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Greek PM visits Turkey for talks to ease tensions

ANKARA — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visits Turkey on Tuesday, where he will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks to ease tensions over bilateral disputes and the long-running Cyprus problem. The two leaders are expected to discuss disputed Cyprus energy exploration, Aegean sea issues, a migrant deal and …

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After deadly Syrian battle, evidence of Russian losses was obscured

By Maria Tsvetkova and Anton Zverev YELENOVSKOYE — The last contact Grigoriy Gancherov and his wife had with their son, a Russian private military contractor fighting in Syria, was on February 4 last year. The father subsequently learned from a friend and fellow fighter of Sergei’s that the 25-year-old had died …

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Catholics in UAE greet Pope with cheers and tears

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi’s main stadium was a sea of yellow-and-white Vatican flags on Tuesday as Pope Francis arrived in warm sunlight to lead an open-air mass for tens of thousands of Catholics. Over 135,000 worshippers, including from war-wracked Yemen, erupted in cheers as the pontiff was driven into the …

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As US withdraws, top general warns on Daesh threat in Syria

WASHINGTON — A top US general warned on Tuesday that Daesh would pose an enduring threat following a planned US withdrawal from Syria, saying the militant group retained leaders, fighters, facilitators and resources that will fuel a menacing insurgency. The remarks by US General Joseph Votel, head of the US …

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Thousands join protest in support for Turkey hunger strikers

ISTANBUL — Thousands of protesters on Sunday joined a rally in Istanbul called by a pro-Kurdish party to show support for hunger strikes against prison conditions of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan. The protesters gathered at a square in Bakirkoy on the European side of Istanbul, with police tightening security …

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Trapped in shrinking Syria holdout, Daesh turns to human shields

BAGHOUZ, Syria — On a rooftop near the front line with the Daesh group’s collapsing caliphate in eastern Syria, a US-backed fighter and his comrades sip tea as they await orders to restart the battle. The Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) halted their ground assault on Daesh’s final shreds of territory last week, saying the …

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Israel begins construction of new Gaza border barrier

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel said Sunday that work to strengthen its border with the Gaza Strip had entered a new phase, with construction starting on a massive new barrier along the frontier. “Over the weekend we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told …

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Pope arrives in UAE for historic Gulf visit

ABU DHABI — Pope Francis became the first pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula on Sunday, just hours after issuing his strongest condemnation yet of the war in Yemen, where his host the United Arab Emirates has a leading military role. Shortly before departing for Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis said …

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Erdogan says Turkey has maintained contacts with Damascus

ISTANBUL — Turkey has maintained low-level contact with the Syrian government, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, even though Ankara has supported rebels who fought for years to topple President Bashar Assad. Erdogan has described Assad as a terrorist and said several times during Syria’s eight-year conflict that the …

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King Abdullah, Tunisian president discuss means of bolstering cooperation

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, during talks in Tunis on Sunday, agreed on the importance of bolstering economic, trade, investment, military, agricultural, and tourism cooperation. The need to activate joint committees and increase the exchange of visits between the private and public sectors …

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