US troops clear rubble from Iraq base days after Iran strike

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A bulldozer clears rubble and debris at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP)
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Bulldozers clear rubble and debris at Ain Al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

US troops clear rubble from Iraq base days after Iran strike

  • The Ain Al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province is a sprawling complex about 180 kilometers west of Baghdad
  • Ain Al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein

AIN AL-ASAD BASE, Iraq: US troops were clearing rubble and debris on Monday from a military base housing American soldiers in western Iraq, days after it was struck by Iranian ballistic missiles.
The Ain Al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province is a sprawling complex about 180 kilometers west of Baghdad and houses about 1,500 members of the US military and the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group.
It was struck by a barrage of Iranian missiles on Wednesday, in retaliation for the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose killing raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
An Associated Press crew touring the Ain Al-Asad base Monday saw large craters in the ground and damaged military trailers as well as forklifts lifting rubble and loading it onto trucks from a large area the size of a football stadium.
The US said no American soldiers were killed or wounded in the Iranian attack.
Ain Al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Daesh group in Iraq and Syria.
Trump visited the sprawling Ain Al-Asad air base in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. Vice President Mike Pence also has visited the base.


UN cease-fire talks resume in Libya but fighting continues

Updated 03 June 2020

UN cease-fire talks resume in Libya but fighting continues

  • UN envoy meet delegation representing military commander Khalifa Haftar
  • Haftar's rivals retake Tripoli’s international airport after heavy fighting

NEW YORK: Military talks on a cease-fire in Libya resumed Wednesday, the United Nations announced, welcoming it as a “positive” first step.
The interim UN envoy, Stephanie Williams, met with a five-member delegation representing military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
A meeting with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord will be held within the coming days, he added.
“Negotiations will continue on the cease-fire agreement and associated arrangements on the basis of the draft presented by the UN mission to both delegations on Feb. 23 this year,” Dujarric said.
“The UN mission encourages the parties to de-escalate, consider a truce to enable improved delivery of humanitarian assistance and to refrain from incitement and create an environment conducive for negotiations and building trust between the parties.”
The UN mission in Libya had announced on Tuesday that the rival factions had agreed to resume talks after a suspension of more than three months.
Fighting has continued, however, notably near the capital Tripoli, which since April 2019 has been the target of an offensive by Haftar’s eastern-based forces.
On Wednesday, the GNA said its forces had retaken Tripoli’s international airport after heavy fighting with troops loyal to Haftar.
The conflict has resulted in hundreds of deaths, including numerous civilians, and displaced more than 200,000 people.
Over the past year, foreign powers have become increasingly involved in the conflict.
The UAE, Egypt and Russia have supported Haftar’s camp, while Turkey has intervened militarily on behalf of the GNA, which has recently scored a series of military victories.
All previous attempts at a cease-fire, most recently in January on the occasion of a conference in Berlin, have failed.
In February, when talks were suspended, the rival camps had agreed to negotiate a “permanent cease-fire” under a joint GNA/pro-Haftar military commission.