US weighs designating embassy in Jerusalem as early as 2019

The U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel can be seen in this file photo.The Trump administration is considering a plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as early as next year. (Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
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US weighs designating embassy in Jerusalem as early as 2019

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is considering a plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as early as next year, rather than waiting for several years.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said previously that planning is under way for a new facility in Jerusalem that will take at least three years. In the meantime, three US officials say Tillerson may designate an existing US consular building in West Jerusalem as the interim embassy. The officials say Tillerson hasn’t made a decision.
The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the situation by name and demanded anonymity.
Two of the officials say Vice President Mike Pence is pushing the State Department to accept the proposal quickly so Pence can announce it while in Israel. Pence departs Friday for the Middle East.


Daesh defeated, ‘caliphate’ eliminated: US-backed SDF

Updated 16 min 11 sec ago
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Daesh defeated, ‘caliphate’ eliminated: US-backed SDF

  • The victory marks the end of the militants’ self-declared “caliphate”
  • The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks

BEIRUT: Daesh has been defeated at its final shred of territory of Baghouz in Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday, announcing the end of its self-declared “caliphate” that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.
The SDF declared the “total elimination of (the) so-called caliphate,” Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, wrote on Twitter.
“Baghouz has been liberated. The military victory against Daesh has been accomplished,” he wrote.
The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks.
“We renew our pledge to continue the war and to pursue their remnants until their complete elimination,” he wrote.
Though the defeat of Daesh at Baghouz ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state straddling Syria and Iraq that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some of its fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The US believes the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq. He stood at the pulpit of the great medieval mosque in Mosul in 2014 to declare himself caliph, sovereign over all Muslims.