Jordan is “fully ready” to cooperate with Moscow on the issue of the return of refugees to their homes in Syria, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in a phone conversation on Sunday. Lavrov stressed the importance of international assistance in the reconstruction of Syria after the conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Safadi also informed the Russian FM of the arrival of the White Helmets members in Jordan. Some 422 volunteers from the controversial group, which is accused of working with terrorists and forging reports of chemical attacks, have been evacuated from southern Syria to Jordan by Israeli forces overnight on Saturday in order to be resettled later in other countries.
Eleven taxi drivers have been gunned down in a “heinous” ambush outside Durban, South Africa’s police force has confirmed. The group belonging to the Ivory-Park Taxi Association in Gauteng were returning to Johannesburg from a funeral when they were set upon by gunman in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Eleven people were killed and four critically wounded when the unknown men opened fire. In a statement South Africa's police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole condemned the senseless killings. A special task force has been drafted in to “trace and apprehend” those responsible for the killings. The ambush follows a number of incidents of taxi violence. In May a member of the same taxi group was also shot dead.
A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Kermanshah Province in western Iran on Sunday, injuring at least 287 people, governor Houshang Bazvand said. The quake affected 43 villages, while 101 buildings were completely destroyed, Bazvand told Tasnim News Agency. The disaster came just hours after two quakes measuring 4.7 and 5.7 hit Hormozgan Province in the south of the country, reportedly resulting in no casualties.
Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-Moallem and South Ossetian Foreign Minister Dmitry Medoyev signed a document establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries when their delegations met on Sunday, Sana reported. Syria became one of the few countries to recognize the independence of South Ossetia in late May. The move drew the ire of Georgia, from which South Ossetia broke away after the 2008 war.
The recent closure of Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing will be reversed if the border remains quiet until Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter. The crossing – considered the main transportation route for humanitarian aid and goods to the enclave – was earlier closed to most merchandise amid tensions in the Gaza Strip. Last week, Tel Aviv tightened the blockade, adding a ban on fuel supplies to the area.
A missile-defense system at Syria’s Khmeimim Airbase downed a second UAV in two days as it approached the site on Sunday morning, a representative of the base said. Another drone that was launched from a militant-controlled territory in the Syrian Latakia province was destroyed on Saturday, according to the Russian military. No damage or casualties were reported and the airbase continues to operate as normal.