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Christmas Celebrations in Syria Limited to Prayers

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ Christmas celebrations  of the birth of Jesus Christ, messenger of love and peace were limited to  prayers ,  due to events Syria undergoes  and  in honor of the martyrs, Christians and Moslems in Syria carried out  together Masses and prayers on this occasion in churches and places of worship .

Damascus  cathedral of the Roman Orthodox held yesterday a  large mass presided over by Patriarch John X Yazigi , of Antioch and All the East for the Greek Orthodox .

Patriarch Yazigi  stressed  the sublime meanings of  Christmas , pointing to the tragedies experienced by the Syrian people from the effects of the  imposed brutal attack.

He appealed to the  God Almighty to protect   Syria , President Bashar al-Assad  , for the safe return back of  hijacked Pelagia , nuns and orphans and the  two kidnapped  bishops John and Paul unharmed , the displaced to restore back  their homes and to heal the wounds of all Syrians and viewed with pity to Syria and its people , Muslims and Christians and quench the spirit of sedition  and disseminate the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation among the Syrians  .

Meantime, a huge religious service was held in  the Cathedral of  Sayedet Alnayah  for the Melkite Catholics presided over by Bishop Joseph al-Absi, during which  Bishop Absi delivered a sermon in which he referred to  Christmas meanings  in bringing together  people of different affiliation  .

Bishop Absi called for reconciliation in Syria, and to change the thinking, feeling and  the behavior , noting that  celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ urges us to give birth to a new Syria , a process which "we are able to do ".

In Tartous a large memorial mass was held  in the Church of Virgin Mary  Dormition and the  Archbishop of the Roman Orthodox where Bishop of Tartous Athanasius Fahd  stressed in his sermon  the need to inspire the meaning of Christmas and be  ambassadors of peace against  those who are destroying holy sites in Syria.

In press statements,  Bishop Fahd  pointed to need  to that the Syrians as celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ to remember the values of love and peace,  because they were born on the  holy  and blessed land ,  of prophets, ,stressing the need to strive to maintain this cultural heritage  and to make  of their country a place for the dissemination of  peace not fear, and promote the building of a good society and all befitting humanity .

 T. Fateh

Indian Efforts for the Success of Political Solution to Syria Crisis

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ Minister of State for National Reconciliation , Dr. Ali Haider  discussed with  India 's acting Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandeep Kamar yesterday latest developments in the crisis in Syria and launching  a political process leading to a peaceful solution through the International Conference on Syria " Geneva 2 ".

The meeting dealt with the efforts that could be undertaken by India for the success of this political process, as a country invited to attend the conference.

In a statement following the meeting , minister Haidar  said that " the Syrian opposition cannot be in  one delegation to the conference because of its different  views and composition " as the conference " Geneva 2 " is not a matter of protocol , but on a  vision toward the crisis , starting with diagnosis  and conducive to  solutions pointing to " great disagreement between sides  and forces of the Syrian opposition , which has no opinion or position  towards resolving the crisis ."

He absolutely  refused imposing  the "coalition of the Doha "  as a nucleolus infrastructure of  the Syrian opposition comprising  the rest of the members of the opposition under  certain  considerations, noting that  is due to their  call for external intervention in Syria

The  minister commented unwavering positions taken by India towards the crisis in Syria and the mechanism of the solution , either through a direct relationship with Syria, or through the several statements by BRICS countries issued  n this context.

For his part, Kamar stressed India's support for a peaceful and political solution to the crisis in Syria and satisfaction over the international community recognition of the importance of finding and achieving such a solution.

He pointed out that his country "called on all parties since the beginning of the crisis to sit at the table of dialogue to achieve the legitimate demands of the Syrian people," stressing India's clear position to stop violence and terrorism on the Syrian territory. He expressed hope that the  Syrians enjoy security soon , noting the role of the Ministry of State for National Reconciliation and its efforts for  reconstruction and reconciliation in Syria.

 T. Fateh

Syria Holds Terrorism Supporters Responsible for Leaking Information on Chemical Weapons Sites

 DAMASCUS, (ST) – Syria has condemned the leaks made by some countries, known of their support to armed terrorist groups in Syria, on Syrian chemical weapons sites, an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said.

The source added that Syria holds these countries responsible for  the dangers such leaks may cause, and urged concerned international organizations to act soon to put an end to these countries' persistence in irresponsible dealing with this serious issue.

 "Full cooperation between the Syrian Arab Republic on the one hand and the United Nations General Secretariat and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the other, and the success of this cooperation in having Syria's obligations towards the Chemical Weapons Convention implemented, have angered the parties which are conspiring on Syria and supporting terrorist groups in the country, according to the source.

The source said that "within this framework, terrorist groups have been attacking sites of chemical materials which are to be transported abroad in accordance with an agreement between the Syrian government and concerned international parties."

"What is more important is how these groups have known about the efforts exerted to transfer chemical materials outside Syria, said the source, referring to the irresponsible role played by some countries which support terrorists, provide them with information about the content of the chemical weapons sites and about the transfer details and encourage them to attack the sites.

The source said that Syria urges all international organizations and the UN secretary general to pressure these countries to stop their disastrous support to the terrorists.

Syria also reiterates its commitment to the obligations resulted from its joining of Chemical Weapons Convention.

H. Mustafa 

Four People Martyred, Scores Wounded in Mortar Attacks against Zablatani in Damascus

DAMASCUS- Four people were martyred on Tuesday after terrorists fired mortar shells against the residential neighborhood of Zablatani in Damascus.

A police source told SANA Correspondent that four mortar rounds, fired by terrorists, struck the surrounding of "souk al-Hal" area in Zablatani. Four people were martyred and twenty others were wounded in the attacks. Material damage was also caused to some cars and properties at the site.

H. Mustafa   

Army smashes terrorists everywhere

PROVINCES, (ST) –Units of the armed forces on Monday continued their mop –p operations against terrorists, killing scores  of them and destroying their weapons in several areas across the country.

In Damascus  and its countryside, an army unit carried out special operations in the towns of Douma and al-Rihan, Erbin ,Harasta,Jobar,Darayae, al-Arqoub farms in al-Nabek  killing many terrorists and seizing dozens of explosive devices, mortar rounds and rocket shells.

In Aleppo and its countryside,a military source told the official news agency  that armed terrorist groups were killed in the area surrounding Aleppo Central Prison, the Industrial City of al-Sheikh Najar, the villages of Mare'a, Mayer, al-Zarzour and Baideen,west of al-Bab city, al-Mansoura, Hailan, Castello, Erbid, al-Jdeideh and Khan al-Asal, Hanano residential compound, and the neighborhoods of al-Haydariyeh, al-Jandoul, Karm al-Jazmati, Bustan al-Qaser, al-Sheikh Said and Bani Zaid in Aleppo city.

In Homs ,eight terrorists were eliminated in Homs, among them a terrorist nicknamed Abu Kinan, in a military operation against the terrorists’ hideouts in al-Ghasbiyeh village, while another army unit destroyed terrorists’ gatherings with all the weapons and ammunition near the Industrial school in al-Rastan, Abu Hawadid village, al-Rastan ,Shamsi Bacha Mosque in al-Kusour neighborhood and al-Ken mount.

Furthermore,Army units destroyed terrorists’ cars loaded with weapons and ammunition in the village of Kisin, killing all the terrorists inside them.

Meanwhile, an army unit eliminated a terrorist gathering near the quarry and destroyed two pickup trucks equipped with heavy machineguns in Palmyra countryside,.

In Idleb countryside, an army unit eliminated  scores of terrorists in  Ma'aret al-Nu'man , in the villages of Deir Othman, Hallouz, al-Taiyibat, Kourin, Kafri Najd, Eind Martin and near al-Arbaiyeen mountain.

Elsewhere, an army unit prevented terrorists from detonating 5 explosive devices weighing 40kg each which they had planted on the road to Rebe'a al-Jozeh farm in Ma'aret al-Nu'man countryside.

M.D

President Al-Assad: Some western statesmen adopt double standards policy towards the region

DAMASCUS, (ST) – "needless to say that what is happening in Syria particularly and in the region generally affects the entire globe because the takfiri extremist mentality Syria is facing is a terrorism that has neither borders nor homeland….it is an international plight that could hit everywhere and at any time, "underscored President Bashar al-Assad .

President Al-Assad's remark was made during a meeting  held on Monday with an Australian solidarity delegation consisting of academic figures and activists headed by Prof. Tim Anderson.

During the meeting, President Al-Assad made it clear that some statesmen in the west  adopt double standards  policy  towards what is going on in Syria and the region as a whole President Al-Assad told that  such visits will definitely contribute in deepening communication and building cultural bridges among people in order to relay reality as it is and to refute  media falsification and misdirection.

Members of the delegation, for their part, asserted that  they will spare no effort  to relay the truth about what they witnessed in Syria, noting that they represent a broad section of the Australian people who support Syria against the multifaceted war targeting it which aims to deplete its people's resources and undermine its integral role in the region.

M.D

Need for International Will to Combat Terrorism Affirmed

DAMASCUS- An Australian delegation comprising academics, researchers and activists, representing the "Syria Friends and Hand off Syria" Group, is visiting Syria to know what is really happening in the country away from the misleading information promoted by some Western media about the situation in Syria. The delegation, which was led by Professor Tim Anderson, has had the opportunity to meet senior Syrian officials for this purpose.

In his meeting with the delegation, Speaker of the People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Lahham affirmed the important role that can be played by academics, intellectuals, politicians and journalists in raising awareness about the danger of terrorism which is a borderless problem that can be spilled over worldwide if not curbed quickly.

"There should be a real international will to fight terrorism and uncover its supporters, mainly Saudi Arabia which is keen on promoting the takfiri Wahhabi thinking in the entire world," said al-Lahham, adding that Syria is being exposed to organized international terrorism committed by armed groups backed by the United States and Western countries and financed by some Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

He briefed the delegation on the unjust West economic siege which mainly targeted the Syrian citizens' living and on the sanctions imposed on the Syrian media aiming to hide the crimes of the terrorist groups in Syria.

Al-Lahham asserted the Syrian government's insistence to attain a peaceful political solution to the crisis in Syria based on national dialogue away from any foreign interference, pointing out that the so-called "Syrian opposition" abroad has no popular base in the country as they are tools for the countries which conspire on Syria.

For his part, Anderson said the delegation visited Syria to investigate the involvement of some Australian citizens in fighting along with the armed terrorist groups in the country and to know the parties which had provided them with financial, logistic and military support.

He pointed out that "the Australian authorities have recently arrested two Australian citizens planning to come to Syria to join fighting."

Other members of the delegation stressed that terrorism should be halted in Syria and uncovered that they have got documents which implicate many Western countries in supporting terrorism in Syria and refute  some countries' allegations which accuses the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in Damascus Countryside.

In another meeting with the delegation, Health Minister Sa'd al-Nayef called for lifting the economic siege imposed on the Syrian people and for forcing the countries which support the armed groups to pressure them to stop their attacks against health institutions, ambulances and medicine convoys.

The minister stressed that despite the unprecedented challenges, the health sector in Syria is stable and the ministry keeps providing necessary health care to all citizens without exceptions.

Anderson, who wondered why hospitals and health facilities are targeted, hailed as "great achievement" the health services provide by the ministry to the citizens free of charge despite the extraordinary circumstances.

The Australian delegation also held meetings with Awqaf Minster Abdul Salam Assayed and the Grand Mufti Badr Eddin Hassoun.

Talks focused on the state of coexistence the Syrians have been living for centuries and which is now being targeted by the foreign-backed terrorists to undermine Syria's cultural diversity.

"Islam in Syria is moderate and has nothing to do with extremism. It is based on humanitarian values that maintain the dignity of mankind," the Grand Mufti said.

Members of the delegation expressed their readiness to convey the real image of Syria events to the Australian public opinion away from any kind of misleading media reports.

H. Mustafa