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Netanyahu tells Iran to get out of Syria ‘fast’

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday urged Iran to quickly remove its forces from neighbouring Syria or face continued attacks on them by Israel. ‘‘Yesterday I heard the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman saying ‘Iran has no military presence in Syria, we only advise them’,’’ Netanyahu said at …

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French FM visits Iraq holy city in first, pledges loan

NAJAF, Iraq — France’s top diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian met with a leading Shiite cleric in Iraq’s Najaf on Tuesday, the first time a French foreign minister has visited the holy city. The visit to the revered southern city capped Le Drian’s packed two-day trip to Iraq, during which he announced new …

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Al Qaeda’s shadow still hangs over Syria’s Idlib – analysts

PARIS  — The terrorist group now controlling Idlib province in northwest Syria claims to have broken with Al Qaeda, but analysts say that despite several rebrandings there’s no sign it has changed its stripes. Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) sealed its hold on Idlib last week after signing a ceasefire with …

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‘Not your habibti’: Palestinian designer seeks to empower women

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — It is only three words on a T-shirt or embroidered on a denim jacket in Palestinian designer Yasmeen Mjalli’s collection, but they carry a powerful message: ‘‘Not your habibti’’, or darling. She sees the clothes as helping empower Palestinian women facing unwelcome male attention in public. …

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Turkey to set up Syria ‘security zone’ after Trump call

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Ankara would set up a “security zone” in northern Syria suggested by US President Donald Trump. Erdogan’s comments came a day after he had a telephone conversation with Trump to ease tensions after the US leader threatened to “devastate” the …

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Algeria’s ancient pyramid tombs still shrouded in mystery

TIARET, Algeria —  Dating back centuries, Algeria’s pyramid tombs are unique relics of an ancient era, but a dearth of research has left the Jeddars shrouded in mystery. The 13 monuments, whose square stone bases are topped with angular mounds, are perched on a pair of hills near the city of Tiaret, some …

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Sudan’s Bashir says protests will not lead to change in government

KHARTOUM — Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir insisted on Monday that he would not step down after weeks of violent protests and calls for him to quit over a worsening economic crisis. Protests have rippled across Sudan since December 19 in the most sustained challenge yet to Bashir’s near 30-year rule. Security forces …

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Qatar rejects normalising ties with ‘criminal’ Assad

DOHA — Qatar’s foreign minister ruled out on Monday the possibility of reopening an embassy in Damascus, in line with some other Gulf countries, calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a war criminal. ‘‘Normalisation [of relations] with the Syrian regime at this stage is the normalisation of a person involved in …

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Palestinian dies after Israel border clashes

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — A Palestinian teenager succumbed to his wounds on Monday three days after being shot by Israeli forces during clashes on the Gaza border, the Health Ministry in the coastal enclave said. In a statement, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said Abdul Raouf Salha, 14, ‘‘died as a …

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‘A Prophet’ creator takes on France’s war in Algeria

PARIS  — One of France’s most celebrated screenwriters is taking on its biggest taboo, the bloody conflict in Algeria, in a new war film. Abdel Raouf Dafri told AFP that he had been itching for years to broach the delicate subject. The writer of the Oscar-nominated ‘‘A Prophet’’, and the Emmy-winning television …

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