Published: Wed, May 23, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Explosion heard at Iranian base south of Damascus

Explosion heard at Iranian base south of Damascus

Gen. Ali Mayhoub, a Syrian army spokesman, declared Damascus and its surroundings "completely secure" on Monday.

Assad's forces have been making steady gains since 2015 when Russian launched an air campaign on behalf of his forces.

Syrian state media denied there was a deal to evacuate fighters, according to the Associated Press, which quoted one military official as saying that a two-day truce had been arranged to evacuate women, children and the elderly on Sunday night from Hajar al-Aswad.

Iran is another important Assad ally.

Turkey and the United States also have presences in parts of Syria outside government control.

The extremists have been driven from almost all the territory they once held in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, but still maintain a presence in remote areas along the border.

The exchange of fire was the most direct confrontation between the two Middle East rivals after years of standoff in Syria and came just one day after Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Iran nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

The spokesman went on to say that as a committed party to the JCPOA, following the unilateral, illegal and scandalous withdrawal of the U.S. from the multi-national agreement, the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain in the deal as long as the remaining sides acknowledge Iran's rights under the accord.

In the southwest, where rebels hold territory at the Israeli and Jordanian border, Assad faces the risk of conflict with Israel, which wants his Iranian-backed allies kept well away from the frontier and has mounted air strikes in Syria.

"Those who have entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian government should leave", the spokesman added.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid an unannounced visit to Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening at the Russian president's summer home in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi where the two leaders discussed the process for winding down the war in Syria, and notably the reduction of foreign troop presence in the country.

The Syrian government forces on Monday announced that the last extremist stronghold in southern Damascus, the al-Hajar al-Aswad District, has been recaptured, marking the military's complete control over Damascus and its suburb areas after seven years of fighting.

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