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News from the Middle East: breaking news, features, analysis and debate plus audio and video coverage from across the Middle East.

Syrian Army Kills 300 Militants in Hama Province

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Units of the Syrian army liberated three villages in the north of Hama province on Monday, killing 300 militants, Syrian state-run SANA news agency reported.

On Sunday, the Syrian army eliminated a major terrorists’ outpost in the north of the Hama province.

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Russia prepared to deploy ground forces to Syria: Sources

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Syrian military sources say Moscow has informed Damascus of its preparedness to dispatch ground troops to the Arab country to help Syrian government forces with battles against the foreign-sponsored IS terrorists.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed on Monday that the Russian special forces were ready to be deployed in the areas where Syrian troops were engaged in serious battles against the terrorist groups.

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Al-Hashd al-Shaabi calls on Erdogan to stop meddling in Iraq

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Iraqi group Popular Mobilization Units has delivered a counterblast to the Turkish president who had called the volunteer force fighting Daesh a “terrorist organization” and part of Iran’s regional policy.

The group, known as Al-Hashd al-Shaabi by its Arabic name, has joined forces with the Iraqi government against Daesh terrorists.

Last November, the Iraqi Parliament approved a law, giving legal status to the fighters and recognizing them as part of the national armed forces.

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Saudi king’s son who ‘bombed Yemen’ named as ambassador to US

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Prince Khaled bin Salman, as the country’s ambassador to the US, in a move said to point to strengthening ties to President Donald Trump.

U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks with Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince and minister of defense, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Trump’s administration may resume selling weapon guidance systems to Saudi Arabia that was halted by former President Barack Obama in December, according to the Wall Street Journal. Photographer: Mark Wilson/Pool via Bloomberg

Prince Khaled is an Air Force pilot who has taken part in operations in Yemen, AP reports. The prince, who studied military aviation in the US and briefly attended both Harvard University and Georgetown, has been working as an adviser at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington since last year.

US have Warm relations with Saudi Arabia

haled’s position will allow Trump a direct line to the Saudi monarchy, further signalling warmer relations between the two powers after a cooling following the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with regional rival Iran.

Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, and another of King Salman’s sons, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, met with Trump in the White House in March.
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In Pictures: Millions mark martyrdom anniversary of 7th Shia Imam in Baghdad

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Millions of Muslims have converged on the Iraqi capital Baghdad to mark the martyrdom anniversary of the 7th Shia Imam, Imam Musa ibn Jafar al-Kazim (PBUH).

The ritual was commemorated on Sunday, the climax of a week-long pilgrimage where the faithful marched towards the Imam’s shrine in the capital, and largest city Baghdad.

The pilgrims were seen carrying a symbolic coffin of the Imam during the event.

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Bomb blast occurs near army base in Afghanistan

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A car bomb explosion has hit an area near a military camp in Afghanistan’s Khost Province, officials say.

A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of the Interior said the car bomb was detonated near the Campaign military camp in Khost on Monday, Khaama Press reported.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The blast came on the same day that two of Afghanistan’s highest-ranking officials in charge of security resigned over an earlier militant attack on an army base.

Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down on Monday over apparent security loops that led to massive casualties in a Taliban raid on the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps military base in Maza-i-Sharif on Friday. Some 140 Afghan soldiers were killed in that attack.

In March, another brazen Taliban attack killed dozens at the country’s largest military hospital in the capital, Kabul.

The Monday explosion also came as US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit.

The US has thousands of military forces in Afghanistan. It led an invasion of the country that toppled a Taliban regime in 2001.

In Pictures: UN must list S Arabia, allies for violating child rights in Yemen: Aid groups

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A new report by two international aid groups says Saudi Arabia and its allies must be named in the UN’s annual list of perpetrators of child rights violations as Riyadh continues to carry out attacks on schools and medical facilities during its military aggression against Yemen.

Deadly attacks by Saudi Arabia

Children’s rights

The report, by Save the Children and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, called on UN Secretary General António Guterres to add Saudi Arabia to his list of those responsible for grave violations of children’s rights in conflict.

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