after losing her majority in a snap election. her party will work with northern ireland's democratic unionists, who won ten seats. she's said she'll keep her most senior ministers. mrs may said crucial talks on britain leaving the european union will begin as planned in ten days‘ time but she'll enter brexit negotiations in a much weaker position. european council president donald tusk says time is running out and there's a real risk of a "no deal" outcome. president trump has said he's100% willing to testify under oath about his talks with the sacked former fbi directorjames comey. mr trump rejected the allegation that he had urged mr comey to drop an investigation into his presidential campaign's links with russia. now on bbc news, our world. the syrian national football team
has a real chance of qualifying for the world cup, an astonishing achievement for a country entering its seventh year of a bloody civil war. richard conway has spent time with members of the squad in damascus. they are the unlikely sporting heroes in a country ripped apart by conflict. syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war but the national football team is trying to send a message it hopes can transcend political and religious differences. i'm following the team as they compete for a place in football's biggest tournament, the world cup. some syrians refuse to support the team because it is associated with the assad regime. but for others, even those who have fled for their lives, the team is a symbol of national pride. the team has defied the odds
it is here that i meet ta rek jabban, assistant coach of syria's national team. i'm joining him as he watches a low—key fixture in syria's premier league, which is also attempting to carry on despite the conflict. syrian football fans have much to cheer about right now. their national side has performed beyond expectations, as they try to qualify for next year's world cup in russia. economic sanctions mean the country and therefore football has little money. what cash there is comes from the assad government, keen to use football to give the impression of a united, functioning state. we need somebody to support him, ourfederation, our government.
our equipment, our conditions, not what we want. syrian government officials are keen to show us that football is flourishing. let's go and meet the man who can tell us more about this. it is half—time, and tarek introduces me to his boss, the head coach of the national football team and the man responsible for their recent good results. you beat china 1—0. you drew with south korea. there is a real opportunity here for syria to go to the world cup. do the players now believe, do they have the belief in their hearts, that they can qualify for the world cup? syria's president, bashar al—assad,
wants the perception to be that his country is returning to normal. sport helps with that. but regardless of his intentions it is clear that sport, that football, coming back to syria provides the people with the chance to forget about their worries, at least for 90 minutes. after six years of war, more games are being played and fans are slowly returning. but football is only possible in government—held areas, and not in large swathes of this country outside the regime's control. this season is interesting because all syrian people want to come back to stadiums, want to support the teams. i think it is 2—2 at the moment.
we will see who can get a late winner. first time on this field, two teams score four goals, because all games on this field... there's another! 3-2. all games on this field finish 1—0, 1—0. the first time this year, five goals. maybe because you came here! it is the bbc‘s fault, we should come every week. what looks like normal life does go on in president assad's damascus. you could be forgiven at times for thinking there is no war. that is how syria's leader wants it. here on the east side of damascus, we are at a football field that has been hit in the past by mortar fire.
very few of the national team play in syria, but five star players are here training with their local club. for a variety of reasons they have stayed in syria, their career choices complicated by the war. every so often you can hear the sound of an aerial artillery shell going off somewhere in the distance. we're very close here to one of the front lines, even as we are in the centre of damascus. the players are not fast. the players are not fussed. they haven't even raised an eyebrow. it's the sound of war, something they have grown up with. omar al—midani is one of the younger members of the team. does this team really believe it can go on and qualify for russia?
the training looks familiar. that's where similarities between the game here and in other countries ends. the difference is not just the conditions, but the hopes and expectations that are placed upon this team. there is no part of life in assad—controlled syria untouched by the regime. every facet of society, especially where there is success, such as with the national football
team, is presented as a sign of a functioning state. but the illusion is easily shattered. we were filming at the market when we heard a loud explosion nearby. there are reports a number of people had been killed. we are going out to see if we can find out what has happened and what damage has been caused. two devices have detonated. one by the roadside, another by a suicide bomber targeting mainly shia pilgrims visiting from iraq. all of a sudden, i'm a war reporter. our correspondent, richard conway, is at the scene. this is the largest attack to hit damascus in some time. a suicide bomber detonated his device in this commercial district in the centre of damascus, killing at least a0 people and injuring dozens more. working as a sports correspondent means you simply don't see
devastation like this. the number of people killed rose to 7a. the experience is a shocking and harrowing insight into the painful realities of life in syria. what before had just been words about the conflict, war and bombings was now very real in my mind. i had come to syria to find out how football could possibly thrive and matter in a time of war. right now, that question seemed more difficult to answer than ever. this is important. tarek has devoted much of his life to syrian football. in this box are the medals that prove it. this is you?
with the captain's armband? yes, number five. that was before the war. there are many players now in the national team, but... so now you are the coach? today the majority of the most talented players look to play abroad. today it is different. before the six years, all the syrian players in the national team played here. now we need our players to play outside syria. look at that. this is for you and your group. you baked us a cake? so kind, thank you. tarek is preparing to say goodbye to his family and fly to malaysia. sanctions in the war mean this team must play its games on neutral ground, a 1a,000 kilometre round—trip awaiting them. the game against uzbekistan
is arguably the most important match in syria's history. there is political capital for the assad regime in the team's success. but i cannot help but wonder if those forced to flee syria will be supporting the team as well. nearly five million people have sought refuge abroad from the syrian civil war. 80,000 of them i hear in the zatari camp in northern jordan. just a few kilometres
from the syrian border, it is a living, breathing testament to the human cost of war. muhamed was a professional footballer with the syrian top—flight club al—majd. when his brother was hit by a shell which hit their house, he together with his family escaped over the border to jordan. like many here, he is angry. mohammad is beginning to get his football career back on track. he still supports the national team. issam al masri is just 22,
and considered the best player in camp. the medals he has here are all from playing football inside zaatari. he was a young talent with a professional side al—shoulla in the city of dara, but in 2012 he fled with his family. like mohammed, he is trying to resurrect his career. he coaches the children here in the camp. bravo. he admits to me that, like many, it is hard to talk openly. the guarded language used even
here in the refugee camp makes it clear just how fearful people are of talking about politics. but still, like mohammed, issam supports the national side. right here in camp is tough, but people are safe, having escaped from the war. now, football is one of the central activities that children get to enjoy. it is fun, and gives them a sense of purpose — but it also gives them something that is very
precious, having escaped from the conflict: the sense of normal childhood. what is your favourite team? real madrid! what about england ? does anybody like any english teams? juventus! that's in italy. what about newcastle united? who's heard of that? that's my team. ronaldo? you like a little ronaldo. and your favourite in syria? 0mar al somah. why does everyone like somah so much? i had wondered how much these children would know of syrian football, but clearly, the players are heroes. football matters, because of the hope it can provide. even here, amongst
those displaced by civil war, and who've lost loved ones that are regime, i got a sense of the love and pride that they hold for their country and rises above politics and endures, in spite of the suffering. it feels as though the country's football team provides people with a safe focus for those feelings. the historic malaysian resort town of malacca is the venue for syria's crucial match against uzbekistan. and it's nowjust days away. those members of the squad who travelled from syria have beenjoined by players earning much bigger money in places like china, kuwait, and saudi arabia. the range of salaries is matched by the range of religions and backgrounds within the squad.
i catch up with 0mar again, and he introduces me to mardik mardikian, one of the few christians to play in the side. of course, more controversial than religious differences are political ones. the side has long been multifaith, but for this important match, a first: firas al khateeb, one of the greatest syrian footballers of this generation, left the team, and criticised the syrian regime. as a result, he has not played for five years. but he is returning
to the squad for the match. beyond funding, the extent to which the assad government is involved in team affairs is unknown. the mix of faiths and now politics within the squad certainly sends a message that the regime wants heard: syria can come together, at least for football. but many former players haven't returned. before the war, mohammed al ibrahim represented syria 3! times. the conflict forced him to pursue his career abroad. he's been asked repeatedly to play for the national team, but so far has not,
for what says are personal reasons. politics is probably not on the minds of the national team players as they arrive at the stadium for their game against uzbekistan. right now, they are dealing with another p: pressure. with their past performances, and all this talk of their success, expectation rises amongst their fans. syria! there are about 100 syria fans in the stadium. the country's footballing ambitions now rest on the shoulders of these 11 players. it's a close game,
and at half—time, it's goalless. in a sports club in damascus, the tension is palpable, as fans watch the game head towards the final minutes. a win here is crucial to syria's world cup hopes. then, in the final minutes, firas al khatib is fouled and wins a penalty. 0mar khribin scores, and syria have a famous victory. its meaning to those in damascus is clear. so, too, here in malaysia.
sport and politics. it demonstrates the power of sport and how, even amidst the horrors of civil war that has ripped syria apart, it can matter so much to so many. hello there. it's felt a little more like autumn for some this week and although high pressure will build into next week and we'll hopefully see more of these skylines, this was sent
in late in the day on friday, before that we will have yet more rain, strong and blustery winds with some sunshine, warm sunshine dispersed, so not a great weekend for heading to the mountains or a small boat. after the rain there will also be more showers following on. this is the area of cloud, the area of low pressure that will bring that disturbed weather through the weekend. not a washout for all but certainly quite a bit of rain to come. the north—east of scotland may start quite chilly with a bit of fog around, the south and east brightening up quite quickly but with the south—westerly wind pushing that rain into the welsh mountains and cumbrian fells, we could see the wettest weather here, 20 to a0 millimetres. once it clears away, northern ireland will have a warmer and brighter afternoon, warmer and brighterfor the northern isles and northern scotland than yesterday, perhaps 20 here and even with the rain, not especially cold, quite grey with lots of murky low cloud and hill fog. whilst we come out of that cloud and back into the sunshine in central and eastern areas and we could see temperatures at 2a or 25 degrees, so some very warm
and muggy airaround. touch and go for the cricket at edgbaston, england—australia, just because you're close to that rain band, hopefully we will get some play and bad light won't spoil the affair. through the evening that rain will advance further eastwards so eventually we will see patchy rain even in southern and eastern areas and then the wind will push the showers into the north and west of scotland, so again not a cold night but a particularly warm one stuck under that weather front in central and eastern england and here it is on sunday. although the main rain is clearing on sunday with low pressure sat to the north—west, it does means it won't be a particularly settled day, some tightly packed isobars indicating some rather strong winds at times, gusting winds with those showers, northern ireland, scotland, north—western parts of england and wales could be heavy with hail and thunder. the cloud is meandering south and east so after a bright start some patchy rain before the rain returns in the evening and not as warm as a result across the south and east, fresher air following on behind that weather front.
into that fresher air on monday, still a blustery breeze with showers around, especially in the north, not so much in the south but nevertheless not ruling out the risk. gradually the azores high will be just building northwards, pushing more warmth and sunshine north, keeping these weather fronts at bay and keeping them to the north and west. as ever, more detail on the website. this is bbc news. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: theresa may's forced to form a minority government after a bruising night in britain's general election. the prime minister's back in downing street but to stay there she'll have to broker a deal with northern ireland's democratic unionists. brexit talks are due to begin injust over a week. mrs may insists they will go ahead as planned. in other news: police investigating the london bridge attack say the terrorists tried and failed