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Dec 24 2012
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Syrian government gets badly needed diesel cargoes from Russia

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Syrian government gets badly needed diesel cargoes from Russia

Two cargoes of Russian diesel have reached war-ravaged Syria this month, providing the first significant volumes in months of the fuel it desperately needs to power industry and the military, generate electricity and heat homes.   

Both shipments were transported from Russia on Italian tankers to a port controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it was unclear who was behind the shipments, nor was there any evidence they violated sanctions against Syria.
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Earlier, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al Sabah announced thatKuwait will hold a donor conference to gather humanitarian aid for Syria by the end of January.
   
Speaking in Bahrain at the opening session of the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a grouping of six oil-exporting Gulf Arab countries, Sheikh Sabah said.

Kuwait was acting in response to an invitation by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi ended his visit to Syria on Monday with a meeting with President Bashar Assad in Damascus whereby he announced that the situation in the country remains bleak and worrisome. He expressed hope to reach a solution that would satisfy all parties adding that “during the meeting, Assad talked about his view of the situation in the country,” Brahimi said.      

In this regard, SANA reported that Brahimi briefed Assad on the results of his discussions and contacts to solve the crisis while Assad stressed that the Syrian government is keen on guaranteeing the success of all efforts that serve the Syrian people and preserve the nation’s sovereignty and independence.     

In an interview broadcast by Russia Today TV, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Syria’s use of chemical weapons would be “a political suicide” for the Assad regime.     

This as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in Amman in an hours-long official visit during which he discussed the Syrian crisis and the commercial relations between the two countries with both Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah al-Nessour, according to a Jordanian official source.   


On the field     

Syrian activists said rebels in central Hama province shot down a government fighter jet on Monday, in clashes outside a village loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
   
Rebels began a push into Hama last week, declaring it a new front in their 21-month-old revolt against Assad. The largely Sunni Muslim rebels have now brought the fight to several minority Christian and Alawite towns, where Assad forces are located and where many residents are loyal to the government.
   
Activist Sami al-Hamawi said rebels used anti-aircraft machineguns to bring down the plane outside the Alawite village of Maan, which rebels have been trying to lay siege to for several days. He said the plane was flying low over an area rebels had seized.
   
It was not possible to independently verify the report.

This as, Syrian pro-regime troops announced that it carried out a military operation on Sunday against an “armed terrorist group” in the town of Halfaya in Hama Reef, accusing it of being behind the killing of dozens in the town yesterday, according to SANA. Similarly, an aerial raid targeted a bakery, leaving 60 people dead.    

Meanwhile, officials say a tent in a Syrian refugee camp in southern Turkey has caught fire, killing a two-year-old boy and injuring four siblings.
    
A government official said the fire, triggered by an electric heater, engulfed a tent in the Telhamut refugee camp near the town of Ceylapinar late Sunday.
     
The children were taken to a hospital and one of them died from severe burns. Three of the siblings were in serious condition.
 

LBCI/REUTERS/AP
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