Turkish military says has encircled Syria’s Afrin town

A Turkish military tank is seen during battles between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish fighters, on the outskirts of the town of Jandairis, in the region of Afrin, near the Turkish border on March 7, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Turkish military says has encircled Syria’s Afrin town

ANKARA: Turkey’s military and its rebel allies have encircled the northern Syrian town of Afrin, the Turkish armed forces said on Tuesday, marking as substantial advance in Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters across its southern border.
Turkey launched its operation, dubbed “Olive Branch,” in northern Syria nearly two months ago to sweep the Syrian Kurdish YPG from the Turkish border. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The forces encircled Afrin town and also captured “areas of critical importance” in the region as of Monday, the Turkish military said in a statement.
On Monday, a Turkish government spokesman said the armed forces had gained control of more than half the area and vowed to clear the Afrin town of militants.
President Tayyip Erdogan last week said Turkish forces had besieged the Afrin town and were nearing its town center, but a YPG spokesman later denied this, saying the regions claimed to be under Turkish control were still battlegrounds.
Since the start of its offensive, Turkey has also threatened to push its military operations to Manbij, further east, to sweep Syrian Kurdish fighters from the length of its borders.
Turkey’s repeated threats to push to Manbij have caused complications with NATO ally the United States, which has its troops deployed in the area and is backing the YPG in the fight against Islamic State, a move that has infuriated Ankara.


Lebanese take to the streets to protest political stalemate

Updated 12 min 13 sec ago
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Lebanese take to the streets to protest political stalemate

  • Lebanon’s political factions are deeply divided over the war in neighboring Syria and other issues
  • Sunday’s protests in Beirut were organized by the Communist Party but drew others frustrated by the country’s deepening political and economic crisis

BEIRUT: Hundreds of Lebanese have taken to the streets to protest against a political stalemate that has prevented the formation of a new government seven months after elections.
Sunday’s protests in Beirut were organized by the Communist Party but drew others frustrated by the country’s deepening political and economic crisis.
Wearing red scarves and raising red flags, protesters complained about corruption, poor public services and spiraling public debt that is more than 150 percent of GDP.
One banner reads: “Off to the streets: enough talk. ” Protester Osama Assad said failure to form the government only “doubles the risks.” Hanna Gharib, of the Communist Party, said the protests would escalate.
Lebanon’s political factions are deeply divided over the war in neighboring Syria and other issues.