Erdogan: The military operation in Afrin is nearing completion

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he attends a national youth foundation event in Ankara, Turkey in this file photo.(AP)
Updated 03 February 2018
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Erdogan: The military operation in Afrin is nearing completion

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the military operation in Afrin is nearing completion. 
Ankara says that major progress has been made in the operation, with hundreds of YPG fighters killed so far although it is not possible to verify these figures.
Erdogan said in a speech Saturday that the Turkish forces were beginning to take mountain positions and would now head towards Afrin itself. "There is not much to go," he said.
Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin meanwhile told journalists in Istanbul that the operation was going as planned but there was no timetable for its duration and it would "continue until we clear all those areas."
But analysts and monitors say Turkey so far has taken control of limited clumps of territory around the border without yet approaching near Afrin town.
 


German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

Updated 12 min 20 sec ago
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German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

  • New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions

BERLIN: German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom are ending projects in Iran after Washington imposed new sanctions against Tehran and said firms doing business with Iran would be barred from doing business with the United States.
New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions, including oil major Total as well as carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler.
State-owned Deutsche Bahn is involved in two projects in Iran via its subsidiary DB Engineering&Consulting, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
“Both projects will be ended in August and September 2018 respectively,” she said. “Due to the altered banking practice we have sought to bring the contract to an amicable and timely conclusion.”
Deutsche Bahn signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian rail operator Bonyad Eastern Railways (BonRail) in May 2017 for the first project, which aimed to identify and address potential in rolling stock and organization, she said.
The second project, which started around 1-1/2 years ago, was a consulting contract for Iranian state railway RAI that included restructuring the company, the spokeswoman added.
Separately, Detecon, a subsidiary of T-Systems — Deutsche Telekom’s IT services arm — has terminated its business in Iran, a spokesman said. Detecon offers consulting services to companies in the telecommunications industry.
“Until the decision to stop operations was made, sales in Iran in 2018 amounted to around €300,000,” he said.
“Given the sensitivity in relations with Iran worldwide, Detecon ended its business in Iran with immediate effect in mid-May 2018.”
The ending of Telekom’s involvement in Iran followed soon after the announcement that its US unit, T-Mobile, would buy Sprint Corp. in a $26 billion deal that remains subject to the approval of US regulators.