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Assad troops enter north-east Syria after Russia-backed deal with Kurds

Assad troops enter north-east Syria after Russia-backed deal with KurdsBashar al-Assad’s forces swept into cities across northeast Syria for the first time in seven years on Monday after the West’s former Kurdish allies agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to try to hold off a Turkish attack.  The Syrian regime’s black-and-red flag went up across the region as Russia seized on Donald Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds to restore Assad’s rule over swathes of territory he has not controlled since 2012.  Assad’s troops clashed with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels outside Manbij, a key city on the Turkey-Syria border where US forces are evacuating on Mr Trump’s orders.  Western officials are watching closely to see if the skirmishes escalate into a direct confrontation between Turkey and the Syrian regime, or whether Russia can broker another deal to keep the two countries from clashing. Several European countries joined France and Germany in halting arms sales to Turkey, as the EU put out a joint statement condemning the offensive.  A Syrian regime soldier waves the national flag a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP Fears were also rising over an Islamic State (Isil) resurgence as it emerged that US forces had failed to secure dozens of the most hardened jihadist fighters, and Isil prisoners once again rioted against their Kurdish guards.  Mr Trump suggested the Kurds were deliberately freeing Isil prisoners in a bid to get the West’s attention, a talking point that has been repeatedly used by Turkey’s government to discredit its Kurdish enemies.    Assad’s re-entry into northeastern Syria marks a dramatic redrawing of the lines of control in the war-torn country and likely signals the beginning of the end of seven years of Kurdish autonomy in the area.  Regime fighters began entering the provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa and were moving quickly to consolidate their control over long swathes of the Turkish-Syrian border with the permission of Kurdish troops.  The exact details of the agreement between Damascus and the Kurds remains unclear. Kurdish authorities insisted that they would maintain their political autonomy and that the deal was focused solely on military issues.  Syrian regime forces are pictured as they patrol a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP But other reports suggested that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Western-backed Kurdish units who led the fight against Isil, would be folded into Assad’s army and that northeast Syria would come back under direct rule from Damascus.     The immediate focus of the newly-aligned SDF and Assad regime is to repel Turkish-backed rebels from seizing control of Manbij, a border city west of the Euphrates River which is currently in Kurdish hands.  The Syrian rebels, known as the National Army, said Monday night they had launched an operation to “liberate Manbij and its surroundings from the terrorist gangs”. The National Army claimed to have engaged Assad’s forces and captured a tank in a first round of fighting. The battle for Manbij will pose a test for Turkey, which must decide whether to back its Syrian rebel allies with airstrikes at the risk of sparking a confrontation with the Syrian regime. Turkey – Syria map Russia is believed to be relaying messages between the two sides to try to avert conflict.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president, said he was determined to put the city under the control “our Arabic brothers” in the National Army. But while Turkish warplanes thundered overhead there were no reports they were striking Assad’s forces in support of the rebels.  US forces have been ordered to evacuate northern Syria but many troops remained caught up in the chaos as different armed groups maneuvered and the roads remained clogged with refugees.  Sen. Lindsey Graham Credit: AP The situation in northeast Syria collapsed into disorder so quickly that US special forces did not have time to carry out a plan to seize around 60 of the top Isil fighters in Kurdish custody, according to the New York Times.  US commandos had planned to take the prisoners from the Kurds and move them to Iraq but were unable to reach a key road in time.  It is not known if any British fighters were among the 60 men on the US list. America has already taken custody of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, the two surviving members of the “Beatles” group of alleged British executioners.      The report appeared to drastically undercut Mr Trump’s claim that “the US has the worst of the Isil prisoners”.  Mr Trump also said the “Kurds may be releasing some [Isil prisoners] to get us involved” in trying to stop Turkey’s offensive. Mr Erdoğan and other Turkish officials have made the same claim repeatedly in recent days.  The Turkish military released a video which it claimed showed its commandos entering a Kurdish prison only to find that the guards had released all the inmates. But Kurdish officials suggested the video was staged at an empty facility never used as a prison.  SDF guards at a prison were wounded during a riot by Isil prisoners at Ain Issa, according to Kurdish media. The Isil suspects still in Kurdish custody are panicked at the prospect they could be handed over to the Assad regime, which has a long history of torturing detainees.



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Syrian troops enter northeastern town after deal with Kurdish forces – state media

Syrian troops enter northeastern town after deal with Kurdish forces - state mediaBEIRUT/ANKARA, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Syria’s troops have entered a northeastern town, Syrian state media said on Monday, after Washington announced it was abruptly pulling out its forces, and its former Kurdish allies reached a deal with Damascus to help resist a Turkish attack. The abrupt U.S. withdrawal from the eight-year Syrian war, and the potential return of the Syrian army to the Kurdish-controlled northeast, are major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Russia and Iran.



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The F-35 Is About to Enter Beast Mode

The F-35 Is About to Enter Beast ModeHere's the missile that will seriously boost the fighter jet's firepower.



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Italy bans German-flagged rescue ship to enter its waters-sources

Italy bans German-flagged rescue ship to enter its waters-sourcesROME/BERLIN, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has signed a decree to ban a migrant rescue ship operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline from accessing Italian waters, sources at the ministry said on Tuesday. The ship dubbed Eleonore is currently carrying 101 refugees rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, said Axel Steier, head of Mission Lifeline, adding that both Italian and Maltese authorities had declined to let the migrants land. “If the ship gets into distress at sea, it will travel to a port”, Steier said, adding that only Italy and Malta were possible destinations due to the ship’s location.



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Man accused of killing Nia Wilson to enter plea today

Man accused of killing Nia Wilson to enter plea todayThe man accused of stabbing and killing 18-year-old Nia Wilson at the MacArthur BART Station in July 2018 is expected to enter a plea in the case.



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Reuters photo captures Guatemalan mother begging soldier to let her enter U.S.

Reuters photo captures Guatemalan mother begging soldier to let her enter U.S.Ledy Perez fell to her haunches, a clenched hand covering her face as she wept, an arm clutching her small 6-year-old son, who glared defiantly at the Mexican National Guard soldier blocking them from crossing into the United States. The plight of this mother and son who had traveled some 1,500 miles (2,410 km) from their home country of Guatemala to the border city of Ciudad Juarez, only to be stopped mere feet from the United States, was captured by Reuters photographer Jose Luis Gonzalez as twilight approached on Monday. “The woman begged and pleaded with the National Guard to let them cross … she wanted to cross to give a better future” to her young son Anthony Diaz, Gonzalez said.



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After Joe Biden kissing allegation, 2020 candidates weigh whether he should enter race

After Joe Biden kissing allegation, 2020 candidates weigh whether he should enter race"I believe Lucy Flores," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. "And Joe Biden needs to give an answer."



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College admissions scandal: First group of defendants enter not-guilty pleas

College admissions scandal: First group of defendants enter not-guilty pleasNot guilty pleas were entered Monday by the first group of defendants accused in the college admissions scandal rocking universities across the country.



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French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth month

French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth monthRioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday, in a new flare-up of violence as France’s yellow vest protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms entered a fourth month. Police fired tear gas and water cannon as the protests turned violent after weeks of relative calm, during which marches had attracted declining numbers of participants. Rioters also set fire to an upmarket handbag store and two newsstands on the Champs Elysees, while scattered bonfires burned on the thoroughfare.



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Marco Rubio warns Venezuelan soldiers to let aid enter

Marco Rubio warns Venezuelan soldiers to let aid enterCUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela on Sunday and warned soldiers loyal to socialist President Nicolas Maduro that it will be a "crime against humanity" if they block entry of the goods that are being channeled through Maduro's rivals.



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