The Latest: Israeli PM to speak on Iran nuclear deal
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a special meeting of his Security Cabinet and scheduled a nationally televised statement at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT).
Netanyahu’s office says Monday’s statement will focus on a “significant development” connected to the international nuclear deal with Iran. It gave no further details.
Netanyahu has long criticized the deal and welcomed the Trump administration’s pledge to withdraw next month if it is not improved.
Israeli officials have not commented on Monday’s overnight airstrike that killed Iranians inside neighboring Syria. But officials have warned Iran against trying to attack Israeli targets.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has met with a visiting Iranian official who claimed “the project” of the United States and its allies in Syria has been defeated.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, spoke hours after reports of a missile attack that killed dozens of Iranian fighters in northern Syria on Monday.
Syrian state media reported the meeting of the two and Boroujerdi’s remarks. The report did not did not mention Monday’s missile attack but referred to the March 14 joint attack by the United States, Britain and France on Syria.
Assad said the international map is being redrawn, adding that the recent “escalation of the aggression against Syria” is a sign that insurgents have failed and this will only make Damascus more determined “to wipe out terrorism.”
Syrian state media say an agreement has been reached to evacuate al-Qaida-linked fighters from a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, in return for the release of dozens of people that the insurgents have been holding for years.
State news agency SANA says the deal also includes allowing some 5,000 people in two northwestern villages besieged by insurgents to move to government-held areas.
The al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee will set free 85 people it has been holding in the northwestern region of Jisr al-Shughour.
Syrian troops have been on the offensive against militants in Yarmouk camp. The deal does not include members of the Islamic State group.
Syria’s state TV said buses entered Monday the villages of Kfarya and Foua to begin evacuating some 1,500 civilians in a first stage of the agreement.
A Syria war monitoring group says an overnight missile attack in the country’s northern region has killed 26 pro-government fighters, mostly Iranians.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the attack appears to have been carried out by Israel and targeted an arms depot for surface-to-surface missiles at a base in northern Syria known as Brigade 47. The Observatory says four Syrians were also among casualties.
Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to back President Bashar Assad’s forces in the country’s seven-year civil war.
Earlier on Monday, Syrian TV reported a “new aggression,” with missiles targeting military outposts in northern Syria.
The state-run television reported that the missiles targeted military outposts in the Hama and Aleppo countryside.