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Arabic press review: Syrian government seeks to buy oil from militant group

Damascus offers HTS group vast amounts of money for oil as fuel shortage continues, say rebel sources
Taxi drivers push their cars that ran out of gasoline to a petrol station in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 16, 2019.
Taxi drivers push their cars that ran out of gasoline to a petrol station in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 16, 2019.

Syrian government wants to buy oil from militant group

Dealing with severe fuel shortages, the Syrian government has offered huge sums of money to a militant group in exchange for oil, rebel sources revealed to Al-Quds al-Arabi.

The government is looking for ways to buy oil derivatives from areas outside its control, namely from northern cities near Aleppo, according to the report.

The sources told the London-based newspaper that the government has communicated with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leaders through brokers and delegates, offering the money in exchange for secretly allowing trucks to enter government-held areas.

The talks took place at a secret meeting between HTS and government representatives.

Jordanian journalist detained in Saudi Arabia

Jordanian journalist Abdel Rahman Farhaneh has been detained in Saudi Arabia for more than two months without being charged or standing trial, according to the Jordanian website Khaberni.

The Jordanian Press Association is trying to determine Farhaneh’s fate, the report said. The journalist, 62, has been denied communication with his family who reported his arrest on Tuesday.

"The Jordanian Press Association Council is following up the news about the arrest ... It has contacted Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who confirmed that the Jordanian embassy in Riyadh is looking into the matter and the Foreign Ministry will later issue a clarification about it," the report said.

The Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), an independent Jordanian organisation, called on the Jordanian government to act swiftly and reveal Farhaneh’s fate.

In a statement published by Jordanian media outlets, CDFJ called on Saudi authorities to immediately release Farhaneh, ensure his safety, tell his family where he is being detained and give them access.

The CDFJ said it had confirmed that Farhaneh has been missing for more than two months and is suffering from chronic diseases including hypertension and diabetes.

Egyptian state of emergency

On Thursday, Egypt announced the extension of the country's state of emergency for an additional three-month period, according to online news website Arabi21.

The announcement comes days after a referendum approved constitutional amendments that will extend a presidential term to six years, and will allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

The decree, issued in the official Gazette, stated that "military and police forces are entitled to take necessary measures to combat the threats and financing of terrorism, and ensure security throughout the country".

More than 88 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendments, according to Egyptian authorities. However, nationwide turnout was low at only 44 percent, the election commission said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Madbouly issued a ministerial decree declaring a curfew in some areas in North Sinai governorate.

Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.