Volume. 11939
Israel has undercover fighters in Syria: Assad advisor
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_Syria99(8).jpgThe Syrian government has accused Israel of involvement in the fighting in the country.

In an interview with Beirut-based Al-Miyyadeen television on Monday, Bouthaina Shaaban, who serves as the political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, claimed that Israel was sending fighters to help the rebels fighting to oust Assad.

The advisor also said that Israel is using weapon convoys as an excuse to strike in Syrian and Lebanese territories.

On February 24, it was reported that Israeli fighter jets struck a weapons convoy along the Syrian-Lebanese border.

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has confirmed that Israel targeted one of its bases in a recent air raid and vowed to retaliate.

Hezbollah condemned the act of violence, saying it would respond to the Israeli air attack near the village of Janta.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad himself also told an Argentinean newspaper a few months ago that Israel is assisting the militants fighting in Syria.

“Israel is directly supporting the terrorist groups in two ways,” he claimed. “Firstly it gives them logistical support, and it also tells them what sites to attack and how to attack them."

OPCW confirms Syria surrenders a third of CWs

Meanwhile, reports on Tuesday indicated that Syria has surrendered or destroyed nearly a third of its chemical arsenal but remains behind on its international obligations, the head of the disarmament mission told the world's chemical watchdog Tuesday.

Syria has already missed several target dates to hand over or destroy its arsenal before a June 30 deadline and the United Nations-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission called on Damascus to move faster.

"Nearly one third of Syria's chemical weapons material has now been removed or destroyed," Sigrid Kaag, a coordinator at the United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told a meeting of the watchdog at its Hague headquarters.

"This is good progress and I expect further acceleration and intensification of effort."

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu told the Executive Council meeting that Syria had submitted a revised proposal to complete the removal of all chemicals from Syria before the end of April, after previously saying it could only complete the job by June.

An OPCW meeting two weeks ago heard that just 11 percent of Syria's dangerous chemicals had left the country.

But with two shipments last week and one more expected this week, the country will have handed over more than 35 percent of its arsenal, Uzumcu said.

"Given delays since the lapse of the two target dates for removal, it will be important to maintain this newly created momentum," Uzumcu said.

"For its part, the Syrian government has reaffirmed its commitment to implement the removal operations in a timely manner," Uzumcu said.

Syria has also destroyed 93 percent of its stocks of isopropanol, used to make sarin nerve gas, a task that was supposed to have been completed by March 1.

The remainder is currently inaccessible for security reasons in the war-ravaged country, diplomats said.

Syrian army steps up operations near capital

Meanwhile, Syrian army has stepped up its operations in the strategic town of Yabroud, north of Damascus, as the militants try to hold their grip over the area, as their last base for a possible attack against the capital, Al-Alam reported.

The mixed Muslim and Christian town of Yabroud lies on the strategic highway linking Damascus to Homs, Syria's third largest city, and is close to the Lebanese border and militants’ supply lines.

On Sunday the army said it was in full control of the Sahel village, which was an important base for the militants near Yabroud.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group which relies over sources within the militants said on Tuesday that army helicopters launched a major operation in militant bases near Yabroud.

Yabroud is the last base for terrorists in the Qalamoun area, in Rif Dimashq governorate.

The terrorists occupying the town are from the so-called Free Syrian Army, al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, Islamic Front and a few from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.
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