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Deal with Syria regime ‘inevitable’ – Kurdish commander

AMUDA, Syria — A deal between Damascus and Syria’s Kurds over their autonomous region in the country’s north is ‘‘inevitable’’, a senior Kurdish military official said on Saturday, insisting that Kurdish forces should remain in the area. Marginalised for decades, Syria’s minority Kurds carved out a de facto autonomous region …

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Sudanese journalist detained for backing protests freed

KHARTOUM — A prominent Sudanese journalist, who had been detained for expressing his support for anti-government protests, has been freed, he told AFP on Saturday. Faisal Mohamed Salih had been arrested on Thursday from his office by agents of the country’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Salih, recipient …

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UN envoy arrives in Yemen to push Hodeida truce

SANAA — The UN envoy for Yemen arrived in the capital Sanaa on Saturday for talks to shore up a ceasefire in the country’s lifeline port city of Hodeida, an AFP photographer said. Martin Griffiths is scheduled to hold talks in Sanaa with Houthi rebel leaders before visiting Saudi capital …

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US says no timeline for Syria withdrawal as fighting continues

WASHINGTON — The United States has no timeline to withdraw troops from Syria but does not plan to stay indefinitely, a senior State Department official said on Friday, a strong signal that forces could stay until the fight against Daesh militants ends. US-backed forces are still retaking territory from Daesh …

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..؟Where do the Kurds fit into Syria’s war

BEIRUT — The future of Kurdish-led areas of northern and eastern Syria has been thrown into doubt by President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops who have helped to secure the region. Amounting to about one quarter of Syria, the area is the largest chunk of territory still outside …

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Saudi prosecutor seeks death sentences as Khashoggi murder trial opens

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s attorney general sought the death penalty for five of 11 defendants charged with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as their high-profile trial opened in Riyadh on Thursday. All 11 accused were present with their lawyers at the first session of the trial, the attorney general …

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Israeli forces, settlers clash in evacuation of illegal outpost

AMONA, West Bank — Israeli forces dragged dozens of Jewish settlers out of an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank on Thursday and said more than 20 officers were hurt during violent resistance to the evacuation. Settlers had set up two caravans at the Amona outpost last month, in …

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Ethiopia expects Nile dam to be ready to start operation in late 2020

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s $4 billion dam project on the Nile River, which has been beset by construction delays and criticism from Egypt, will start initial operations in December 2020, the water and energy minister said on Thursday.  The planned 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam is the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid …

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Gulf, Egypt jail activists amid social media crackdown

NICOSIA — Courts in the Gulf and Egypt have upheld jail terms against leading activists in a crackdown on protesting through social media, marking a somber end to 2018 for rights campaigners. In both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, prominent campaigners lost their appeals on Monday against lengthy prison terms over …

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WFP says Yemen food aid being stolen in Houthi-run areas

GENEVA — Food aid meant for starving Yemenis is being stolen and sold in some areas controlled by the Houthi movement, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.  The Houthis control most towns and cities including the capital Sanaa, from where they ousted Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government …

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