Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says that Damascus is preparing for an imminent US military strike designed to completely obliterate Syria.
According to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Russian troops have been deployed to protect Syria ahead of aggressive military action by Washington, and Saudi Arabia has begun evacuating Jews to Israel.
Middleeasteye.net eports: The measures were decided on Saturday during a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by President Bashar al-Assad, which included military and security leaders.
As part of the government’s preparations, letters were sent to Russia and Iran to request additional protection and Russian army troops have reportedly already been deployed to “critical locations” in order to deter Washington, one diplomat told the paper.
Russian troops may also be sent to protect civilian and military government institutions. It was also reported that the United Nations has moved staff, including diplomats, from particular areas of concern.
Mystery Arab country helps Jews emigrate to Israel
Four hundred Yemeni Jews were transported to Tel Aviv last month in a special military operation involving Israeli commandos, London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports.
The operation required the assistance of an unnamed neighbouring Arab country which allowed Israeli helicopters to land on its territory so that the Yemenis could be transported, a source told the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption said that in addition to the Yemenis, Syrian and Iraqi Jews have also been brought to Israeli during the Arab uprisings, but she would not give further details.
Saudi writer arrested over Twitter account
Saudi authorities have arrested a well-known writer and accused him of running a Twitter account that opposes the kingdom’s rulers, activists told news site Arabi21.
“Saudi authorities raided the house of the writer Turki bin Abdulaziz Al-Jasser, arrested him and confiscated his mobile phones,” according to the Saudi human rights group ALQST.
“The authorities are blackmailing Al-Jasser through threatening him with the personal and family content available on his devices,” said the organisation, which is run by a Saudi activist living in London.
The Twitter account that Al-Jasser is accused of running goes by the name of “Kashkol“.
All that glitters
Jordanian gold traders protested in central Amman on Monday against the suspension of a free trade agreement with Turkey which will see their tax duties increase by 10 percent, Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad reports.
Jordan Chamber of Commerce jewellery sector representative Asad al-Qawasmi said that the decision to stop the agreement and impose fees on gold will weaken the sector regionally.
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