But no statement on key issues such as Israeli attacks and fate of pro-Assad offensive in south


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani discussed the situation in Syria in a meeting on Saturday.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao, China, the two leaders declared cooperation, hoping to sweep away tension over Israeli airstrikes and operations in southern Syria.

Russia, which has a cooperation arrangement with Israel from September 2015, has not provided any defense against periodic Israeli strikes on regime and Iranian positions. In April, Iranian personnel were killed as Israel carried out its most extensive raids in the 87-month conflict.

Russia has also publicly checked any pro-Assad offensive against opposition positions in the south, along the Jordanian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. After Israel threatened to intervene against any operations including Hezbollah and Iranian-support foreign militia, Moscow called for the withdrawal of all “non-Syrian forces” from the area and a political process to bring rebel withdrawal.

Rouhani and Putin did not refer to the specific issues. Instead, the Iranian President said Tehran’s efforts with Russia to defeat the Islamic State have been “effective” and that cooperation will continue in “fighting terror”, stabilizing the country, and other defense and economic issues.

Putin said the Russian-Iranian regional alliance will be sustained, especially in Syria.

UK Tabloid is Latest Outlet for Assad Propaganda Interview

Bashar al-Assad has used the UK tabloid Daily Mail for his latest propaganda attacks and denials.

In an interview published, Assad carried out his customary smearing of the White Helmets civil defense organization — both a “branch of Al Qa’eda” and “a PR stunt by the UK” — and denied his regime’s chemical attacks on East Ghouta near Damascus in early April.

Assad had to backtrack on previous regime claims such as the capture of UK special forces both in Aleppo in late 2016 and in East Ghouta in the spring — “I wouldn’t say we have British fighters who are alive” — but pressed his standard lines about Western governments:

They tell lies, they talk about chemical weapons, they talk about the bad president killing the good people, freedom, peaceful demonstration; all these lies are flavors for the main goal, which is regime change.

At Least 10 Killed by Latest Pro-Assad Strikes on Idlib Province

At least 10 civilians, including five children, have been killed in the latest pro-Assad airstrikes on opposition-held Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

The attack was on the town of Taftanaz, close to the Children’s Hospital (see map).

On Thursday night, 50 people were killed when a Russian Su-25 warplane fired four missiles on the town of Zardana.

See Syria Daily, June 8: Pro-Assad Strikes Kill 47 in Idlib Province

Pro-Assad warplanes also struck Binnish.

While a Turkish ring of observation posts has prevented a further pro-Assad ground offensive, regime and Russian air forces are periodically attacking civilian areas across Idlib, where an estimated 2.2 million people — many of them displaced from elsewhere in Syria — reside.

Today’s strikes reportedly followed rebel attacks, responding to the Zardana mass killing, against the regime enclaves of al-Fu’ah and Kafraya. Six Hezbollah fighters were said to be among pro-Assad casualties.