Syrian army pushes into encircled rebel pocket in northwest

Syrian army has increased their anti-rebel efforts int he northwest since late April. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 August 2019

Syrian army pushes into encircled rebel pocket in northwest

  • Syrian soldiers captured a dozen of hills in the area
  • Erdogan told Putin on Friday that Syrian army attacks in northwest Syria threaten Turkey's national security

BEIRUT: Syrian troops pushed deep into a pocket of territory in the northwest where they encircled rebels and a Turkish military post, seizing towns the insurgents have held for years, state TV and a monitor said on Friday.
The army has imposed “a choking siege” on the cluster of towns, with much of it coming either under army control or within firing range, state-run Ikhabriya TV said.
Soldiers captured a dozen hills, expanding state control of a main highway that runs through the area and stretches from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city, it added.
Several rebel officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-government force, backed by Russia, recovered the town of Kafr Zita from rebels who had controlled it since 2012. A Turkish military post in the nearby town of Morek was now also encircled, the UK-based war monitor and state TV said.
Under its deals with Russia, Turkey has forces stationed at a dozen military posts in Idlib. The latest army advances have put Turkish troops in the firing line and threatened Ankara’s hopes of preventing a new wave of refugees on its border.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia's Vladimir Putin on Friday that Syrian army attacks in northwest Syria are causing a humanitarian crisis and threaten Turkey's national security, the Turkish presidency said.
Erdogan told Putin, who has supported Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, that the attacks violated a ceasefire in Idlib and damaged efforts for a solution in Syria, the Turkish presidency said. 
Ten of thousands of people have fled towards the Turkish border in recent days as air and ground attacks battered parts of Idlib and Hama in northwest Syria, the country’s last big rebel stronghold. The United Nations says the offensive has killed hundreds of people since it began in late April. 


Construction in full swing for Expo 2020 Dubai

Updated 2 min 54 sec ago

Construction in full swing for Expo 2020 Dubai

  • Turnover of the Expo 2020-owned facilities is expected by the end of this year
  • 192 countries have confirmed participation at the upcoming world expo

DUBAI: The Expo 2020 on Tuesday gave a preview of the ongoing construction of the vast new site in the south of Dubai, one year ahead of its opening in October next year.

Journalists from different parts of the world were quickly toured at one of the main areas of the site – the Sustainability District – as well as the nine-story media center. A preview of the Al Wasl Dome, the central building at the site which will host the Expo’s major events, was also shown at the tour.

The other two areas such as the Mobility and Opportunity districts were only available for viewing from the rooftop of the media center. Massive cranes, construction materials and a number of laborers were seen at the site.

Turnover of the Expo 2020-owned facilities is expected by the end of this year, while individual country pavilions have their own deadlines to finish construction, organizers told Arab News.

Some countries have already either broken ground or started building their pavilions, including Saudi Arabi, the UAE and Japan. Others are expected to break ground in the coming months.

192 countries have confirmed participation at the upcoming world expo.

The tour was part of a three-day global media briefing, which started with a count-down concert on Sunday by American singer Mariah Carey at Burj Park.

The six-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimated 25 million visitors.