. The shooting down …

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Rouhani: Jets are not toys to shoot down

THE LEVANT NEWS — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani criticized Turkey for shooting down a Russian military aircraft Nov. 24 on the Syrian-Turkish border. While Rouhani was diplomatic in his criticism, conservative Iranian media lashed out against Turkey and its policies in Syria. Rouhani said on Nov. 25 that the Russian Su-24 was …

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China finds itself pulled deeper into Syria crisis

THE LEVANT NEWS — As its global business interests grow, China is cautiously revising the noninterventionist policy espoused in 1955 by then-Premier Zhou Enlai. The killing of a Chinese hostage by the Islamic State group and Chinese businessmen in Friday’s attack in Mali could change that. The violence swirling out …

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Turkey violated the Syria flight safety memorandum: Lavrov

THE LEVANT NEWS –Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Wednesday’s phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry, pointed to a gross violation of the Russian-US memorandum of ensuring safety of flights of combat aircraft in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported Wednesday. “The situation around an unprovoked attack …

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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Plane Near Syrian Border

The pilots managed to eject but their fate was unknown, Russia’s ministry of defense has said   By Jacob Steinblatt and Vladi Vovcuk for REUTERS — Turkey shot down a Russian military plane near the country’s Syrian border, reports said early Tuesday. Turkey said the jet violated airspace—a claim that Russia denied. Before …

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How ISIS has plundered oil fields, antiquities and stolen a fortune of $2BILLION to spread its war from the Middle East into Europe

THE LEVANT NEWS — By COREY CHARLTON  for Mailonline — The vast wealth generated by oil fields, power plants, extortion, taxes, and the pillaging of antiquities has rendered ISIS the most well-funded terrorist group in history, experts have warned. With an estimated £1.3billion fortune, the group can afford not only …

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Terrorists empowered after US-led strikes: Syria

THE LEVANT NEWS– Syria complains that terrorists harrying the country grew in power after the United States and its allies started aerial strikes against purported Daesh hideouts. “The result is that the terrorists have gained more ground and more recruits from around the world,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told China’s Phoenix television …

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U.N. committee condemns Iranian intervention in Syria war

The Levant News– The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee on Thursday adopted a Saudi-drafted resolution condemning Iranian and Russian intervention in Syria, a decision that the Syrian and Iranian delegations rejected as unhelpful and unjustified. The non-binding resolution, authored by Saudi Arabia and co-sponsored by Qatar and other Arab …

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Iran Reaffirms a Role for Assad

THE LEVANT NEWS — An Iranian official said that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria should remain in power and be included in elections as part of any diplomatic negotiation aimed at ending the civil war. The statement, by Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a deputy foreign minister, was not a new position …

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ISIS- The Hour Has Struck

THE LEVANT NEWS — by Graham E. Fuller– ISIS, with its horrific attack on purely civilian targets in Paris, has established new realities about its nature, capabilities and intentions. The need for its elimination can now no longer be in doubt. It is not that Parisian lives are more important …

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Beirut attack increases will to fight ISIS: Nasrallah

THE LEVANT NEWS–BEIRUT: The double suicide attack that targeted a southern Beirut suburb earlier this week only increases Hezbollah’s determination to fight ISIS in Syria, party chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday. “If they (ISIS) assume that killing our men and women and children and burning our markets could weaken …

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ISIS video threatens attacks in Russia ‘very soon’

THE LEVANT NEWS — Islamic State(ISIS) has released a video threatening attacks in Russia “very soon”, the SITE monitoring group said on Thursday. Al-Hayat Media Center, Islamic State’s foreign language media division, released a Russian language video with chants of “Soon, very soon, the blood will spill like an ocean”, …

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U.N. warns against cuts in development aid due to refugee crisis

The Levant News– U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday warned against proposed reductions in development aid by wealthy countries struggling to cope with Europe’s refugee and migration crisis, saying such cuts would be counter-productive. “With the world facing the largest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War, (Ban) …

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Israel warplanes strike near Syria airport: Report

The Levant News– Israeli warplanes have struck targets near the international airport in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Syrian media says. The reports said the attack happened Wednesday morning. There were no immediate comments from the Syrian government on the issue. In October, the Israeli military launched a number of artillery attacks against …

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