Syrian actors and artists targeted for national stances, says al-Halqi

DAMASCUS,(ST)_Prime Minister slammed on Thursday what he called 'terrorist attack' on the famous Syrian actor Raghda in Egypt because of her national stances towards her homeland.

Dr. Wael al-Halqi also cited sacrifices offered by Syrian actors for the same reason (national stances), expressing proud of the distinguishable Syrian art.

The remark was made in the meeting held between the ministerial committee tasked with materializing political plan and a number of Syrian actors, artists and producers.

Al-Halqi, who chairs the committee, spoke in the meeting about the steps being taken as regards talks held with dozens of political and social parties to launch national dialogue.

He stressed that Syrian actors and artists play a pivotal role in enhancing culture of dialogue as they convey human and national message that aim at cementing principle of partnership, rejecting violence and exclusion, and consolidating love and tolerance among people.

The actors and artists thanked the government for great efforts being exerted in all fields during the extraordinary circumstances Syria is going through. They voiced support for the political plan outlined by President Bashar al-Assad.

They proposed several ideas to boost national dialogue through producing series, films, and music to explain the conspiracy hatched against the homeland, and combatting corruption.

The ministerial committee includes Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministers of Information, Justice, National Reconciliation, Transport, Industry, Red Crescent Affairs, and People's Assembly Affairs.

Basma Qaddour


Iran will destroy cities of" tel aviv and Haifa" if attacked – Supreme leader

Iran’s most powerful authority, Ayatollah Ali Khemenei, said the Islamic Republic would raze the cities of tel aviv and Haifa “to the ground” if " Israel "launched a military strike against it.

“At times the officials of the Zionist regime [Israel] threaten to launch a military invasion, but they themselves know that if they make the slightest mistake the Islamic Republic will raze tel aviv and Haifa to the ground,” Ayotollah Ali Khamenei said during an address on live state television,according to RT.

Khamenei also said that he is not optimistic but “not opposed” to direct nuclear talks with US.

"I am not optimistic about these talks. Why? Because our past experiences show that talks for American officials does not mean for us to sit down and reach a logical solution... What they mean by talks is that we sit down and talk until Iran accepts their viewpoint," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on the live TV address.


Der Spiegel:the West wants only to protect Zionist entity


By Susanne Koelbl

The West insists that for any negotiations on an end to the crisis in Syria to happen, the Syrian government  must first step down. The demand is fatal and only prolongs the bloodletting

World powers are fighting over who is to have influence in the region. It's the West and its allies against the old allies of the Syrian government. No one is openly getting involved in the conflict, and no one is sending soldiers to Damascus -- the West appears to have had enough of an all-out policy of invasion. Still, the United States, Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have interests in Syria.

What do the West and its partners want? They want to protect   Israel(Zionist entity). Meanwhile, the Turks and the Saudis are interested in strengthening the regional influence of their

The roles are clearly divided. America says it's about defending democracy and human rights. US diplomats are negotiating abroad with opposition leaders, while others are providing resources to the rebels. The Qataris are giving money, while the Saudi secret service is coordinating the resistance to the Syrian government on Syrian soil.

Saudis have provided military advice, and to a large extent also bundles of cash for weapons. And when doing so, the Gulf states don't show preference to beginners as their partners in the struggle, but rather experienced jihadists. The fact that extremists are prone to act with particularly brutal violence, as in the case of the Yarmouk brigades, which execute unarmed government soldiers and has even taken UN peacekeeping troops hostage, appears to be mostly irrelevant.

Turkey, too, serves as a hub for weapons and fighters, and routinely welcomes rebels to its field hospitals for medical treatment, regardless of whether they belong to the more moderate Free Syrian Army or if they wear the banners of Salafist organizations like the al-Nusra Front, the Ansar Brigade or the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade on their foreheads. A revolution for freedom and democracy fought side-by-side with allies of al-Qaida is disconcerting to say the least.

The West has essentially blocked any solution through negotiations.


UN probes chemical weapons in Aleppo,says Ki-moon

The UN is to investigate the use of chemical weapons in an attack in Syria, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced.

The investigation will focus on an incident in Khan al-Assal, Aleppo province, when Damascus says terrorist groups  used chemical weapons.

On Wednesday Syria's permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, said he had asked Mr Ban to form a "specialised, independent and neutral technical mission to investigate the use of the terrorist groups operating in Syria of chemical weapons yesterday against civilians".

Earlier,Russia hopes the United Nations will respond to Syria’s request to look into allegations of the use of chemical weapons during fighting between terrorists  and government forces, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.

“We expect that the UN secretary general will promptly react to Syria’s request to investigate the use of chemical weapons on March 19,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov wrote on his Twitter.

“It is important to form a neutral and professional team of experts who can present unbiased conclusions,” twetted Gatilov, Russia's point man on the Middle East.

Syrian state media reports said that at least 25 people died and 110 more were seriously injured.

Syria's envoy to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, said on Wednesday that he had asked the UN chief, Ban Ki Moon, to approve an investigation into the reports.


Russia Denies Plans to Abandon Tartus Resupply Base

The Russian Defense Ministry denied on Thursday media reports speculating that Russia will relocate its resupply base in the Syrian port of Tartus to Beirut due to the escalation of the crisis in Syria,according to RIA NOVOSTI.

“The reports that Russian warships … will use Beirut rather than the Syrian port of Tartus as a resupply point are nothing but pure speculation,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry confirmed that a Baltic Fleet unit, consisting of the Yaroslav Mudry frigate and the large amphibious assault ships Kaliningrad and Alexander Shabalin, made a port call in the Lebanese capital of Beirut recently.

“But to link this event with a plan to abandon the Tartus base is incorrect, to say the least,” the statement said.

The Russian Navy maintains a small Soviet-era resupply base in Tartus on Syria's Mediterranean coast.