Connect with us

Foreign News

With Raqqa fight over, 400 US Marines leaving Syria

Published

on

….As Russia accuses US of goading Kim Jong-un over North Korea’s ballistic tests***

 

Four hundred U.S. Marines will be leaving Syria soon after completing their mission to help defeat ISIS in Raqqa, which the terrorist group once claimed as its capital in Syria, coalition officials said Thursday.

“With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home,” the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement. “Its replacements have been called off.”

The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS announced that troops from an artillery unit with the 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment will soon leave Syria after providing crucial artillery support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish and Arab rebel group fighting ISIS in Syria.

The SDF retook Raqqa from ISIS in mid-October, after an intense, street-to-street battle involving an estimated 2,500 ISIS fighters.

An earlier Marine artillery unit arrived in May before the offensive to retake Raqqa, according to officials, and it provided artillery fire for the SDF forces that retook the Taqba Dam from ISIS before moving on to Raqqa.

“With a 155-mm artillery battery in the fight, their mission was to deny and disrupt ISIS from gaining ground or moving from their defensive positions,” read a statement from Marine Artillery Lt. Col. Jon O’Gorman, the chief of forces for Operation Inherent Resolve. “These Marines rained relentless and highly accurate firepower on the enemy.”

According to military officials, there are approximately 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, although the official Defense Department force level is set at 503 personnel. A Defense Manpower Data Center quarterly personnel report listed about 1,700 American troops in Syria as of Sept. 30, but Pentagon officials have described that report as a snapshot of force levels that are constantly varying.

“The departure of these outstanding Marines is a sign of real progress in the region,” said Inherent Resolve’s director of operations, Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga. “We’re drawing down combat forces where it makes sense but still continuing our efforts to help Syrian and Iraqi partners maintain security.”

“Our remaining forces will continue to work by, with and through partner forces to defeat remaining ISIS [fighters], prevent a re-emergence of ISIS and set conditions for international governments and NGOs to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS’ short-lived rule,” Braga added.

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of seeking to provoke North Korea into stepping up its nuclear missile programme.

He rejected a call by the American envoy to the UN Security Council to sever ties with the North after its latest ballistic missile test.

Russia argues sanctions do not work and advocates negotiations instead.

The US has warned that North Korea’s government will be “utterly destroyed” if war breaks out.

On Wednesday, the North tested its first missile in two months, saying the continental US was now within striking distance.

However, defence experts have cast doubt on its ability to master the technology needed to launch a missile carrying a warhead capable of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Speaking on a visit to the Belarussian capital Minsk, Mr Lavrov asked whether America was actively seeking to destroy North Korea.

“One gets the impression that everything has been done on purpose to make Kim Jong-un snap and carry out further inadvisable actions,” he said.

The Americans, he said, “should explain to us all what they’re after”.

ABC with additional report from BBC

Foreign News

29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

Published

on

29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

Four consecutive days of intense rainfall, floods, and mudslides that hit Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sulworst released the worst storms that killed 29 people and left 60 others missing, Governor Eduardo Leite said.

“Unfortunately, we know that these numbers will rise,” said Leite, describing the storms as the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, a top agricultural and livestock producer.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited Santa Maria, one of the state’s worst-hit cities, and met with Leite on Thursday.

Lula offered federal funding and aid to address the emergency in the state bordering Uruguay and Argentina.

“There will be no shortage of help from the federal government to take care of health, no shortage of money to take care of transportation and food, everything that is within reach.

“Whether through ministers, civil society, or our military, we’ll dedicate round-the-clock effort to satisfy the basic needs of the people stranded by the rains,” said the president.

With more rain forecast, the governor called on residents, to head for higher ground and stay away from flood-prone areas identified by the civil defence agency.

He said 4,400 residents have been evacuated but thousands more are waiting to be rescued from their flooded homes.

According to a civil defence bulletin, 154 cities have been affected by natural disasters.

– Xinhua

Continue Reading

Foreign News

Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

Published

on

Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

The Israeli government was taken aback that Hamas accepted the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal, formed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, as the country was only briefed on the Palestinian movement’s response an hour after its release.

The Axios news outlet reported this on Tuesday, citing three Israeli officials.

On Monday, Hamas informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it agreed to the terms of the ceasefire deal they had drafted.

The proposal provides for three stages of 42 days, during which a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners are expected to be concluded.

In addition to allegedly being briefed on Hamas’ decision belatedly, the Israeli officials told Axios they had been outraged by the fact that the proposal accepted by the Palestinian movement allegedly contained “many new elements,” which had not been discussed with the Jewish state.

“It looked like a whole new proposal,” one of the Israeli officials was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

That “new” proposal, which allegedly was not negotiated with Israel, had been presented by the mediators to Hamas’ delegation during the latter’s visit to Cairo last weekend, the Israeli officials told Axios.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the negotiations said Israeli representatives had also been invited by the United States to visit Cairo along with Hamas but had refused to do so.

The Israeli authorities have been seriously disappointed with Washington’s mediating role in the talks with Hamas, Axios reported.

CIA Director Bill Burns participated in the recent round of the negotiations in Cairo and Doha and was aware of that “new” proposal, but allegedly did not inform Israel about it, sources familiar with the matter were cited by the news outlet as saying.

Meanwhile, a senior US official told Axios that “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts,” adding there were “no surprises.”

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces started a military operation in the eastern parts of Rafah, after urging residents to evacuate.

Palestinian movement Hamas said that it had agreed to the provisions of the Gaza ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal unacceptable.

More than a million people are believed to be sheltering in the city.

On Oct. 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases.

Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted during the attack.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

Over 34,700 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. 

– Sputnik

Continue Reading

Foreign News

East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

Published

on

East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

UN humanitarians said about 750,000 people were affected by flooding in eastern Africa, with 234,000 displaced and more than 236 killed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said local authorities in Kenya reported more than 285,000 people were affected nationwide.

“The United Nations and our partners are supporting the government-led response and have reached more than 126,000 people with water and sanitation assistance.

“About 31,000 people were assisted with food and cash, more than 5,000 assisted with health services, and nearly 26,000 people with emergency shelter support,” OCHA said.

The office said that in Somalia, more than 160,000 people were affected by flooding, with more than 37,000 displaced or relocated.

Flooding has killed seven children since April 19, with the states of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Southwest the worst affected.

Humanitarian agencies said local authorities provided more than 70,000 people with food, cash, water, sanitation, shelter and health assistance.

Some 50 boats were deployed to deliver supplies or evacuate people who may have been marooned by flood waters.

“Our partners estimate that the rains and floods could affect at least 770,000 people in Somalia,” OCHA said.

“The rains are also likely to worsen the ongoing cholera epidemic in the country.”

The humanitarians said that in Burundi, torrential rains and the rising water level of Lake Tanganyika have affected nearly 180,000 people since January.

The agriculture sector is heavily impacted, with national authorities estimating that 40,000 hectares or 10 per cent of the country’s crop area have been affected.

“A flood response plan seeking 25 million U.S. dollars is being finalised to support more than 300,000 people,” OCHA said.

“Our partners are providing health care support, drinking water, tarpaulins and psychosocial support.”

According to humanitarians, in Tanzania, the government and partners deployed search and rescue teams and distributed emergency aid, including food, mattresses, mosquito nets and tents to assist flood-affected people.

The office said that in Rwanda, heavy rains and floods killed and injured dozens of people and damaged roads, bridges and hundreds of homes.

Local authorities reported that several hectares of rice and banana plantations were also damaged.

“The governments and humanitarian partners are supporting evacuation efforts and the response,” OCHA said.  

– Xinhua

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics