Washington Needs Rukban Camp to Justify its Illegal Military Presence in Syria: Lavrov

KUWAIT CITY-  The United States needs the Rukban refugee camp to justify its illegitimate military presence in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday at a joint news conference with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Itar Tass reported.

"The fact that people are not allowed to leave [the camp] and are held hostage makes one suggest that the US needs this camp to continue justifying its illegitimate presence there," the minister noted.

"This is in line with the US policy aimed at creating something like a quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. It does not want these territories to get back under the control of Syria’s legitimate authorities."

"We will insist that these people are no longer held in the camp against their will," Lavrov stressed.

Zionist Jets Strike Northern Gaza Strip in Fresh Act of Aggression

Zionist military aircraft have carried out a series of airstrikes against targets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip as the Israeli occupation continues with its acts of aggression against the besieged Palestinian coastal sliver, Press T.V reported.

The occupation Israel Air Force said in a statement that its aircraft hit a number of targets in a military compound belonging to Hamas movement late on Tuesday. No immediate reports of casualties in the aerial assaults were available.

On Tuesday evening, two Palestinians sustained injuries when Israeli military forces opened fire on them east of the Bureij refugee camp.

President Rouhani: Iran's Enemies Not to Reach Their Goals

The vicious dreams of Iran's enemies have not, and definitely, will not come true in the future, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.

'Our enemies wanted this Iranian year (started on March 21, 2018) to be the year of Iran's defeat and their own victory, but the great people of Iran resisted against the enemies' pressure throughout all the difficult situation,' Hassan Rouhani said referring to the sanctions that Washington imposed on Iran after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear deal in May.

The sanctions were implemented in August and were intensified in November.

Saudi Arabia to Be Rebuked at UN Rights Council for First Time

Saudi Arabia is to be censured for the first time at the UN Human Rights Council over its dark record of violating human rights, particularly for detention of women’s rights activists and the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

In a joint statement due to be read out on Thursday, European countries will urge Saudi Arabia to release detained activists and cooperate with a UN-led probe into the murder of Khashoggi.

This will be the first rebuke of the kingdom at the Human Rights Council, diplomats and campaigners said.

Waqf Defies Zionist Court Order to close al-Aqsa Mosque Gate

The Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Zionist-occupied al-Quds has dismissed an Israeli court order to shutter Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy or Golden Gate) in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with Palestinians calling for mass protests against the ruling.

Sheikh Abdel Azeem Salhab, head of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, stressed on Tuesday that the court’s decision does not apply to the al-Aqsa Mosque.

“It is our right, religious and contractual to access the Golden Gate and keep this door open for Muslims to pray,” he said in a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the organization seated in Jordan.