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Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpuf

Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpuf

 

Saudi cabinet reshuffle evidence to chaos in monarchy

 

Saudi King Salman pictured in Cairo on April 11, 2016. ©AFP
A recent set of changes made by King Salman in the structure of the Saudi government highlights chaos within the ruling royal family, a Press TV poll finds.

In an online survey carried out by Press TV on May 8 - June 5, some 76 percent of respondents said that King Salman’s replacement of a number of cabinet ministers in the major reshuffle on May 7 was the result of a chaos in the monarchy.

Some 16 percent of interviewees said the decision to change the government’s structure was only a show of power by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This as only eight percent said the reshuffle was aimed at modernizing the autocratic kingdom.

More than 4,570 people took part in the poll.

King Salman announced a series of royal decrees in early May and reformed the ministries of energy, oil, water, transportation, commerce, social affairs, health and pilgrimage by replacing ministers in charge of their portfolios. The monarch also issued a decree to set up a new recreation and culture mission.

The most notable change in the aforesaid portfolios was sacking the long-serving oil minister Ali al-Naimi. The 80-year-old was in charge of energy policy at the world’s biggest oil exporter since 1995. He was replaced by Khaled al-Faleh, who acted previously as the health minister. Faleh takes on the portfolio of energy, industry and mineral resources.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman answers questions during a press conference in Riyadh, on April 25, 2016. ©AFP

Naimi was one of the most powerful figures within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He served more than 20 years in the post of oil minister.

The monarch said the changes were meant to enable the kingdom to continue its “growth and development process.” 

The overhaul comes amid efforts by Saudi Arabia to shore up its finances as the kingdom has struggled year after year with budget deficits as a result of a slump in oil prices.

 

 

Troops on Saturday entered the Raqqa province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

A potential recapture of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq is seen as the ultimate blow to Daesh. In Iraq, armed fighters have edged as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of the capital of Nineveh province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government troops were advancing on the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River, some 40 km (25 miles) from Raqqa, on Saturday.

"Regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014," said the observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The advancements followed heavy aerial attacks carried out on Friday in the eastern areas of Hama province which borders Raqqa.

Tal Abyad was cleared of Daesh last year. The town served as a launchpad for ISIS attacks given its proximity to Raqqa.

Earlier in 2016, Syrian forces liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the sprawling central Homs province.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and western governments. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

- See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1824993#sthash.6PXQ3VTX.dpu