Russian Military Eliminates Militants Who Shelled Hmeymim Airbase December 31

MOSCOW- The Russian military has wiped out a subversive militant group, which shelled the Hmeymim airbase in Syria with mortars on December 31, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

According to the ministry, a special operation was held to spot and eliminate it. A group of Russian Special Operation Forces established the militants' location close to the western border of the Idlib province.

"When the terrorists arrived at the facility where they were to board a minibus, the whole subversive group was eliminated by the Krasnopol high-precision munition," the ministry said, Itar Tass reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry added that all manpower and materiel of Russia’s multilevel military intelligence system in Syria had been involved in the operation.

US Hinders Humanitarian Aid to Rukban Camp in Syria's Al-Tanf Area

All limitations on the access of humanitarian convoys to the Rukban refugee camp in the Al-Tanf area of Syria – which is controlled by US forces – must be lifted, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said.

Moscow has firmly emphasized “the need to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria in the implementation of humanitarian deliveries and the observance of international humanitarian law.”

Kremlin Emphasizes Need to Keep Iran Nuclear Deal in Force

MOSCOW - The Kremlin is confident that there is a need to keep agreements concerning Iran’s nuclear issue in force, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"We are committed to the idea that there is a need to preserve the agreements concerning Iran’s nuclear issue," he said. "In this case, each signatory party is free to assess the document in its own way but the document reflects a consensus reached by many parties. It may be perfect of flawed, but it is the only foundation for this consensus," Peskov added.

Merkel Clinches Deal on Coalition Government, Finally

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed after all-night talks on Friday to a blueprint for formal coalition negotiations, party sources said, bolstering prospects for an end to months of political uncertainty.

The agreement between party and parliamentary leaders should pave the way for detailed negotiations in coming weeks, lifting the uncertainty that has undermined Germany's role in international affairs and raised questions about how long Merkel will stay in her job.

Italy Signs EU’s Biggest Ever Credit Deal with Iran

Iran and Italy have signed a major framework credit agreement which will be used to provide funds for development and industrial projects in the Islamic Republic Press T.V reported.  

Italy’s Economy Ministry in a statement to media put the value of the agreement at €5 billion ($6 billion) and said it was signed in Rome between Bank of Industry and Mine and Middle East Bank of Iran, and the investment arm of Italian state-owned holding Invitalia.

The money will be used for projects carried out jointly by Italian and Iranian companies in sectors including infrastructure, construction, oil and gas, electrical energy, and the chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical industries, Reuters quoted parts of the statement as saying.

Putin Slams Drone Attack on Russian Base in Syria as Provocation

MOSCOW-  The UAV attack on the Russian base in Syria was a provocation aimed at destroying previous agreements, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with heads of the country’s printed media and news agencies.

"There were some provocateurs, but they were not Turks. We know who they are, who paid who for this provocation and what the actual sum was. As for this kind of incidents, there is nothing good about them. These are provocations aimed at destroying previous agreements," Putin said, Itar Tass reported.

Moscow-Tehran Cooperation Proved Effective in Fight against Terrorism: Zarif

MOSCOW- Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow has proved effective in the fight against terrorism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.

"Cooperation between Iran and Russia has proved very effective in the fight against terrorism and extremism in our sensitive region," Zarif said.

He added that Iran is ready to ‘move in the same direction’ with Russia to successfully hold the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, Itar Tass reported.

Drones Attacking Russian Bases in Syria Launched from Idlib De-Escalation Zone

MOSCOW-  Combat UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) attacking Russian military facilities in Syrian Hmeymim and Tartus overnight into January 6 were launched from the de-escalation zone in Idlib, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

"The drones were launched from Muazzara settlement located in the southwestern part of Idlib de-escalation zone controlled by the armed forces of the so-called moderate opposition," the ministry said in a commentary published in the Red Star newspaper on Wednesday, according to Itar Tass.