Russian Anti-Aircraft Weapon Downs Drone Targeting Hmeymim Airbase

MOSCOW- The anti-aircraft defense of the Russian airbase Hmeymim in Syria shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launched from the area controlled by militants in the Lattakia province in early hours of July 21, Major General Alexei Tsygankov, the head of the Russian center for  coordination and reconciliation, told reporters on Saturday, according to Itar Tass.

"Early on [Saturday] July 21, the airspace control means of the Russian air base Hmeymim spotted an UAV launched from the area controlled by illegal armed groups in the north of Latakia province," Tsygankov said. "Regular anti-aircraft weapons shot down the target away from the airbase. There were neither casualties nor damage. The Russian airbase Hmeymim is operating in a scheduled mode."

Putin, Macron Discuss Implementation of Joint Initiative on Humanitarian Aid to Syria

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have discussed a number of pressing global and regional issues over the phone, the Kremlin press service reported on Saturday.

"Particular attention was paid to the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian settlement, including the implementation of the joint Russian-French initiative to provide humanitarian assistance to the population in Eastern Ghouta," the Kremlin said.

US Rushes to Withdraw White Helmets as Syrian Army Advances in South – Reports

The US and its allies have ramped up plans to evacuate hundreds of members of the so-called "White Helmets" and their families from southern Syria's Quneitra governorate as Syrian forces continue to clear the area from armed groups, US officials have told the AP.

According to Sputnik, two anonymous US officials said to be familiar with the evacuation plans noted that the US and its British and Canadian allies were leading the operation to evacuate members of the White Helmets out of Syria to neighboring countries, and then on to Western European countries including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and possibly Canada.

Over 1.7 mln Displaced Syrians May Return to Their Homes in Near Future

MOSCOW- More than 1.7 mln Syrian refugees may return to their homes in the near future, Head of the Russian National Defense Management Center Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev said on Friday, according to Itar Tass.

"According to preliminary estimates, more than 1.7 mln refugees may return to their places of residence in the near future," he said at the founding open-door meeting of the Joint Coordination Center set up by the Defense and Foreign Ministries to manage the return of Syrian refugees.

Theresa May's Government Has Been Demanded to Halt Support for Terrorists in Syria

LONDON, (ST)- The British government under Prime Minister Theresa May has been demanded to stop supporting the terrorist groups in Syria, called by London as "armed opposition groups" , and to work for reaching a political solution to the crisis in the country.

UK's "The Independent" Newspaper quoted the Global Network for Syria, as saying in a letter addressing Theresa May, that the British government continues funding terrorists called by Britain as "moderate armed opposition forces" in Syria and whose vast majority are dominated by extremists .

The Global Network for Syria comprises members from three main British parties: the Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, in addition to independent members including former UK ambassadors to Syria.

The letter, which was signed by former British ambassadors to Syria, Peter Ford and Lord Green of Deddington, in addition to several independents, said that "Theresa May’s foreign policy on Syria is “prolonging suffering and it ensures that stabilization in Syria remains a distant possibility”.

Russian Envoy: OPCW Doomed Unless Move to Expand Its Attributive Powers Reviewed

MOSCOW - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is doomed unless the decision to expand the organization's powers by allowing it to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks is reconsidered, Russia's envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin told Sputnik.

"It [the decision] was adopted by a minority. We have made it clear that we will not execute it and will do everything possible to rectify the situation. If the situation cannot be fixed, the days of the OPCW are numbered, at least as far as its truly universal character is concerned," Shulgin said, Sputnik reported.

The envoy noted that the OPCW Technical Secretariat needed reforms.

Terrorism Received Heavy Blow in Syria

MOSCOW, (ST)- International terrorism in Syria has received a heavy blow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing a meeting of Russian ambassadors and envoys on Thursday.

"Thanks to the decisive role played by Russia, international terrorism in Syria, specifically  Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization and other extremist groups, has got a devastating blow that helped preserve Syria’s unity and create suitable conditions for economic recovery and for the return of displaced Syrians to their homeland," Putin made it clear, according to the Syrian news agency SANA.

The Russian President also affirmed that Astana process on Syria and the outcomes of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi are the basis for real political process that contributes to solving the crisis in Syria.

Cuba, Venezuela and China renew solidarity with Syria

HAVANA – President of the Cuban State Council and Prime Minister, Miguel Diaz-Canel, stressed his country’s support to Syria against the terrorist war waged on it.

Delivering a speech at the concluding session of Sao Paulo Forum for Progressive and Leftist Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean currently held in Havana, Canel strongly criticized the US policies towards the region and the world, SANA reported.

For his part, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro highly appreciated Syria’s steadfastness in the face of terrorism and current challenges.