Smoke rises from the village of Jubata Al Kashab on the Syrian side of the border with Israel, in the Golan Heights, during the fight between Syrian government forces and militants groups. Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to explain to world leaders during the UN General Assembly in New York about his intentions in Syria as Moscow builds up its military presence in the country. Atef Safadi/EPA
Smoke rises from the village of Jubata Al Kashab on the Syrian side of the border with Israel, in the Golan Heights, during the fight between Syrian government forces and militants groups. Russian preShow more

Russia’s Putin says US-armed rebels defect to ISIL



MOSCOW // Russian president Vladimir Putin on Sunday called US support for rebels in Syria illegal and ineffective, and said American-trained rebels were defecting to join ISIL with arms supplied by Washington.

Ahead of his meeting with US president Barack Obama on Monday at the United Nations in New York, he said Syrian president Bashar Al Assad deserved international support for fighting terrorists.

British prime minister David Cameron yesterday conceded that Mr Al Assad could stay on as part of a transitional government but should not be part of Syria’s future in the long run.

Mr Putin also spoke to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Saturday about finding a solution to the Syrian crisis.

Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that he was ready to discuss a “plan of action” for Syria’s future after ISIL was defeated.

Iran, which along with Russia is allied to Mr Al Assad in the war, has until now been kept out of UN diplomatic efforts to find a political solution for the Syrian conflict.

“That is not a problem for us right now, to start holding discussions and dialogues so as to determine and reach the conclusion of the next plan of action after the terrorists are driven out that territory,” Mr Rouhani said.

“But we must all act in unison and have a formula that is required to drive out the terrorists, immediately.”

And Iraq yesterday announced it was increasing intelligence coordination with Russia, Syria and Iran to fight ISIL.

“It’s a committee coordinating between the four countries, with representatives of each country, in military intelligence and aimed at sharing and analysing information,” said Saad Al Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi.

Mr Al Hadithi said the cell would focus on “monitoring the movements of terrorists and degrading their capacity”, but would not say whether it had already begun its work.

Iraq’s joint operations command said the deal with Russia came amid “growing concern over the presence of thousands of Russian terrorists engaged in criminal acts with ISIL”.

Russia has increased its military involvement in Syria this month, with US officials accusing Moscow of sending combat aircraft, tanks and other equipment to help the Syrian army.

The sudden military build-up in support of Mr Al Assad and a refugee crisis that has spilled into Europe have lent new urgency to resolving the Syria war.

The new US tack on Syria could bring together Russia, Saudi Arabia and countries such as Turkey and Qatar, which support Syrian opposition groups.

In Mr Putin’s conversation with King Salman, the men “exchanged views on regional security matters in the context of finding ways to settle the conflict in Syria”, the Kremlin said.

They also discussed “building more effective international cooperation in the fight against ISIL and other terrorist groups”, it said.

Saudi Arabia is part of a US-led coalition that began an air campaign against ISIL in Syria last September, and insists it will never cooperate with the Assad regime.

Mr Putin is expected to explain Russia’s motives in Syria when he addresses the UN General Assembly on Monday, just after Mr Obama takes the podium. Mr Rouhani is expected to follow.

The Russian president will be outlining his plan for Syria, which would include Mr Al Assad’s army in a larger anti-ISIL coalition – a proposal the US rejects.

Mr Putin will meet Mr Obama outside the UN meeting in their first formal talk in two years.

The US has a $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) programme to train and equip vetted moderates recruited from the rebels fighting Mr Al Assad, but it has faced repeated setbacks.

Mr Putin criticised Washington’s plans to train up to 5,400 Syrian rebels to fight the extremist group.

“It turns out that only 60 of these fighters have been properly trained, and as few as four or five people actually carry weapons,” he said. “The rest of them have deserted with the American weapons to join ISIL.”

Critics have urged Mr Obama to be more decisive in the Middle East and Syria, where the UN has said 250,000 people have died after four years of conflict. They say lack of a clear American policy has given ISIL opportunities to expand.

Mr Putin said Russia’s support for the Assad government was based on the UN Charter.

“We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only,” he said. “As of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.”

Last week, the Syrian army used Russian drones against ISIL for the first time.

Washington’s strategy in Iraq, built on an air campaign and sending several thousand military trainers and advisers, has also come under increasing fire for failing to reach the promised results.

Moscow has sold fighter jets and weaponry to Iraq but has taken the back seat as Iran and the US-led coalition often competed to be Baghdad’s top partner in the war against ISIL.

Western powers, who had categorically rejected a role for Mr Assad in any political solution to the conflict in Syria, have recently softened their stance.

* Reuters and Agence France-Presse

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Akeed

Based: Muscat

Launch year: 2018

Number of employees: 40

Sector: Online food delivery

Funding: Raised $3.2m since inception

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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Navdeep Suri, India's Ambassador to the UAE

There has been a longstanding need from the Indian community to have a religious premises where they can practise their beliefs. Currently there is a very, very small temple in Bur Dubai and the community has outgrown this. So this will be a major temple and open to all denominations and a place should reflect India’s diversity.

It fits so well into the UAE’s own commitment to tolerance and pluralism and coming in the year of tolerance gives it that extra dimension.

What we will see on April 20 is the foundation ceremony and we expect a pretty broad cross section of the Indian community to be present, both from the UAE and abroad. The Hindu group that is building the temple will have their holiest leader attending – and we expect very senior representation from the leadership of the UAE.

When the designs were taken to the leadership, there were two clear options. There was a New Jersey model with a rectangular structure with the temple recessed inside so it was not too visible from the outside and another was the Neasden temple in London with the spires in its classical shape. And they said: look we said we wanted a temple so it should look like a temple. So this should be a classical style temple in all its glory.

It is beautifully located - 30 minutes outside of Abu Dhabi and barely 45 minutes to Dubai so it serves the needs of both communities.

This is going to be the big temple where I expect people to come from across the country at major festivals and occasions.

It is hugely important – it will take a couple of years to complete given the scale. It is going to be remarkable and will contribute something not just to the landscape in terms of visual architecture but also to the ethos. Here will be a real representation of UAE’s pluralism.

Coal Black Mornings

Brett Anderson

Little Brown Book Group 

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

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In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,899 / Dh4,349

LAST-16 FIXTURES

Sunday, January 20
3pm: Jordan v Vietnam at Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
6pm: Thailand v China at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
9pm: Iran v Oman at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Monday, January 21
3pm: Japan v Saudi Arabia at Sharjah Stadium
6pm: Australia v Uzbekistan at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
9pm: UAE v Kyrgyzstan at Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Tuesday, January 22
5pm: South Korea v Bahrain at Rashid Stadium, Dubai
8pm: Qatar v Iraq at Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

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Engine: 77kWh 2 motors
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Range: 402km
Price: Dh,150,000 (estimate)
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Frida

Director: Carla Gutierrez

Starring: Frida Kahlo

Rating: 4/5

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Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
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Company: Wafeq
Started: January 2019
Founder: Nadim Alameddine
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry:
software as a service
Funds raised: $3 million
Investors: Raed Ventures and Wamda, among others

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees
Tom Sleigh, Graywolf Press

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
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Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
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Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

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Based: Egypt
Founders: Karim Khashaba, Sherief El-Feky and Yasser AbdelGawad
Sector:
HealthTech
Total funding: $24.5 million
Investors: Algebra Ventures, Global Ventures, MEVP and Delivery Hero Ventures, among others
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Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Sector: HealthTech
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1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr 32mins 03.897sec

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull-Honda) at 0.745s

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 37.383s

4. Lando Norris (McLaren) 46.466s

5.Sergio Perez (Red Bull-Honda) 52.047s

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 59.090s

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10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:26.713,

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Queens of the Stone Age
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The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

The years Ramadan fell in May

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1921

1888

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Founders: Marie-Christine Luijckx, Lyla Dalal AlRawi, Lindsey Fournie

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2015

Number of employees: 30

Sector: F&B

Funding so far: Dh3 million

Future funding plans: None at present

Future markets: Saudi Arabia, potentially Kuwait and other GCC countries

Law 41.9.4 of men’s T20I playing conditions

The fielding side shall be ready to start each over within 60 seconds of the previous over being completed.
An electronic clock will be displayed at the ground that counts down seconds from 60 to zero.
The clock is not required or, if already started, can be cancelled if:
• A new batter comes to the wicket between overs.
• An official drinks interval has been called.
• The umpires have approved the on field treatment of an injury to a batter or fielder.
• The time lost is for any circumstances beyond the control of the fielding side.
• The third umpire starts the clock either when the ball has become dead at the end of the previous over, or a review has been completed.
• The team gets two warnings if they are not ready to start overs after the clock reaches zero.
• On the third and any subsequent occasion in an innings, the bowler’s end umpire awards five runs.

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Company name: Tuhoon
Year started: June 2021
Co-founders: Fares Ghandour, Dr Naif Almutawa, Aymane Sennoussi
Based: Riyadh
Sector: health care
Size: 15 employees, $250,000 in revenue
Investment stage: seed
Investors: Wamda Capital, Nuwa Capital, angel investors

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Co-founders: Karl Naim, Wissam Ghorra, Jean-Marie Khoueir

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Started: 2021

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Sector: FinTech

Funding: $2 million

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg:

Juventus 1 Ajax 2

Ajax advance 3-2 on aggregate

UAE-based players

Goodlands Riders: Jamshaid Butt, Ali Abid, JD Mahesh, Vibhor Shahi, Faizan Asif, Nadeem Rahim

Rose Hill Warriors: Faraz Sheikh, Ashok Kumar, Thabreez Ali, Janaka Chathuranga, Muzammil Afridi, Ameer Hamza

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Available: January 26

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Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5