syria - updates

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U.S. to keep around 600 troops in Syria – Pentagon chief

Nov 14, 2019 - 1:17 PM

Pentagon chief Mark Esper says the numbers could fluctuate, particularly if European allies strengthen their presence in the country

MARK ESPER. In this file photo taken on August 28, 2019 US Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. File photo by Jim Watson/AFP

Turkey says it captured sister of dead ISIS leader

Nov 05, 2019 - 10:18 PM

A senior Turkish official says the arrest could be 'an intelligence gold mine'

CAPTURED. This handout undated picture taken and released by the press service of the Turkish government shows Rasmiya Awad, believed to be the sister of slain Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was captured in the northern Syrian town of Azaz by Turkish security officials, seen in an unknown location. HANDOUT / TURKISH GOVERNMENT / AFP

U.S. military calls on Kurdish forces in northeast Syria

Nov 02, 2019 - 11:17 PM

'They're coming to set up a major military post in Qamishli,' a source tells Agence France-Presse

RETURN IN SYRIA? A convoy of US troops is pictured in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli, in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on November 2, 2019. AFP photo

Turkey begins joint patrols with Russia in northern Syria

Nov 01, 2019 - 7:25 PM

The soldiers head to the east of Derbasiyeh in a convoy of Turkish and Russian military vehicles to patrol a strip of territory several dozen kilometers long, according to Turkish military sources

PATROL. A picture taken on November 1, 2019 shows Turkish and Russian military vehicles driving on a road during a joint patrol near the Turkish border town of Kiziltepe, in Mardin province. Photo by Ilyas Akengin/AFP

Syria's Assad says he does not want Turkey as an 'enemy'

Nov 01, 2019 - 2:16 PM

However the Syrian president says that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself was an 'enemy' due to policies hostile to Syria

NOT ENEMY. A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on October 31, 2019 shows President Bashar al-Assad speaking during a special broadcast interview in Syria's capital Damascus. Photo by SANA/AFP

Syria government, opposition open 'historic' constitutional review

Oct 30, 2019 - 11:17 PM

The United Nations-brokered constitutional review committee includes 150 delegates – divided equally among President Bashar al-Assad's government, the opposition, and civil society

HISTORIC. Members of the Syrian government delegation attend the first meeting of the new Syrian Constitutional Committee at the United Nations in Geneva on October 30, 2019. Photo by Denis Balibouse/Pool/AFP

PH has most number of unsolved journalist killings – report

Oct 29, 2019 - 9:31 PM

The 2019 Global Impunity Index lists 41 unsolved media killings in the Philippines over the last 10 years

9 YEARS. Candles lit in the shape of number 9 in commemoration of the 9 years since Maguindanao Massacre. Photo by Jaira Krishelle Balboa/Rappler

Trump confirms death of ISIS leader Baghdadi

Oct 27, 2019 - 9:21 PM

(4th UPDATE) 'He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much better place,' Trump says in a televised broadcast announcing the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world's most wanted man

Syria faction closes off suspected Baghdadi operation site

Oct 27, 2019 - 8:55 PM

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an organization that includes former operatives from Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, seals off the village of Barisha near the Turkish border

Russian ISIS women appeal to Putin to bring them home

Oct 27, 2019 - 7:29 PM

One woman says she fears she could be beaten up by other women in the camp who still support ISIS

ISIS head Baghdadi believed dead after U.S. strike in Syria

Oct 27, 2019 - 1:14 PM

(5th UPDATE) US media cites multiple government sources as saying Baghdadi may have killed himself with a suicide vest as US special operations forces descended

BELIEVED DEAD. In this undated and unlocated TV grab taken from a video released by Al-Furqan media, the chief of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears for the first time in 5 years in a propaganda video in April 2019. Photo from AFP

At least 15 dead in Syria clashes between pro-Turkish forces, Kurds

Oct 27, 2019 - 9:13 AM

9 pro-Turkish fighters and 6 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are killed in a zone between the towns of Tal Tamr and Ras al-Ain

FLASHPOINT. This picture taken on October 14, 2019 shows smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa. Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP

Erdogan to clear 'terrorists' from Syria border if Sochi deal fails

Oct 26, 2019 - 10:56 PM

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges the international community to support establishing a 'safe zone' for some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey

STANDING BY. Members of the Russian military police patrol in the the northeastern Syrian city of Kobane on October 23, 2019. Photo by AFP

Moscow, Damascus deploy forces to Syria-Turkey border

Oct 25, 2019 - 4:17 PM

(UPDATED) Moscow says 300 Russian military police have arrived in Syria to help ensure Kurdish forces withdraw to a line 30 kilometers from the border in line with the Sochi agreement

STANDING BY. Members of the Russian military police patrol in the the northeastern Syrian city of Kobane on October 23, 2019. Photo by AFP

Kurdish forces start Syria-Turkey border pullback

Oct 24, 2019 - 10:54 PM

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have pulled out of some areas at the eastern end of the border

SYRIA CONFLICT. Mourners attend the funeral of 3 Syrian Democratic Forces' fighters killed in battles against Turkey-led forces in the flashpoint town of Ras al-Ain along the border, on October 24, 2019 in the Syrian Kurdish town of Qamishli. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

More than 100 Islamic State prisoners have escaped in Syria – US envoy

Oct 24, 2019 - 7:27 AM

'We would say the number is now over 100. We do not know where they are,' James Jeffrey, the State Department point man on Syria

James Jeffrey, State Department special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, testifies before the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 23, 2019. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

U.S. troops exiting Syria to stay 'temporarily' in Iraq – Esper

Oct 23, 2019 - 10:13 PM

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the US forces are pulling out in phases, and have moved from the 'immediate zone of attack' to a northeastern corridor out of the country

ESPER IN IRAQ. A handout picture released by the Iraq's Defense Ministry shows US Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Najah al-Shammari upon the Pentagon chief's arrival in Baghdad on October 23, 2019 for talks as Washington pulled out its remaining troops from northern Syria through Iraq. Photo by Iraqi Defense Ministry/AFP

Russian forces head for Syrian-Turkish border in blow to Kurds

Oct 23, 2019 - 9:00 PM

(UPDATED) The Russian defense ministry says a convoy of Russian military police had crossed the Euphrates River and 'advanced towards the Syrian-Turkish border'

AT THE BORDER. Members of the Russian military police patrol in the the northeastern Syrian city of Kobane on October 23, 2019. Photo by AFP

Pentagon chief visits Iraq as U.S. quits northern Syria

Oct 23, 2019 - 3:54 PM

Pentagon chief Mark Esper is due to meet his Iraqi counterpart Najah al-Shammari to address concerns among some in the government that the troops might stay in Iraq

MARK ESPER. In this file photo taken on August 28, 2019 US Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP

Russia, Turkey reach 'historic' deal on Syria border

Oct 23, 2019 - 7:43 AM

(UPDATED) The agreement cements Russia and Turkey's roles as the main foreign players in Syria

DEAL. Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a joint press conference following their talks in the Black sea resort of Sochi on October 22, 2019. (Photo by Sergei Chirikov/AFP

Erdogan warns Syria offensive will resume unless Kurds complete withdrawal

Oct 22, 2019 - 5:27 PM

'If the promises given to our country by the United States are not kept, we will continue our operation from where we left off with greater determination,' Erdogan says

ERDOGAN'S WARNING. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019.  File photo by Adem Altan/AFP

Turkey outlines 'safe zone' plan ahead of key deadline

Oct 21, 2019 - 11:28 PM

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, accuses Western countries of 'standing by terrorists' in failing to support Turkey's operation

INSPECTION. Turkish-backed Syrian fighters inspect a tunnel, said to have been built by Kurdish fighters, in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, on October 21, 2019. Photo by Bakr Alkasem/AFP

No Syria-type pullout planned for Afghanistan – Pentagon chief

Oct 21, 2019 - 9:33 PM

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper also hints that some sort of residual US force might remain in Syria to protect oil fields, but stresses no decision has been taken

MARK ESPER. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper holds a media briefing at the Pentagon August 28, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. File photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

Kurdish fighters withdraw from besieged Syria town

Oct 21, 2019 - 3:24 PM

The Kurds agree to withdraw from an Arab-majority stretch of border from Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ain, around 120 kilometers. Turkey ultimately wants a much longer 'safe zone' of 440 kilometers along the frontier.

SEIZED. A picture taken on October 20, 2019, shows armored personnel carriers provided by Ankara in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad which was seized by Turkey-backed forces last week. Photo by Bakr Alkasem/AFP

U.S. forces withdraw from key base in northern Syria

Oct 20, 2019 - 6:48 PM

It is the fourth withdrawal of American forces in a week, and leaves Syria's northern provinces of Aleppo and Raqa devoid of US troops

WITHDRAWAL. US military vehicles drive on a street in the town of Tal Tamr on October 20, 2019, after pulling out of their base. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Turkish soldier killed in Syrian Kurd attack, says defense ministry

Oct 20, 2019 - 3:15 PM

Turkey and Kurdish forces accuse one another for violating the ceasefire agreement

TURKISH TROOPS. In this file photo, Turkish military vehicles, part of a US military convoy, take part in joint patrol in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkey, on October 4, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Erdogan vows to 'crush the heads' of Kurdish forces if no pullout

Oct 19, 2019 - 10:11 PM

(UPDATED) 'If the promises given to our country are not kept, as we did in the past we will not wait and restart the operation as soon as the time we have given ends,' says Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

'CRUSH HEADS'. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens he will not back down if Kurdish forces fail to pull out from the proposed safe zone. AFP file photo

Turkey-led strikes kill 14 civilians in northeast Syria

Oct 19, 2019 - 12:04 AM

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustefa Bali says Turkey is clearly violating the terms of the agreement reached during a visit to Ankara by US Vice President Mike Pence

INJURED. A man who was injured during the ongoing Turkish offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria receives treatment at a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain, October 18, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Turkey, U.S. agree on Syria ceasefire to force Kurdish fighters' withdrawal

Oct 18, 2019 - 7:48 AM

The agreement for the 120-hour pause eases what escalated into an unprecedented crisis between the United States and Turkey, but critics quickly accused President Donald Trump of again abandoning Kurdish allies

AGREED. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center-left) and US Vice President Mike Pence (center-right) meet at the presidential complex in Ankara, Turkey, on October 17, 2019. Photo by Shaun Tandon/Pool/AFP

Turkey assault in northeast Syria displaced 300,000 – monitor

Oct 17, 2019 - 3:08 PM

'More than 300,000 civilians have been displaced since the start of the offensive,' Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says

RAISING THE FLAG. Syrian government forces raise a national flag and an image of President Bashar al-Assad at Tabqa air base in norther Syria's Raqa region on October 16, 2019.  Photo by AFP

Trump, Pelosi clash in heated White House meeting on Syria

Oct 17, 2019 - 11:09 AM

US Speaker Pelosi says Trump appeared 'very shaken up' by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House condemning his troop pullback, which critics say effectively gave Turkey a green light to invade northern Syria and attack Kurdish militia

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on May 22, 2019 shows US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)(L) talks about healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill March 26, 2019, in Washington, DC and US President Donald Trump announces a new immigration proposal, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 16, 2019. - Donald Trump erupted in fury May 22, 2019, at unrelenting probes into his links to Russia, as the top Democrat in Congress accused the president of a "cover-up" that could be an impeachable offense. Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics, and President Donald Trump's most potent Democratic nemesis. The pair have sparred repeatedly, but the gloves really came off May 22. Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, started the day with an emergency meeting of House Democrats, as the possibility of impeaching Trump swirled over Capitol Hill. (Photos by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Trump defends Syria pullout, condemned by House in bipartisan vote

Oct 17, 2019 - 9:27 AM

(UPDATED) A total of 129 members of Trump's Republican Party joins Democrats as the House denounces the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria in a 354-60 vote

US President Donald Trump speaks during an event with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella to honor Italians Americans in the East Room of the White House on October 16, 2019, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Turkey defiant on Syria operation as U.S. demands ceasefire

Oct 16, 2019 - 4:35 PM

(UPDATED) The operation, now in its second week, triggers flurry of diplomacy among major powers

PROTEST. A Kurdish protester holds a placard bearing the portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration against the latest Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria on October 13, 2019. Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP

Erdogan says Turkey 'can never declare ceasefire' in north Syria

Oct 16, 2019 - 7:53 AM

US President Donald Trump says, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Ankara to press Turkey to halt its offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters

Syrian government forces arrive in the town of Tal Tamr, not far from the flashpoint Kurdish Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on the border with Turkey, which has been a key target of Turkish forces and their proxies since they launched their military assault, on October 15, 2019. Syrian regime troops arrived after Damascus deployed troops to the country's north to contain a days-long Turkish offensive.  Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP

Syria Kurds defend key town as Turkey ignores U.S.

Oct 15, 2019 - 4:12 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Syria's regime dispatches more troops to the northeast to contain Ankara's advance – their most significant deployment in the Kurdish-controlled region since they started withdrawing from the area in 2012

CONFLICT. This picture taken on October 14, 2019 shows smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa, on the sixth day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP

Erdogan vows no ISIS fighters will escape Syria

Oct 15, 2019 - 3:52 PM

'We will ensure that no ISIS (Islamic State) fighters leave northeastern Syria,' Erdogan writes in the Wall Street Journal

ERDOGAN. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019. Photo by Adem Altan/AFP

U.S. slaps sanctions on Turkey as Syrian regime returns to north

Oct 15, 2019 - 8:16 AM

The actions come hours after regime troops returned for the first time in years to parts of northeastern Syria, invited by Kurdish fighters desperate for protection as the United States pulls out

Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather around a Turkish army US-made M60 tank in the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border on October 14, 2019, as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria. Turkey wants to create a roughly 30-kilometre (20-mile) buffer zone along its border to keep Kurdish forces at bay and also to send back some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts. Zein Al RIFAI / AFP

Syria regime steps in to halt Turkish assault on Kurds

Oct 14, 2019 - 7:33 PM

(UPDATED) Washington says it is planning to pull out 1,000 troops – almost the entire ground force – from Syria's north, in a move welcomed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as 'a positive approach'

DEAL. Members of the special forces of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are pictured during preparations to join the front against Turkish forces, on October 10, 2019, near the northern Syrian town of Hasakeh. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Russia bombed 4 Syria hospitals in 12 hours – report

Oct 14, 2019 - 8:23 AM

The May strikes are part of a larger pattern of medical facilities targeted by forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's devastating civil war

Pentagon says up to 1,000 U.S. troops to withdraw from northern Syria

Oct 13, 2019 - 9:31 PM

United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper says President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal from northern Syria

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 08, 2019 US troops walk past a Turkish military vehicle during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkish troops. - US troops in northern Syria will no longer be near the border with Turkey, nor will they support Ankara's "long-planned operation" into the country, the White House said on late October 6, 2019. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

Merkel urges Erdogan to immediately end Syria offensive

Oct 13, 2019 - 9:27 PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the operation threatens to drive large parts of the population from their homes, noting that it would also risk 'destabilization of the region and lead to a resurgence of the ISIS'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a keynote speech during a debate on the federal budget at the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, on September 11, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Arms embargoes won't stop Turkey's Syria operation – Erdogan

Oct 13, 2019 - 8:55 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says 'those who think they can make Turkey turn back with threats are gravely mistaken'

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border where the Turkish flag is seen in Akcakale on October 10, 2019, on the second day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. Turkey has vowed to destroy the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which controls much of northeastern Syria, and set up a "safe zone" for the return of Syrian refugees. A total of 70 people were so far reported injured across Turkish areas. Families were evacuating and streets emptying in Akcakale, as local authorities called on people to take shelter. BULENT KILIC / AFP

ISIS families escape Syria displacement camp – Kurds

Oct 13, 2019 - 5:49 PM

(UPDATED) Kurdish authorities have given repeated warnings that the fighting could facilitate an ISIS resurgence

MILITARY ASSAULT. Smoke billows from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad on October 12, 2019, as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria. Photo by Bakr Alkasem/AFP

Turkey assault could displace 400,000 in Syria, says U.N.

Oct 13, 2019 - 4:52 PM

Thousands are forced to flee their homes since the beginning of Turkey's military incursion after US President Donald Trump ordered American troops to pull back from the border

FLEEING HOME. An elderly woman is evacuated from a building in Akcakale, a town near the Turkish border with Syria on October 13, 2019, after it was hit by a rocket reported to be fired from within Syria. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Turkey denies targeting U.S. troops in Syria

Oct 12, 2019 - 5:36 PM

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says 'there was no shot fired whatsoever on the US observation post'

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border where the Turkish flag is seen in Akcakale on October 10, 2019, on the second day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. Turkey has vowed to destroy the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which controls much of northeastern Syria, and set up a "safe zone" for the return of Syrian refugees. A total of 70 people were so far reported injured across Turkish areas. Families were evacuating and streets emptying in Akcakale, as local authorities called on people to take shelter. BULENT KILIC / AFP

Turkey pounds Syrian border towns, sparking exodus

Oct 11, 2019 - 4:49 PM

(UPDATED) 'There is heavy fighting between the [Syrian Democratic Forces] and the Turks on different fronts, mostly from Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ain,' the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says

FIGHTING. Pro-Turkish Syrian fighters gather near the Turkish village of Akinci along the border with Syria on October 11, 2019, as they prepare to take part in the Turkish-led assault on northeastern Syria. Photo by Bakr Alkasem/AFP

Turkey within Trump red line; U.S. seeking ceasefire

Oct 11, 2019 - 7:20 AM

The US president, in a week of mixed messages, initially voiced understanding for Turkey before criticizing the offensive and warning of sanctions if the operation is not 'humane'

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border where the Turkish flag is seen in Akcakale on October 10, 2019, on the second day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. Turkey has vowed to destroy the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which controls much of northeastern Syria, and set up a "safe zone" for the return of Syrian refugees. A total of 70 people were so far reported injured across Turkish areas. Families were evacuating and streets emptying in Akcakale, as local authorities called on people to take shelter. BULENT KILIC / AFP

Civilians flee as Syria Kurds battle Turkish invasion

Oct 11, 2019 - 12:13 AM

(UPDATED) The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 60,000 people have been displaced in less than a day

CIVILIANS. Syrian Arab and Kurdish civilians arrive to Tall Tamr town, in the Syrian northwestern Hasakeh province, after fleeing Turkish bombardment on the northeastern towns along the Turkish border on October 10, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Erdogan threatens EU with refugee influx if criticizes Syria operation

Oct 10, 2019 - 8:47 PM

Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million refugees from the eight-year conflict in Syria – the highest number in the world

ERDOGAN AND EU. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns the EU that Ankara would allow millions of refugees to head to Europe if the bloc criticizes Turkey's military offensive in Syria. File photo by Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse

Turkey faces U.S. 'sanctions from hell' after Syria Kurd assault

Oct 10, 2019 - 11:26 AM

Lindsey Graham, a senior US Republican senator who is usually a steadfast supporter of Donald Trump, warns Turkey of 'sanctions from hell'

ATTACK. Turkish army vehicles drive towards the Syrian border near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 9, 2019. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP