BREAKING NEWS

UAE official says Qatar isolation could continue ‘for years’
 
Russia names new ambassador to Turkey
 
New round of Syria talks in Astana set for July 10
 

ON THE GROUND


US shoots down Syrian jet for first time

The US military shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday in Raqqa province, the first such incident since the civil war began in 2011. US Central Command said in a statement that forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had attacked a town held by the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). A Syrian plane then bombed the SDF fighters, and US forces shot it down. 

In a statement on Syrian state television, the Syrian army charged that the “flagrant attack” seeks to undermine its efforts to fight terrorism. The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State says it contacted its Russian counterparts to prevent further escalation before it downed the plane.

 

Iran fires missiles at militants in Syria

Iran’s military announced Sunday that it had fired six ballistic missiles at Islamic State targets in eastern Syria. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the strikes were carried out in response to the June 7 twin attacks in Tehran. The strikes, coordinated with the Syrian government, mark the first time in three decades that Iran has fired missiles into another country.

 

Iraqi forces enter Mosul’s Old City

Iraqi forces began storming Mosul’s Old City on Sunday. The historic district and an area to its north are the only parts of the city that remain under Islamic State control. About 100,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Lt. Gen. Abdul Ghani al-Assadi of Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service, which is leading the assault, said that this is the “final chapter” in liberating the city.

 

Israel secretly supplying Syrian rebels with aid, cash

Israel has been secretly providing Syrian rebel groups near the Golan Heights with cash, food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. According to the report, Israel regularly communicates with groups and helps pay the salaries of commanders and fighters.

 

Saudi strikes said to kill at least 25 civilians in Yemen market

A local health official said Sunday that the Saudi-led coalition carried out two airstrikes on a market in Yemen’s northern Saada province near the Saudi border on Saturday, killing at least 25 civilians. “Rescue teams were unable to reach the area for some time for fear of being hit by artillery shelling of the area,” the health official told Reuters on Sunday. 

 

Roadside bomb in Cairo suburbs kills policeman

A roadside bomb near the Cairo suburb of Maadi killed a policeman and wounded four others, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said on Sunday. The bomb exploded near a vehicle belonging to the Central Security Forces and being used to transport a group of officers and conscripts. The militant group Hasm, which the government says is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

Bahrain orders Qatari troops to leave

Bahrain has ordered Qatari troops based at the US Naval Forces Central Command to leave its territory, Agence France-Presse reported Sunday. The Qatari troops, part of the coalition fighting the Islamic State, reportedly have 48 hours to depart. Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in cutting off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5.

 

Iraq requests EU security assistance

Iraq has formally requested that the European Union provide assistance for the security of areas freed from Islamic State control. EU foreign ministers are holding their first discussion on the matter today in Luxembourg. According to a draft statement seen by Reuters, the Europeans will consider the deployment of an EU Security Sector Reform Advice and Assist Team to train Iraq security officials. The EU might also send a new security mission to help stabilize Iraq after Mosul is retaken from IS.

 

THE WASHINGTON CONNECTION


Trump son-in-law Kushner to meet with Abbas, Netanyahu

The White House confirmed Sunday that US envoy Jason Greenblatt will travel to the Middle East on Monday, with Jared Kushner, White House adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, arriving on Wednesday. Both are expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem and Ramallah an effort to relaunch negotiations for a two-state solution. Trump had visited Israel and the West Bank May 22-23.

 

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