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‘Let Americans leave, we will liberate our land in one week’

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Syria, Syrian Amnbassador, Riad Kamel Abbas, US strikes, sarin

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The recent US air strikes in Syria after the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad regime, has triggered another crisis, which may result in escalation of the civil war that is already raging in the country.  The U.S. administration has accused the Assad regime for using chemical weapons against its own citizens, while Russia has defended Damascus saying that Syrian Army might have attacked rebels’ arms depot containing chemical weapons.

A chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a town in Idlib province, killed about 89 people and injured more than 300. Following the attack, on April 6, the United States carried out a missile attack on a Syrian air base suspected to house chemical weapons.

Dr Riad Kamel Abbas, the Ambassador of Syria to India, in an exclusive interview with M.Ahmed Kazmi of APN, explained the Syrian position on various issues. Excerpts from the interview:

The situation seems to be grim after the American strikes. In fact who was behind chemical attack?

Two weeks before the attack our government sent verbal request to United Nations informing that rebels have brought 12 vehicles loaded with chemical weapons through Turkish border. We shared our concern that the rebels  may use chemical weapons against Syrian army and civilians. United Nations did take any action based on the information.

Now the attack has taken place. There is a possibility that Syrian army might have attacked rebels’ ammunition depot storing chemical weapons.  We don’t possess chemical weapons. We demand that UN should send its military monitors to investigate the chemical weapon attack on the civilians.

There are instances of UN monitors visiting Syria at the request of Damascus but they have not submitted any report. After rebels used chemical weapons in Ghouta city, located near Damascus airport, we approached the UN, asking for investigation. Surprisingly, they have not come up with any report yet.  In some cases, use of chemical weapons was confirmed but UN did not make it public.  After involvement of Qatar and Saudi Arabia was proved in helping ISIS, US removed Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in June 2013 and Bandar bin Sultan, the chief of Saudi spying agency in April 2014.

We will coordinate with our friendly countries, with BRICS states, Iran and others to tell the world about American support for terrorists in Syria.

Do you foresee the escalation of the crisis to international level?

At the moment we are in a very dangerous situation. America and its regional allies did not fulfill their commitment with Russia during Geneva and Astana peace talks.

Russia and Iran have recently announced that they were firmly standing behind Syria. We are not alone. We had earlier told that Syria is not Tunisia or Libya, it is different. The government in Syria enjoys mass support from its people.

The so-called opposition leaders participating in Geneva or Astana do not represent Syrian people. However, we will not leave any stone unturned for achieving peace. We understand that the opposition groups are not serious about restoring peace in Syria.

Islam is a religion of peace and they (ISIS) are doing everything but peace.

Has Damascus leadership reached out to friendly countries?

President Assad has spoken with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. Our allies, including Russia and Iran, have decided that if America ventures to attack again, we will react immediately. The situation has entered a dangerous phase. It may lead to a regional or global war, or it may create a situation for a better understanding. We are constantly in touch with Russia and BRICS states.

How will the Idlib incident affect the future course of the war?

Idlib is close to Turkey border. We have chosen Idlib for the final assault against terrorists. Let them either get killed or move to Turkey. A large number of terrorists were foreigners and Turkey is their sponsor, let them go to Turkey.

Your government has been criticising US role in the Syrian crisis, while Washington claims to be leading anti-ISIS operations in the region.

We don’t need American help. Let them pull out and we will liberate our lands from ISIS and other terror groups within a week. They support the ISIS and were not hiding this fact. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publically admitted of creating ISIS for use against the Syrian army. John Kerry, another former U.S. Secretary of State had admitted the same fact. They use ISIS against any country which is not following Washington’s instructions.

We are fighting against the ISIS and the US is attacking Syrian army.This is sufficient proof of American support to ISIS and al-Nusra group on the ground.

Americans attacked Syrian army in Serta Mountain, killing our soldiers last year. It was followed by ISIS capturing the area almost immediately. There is plenty of evidence that America has been supporting ISIS by providing aid and weapons through parachutes.

Recently a delegation of important officials from Trump administration has visited Damascus, which will never be reported by their media.

Why do not the radical Islamists hit Israel?  Why do they target Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Yemen? Turkish intelligence was operating on the ground and Israel is behind all of them.

Why is the ISIS engaged in ‘jihad’ in Syria, a Muslim country, instead of attacking Israel which has been occupying Palestine? In fact, ISIS terrorists follow Wahabi ideology which is not Islam.

What about the spate of regime changes in the region in the last five years?

Americans don’t need friends in the region. They need slaves and followers. The US removed America-friendly rulers through Arab spring in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. They claimed that it was to improve security. If that is democracy, we don’t need such a democracy. Why doesn’t the UN investigate about the 12 vehicles which came from Turkey?  Earlier, Turkey had announced the arrest of 12 persons for holding sarin gas. But nobody debated that.

Our army was advancing for liberating several cities from ISIS. Suddenly America attacked us.

How do you assess India’s policy towards Syrian crisis?

We have been happy with the consistent Indian stand on the Syrian crisis. I am supposed to see the concerned (MEA) officials soon. India has been following a balanced position as a BRICS member-state.

Any country which is not part of the conspiracy against Syria is our friend. Most of the foreign governments and media have been hostile to Damascus. Our government is fighting against terrorism on behalf of the whole world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Bear takes 400 selfies with a sensory camera in USA’s Colorado, Twitter user amused

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres.

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The notion of clicking selfies has transgressed and gone beyond species as an amusing story has come to light from USA’s Colorado’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) where a bear hijacked a sensory camera and took 400 selfies. According to reports, the officials of Space and Mountain parks in Colorado had installed a camera in order to shoot the wildlife activities.

It was reported that when the officials took out the snaps that the sensory camera had clicked, they learnt that 580 images were clicked and out of the 580 images, the 400 of the images were selfies taken by a bear.

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres. The sensory cameras work on motion sensing and when an animal steps in the frame, the camera automatically captures the pictures of the subject that is in front of it.

The cameras also have features of taking pictures at night by using infrared light which cause less disruption to the animals who can get irritated by the flash.

The Tweet shows the images of the bear posing from all angles as it, for a moment, seems to be a model that is accustomed to pose for pictures.

See Tweet here:

Twitter reactions

After the tweet showing the selfies of the bear surfaced, many users came forward to add their take on the incident as one user wrote and said this pose by the bear looks to be inspired from the film Lolita.

One user wrote and praised the posing skills of the bear as the user wrote and said that the bear looks good and could be a professional model. Another user also amusingly added and wrote that they used to be as handsome as the bear a while ago. The user also wrote and said that nature is the champ.

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US intervention prevented India-Pakistan nuclear war post 2019 Balakot strike: Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

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former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

In his book, “Never Give an Inch”, a memoir of his time as a top diplomat in Donald Trump regime and earlier as the CIA chief, Pompeo writes that the world doesn’t properly know how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear war in February 2019.

The Indian Air Force on February 26, 2019 launched targeted airstrikes inside Pakistan targeting terrorist training camps of terror outfit of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s response came after 41 CRPF men were killed in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

India shot down an F-16 during an aerial combat in which an Indian warplane was shot down by Pakistan and the pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured.

Pompeo, seen by many as a potential future presidential contender, reveals that he was in Hanoi for a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, when he woke up to an urgent call from a senior Indian official.

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The official told Pompeo that he believed that Pakistan was prepping their nuclear weapons for a strike and India was preparing its own response.

Pompeo says he told the official to give the US time to sort things out and eventually US diplomats managed to convince the arch rivals that neither of them was going for the nuclear option, thus deescalating the situation.

The former Trump diplomat in his book says he believes that Pakistan “probably enabled” the Kashmir attack. Pompeo says he spoke to the Pakistan’s “actual leader” then army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, alluding to the weakness of civilian governments in the country.

Pompeo says that no other nation could have done what the US did that night to avoid “a horrible outcome.”

Pompeo had publicly defended India’s right to act during his stint as US secretary of state.

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India invites Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto to SCO meet

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

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Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

As per reports, India, who was appointed to chair the regional grouping in September 2022, has sent the invitations to Bhutto and Bandial through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

The invites come as a surprise to many as bilateral ties between the two subcontinental neighbors are going through a rough patch in recent times.

India is set to host key ministerial meeting summit in Goa in the first week of May of the nine-member Asian grouping which also consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and its new member Iran, which will attend its first SCO meeting as a full member.

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The last meeting of the SCO was held in Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

Pakistan has yet to respond to the invite and if Bilawal Bhutto accepts, it will be the first such visit from a Pakistani foreign minister in nearly a decade since Hina Rabbani Khar paid a visit to India in 2011.

India-Pakistan ties have been at an all-time low since 2019 when the Centre abolished Article 370 which formerly bestowed special status upon the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad is seeking its restoration and considers the Kashmir issue, a burning point between the two nations.

Making matters worse, last month, Bilawal Bhutto sparked a row when he called PM Modi the “butcher of Gujarat”.

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