Syrian TV: Syrian army gives Harasta rebels till 3pm to withdraw

Smoke billows following Syrian government bombardment on the rebel-held besieged town of Harasta, in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus on March 10, 2018. (Ammar Suleiman/AFP)
Updated 18 March 2018
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Syrian TV: Syrian army gives Harasta rebels till 3pm to withdraw

BEIRUT: Syrian state TV said the Syrian army had given rebels in the Harasta pocket of opposition-held eastern Ghouta till 3pm local time on Sunday to withdraw, citing its own correspondent.
In a month-long assault, pro-Syrian government forces have marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus. They have splintered it into three besieged zones, the smallest of which is the Harasta pocket.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 22 min 41 sec ago
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh 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 United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.