One dead in flooding as heavy rains hit Kuwait

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Residents and police gather near a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Municipal workers drain water from a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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A man removes debris from a flooded street in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, following flash floods on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Damaged cars are pictured following heavy rain in a flooded parking lot in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Municipal workers drain water from a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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People check the damage in a residential area following heavy rain in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Damaged cars are pictured following heavy rain in a flooded parking lot in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018.(AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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One dead in flooding as heavy rains hit Kuwait

JEDDAH: Flash floods after heavy rains in Kuwait killed one man Saturday and damaged roads, bridges and homes, officials said, as several oil firms and ministries announced a state of emergency.
The Ministry of Health said the man, aged 30, was swept away by the flooding as he tried to rescue his family from their home, which was submerged in water in Al-Fahaheel area in the east.
An unspecified number of people were also reported injured in traffic accidents caused by the rains.
Several vehicles in many areas of the desert kingdom were washed away by the floods, particularly in newly-build residential areas, AFP journalists said.
Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-­Ghanim promised on Saturday that the family of the Kuwaiti citizen killed by heavy rains on Friday night would not be “left in the lurch.”
“The family of the martyr of the Al-­Fahaheel floods, Ahmad Al­-Fadhli, will not be let down, facing life challenges alone,” he said in a press statement following Al­-Fadhli’s funeral procession.
He added that he had to attend the funeral since he is the representative of the Kuwaiti people.
The Kuwaiti army and the national guard launched search operations as authorities set aside several locations to receive residents threatened by flooding.
The ministries of oil and electricity as well as several oil companies announced a state of emergency, and the government held an urgent cabinet session on Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah chaired the meeting and said that officials will be investigated and those who failed in their duties to prevent the flooding will be held accountable.
The state news agency KUNA, quoting the ministry of education, said that private and public schools would be closed on Sunday.
Kuwait’s meteorological office has issued weather warnings for the coming hours, with an increasing potential for spotty and thundery showers.
The unstable weather gripping the country is likely to persist later on Saturday with a chance of intermittent downpours at varying intensities, meteorologist Abdulaziz Al­-Qarawi told KUNA.
Weather conditions are expected to gradually improve after midday tomorrow, he indicated.
Bad weather accompanied by torrential rains and flash flooding has hit several countries in the region, including Jordan where 12 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 tourists forced to flee the famed ancient desert city of Petra.


Daesh ‘caliphate’ on brink of defeat in Syria as Trump urges Europe to do more

Updated 32 min 31 sec ago
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Daesh ‘caliphate’ on brink of defeat in Syria as Trump urges Europe to do more

  • “The Caliphate is ready to fall,” he said in a Tweet
  • US-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture Daesh’s last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates

NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria: US-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture Daesh’s last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates, the battle commander said on Saturday, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat as US President Donald Trump spoke of “100 percent victory”.
Jiya Furat said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had cornered the remaining militants in a neighborhood of Baghouz village near the Iraqi border, under fire from all sides.
“In the coming few days, in a very short time, we will spread the good tidings to the world of the military end of Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for Daesh.
He was speaking after said on Friday there would be “great announcements” about Syria over the next 24 hours.
Trump on Saturday said the caliphate was “ready to fall and that the United States was asking European allies to take back more than 800 Daesh fighters captured in Syria and put them on trial.
“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” he said in a Tweet. “The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them...
“....The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!”
Trump has sworn to pull US forces from Syria after Daesh’s territorial defeat, raising questions over the fate of Washington’s Kurdish allies and Turkish involvement in northeast Syria.
As the SDF advanced under heavy US airstrikes in recent days, a stream of civilians fled the few square miles of hamlets and farmland that remain within Daesh’s ‘caliphate’, along with defeated jihadists trying to escape unnoticed.
Though Daesh fighters still hold out in a pocket of central Syria’s remote desert, and have gone underground as sleeper cells in Iraqi cities, able to launch new attacks, their territorial rule is, for now, almost over.
It ends a project launched from the great mediaeval mosque of Mosul in northern Iraq in 2014, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seized advantage of regional chaos to proclaim himself caliph, suzerain over all Muslim people and land.
He set up a governing system with courts, a currency and flag that at its height stretched from northwest Syria almost to Baghdad, encompassing some two million inhabitants.
Human shields
But its reign of terror over minorities and other perceived enemies, marked by massacres, sexual slavery and the beheading of hostages, drew a forceful international military response that pushed it steadily back from 2015.
Most of the fighters left in Baghouz are foreigners, the SDF has said, among the thousands drawn by Baghdadi’s promise of a new jihadist utopia straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border and expunging national borders.
All that remains, said Furat, is an encircled pocket some 700 meters square. “Thousands of civilians are still trapped there as human shields,” he said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the SDF had taken control of all of Baghouz after the jihadists there surrendered. SDF officials denied this.
Spokesman Mustafa Bali said the SDF had caught several militants trying to flee among the civilians. Others had handed themselves over.
Their fate, and that of their families, has befuddled foreign governments, with few ready to repatriate citizens who pledged allegiance to a group sworn to their destruction, but who might be hard to legally prosecute. The SDF does not want to hold them indefinitely.
The fate of Baghdadi is also a mystery. He has led the group since 2010, when it was still an underground al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq.
Still a threat
Its capacity then for strategic retreats in hard times, followed by rebounds when circumstances changed, has prompted numerous warnings that Daesh’s defeat has not ended the threat it poses to the region.
Daesh suffered crippling defeats in 2017, when Iraq recaptured Mosul, the SDF seized its Syrian capital of Raqqa, and the Damascus government pushed it east to the Euphrates.
But in Iraq it has switched to guerrilla hit-and-run tactics, aimed at undermining the Baghdad government. It has also claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in swathes of northeast Syria held by the SDF, including one last month that killed four Americans.
That attack came soon after Trump pledged to pull out, saying Daesh was already defeated, rattling allies and prompting defense secretary Jim Mattis to resign.
Turkey, which regards the SDF’s strongest component, the Kurdish YPG, as terrorists, has threatened to march deeper into northern Syria to drive it back.
On Friday US Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees US forces in the Middle East as head of Central Command, said the end of the territorial caliphate would lead to a more dispersed, harder-to-detect network of fighters waging guerrilla warfare.
That should require continued help from Washington, he said.