US-backed Syria force to redeploy 1,700 from Daesh fight to Afrin

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Abu Omar al-Idlibi speaks during a press conference at a football stadium in Raqa on March 6, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2018
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US-backed Syria force to redeploy 1,700 from Daesh fight to Afrin

RAQA: A US-backed alliance of Syrian forces announced on Tuesday it would redeploy around 1,700 fighters from front lines against the Daesh group to a Kurdish enclave under Turkish attack.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebels are waging a weeks-long offensive on Afrin, which is held by a Kurdish militia that makes up the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the SDF announced it would pull fighters out of areas of eastern Syria, where they have been fighting pockets of Daesh fighters.
“We took the difficult decision to pull our forces out of Deir Ezzor province and battlefronts against Daesh to head to the Afrin battle,” said Abu Omar Al-Idlibi, an SDF commander, saying his units numbered 1,700 fighters.
Idlibi spoke to AFP in the football stadium in Raqqa, which the SDF recaptured from Daesh in October with help from the US-led international coalition.
“We fought Daesh. We helped the coalition in Raqqa, but without the coalition defending its partners,” Idlibi said.
“Our people in Afrin are our priority. Protecting them is more important than the international coalition’s decisions.”
Ankara and allied Syrian rebels launched their offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin on January 20 and have since captured a strip along the border between the enclave and Turkish territory.
The operation has so far captured 40 percent of the enclave, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor said on Tuesday.


Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected of deadly attack in West Bank

Updated 6 min 30 sec ago
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Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected of deadly attack in West Bank

  • The assailant was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces who had come to arrest him, the Shin Bet said
  • The Palestinian health ministry said two more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers near Nablus

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces on Tuesday killed a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing and shooting attack in the occupied West Bank two days earlier, the Israeli Shin Bet security service said.
The assailant was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces who had come to arrest him, the Shin Bet said. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a person had been killed in the clash, but provided no further details.
In what appeared to be a separate incident, the Palestinian health ministry said two more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the report was being looked into.
On Sunday, a suspected Palestinian assailant fatally stabbed a soldier at an intersection on a busy West Bank highway and opened fire at the scene using the conscript’s rifle, killing an Israeli rabbi and wounding a second soldier.
Palestinians, many of them people without links to armed groups, carried out a wave of attacks in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016 but the frequency of such incidents has since decreased.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.