100 fighters killed in 48 hours in northwest Syria: monitor

The Observatory said the fighting is still ongoing. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 June 2019

100 fighters killed in 48 hours in northwest Syria: monitor

  • At least 19 government troops were killed today
  • The Observatory said Russian and regime jets are still bombing the area

BEIRUT: Fighting raged in northwest Syria on Thursday as clashes between regime forces and extremist-led fighters killed more than 100 combatants in two days, a war monitor said.
The Idlib region, home to some three million people, is supposed to be protected by a months-old international truce deal, but it has come under increased bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April.
On the southwestern edges of the extremist-run enclave, strikes and fierce fighting since Tuesday killed 75 anti-regime fighters and left 29 dead on the government side, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
This included at least 14 anti-regime fighters and 19 pro-government forces killed early Thursday, it said.
The fighting has centered around Tal Meleh in the north of Hama province, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.
“The clashes are ongoing,” with both regime and Russian war planes pounding the area, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
On Wednesday, 16 civilians were killed in regime bombardment on several parts of the rebel region, he said.
Russia and rebel backer Turkey brokered an agreement intended to stave off an all-out regime assault on Idlib in September, but that deal was never fully implemented as extremists refused to withdraw from the planned buffer zone.
The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham group, led by ex-members of Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, extended its control over the region, which spans most of Idlib province as well as slivers of the adjacent provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo.
The Syrian government and Russia have upped their bombardment of the region since late April, killing more than 400 civilians, according to the Observatory.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions at home and abroad since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.


Israeli lawmakers submit bill to dissolve parliament

Updated 33 min 25 sec ago

Israeli lawmakers submit bill to dissolve parliament

  • Israel has been mired in political deadlock for months
  • Lawmakers from the rival sides together tabled the bill

JERUSALEM: Israeli legislators submitted a bill Tuesday that would dissolve parliament and trigger unprecedented third national elections in less than a year.
Israel has been mired in political deadlock for months.
With the two largest parties, Likud and Blue and White, unable to form a power-sharing agreement ahead of a Wednesday deadline, lawmakers from the rival sides together tabled the bill.
It is expected to go to a vote in parliament on Wednesday, setting the date for the next election on March 2.
“Under the exceptional circumstances that have emerged, and after two adjacent election campaigns in which no government was formed, the dissolution of the 22nd Knesset is being proposed,” the bill reads.
Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his main rival Benny Gantz have been able to form a coalition government after two inconclusive elections. Polls have predicted the third vote is unlikely to produce dramatically different results.
The legislation is something of a formality. The allotted period for forming a government following September’s election expires at midnight on Wednesday. Without a coalition deal, elections would have been automatically triggered later in March.
Each of this year’s elections, and their subsequent coalition jockeying, have largely been a referendum on Netanyahu, who was recently indicted for bribery, breach of trust and fraud in three corruption affairs.
Blue and White’s Gantz has refused to sit in a Netanyahu-led coalition, citing the long-serving leader’s legal troubles. Netanyahu has refused to step down, still overwhelmingly backed by his Likud party and his adoring base.