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Syria army launches Aleppo ground assault: security BEIRUT: The Syrian army launched on Wednesday a ground assault on the northern city of Aleppo, a Syrian security official told AFP. "The army is advancing from west to east to cut Salaheddin in half horizontally," the official said on condition of anonymity, referring to the key rebel stronghold in the city. "It will not take a long time to control the district, even if there are some pockets of resistance remaining," the source added. A rebel commander confirmed that army tanks had penetrated Salaheddin on Wednesday morning, sparking fierce clashes with the insurgents. "The regime forces advanced into Al-Malaab Street with tanks and armoured vehicles and fierce fighting is now taking place in the area," said Wassel Ayub, a commander in the rebel Free Syrian Army. When asked how far the government forces had reached, the defected Syrian army captain said that "the army is present in less than 15 percent of Salaheddin." The army, ...

Some Iranians seized in Syria are retired Guards: Salehi DUBAI: Iran's foreign minister said some of the Iranians kidnapped by Syrian rebels last week are retired soldiers or Revolutionary Guards, Iranian media reported on Wednesday. "Some of these beloved ones were on IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) and military pensions and others were from other different departments," Ali Akbar Salehi said, according to Iran's student news agency ISNA. He denied they now had any military connection. Syrian rebels said they kidnapped a busload of 48 Iranians ...
Eight Iraq family members killed in morning attack BAGHDAD: Gunmen shot dead eight members of an Iraqi family in an attack on their home north of Baghdad early on Wednesday morning, security and medical officials said. The shooting took place at the home of Khayrallah Shati, a lawyer in the town of Baiji, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the capital, killing him, his wife, five sons and another relative who was staying with them. "Khayrallah Shati, his wife and five sons, and a family ...
13 killed in Syria: NGO BEIRUT: The Syrian army shelled several districts of Aleppo before dawn on Wednesday, killing 12 people in the northern city while another civilian died elsewhere in the province, a monitor said. Among the dead were a woman and her two children, killed when a shell landed on their house in Al-Mashatiyah neighbourhood, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The neighbourhoods of Qatarji, Tariq al-Bab and Shaar also came under heavy shelling, the Britain-based watchdog said. The Syrian ...
Syria DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Saeed Jalili, a top aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday, the official SANA news agency reported. The news agency published pictures of the Damascus meeting, the first images of Assad since he received newly appointed armed forces chief General Ali Ayyub on July 22. Following the talks, Jalali told Iran's Al-Alam Arabic-language television that Tehran was using "all means possible" to secure the release of 48 of ...
More than 22,000 Iraqis flee Syria: UN  BAGHDAD: More than 22,000 Iraqis have fled the violence in Syria for their home country in less than three weeks, joining over 12,000 Syrian refugees, a UN refugee agency official said on Tuesday. "Since the 18th of July until yesterday (Monday), 22,300 Iraqi refugees have been registered" after having arrived from Syria, UNHCR Iraq representative Claire Bourgeois told a news conference in Baghdad. She also said that as of August 6, 12,600 Syrians had fled to Iraq ...
Iranians TEHRAN: Iranian state television on Monday showed several Iranians alleged to be part of a group of 13 who "confessed" to killing four Iranian nuclear scientists after being trained by Israeli intelligence. It said the network received orders from "Washington and London." The television report, available online showed the suspects speaking of how they purportedly prepared to murder the scientists, and broadcast a re-enactment of assassins on a motorbike fixing a magnetic bomb to a victim's car, ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.309 bln
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
Reserves $14.04 bln