Daesh holdouts in Syria battle ‘gone by tonight:’ Trump

US President Donald Trump speaks after touring the Lima Army Tank Plant at Joint Systems Manufacturing in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019

Daesh holdouts in Syria battle ‘gone by tonight:’ Trump

  • He showed off maps that illustrate the dramatic shrinking of territory held by the militant group

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Daesh’s last bastion in Syria will be “gone” by the end of the day.
He showed off maps that illustrate the dramatic shrinking of territory held by the militant group in the period from his election in 2016 and now.
In one map shown by Trump to reporters in Washington and then again at a rally to factory workers in Lima, Ohio, Daesh territory marked in red extends over large areas. A second map, he said, shows the militant organization about to be wiped out.
“There is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight,” he said.
Fighting continued in Baghouz, Syria, on Wednesday, but the Daesh militants are down to a tiny scrap of land, where they are surrounded and under heavy fire from a US-led coalition of Kurds, Syrians and others.

Former Lebanese minister condemns Hezbollah ‘takeover’

Updated 1 min 30 sec ago

Former Lebanese minister condemns Hezbollah ‘takeover’

PARIS: The formation of a Lebanese government headed by Hassan Diab showed that “Hezbollah has completed its takeover of the Lebanese state,” former minister Marwan Hamade told Arab News.

Hamade, a leading member of Lebanon’s Druze, led by Walid Jumblatt, said that Hezbollah regained a parliamentary majority in 2018 thanks to an electoral law designed to benefit the pro-Iranian party.

“Now Hezbollah completes its takeover through the new government where we find the fingerprints of the Syrian regime. The majority of the new ministers in key positions depend either on Hezbollah or on the former security chief, the pro-Syrian Jamil Sayyed, or on Gebran Bassil, their ally,” he said.

Hamade said that the new government will face the same factional tensions and rivalries as previous leaderships, with a pro-Iranian Syrian faction controlling the state along with factions allied to Hezbollah.

The focus will be on Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salame. “They hold him responsible for implementing US sanctions on Hezbollah, and there is a tendency to make him pay and to destroy the financial sector. Lebanon is turning into a battle front in the conflict between the US and Iran,” Hamade said.

Asked about the new foreign minister Nassif Hitti, a former Arab League envoy, Hamade said: “Hitti will be able to do minor things through his personality, but Lebanese policy and diplomacy will not be within his hands — regrettably it will be in Hezbollah’s.”