Kurdish YPG says Turkey shelling Afrin heavily

Above, a Turkish military convoy arrives at an army base in the border town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border. (Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Kurdish YPG says Turkey shelling Afrin heavily

BEIRUT: The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces had fired around 70 shells at Kurdish villages in the Afrin region of northwestern Syria in a bombardment from Turkish territory that began around midnight and continued into Friday morning.
Rojhat Roj, a YPG spokesman in Afrin, said it marked the heaviest Turkish bombardment since the Turkish government stepped up threats to take military action against the Kurdish region. Roj, speaking from Afrin, said the YPG would respond with utmost force to any attack on Afrin.


Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

Updated 51 min 21 sec ago

Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

  • Gantz is yet to respond to the approach by Netanyahu
  • The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday on his main rival, former general Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner.
A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party.
The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority.
“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said.
“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.”
On Wednesday, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government.” But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.