Armenian Foreign Minister due in Syria

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian will visit Damascus on May 27 upon the invitation of Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem.

Within the framework of the visit Edward Nalbandian will have meetings with high-ranking officials in Syria.

Minister Nalbandian will meet with representatives of the Syrian Armenian community.

ISIS seizes control of key Iraqi city Ramadi as government forces pull back

Islamic State militants said they had taken full control of the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Sunday in the biggest defeat for the Baghdad government since last summer, Reuters reports.

In a statement, the group said it had seized tanks and killed “dozens of apostates”, its description for members of the Iraqi security forces.

Ramadi is the capital of Iraq’s western Anbar province, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi signed off on the deployment of Shi’ite militias to attempt to seize back the area, a move he previously resisted for fear of provoking a sectarian backlash.

According to BBC, the Iraqi government is reported to be sending Iran-backed Shia militias to Ramadi to recapture the city seized by Islamic State (IS) militants on Sunday.

About 500 people are reported to have died when the Iraqi military abandoned positions in the city – only 112km west of Baghdad.

Armenian President offers condolences over Maya Plisetskaya death

President Serzh Sargsyan has sent a letter of condolence to composer Rodion Shchedrin, People’s Artist of the USSR, on the death of his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, President’s Press Office reports. The letter reads:

“It was with deep sorrow and great grief that I learned of the death of Maya Plisetskaya, an inimitable and wonderful ballerina of worldwide fame.

Her unique images will forever live in the memories of spectators from all generations. The pain of loss is immense, and we share your grief.

I extend my deepest sympathy to you, your relatives, and friends, and to millions of fans of Maya Plisetskaya’s talent.”