Putin Says ‘Great Progress’ Made for Crisis Settlement in Syria

MOSCOW-Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a ‘great progress’ was made in the efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Syria, SANA reported.

“Efforts by our countries and the participation of other countries concerned (in particular, I am referring to Iran and our cooperation with the United Nations, the European countries and the United States) we have managed to make great progress towards a settlement of the Syrian crisis,” Sputnik quoted Putin as saying during his meeting on Friday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Lavrov, Pompeo Discuss Situation in Syria

MOSCOW- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have discussed over the phone the situation in Syria and the schedule of upcoming contacts, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday, Itar Tass reported

"While exchanging views on pressing global issues, the main focus was on the situation in Syria," the ministry noted. "During the conversation, Lavrov stressed that the situation in the world requires our countries’ joint efforts to overcome common challenges and threats impeded by Washington’s destructive line to undermine relations between Russia and the US."

Zakharova: Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra Militants Hiding in Refugee Camp

MOSCOW- Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday that militants from the so-called "Islamic State" [Daesh] and Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist groups outlawed in Russia) are hiding in Rukban refugee camp on the border with Jordan, using refugees as a human shield, with the knowledge of US military, Itar Tass reported.

"The Syrian authorities and UN staff still have no access to Rukban, the biggest camp for internally displaced persons close to the Jordanian border," she said, according to Tass.

Russia to Give Tit-for-Tat Response to US Sanctions: Ryabkov

GENEVA- Moscow will give a tit-for-tat response to the expansion of US blacklists of Russian companies and individuals, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.

"We have been watching the US lists expand," he said. "They currently contain about 450 Russian economic entities. In fact, all the major financial, energy and defense companies have been sanctioned, as well as a great many other big and small entities and a significant number of state officials. In this case, we will definitely give tit-for-tat responses," Ryabklov added, Itar Tass reported.

West Should Acknowledge Its Schemes in Syria Have Failed: Czech Professor

PRAGUE, (ST)- The victories being achieved by the Syrian Arab army over terrorism open the way for starting a new era in Syria, Czech Professor (Oskar Kritchi) has stressed, urging the European countries to lift the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on the Syrian people.

In a statement to the "Parliamentary Papers" website, the Czech professor said "the European countries are now before two options: either to help in reconstructing Syria or to continue supporting terrorism to further destroy the country."

Putin Hopes US Authorities Will One Day Realize Futility of Sanctions against Russia

SOCHI-  Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that the US establishment will sooner or later understand the hopelessness of sanctions pressure on Russia.

"It's not just about the position of the president of the United States, it is about the position in the so-called establishment, the governing class in the broadest sense of the word," Putin said at a press conference after talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, according to Itar Tass.

"I hope that one day our American partners will realize that this policy [of sanctions against the Russia] has no prospects, and we will start to cooperate as normal," he said.

US Replaced with UK in Redesigning Arak Heavy Water Reactor: Iran’s Nuclear Chief

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the US has been replaced with the UK in a working group tasked with redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran.

 “With the unilateral US withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Britain replaced the US in the group tasked with redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor," Ali Akbar Salehi told IRIB on Wednesday, according to Press TV.

He added that the group "had been established with the participation of Iran, the US and China.”

Washington Stands in the Way of Fight against Terrorists in Idlib: Moscow

MOSCOW- The US is impeding fight against terrorism in Idlib province in the northwest of Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with the Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn (International Affairs) magazine.

According to Itar Tass, the Russian diplomat said Washington currently rejects all positive developments in the country. "It hurts Americans to see that others are doing something useful, that is why they are impeding a normal settlement of the problem of fight against terrorism in Idlib," the diplomat said in the interview, parts of which were uploaded to the magazine’s website.

"They keep the base in Al-Tanf, they are turning a deaf ear to the arguments absolutely evident to an impartial onlooker that the armed forces cannot stay on the territory of another state without the invitation of the legitimate government," he went on to say.