Jordan's Abdullah receives first call from Syria's Assad since start of conflict (Reuters)
“Jordan's King Abdullah received a phone call from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the royal palace said on Sunday in what officials said was the first such communication since the start of the conflict in Syria a decade ago.
The conversation was the latest step in thawing relations between leaders who had long been on opposing sides in Syria's civil war, with Jordan supporting Syrian Western-backed mainstream rebels seeking to drive Assad from power.” Read more
Syria re-added to INTERPOL, risking potential for abuse of dissidents (The New Arab)
“Syria was re-added to INTERPOL’s communication network this week in a move that legal activists say could open the door for harassment and abuse of opposition figures and refugees.” Read more
Pandora Papers: Beirut money transfers, Syrian regime allies and the Virgin Islands (Daraj)
“Amal Abou Zeid is a man with many hats, which the Lebanese MP and businessman has used to weave an intrinsic network linking many parties. Born in Mlich near Jezzine in 1953, he studied, and established his first business in the UK; More companies followed in other countries, including Russia and Lebanon.
He is furthermore a founding member of the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and has long played an active role in the Maronite community.
In 2014, Gebran Bassil appointed Abou Zeid as advisor for Lebanese Russian affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also engaged in partnerships with businessmen affiliated with the Syrian regime, especially in the field of money transfers.” Read more
Jordan's state carrier to resume flights to Syria for first time in decade (Reuters)
“Jordan's state carrier, Royal Jordanian (RJAL.AM), will soon resume direct flights to Damascus for the first time in nearly a decade, in the latest step to restore extensive business ties with Syria hurt by conflict in the latter, government officials said on Tuesday.
Flights have been suspended since the start of the decade-old conflict in Syria, even though other airlines continued to fly to Amman from Damascus.” Read more
Finalists announced for this year’s National Book Awards (The New York Times)
“In the category of translated literature, Benjamín Labatut’s book ‘When We Cease to Understand the World’ is among the finalists. Translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West, the novel imagines the lives of renowned scientists like the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Its competition includes ‘Planet of Clay,’ by Samar Yazbek, translated from Arabic by Leri Price, which follows a girl named Rima during the Syrian Civil War.” Read more