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May 4, 2023


    1. Exclusive: Iran Importing Phosphates from Syria to Extract Uranium (Iran International). While President Ebrahim Raisi is in Syria, classified information obtained shows Tehran is procuring uranium from phosphate mines in Syria to make yellowcake… Syria is among the world’s largest exporters of rock phosphate, a raw material used to produce phosphatic fertilizers. The primary use of phosphate is the production of fertilizers. However, the rock is also an unconventional source to extract uranium, as explained in another document attached to the letter… On Wednesday, Iran and Syria’s presidents signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement, including a memorandum of understanding on oil industry cooperation.
    1. Ukraine Shoots Down a Barrage of Iranian Drones in Dawn Attack (Iran International). Russia launched 26 Iranian-made Shahed drones against Ukraine overnight Wednesday, but the Ukrainian air force said it downed 21 out of 26 suicide UAVs.
    1. Iran’s IRGC Seizes Foreign Oil Tanker in Strait of Hormuz (Tehran Times). The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the oil tanker is a Panama-flagged merchant vessel… The foreign oil tanker collided with an Iranian fishing boat in the Persian Gulf on the night of April 26, the public relations department of the Iranian Army said on April 27.


    1. Netanyahu said he was Blocking Gallant from Visiting the US until He Gets an Invite (Times of Israel). Channel 12 news, citing an American and an Israeli source, said Netanyahu indicated to Gallant that he should not accept two invitations to Washington and New York for meetings with security officials.


    1.  Ibrahim Raisi: Ready to Cooperate on Syria’s Reconstruction; Americans Must Leave Immediately (Syria TV). The Iranian president stated that his country “is the only one that supported the Syrian regime and stood up to all the takfiri factions, separatist movements, and even some countries in the region that sought to divide Syria.”
    1. The Iranian President Signs Eight Memorandums of Understanding with Bashar al-Assad in Damascus (Syria TV). The memorandums signed between Raisi and Bashar al-Assad included a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the agricultural field, a memorandum of understanding on mutual recognition of maritime certificates, minutes of a meeting for cooperation in the field of railways, minutes of a meeting of civil aviation, and a memorandum of understanding in the field of free zones. The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding between the National Earthquake Center in Syria and the International Institute of Seismic Engineering in Iran, a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of communications and information technology, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of oil between the two countries.
    1. Washington and Syrian Regime Hold New Talks on “Tice”: Details on Location and Outcomes (Syria TV). The Wall Street Journal indicated that “the US negotiations that took place with the Syrian regime in the Sultanate of Oman may resume in the coming weeks.”. It continued, “The American negotiators encouraged the president of the Syrian regime to take the talks seriously, and told the regime’s government that resolving the case of journalist Austin Tice could help end Syria’s international isolation.”
    1. Survivors Reflect on Painful Facts of Baniyas Massacre 10 Years   Later (Syria TV). What occurred on May 2nd and 3rd, 2013, was one of the most horrific massacres in Syrian history, involving the slaughter of children and women, mutilation, organ removal, burning, and the piling of bodies on top of each other, as confirmed by survivors of the massacre to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
    1.  US Military Says It Targeted Senior al-Qaida Leader in Syria (Sham News Network). The US Central Command (CENTCOM) alleged that a prominent leader within the “Al-Qaeda” organization in northwestern Syria was targeted. At the same time, the “Syrian Civil Defense” and civil and local sources confirmed that the victim was a civilian from the targeted area in the northern countryside of Idlib.


    1.  PM Barzani, US Delegation Discuss Erbil-Baghdad Oil Agreement (Bas News). On Wednesday, Kurdistan Region PM Masrour Barzani received a delegation led by Barbara Leaf, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs… PM Barzani said in a Facebook post. “We focused on resolving the problems between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government. In addition, we stressed the need to implement the recent oil exports agreement to protect citizens of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq from economic harm.”
    1.  Barzani’s Party: Umm Qasr Port in Basra instead of Turkish Ceyhan to Export Oil from Kurdistan (Al Iraq News). A member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Wafaa Karim, stated that “The National Oil Export Company (SOMO) has more than one option to compensate for the financial loss, which amounts to about one billion dollars per month, including sending the region’s oil to Basra.”


    1.  Al-Burhan Envoy: We Will Not Meet The RSF Envoy Face to Face but Rather Through Mediators (Al Arabiya). The Sudanese army commander’s envoy confirmed in a press conference in the Egyptian capital that there is no acceptance or approval of any international intervention in Sudan at this stage. “Any mechanism to facilitate monitoring the truce must occur in consultation with us, and it must be done through the Arab League and the African Union,” he added.


    1.  UNHCR: Raids on Syrian Refugees in Lebanon on the Rise (Syria TV). The UNHCR spokesperson in Lebanon stated, “We have received reports from refugees and other sources indicating increased raids on Syrians in both Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon. We have also received reports of Syrians being detained intending to deport them, including some registered with the UNHCR.


    1.  Turkish and Syrian Foreign Ministers may Meet Next Week (Daily Sabah). Speaking to Turkish broadcaster NTV, Türkiye’s top diplomat said the date of the ministerial level meeting was not final yet but was highly likely before May 14 elections in Türkiye…Çavuşoğlu highlighted the need for “concrete results” from the Constitutional Committee, which convened eight times before.
    1.  Ankara: We Expect a Clear Stance from Damascus on the Terrorist “PKK” (Anadolu Agency). Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, has stated that Turkiye expects a clear stance from Damascus on issues such as combating terrorism, ensuring the safe return of refugees to their homeland, and promoting the political process.
    1.  Turkish Inflation Eases to 16-Month Low Ahead of Key Elections (Daily Sabah). The consumer price index (CPI) has almost halved since reaching a peak in October, easing to an annual 43.68% last month, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said Wednesday


    1.  Gulf Condemnation of Attack on Saudi Cultural Attaché in Sudan (Al Khaleej Online). The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that an armed group stormed the Cultural Attaché building in Sudan on Tuesday morning. The attackers vandalized equipment and cameras, seized some of the attaché’s property, and disrupted the attaché’s systems and servers.
    1.  Jeddah Meeting Concludes with 16 Recommendations and Sudanese Call for Non-Interference (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The “Islamic Cooperation” stresses the necessity of an “immediate halt” to the military escalation and the predominance of the language of dialogue.


    1.  Egypt’s President Al-Sisi Welcomes High-Level US Representatives Delegation Led by McCarthy (Cairo 24). President Al-Sisi emphasized Egypt’s commitment to maintaining communication with US Congress leaders as part of the coordination and consultation efforts between the two allied nations at various levels. This is particularly significant in light of the region’s turbulent conditions, escalating challenges, and the current global situation marked by energy, food, and financial crises.
    1.   Egypt Capitalizes on Affordable Russian Wheat by Acquiring Large Quantities (Al Arabiya). Traders reported that Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities, the government’s grain purchaser, acquired 655,000 tons of wheat in an international transaction on Tuesday, primarily consisting of inexpensive Russian wheat. The total is approximately 535,000 tons from Russia and 120,000 tons from Romania.
    1.  Egypt’s National Dialogue Starts Following a Year of Preparations (Ahram Online). The opening of the National Dialogue comes a year after President El-Sisi called, in April 2022,  for a dialogue between all political forces without exception or discrimination to find common grounds on priority political, social, and economic issues.
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