Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways to end Tehran flights in January

In this file photo, an Airbus A380 rolls out of a paint hangar during a branding ceremony of Etihad Airways at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus, in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, Sept.25, 2014. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 December 2017
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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways to end Tehran flights in January

DUBAI: Etihad Airways will scrap flights to Tehran on Jan. 24, the latest route to be dropped as the Abu Dhabi airline pursues a strategy review.
The airline launched the review in 2016 that has also seen it sell or step away from investments in foreign carriers.
Etihad’s five weekly flights to Iran’s capital will be reduced to two a week between Dec. 25 and Jan. 23, before it suspends the route entirely on Jan. 24, an airline spokeswoman said.
She declined to say why the route was being suspended, but said in a statement that affected passengers could switch to an alternative travel date between Dec. 25 and Jan. 23 or be refunded.
Since launching the strategy review, Etihad has said it would cut flights to San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth in the United States.
Britain’s top defense buyer Tony Douglas will join Etihad next month as its new group chief executive, as the airline rethinks its rapid expansion strategy.
Two of Etihad’s major foreign investments, Air Berlin and Italy’s Alitalia, filed for administration this year.
Douglas, who joins Etihad from Britain’s Ministry of Defense, has previously served as chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s airport company.
Etihad has made few details public about its strategy review, which since being launched has seen the departure of its James Hogan, its group chief executive who led the airline for a decade.


Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

Updated 22 February 2019
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Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

  • The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria
  • The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital

NEAR BAGHOU: Trucks loaded with civilians left the last Daesh enclave in eastern Syria on Friday, as US-backed forces waited to inflict final defeat on the surrounded militants.
Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out with civilians inside them, but it was not clear if more remained in the tiny pocket.
The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it lost the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital, Raqqa, in 2017, but does not want to mount a final attack until all civilians are out.
The US-led coalition which supports the SDF has said Islamic State’s “most hardened fighters” remain holed up in Baghouz, close to the Iraqi frontier.
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF’s media office, earlier told Reuters that more than 3,000 civilians were estimated to still be inside Baghouz and there would be an attempt to evacuate them on Friday.
“If we succeed in evacuating all the civilians, at any moment we will take the decision to storm Baghouz or force the terrorists to surrender,” he said.
Though the fall of Baghouz marks a milestone in the campaign against Islamic State and the wider conflict in Syria, the militant group is still seen as a major security threat.
It has steadily turned to guerrilla warfare and still holds territory in a remote, sparsely populated area west of the Euphrates River — a part of Syria otherwise controlled by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies.
The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 troops, saying they had defeated Daesh militants in Syria.

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