Middle East

A Syrian rebel fighter watches smoke rising from an explosion, at an unknown location in Idlib province, Sept. 5, 2018. The Russian military confirmed that airstrikes were carried out on Syria's last major rebel stronghold of Idlib.
International calls for restraint grew Wednesday for Syria and its allies, Russia and Iran, to avoid a bloodbath and humanitarian disaster in Syria's Idlib province.The northwestern province along the Turkish border is the last major part of Syria in rebel hands. Syrian forces are surrounding the province, and observers say a multiparty operation may be imminent.Meeting Wednesday with the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, President Donald Trump…
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Wed, 09/05/2018 - 20:25
FILE - An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on a highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, May 25, 2015.
The Trump administration is justifying the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional military aid to Egypt, citing the country's progress over the last year in counterterrorism efforts and some improvements in its human rights record.A State Department official told VOA the United States has worked closely with the Egyptian government over the last year to further strengthen bilateral ties in support of common security and counterterrorism goals."The…
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Wed, 09/05/2018 - 19:00
UN envoy Martin Griffiths attends a news conference ahead of Yemen talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland Sept. 5, 2018.
The U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is hopeful that talks in coming days with delegations from the government of Yemen and Houthi rebels will lead to full-blown peace negotiations.Thursday’s formal consultations will be the first time in two years that Yemen’s warring parties will meet. Griffiths calls this an opportunity to restart talks. Griffiths does not underestimate the difficulties ahead, but said it will be important to focus on confidence…
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Wed, 09/05/2018 - 15:10
FILE - Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan near Idlib, Syria.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. is watching to see if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons during its offensive on the rebel-held bastion of Idlib, noting Syrian opposition fighters are not able to carry out such attacks.   “We have zero intelligence that shows the [Syrian] opposition has any chemical capability,” Mattis said. On the other hand, Mattis said there is evidence that President Bashar al-Assad has “done this before and…
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Wed, 09/05/2018 - 08:25
FILE - Reza Khandan, left, and his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, one of Iran's most prominent human rights lawyers, in Tehran, Sept. 18, 2013.. Khandan was arrested, Sept. 4, 2018, after he had publicly campaigned for the release of Sotoudeh, who had been...
The U.S. State Department and human rights groups have expressed shock and outrage at Iran’s arrest of the husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a detained rights lawyer whose release he campaigned for.Rights groups said security agents detained Reza Khandan at his home early Tuesday and took him to Tehran’s Evin prison. The groups quoted Khandan’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, as saying Iranian authorities charged Khandan with national security offenses and promoting nonobservance of the…
Michael Lipin
Tue, 09/04/2018 - 22:45
FILE - Israeli soldiers stand guard atop a watch tower along the Israel-Gaza Strip border, May 15, 2018.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday that she has read the Trump administration's much-anticipated Middle East peace plan. And while it is "getting close," it will not be rolled out later this month during the U.N. General Assembly, as some had predicted."I can tell you that Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have done unbelievably detailed work in it," Haley said of the two presidential advisers tasked with coming up with a plan to resolve one of the world's most…
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Tue, 09/04/2018 - 19:30
Syrian army soldier stands guard as Russian military police vehicle passes by near the town of Alhureyeh, Aug. 14, 2018.
Israeli jets flying high over Lebanon struck at targets inside Syria on Tuesday, Syrian state media reported, in a rare daytime raid that killed at least one person.Syria's SANA state news agency said the country's air defenses shot down five missiles, adding that one person was killed and 12 others were wounded.It reported strikes on the Wadi Ayoun area in the western Hama province and on the town of Baniyas in the coastal Tartous province.The Britain-based Syrian…

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