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Syrians bid farewell to the Gem of Arab drama

Syrian people bade farewell to the great Syrian actor Nedal Seijari who passed away after long suffering from cancer.

The death of Seijari constitutes a grave loss to the Syrian and Arab TV drama as the late actor was one of the most important drama stars who proved prodigious skill in playing both tragic and comic roles in an excellent way. He played comic roles in well-known TV series such as Dia Dai'a (A Lost Village) and Spotlight. In Dia Dai'a, He appeared as As’ad Khashrouf, the simple hearted man who always falls as a victim of his friend’s tricks. After playing this successful character, Nedal was called by his friends the Charlie Chaplin of the Arabs in recognition of his great talent.

In Spotlight, the late actor appeared in several panels showing his great talent and commitment to the causes and principles of his people. This series reflected the enormous talents of the actor through playing various characters in panels that deal with the people’s social, economic and political aspirations in a daring approach. His last TV series is being screened on the Syrian TV titled “We Will Return After a While”. He appeared as a man who exerts strenuous efforts to make his country avoid divisions and seditions. 

However, Nedal’s success was not only restricted to TV drama. He excelled at the stage of Syrian theatres in more than 35 plays as an actor and a director.

His only TV film “The Taste of Lemon” deals with the story of two refugees from the occupied Palestine and Golan.

Nedal’s death is grave loss to Syria and the Arabs, because he believed in the sublime message of art in bringing about positive changes in society that lead to preserving the dignity of the homeland and the welfare of people.

The late actor was greatly loved by his colleagues who referred to his versatile skills. The famous Syrian actor Dureid Laham described him as the gem of the Syrian artistic and cultural life. Renowned Syrian actress Amal Arafeh said that Nedal had a secret that included strong energy of love and giving.

The greatness of the late actor was evident when the crisis in Syria started. He was among the first actors who called for launching a comprehensive dialogue between the government and the honest opposition figures who believe in the Syrian solution of the crisis away from any foreign intervention.

Nedal Seijari was born in Lattakia in 1965, graduated from the Higher Institute for Arts and became a member of the Artists’ Union in 1991.

The great actor was escorted to his final resting place in a popular ceremony to his birthplace Lattakia with the participation of outstanding Syrian actors.


Syrian, Russian special services exchange info on terrorists: MFA

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Syrian and Russian special services are exchanging information about the reported presence in Syria of militants from Russia, European nations and the United States.

Syrian and Russian special services are exchanging information in connection with reports that about 600 foreign militants, including from Russia, the USA and Europe, are fighting in the territory of Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister, Special Envoy of the President for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov said.

In June, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that 600 militants from Russia and Europe are fighting on the side of the opposition in Syria.

"Exchange of opinions, exchange of information through various special services is under way," – Bogdanov said answering the question whether Russia receives any information on this matter from the Syrian authorities.

"There are hundreds of mercenaries, militants from different countries, and from European countries, from the USA, and there are citizens of Russia, formally, but who act as militants of illegal armed formations," he said.

Russia plans to bring up the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program at a session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ministerial meeting scheduled to take place in Kyrgyzstan on July 12-13, in which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will participate, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The upcoming session will open the final phase of preparations for a SCO summit in Bishkek on September 13.

The ministers will discuss the summit's agenda and draft documents to be submitted for it.

One of the key documents to be adopted at the summit is the Bishkek Declaration, which should consolidate joint approaches toward the SCO's further development and coordinated assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, Syria, and the Middle East as well as of the Iranian nuclear program.

"Another document on which the ministers will be working is an action plan for 2013-2017 toward the implementation of the SCO Treaty on Long-Term Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation," the Foreign Ministry said.

After the SCO foreign ministers agree upon a new version of a model memorandum on obligations to be undertaken by a country bidding for SCO membership and the procedure for granting such a status, this document will also be submitted to the SCO heads of state for endorsement, it said.

"This would open up good prospects for launching the process of the organization's enlargement," it said.

Source: Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, RUVR

M. Wassouf

Churkin: Western ‘propaganda storm’ misleading

Russia’s envoy to the UN has refuted US accusations that Moscow is blocking UN access to Syria “to investigate any and all credible allegations,” claiming the charge is “misleading.” He also urged Western partners to refrain from a “propaganda storm.”

Speaking from the UN headquarters in New York, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, according to RT, told reporters that Russia had done everything within its power to facilitate a Syrian government request that the UN investigate the deployment of chemical weapons in a government-controlled suburb of Aleppo on March 19.

 “It was not through the fault of ours that the Syrian government was presented with formulas for that investigation – Iraq time formulas – which of course were impossible to accept,” Churkin stated.

The ambassador also stressed Russia’s role in helping arrange an invitation for members of the UN chemical arms team to visit Damascus.

On Wednesday, the head of the UN investigation team to probe the alleged use of Chemical Weapons in Syria, Ake Sellstromand, and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane accepted an invitation from the Syrian government to discuss the investigation of alleged chemical attacks in Syria.

Meanwhile, Churkin further refuted the US State Department’s claim that Russia was blocking a UN Security Council effort to allow UN access into Syria.

“It’s not for the Security Council to allow access. It’s for the Syrian government to agree on that, with the [United Nations] Secretariat. And this is exactly what they’ve been trying to achieve, having invited the UN chemical weapons inspectors to Syria way back in March.”

The envoy further stressed the need to only look into “credible allegations,” as Western states had been attempting to create “the maximum number of allegations with minimal credibility in an effort, one might think, to create maximum problems for arranging such investigations.”

He further attempted to silence western diplomatic chatter, which claimed that Russia had blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution this week to prevent a UN chemical weapons investigation team from conducting an “objective” inquiry in Syria.

It is “wrong to describe Russia as the sole voice” in the discussion on Syria, Churkin went on to say. He added that his Chinese colleague, Ambassador Li Baodong, “entirely shared” his position.

According to Churkin, this includes the two countries’ belief that the language used in the G8 statement on the chemical weapons investigation should be made into a resolution.

“What we pointed out is that a declaration of the G8 is an important political document of course – but it is not necessarily meant to be put in the form of a resolution,” he said.

It is “clear” from the text of the G8 statement, that there should first be an investigation, and then the results of the investigation should go to the Security Council for assessment, Churkin stressed.

However, some Western nations – the UK in particular – “tried to put the cart before the horse once again,” Churkin said, adding that such notions were “completely unreasonable and contrary to the G8 declaration they were referring to.”

The Russian envoy also noted what he deemed to be a somewhat inadequate response by several Western countries following an announcement that Russia handed over its thorough investigation of the Aleppo incident to the UN.

“Even before having a chance to look at this very serious and substantive 80-page investigation analysis,” some senior Western diplomats made “remarks…repeating this naïve story they came up from the outset...that it was the government itself who was shooting but missed the target and killed its own people,” Churkin said.

After the visit of two senior UN representatives to Damascus, he said “it makes no sense, if you’re interested in good results, to create this kind of a small propaganda storm in a glass of water” and keep on holding onto those “fantastic scenarios.”

The envoy reiterated that the Russian inquiry makes it “absolutely clear that both the projectile and the chemical [used in March 19 Aleppo incident] were produced in a way, which rules out…production by the Syrian government” and “conclusively shows” that the chemical weapons were “in fact…used by the opposition.”


M. Wassouf

Double Standards: Good and Bad Terrorism

Since the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, the West has been adopting double standards that contributed to more bloodshed of the Syrian people and prolonging the crisis in the country. The West, which rejected to condemn the terrorist acts in Syria at the UN Security Council, is adopting a double-standard approach in evaluating terrorist acts. This approach means that there are bad terrorists that should be condemned and other terrorists that the US and its allies can ignore their acts.

The Western stand led to thwarting the international community's efforts to condemn the terrorist acts in Syria, because the US and its allies accept terrorist acts and refrain from condemning them when they go in line with their political considerations and plans in the region.

 It is also categorically unacceptable to be indifferent towards the humanitarian tragedy in Syria caused by the heinous crimes and savage atrocities committed by al-Nusra Front and other al-Qa’eda affiliated organizations. The general principles of the UN Security Council are based on showing immediate reaction against any acts of terrorism and strongly condemning them, but the West has been turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the terrorist bombings carried out by al-Nusra Front in various Syrian cities claiming the lives of thousands of innocent people. The Western pretexts used to justify the non-condemnation of these terrorist acts are futile reflecting their sinister role in concocting the conspiracy against Syria and its people.

When it comes to political considerations and interests from the West's point of view, then the terrorist acts are acceptable for them.

These countries have remained silent over the crimes of the terrorist groups who terrorized civilians in various cities, displaced them out of their homes and used them as human shields under the watching eye of the world, including the hypocrite states that pretend care for the lives of Syrian civilians, but at the same time they offer military and logistic support for the armed groups to prolong violence and terrorism and hinder any truthful efforts being exerted to resolve the crisis in the country peacefully.

Moreover, the US and its allies have been providing a political cover to the armed terrorist groups in Syria. These countries have launched distortion campaigns against the military operations being carried out by the Syrian Arab Army to restore security and stability to the country and combat the terrorism of the armed groups in Syria.


The Guardian: Al-Qaida in Syria is Most Serious Terrorist Threat to UK, West

LONDON- A report issued by the Intelligence and Security Committee at the British House of Common warned of catastrophic consequences should a-Qaeda terrorists get hold of chemical weapons.

The report, which was published by Britain's "The Guardian" newspaper on Thursday, said that Al-Qaida elements fighting with the armed groups and "Jihadists" in Syria constitute the most serious terrorist threat to Britain and the West, and if they were to get their hands on chemical weapons the consequences could be catastrophic.

The warnings, in the latest annual report of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) published on Wednesday, come amid growing reports that the armed groups are trying to acquire chemical weapons.

Russia said on Wednesday it had proof that the armed groups in Syria used the nerve agent sarin in a missile attack on a government-controlled suburb of Aleppo in March. The British prime minister, David Cameron, said last month that al-Qaida-linked elements had tried to capture chemical weapons for probable use in Syria.

Britain's security and intelligence chiefs "assess that al-Qaida elements and individual jihadists in Syria currently represent the most worrying emerging terrorist threat to the UK and the west," says the ISC.

It adds: "There is a risk of extremist elements in Syria taking advantage of the permissive environment to develop external attack plans, including against western targets. Large numbers of extremist individuals have infiltrated to the country, including significant numbers from the UK and Europe."

They are likely to acquire "expertise and experience which could significantly increase the threat posed when they return home," says the ISC report. Intelligence officials believe about 100 British people have gone to Syria to join extremist groups.

The shape of the terrorist threat is "potentially changing from tightly organized cells under the control of structured hierarchies to looser networks of small groups and individuals who operate more independently," says the ISC.

Armed terrorist groups in Syria fired a rocket carrying chemical materialsat Khan al-Assal town in rural Aleppo on March 19th. As a result, 25 civilians were martyred and more than 100 were wounded most of them had serious injuries. 

H. Mustafa