U.S. State Dept denies reports of an agreement w/ Turkey on "safe area" in Syria - "agreement only on using Turkish facilities & clearing area from ISIL"
Iran FM Zarif was in Beirut before heading to Damascus for talks; Iran has a peace plan for Syria; Iranian state media said it involves ceasefire, forming national unity govt, amending constitutions and holding elections under intl supervision
World Food Program says it was forced to cut food assistance to #Syria refugees by up to 50% because of major funding shortfalls
Ertharin Cousin, World Food Program Executive Director tells us that food cuts affected those in need inside Syria "We had canned meat in the package. It is no longer provided. We had pasta and rice. Some months only rice, some months only pasta and some months no rice and pasta"
72 hour truce which ends early Saturday holding in town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside and in Fua and Kefraya further north in Idlib province #Syria
Warring sides negotiating possible deal - evacuate opposition fighters from Zabadani & allow aid into towns #Syria
International aid organizations waiting for deal so they can deliver much needed aid to towns of Zabadani, Fua and Kefraya "those areas didn't receive aid in months" WFP director Ertharin Cousin tells us
International Office for Migration: Displacement in Iraq continues to climb past 3.1 million
Syria rebel group Ahrar al Sham says ceasefire with army and Hizbullah over and negotiations fail - there was a ceasefire on two front lines - Zabadani in Damascus countryside and Shia villages Fua and Kefraya in Idlib further north
Ahrar al sham says government and main ally Iran insisting civilians in Zabadani be moved to rebel controlled territories in north - not just fighters; opposition says unacceptable condition
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: UN humanitarian chief in Damascus - condemned attacks on civilians "appalled by reports of deaths in Douma. Attacks on civilians must stop"
UN envoy to Syria Stefan de Mistura: “The Government's bombing of Duma yesterday is devastating. Attacks on civilian areas with aerial indiscriminate bombs, such as vacuum bombs, are prohibited under international law. Hitting crowded civilian markets killing almost one hundred of its own citizens by a government is unacceptable in any circumstances."
UN Syria envoy Mistura: The attack in Douma yesterday come on the heels of the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus last week by armed opposition groups and the cutting of water supplies, all measures which affect civilians and are also unacceptable. #Syria
U.S. condemns Syroa govt air strikes on rebel held town of Douma and insists President Assad must go
UNWRA: typhoid broken out in Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus: warns of further erosion of health services & massive risk of diseases breaking out
Lebanon official news agency: nine Palestinians drowned en route to Turkey; some 40 Palestinians from Yarmouk (Syria) were on boat en route to Turkey; boat left Lebanese port of Tripoli - Palestinians have a hard life in Lebanon - banned from working in many fields
Human rights watch: the UN Security Council should impose arms embargo on the Syrian government following the government's repeated air sttacks on Douma's popular markets and residential areas on August 16
Douma local council says town "disaster area" according to international standards; asks intl community to demand govt ends attacks against civilians and allow Red Cross access to provide assistance; open corridors to relieve civilians #Syria
Israeli media: two rockets from Lebanon landed in northern Israel; no casualties
#Iraq Sistani warns dire consequences including possible "partition" if real reform by fighting corruption is not carried out; "Without rampant corruption, especially in security forces, and abuse of power by top officials, "the Daesh terrorist organization would not have been able to control a large part of the territory of Iraq"
Syria Observatory for Human Rights says ISIL destroyed monastery in town of Qaryatain southeast Homs city which they captured earlier this month; ISIL also transferred several dozen Christians it captured to Riqqa province
Human rights watch: Lebanon police used force to disperse peaceful protests; impartial investigation should be opened; authorities should respect protesters' rights & listen to their demands for sustainae solution to garbage crisis
Protesters who have been calling for reforms and an end to corruption storm office of mayor in district of Al Hindiyeh in southern city of Karbala; mayor reportedly resigned; district is home to former Iraqi PM Maliki
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: #Iraq Shia cleric Sadr calls on followers to join Friday protests; first direct appeal by party leader to participate in grassroots movement
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad says any peace initiative must be based on fighting terrorism
UN: 228,000 besieged by ISIL in govt controlled neighborhoods of Deir al-Zor city; 167,500 by govt in eastern Ghouta and Daraya; 26,500 by rebels in pro-govt villages of Nubul and Zahra #Syria
Head of Iranian backed Badr Brigade and one of the top commanders of Popular Mobilization forces Hadi al Ameri tells me he has "questions marks" on the US program to train and equip Sunni fighters "US is not a charity organisation. It is creating a Sunni force and plans to divide Iraq"
Ahrar Al Sham says negotiations w/ Iranian delegation resume; ceasefire to take effect early tomorrow on Zabadani, Fua and Kefraya front lines ; rebel group broke off talks over a week ago accusing Iran of demanding "population transfer" #Syria
Syria: ISIL closing in on opposition controlled Marea - important town lies on rebel supply route to Turkey; ISIL advances in northern Aleppo follows Nusra withdrawal from area; Al Qaeda group pulled back after US-Turkey decision to create ISIL free zone in area
Iraq PM orders military to open streets closed off by political and security factions across country; tells commanders to give civilians access to fortified Green Zone in Baghdad; PM office tells us it will require some time before measures implemented but "it will happen soon"
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: #Iraq highest religious authority Sistani warns that some politicians who will be hurt by reforms may sabotage protests later today
Anti corruption protest movement in Iraq is only growing so is the number of protesters; today's protest in baghdad much larger than in previous Fridays - follows call by Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for supporters to join rally in support of Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi's push for reforms
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: ceasefire in Zabadani, Fua and Kefraya breaks down ; it came into effect Thursday #Syria
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: Amiriyat Al Fallujah - Anbar frontline town borders Baghdad; #ISIL fired mortars that landed in town killing 2; wounding 11 civilians #Iraq - we were filming in the town on Thursday; important for state to hold - front just few kilometers from the Iraqi capital and safe haven for tens of thousands of displaced by fighting in Anbar province
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: Security sources: #ISIL suicide attack kills 18 #Iraq soldiers at Turaibil border w/Jordan; crossing has been closed for months #Anbar
Parliament backed Iraq electricity minister's answers after he was interrogated about persistent power cuts; the crisis sparked protests and his exoneration could stir anger among demonstrators who have been demanding tangible results from reforms announced by PM Abadi
Iraqi army says its forces recaptured Jazeera area west of Samarra ; the area is strategic ; it lies on an ISIL supply route - between its strongholds in Mosul and Ramadi, capital of Anbar provinces
Hours before weekly Friday protest, Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the government must start hunting the "big heads" in an anti-corruption drive as the only way to achieve genuine reforms. He also called for "convincing and assuring steps" as a proof of government seriousness in implementing its reform plan
For the first time since the protest movement started over a month ago, Iraqis are criticizing Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi. He has sided with the forces of change but civil rights activists are growing increasingly frustrated with his ability to implement reforms. Many protesters asked him to break ranks with his ruling coalition saying politicians are pressuring him & standing in way of reforms - one man told me "He can't give us tranquillisers and expect us to remain silent. If he is a son of Iraq then he must join the party of the people"
Baghdad's Tahrir square was where a spontaneous movement began calling for reforms and an end to corruption - it is now where a struggle for power is being played out; Supporters of the Shia militias and their political backers who are in positions of power were present and presenting an alternative - they were carrying banners saying "Popular Mobilization Forces are legitimate and have popular support"
Syria opposition increasingly frustrated; spoke to Yaser Shehadeh who is with the US supported Central division brigade - its base was hit in Hama by Russian military - he told me: Washington doesn't want to end the war and the situation is more complicated. in fact the west is colluding with Russia. The more than 130 countries who are the so called friends of Syria didn't even give us anti aircraft weapons to fight back. They don't even want a safe zone. What is happening now is efforts to end our revolution
#Syria coalition & rebel groups say UN work groups initiative unacceptable in current form; process must ensure "regime not given role in transition and future of #Syria ; Intl community should make clear head of regime and pillars no role in political process; transitional governing body means full transfer of power in which Assad and pillars of regime no place
More than 40 Syrian rebel groups - moderates and conservatives issue statement calling on regional countries to forge an alliance against "Iranian and Russian aggression" in Syria ; say Russian intervention closed the door to political solution
Increasing concern among Syrian opposition groups that Russian military campaign is not against ISIL but they are the targets; activists tell me Russia and Syrian governments will use the presence of Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra front among rebel forces as excuse to target them
Syrian military sources say the Russian air strikes in the northern countryside of Homs weakening the defences of their opponents and paving the way for ground operation to recapture the area; the region is important for the government to secure its strongholds in the west of the country
Before Russia's military campaign in Syria, rebel forces were on the offensive and were threatening the government on a number of fronts – particularly in the province of Latakia. The military campaign has now put rebel forces on the defensive. And they are facing pressure on many fronts and from many enemies. ISIL has captured opposition controlled villages in northern countryside of Aleppo
Iraqi Kurds - Peshmerga forces gearing up for major offensive against ISIL in Sinjar bordering Syria; officials say PKK and Syrian Kurdish force YPG are not needed and have been told not to intervene - tensions between Kurdish groups
Peshmerga officials say Yazidi Peshmerga brigades created under the control of Peshmerga Ministry will have direct role "in liberating their towns from ISIL"
@ZeinakhodrAljaz: US coalition stepping up strikes against ISIL in Sinjar area - seven strikes in past 24 hrs -ground offensive against group imminent #Iraq #Kurds
UN envoy Mistura in Damascus for talks: visit follows meetings in Vienna where calls made for nationwide ceasefire &renewal of talks between the Syrian government and its opponents
For the first time the heads of Libya's rival parliaments are expected to meet without the presence of the United Nations. Nouri Abu Sahmein represents the General National Congress in Tripoli and Aqila Saleh heads the internationally recognized government in eastern city of Tobruk. Their expected meeting in Malta comes a day after their representatives agreed in Tunis to sign an UN deal on a government of national accord. But this is no way suggests all the members of both institutions supports the deal. The UN envoy to Libya said there are dangerous signs of "internal fragmentation" within the rival parliaments
World leaders, #Libya neighbors gathering in #Rome to give backing to UN deal on govt of natl accord but not all Libya factions on board. Many warn if west grants recognition to new Libya govt that doesn't have wide consensus, this would lead to further polarization in country. Tripoli-based GNC statement: our sole representative is Awad Abdel Sadek; Salah Makhzoum represented himself in Tunis @Zeinakhodraljaz
Day 2 of #Yemen peace talks in the Swiss town of Biel. Warring sides agree to exchange hundreds of prisoners. Yet another positive outcome in negotiations.