Tag Archives: Force

Assad troops force Syrian rebels to retreat from key town

Assad troops force Syrian rebels to retreat from key townBashar al-Assad has vowed to recapture all of Syria as his forces made significant battlefield gains and drove rebel fighters out of a strategic town he once attacked with chemical weapons. Syrian regime troops pushed rebel forces from Khan Sheikhoun, a town where Assad’s jets once dropped chemical weapons and killed nearly 100 people, prompting Donald Trump to launch retaliatory airstrikes in 2017.  The town has been under rebel control since 2014 and its fall marks a victory for Assad as his troops attempt to conquer Idlib, the last opposition-held province in the northwest of Syria.     Rebel forces led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, said they were retreating to an area south of the town but would continue fighting against the regime’s advancing troops. Regime troops advanced into the outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun but had yet to fully occupy it. Speaking at a meeting with MPs from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, Assad hailed his forces’ progress. “The victories that were achieved prove the determination of the people and the army to defeat terrorists until the liberation of the last inch of Syrian territory,” he said.   He also accused Turkey and Western states of supporting jihadist groups in Syria. Tensions between Turkey and the Syrian regime have been rising sharply as Assad’s forces drive into Idlib, where the Turkish military has 12 military outposts. Regime jets bombed near a Turkish military convoy on Monday, killing three civilians, according to Turkey’s defence ministry. After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition  Credit: AFP The fall of Khan Sheikhoun means that one of the Turkish military outposts is now effectively surrounded by regime forces. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said that his country would not withdraw from the outpost at Morek and warned the Syrian regime not to interfere with it.  “We don’t have an intention such as moving this elsewhere,” Mr Cavusoglu said. “We will do whatever is necessary for the security of our own soldiers and observation posts.” Turkey says it established the outposts to counter jihadist groups and help enforce a ceasefire it brokered alongside Russia. The Syrian regime says the outposts are a violation of Syrian sovereignty but has so far refrained from directly attacking them.  However, as the regime advances further into Idlib the chances of a direct confrontation with Turkish forces seem to be rising.  Assad’s forces launched their offensive against Idlib in April but made relatively little progress until the last few weeks, when they have advanced rapidly with the support of withering airstrikes by Russian warplanes.   Around 500 civilians have been killed since the offensive began, including more than 100 children, according to aid groups. A young girl named Jana was killed by Russian bombing on Tuesday, opposition activists said.   The fighting has displaced over 500,000 people in southern Idlib and the northern of the neighbouring province of Hama. Khain Sheikhoun was seen as important symbol of opposition to Assad by rebel supporters “One of the revolution’s castles is occupied by its destroyers,” said one Syrian man in Idlib.  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said the Islamic State (Isil) remains a threat in Syria and Iraq but has lost much of its ability to carry out centrally-planned attacks on the West.  "There are places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago," Mr Pompeo told CBS. "But the caliphate is gone in their capacity to conduct external attacks, it's been made much more difficult," he said. The jihadist group was driven from its last territorial stronghold this year but continues to mount insurgency attacks in both Iraq and Syria.



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China delivers its most explicit threat to use military force in Hong Kong if protests get bigger and more violent

China delivers its most explicit threat to use military force in Hong Kong if protests get bigger and more violentSenior officials on Wednesday said China has "ample methods as well as sufficient strength" to quell protests that have rocked Hong Kong.



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US Air Force orders all units to stand down for one day as suicide rate rises

US Air Force orders all units to stand down for one day as suicide rate risesThe Air Force has seen 78 suicides so far this year, significantly more than this time last year, and the service is scrambling for answers.



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Top Navy SEAL commander writes scathing letter saying the force has a problem in the wake of SEAL scandals

Top Navy SEAL commander writes scathing letter saying the force has a problem in the wake of SEAL scandalsRear Adm. Collin Green wrote a scathing letter to his forces, saying special operators need to shape up in the wake of SEAL scandals.



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Trump has a ‘dark psychic force’ says Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson

Trump has a ‘dark psychic force’ says Democratic presidential candidate Marianne WilliamsonDemocratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has warned that Donald Trump’s “dark psychic force” will not be defeated by detailed policy discussions.The celebrity spiritual adviser, who was the most searched for candidate on Google during the second Democratic debate, had a surprisingly successful night for her long-shot 2020 campaign with a series of unconventional soundbites.While her opponents battled over the details of healthcare and immigration policy, Ms Williamson deployed sweeping and at times bizarre language to share her message.On the issue of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, she received one of the night’s biggest reactions from the studio audience.“We have communities, particularly communities of colour and disadvantaged communities all over this country who are suffering from environmental injustice,” Ms Williamson said.“I assure you, I lived in Grosse Pointe [a wealthy Michigan coastal area] – what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe. This is part of the dark underbelly of American society.”Then Ms Williamson turned to her fellow Democratic candidates.“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivised hatred that this president is bringing up in this country then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days,” she told them.Although Ms Williamson’s use of spiritual language in a presidential debate was unusual, the problem she raised – over whether Democrats should focus on policy or message to defeat Mr Trump – is a more widely-acknowledged issue.The debate on Tuesday night highlighted a clear divide between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party, as liberal candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders clashed with candidates, such as John Delaney, who are attempting to beat Mr Trump from the centre ground.In a fiery exchange, Ms Warren took on Mr Delaney, when the former congressman suggested that her policies were unrealistic.“I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for,” Ms Warren replied.However, despite a largely successful debate performance, Ms Williamson is unlikely to become a serious candidate in the Democratic race.All polls have shown her campaign way behind the Democratic frontrunners (polling at 1 per cent at best, compared to Joe Biden at about 33 per cent), even though she has occasionally polled ahead of more established candidates, such as Bill De Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand and Mr Delaney.Ms Williamson has also faced criticism as her campaign has received more attention and scrutiny.In June, she was criticised for calling vaccine mandates too “draconian” and “Orwellian” – although she later denied that she was anti-vaccination.More generally, she has been accused of encouraging unfounded New Age philosophy in her self-help books, which promote love, peace and positive thinking as solutions to the world’s ills.When asked after Tuesday’s debate how successful her performance was, Ms Williamson reportedly told CNN journalist Sarah Mucha: “I’ll tell you later when I see the memes.”The second Democratic debate, which will feature Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, will take place on Wednesday 31 July.



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UPDATE 1-Canadian air force joins search for fugitive murder suspects in remote area

UPDATE 1-Canadian air force joins search for fugitive murder suspects in remote areaCanada’s air force has been called in to a tiny community in northern Manitoba, where two teens suspected of three murders were thought to have been last seen, police said on Monday, as the chase entered a second week. Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were believed to have been seen on Sunday outside York Landing, a First Nations community of less than 500 people, 90 km (56 miles) south of Gillam, Manitoba, where search efforts were previously concentrated. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Manitoba posted on Twitter that they have not been able to substantiate the tip “after a thorough & exhaustive search,” but that resources will remain in the York Landing and Gillum areas.



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Canadian air force joins hunt for teen murder suspects

Canadian air force joins hunt for teen murder suspectsThe Royal Canadian Air Force has joined the hunt for two fugitive teens suspected of triple murder, officials said Saturday, backing up a vast search operation unfolding in Manitoba’s remote northeast. The suspects, identified as Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the run for more than a week. Authorities say they believe the two are behind the killings of 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler and his 24-year-old American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, as well as of Leonard Dyck, a 64-year-old Canadian.



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“We Can Stop All of You:” Air Force Warns that They Are Ready to Protect Area 51

“We Can Stop All of You:” Air Force Warns that They Are Ready to Protect Area 51It started as a bit of a joke, but now the US Air Force (USAF) has told people not to go near Area 51.As we have reported last week more than a million people have RSVP’d to an event on Facebook, planning a raid on Area 51 in southern Nevada to “see them aliens.”The event, titled, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” would see a group of alien hunters meeting at 3 a.m. on Sep. 20, 2019 near the top-secret USAF Base to coordinate a plan of attack to reveal the truth behind the curtain. Thousands have commented on the page, which reads: “We will ‘Naruto run’ with our arms stretched behind us like Naruto Uzumaki in the Japanese anime series “Naruto.” We can move faster than their bullets.”A spokeswoman for the Air Force has told The Washington Post it is “ready to protect America and its assets”.Facebook user Jackson Barnes wrote on the event page: “Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan”.“I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the Internet. I’m not responsible if people decide to actually storm area 51.”But the Air Force isn’t seeing the funny side.



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Closer to War: U.S. Troops Aboard Amphibious Assault Ship Force Down Iranian Drone

Closer to War: U.S. Troops Aboard Amphibious Assault Ship Force Down Iranian DroneU.S. troops aboard an amphibious assault ship on July 18, 2019 forced down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. president Donald Trump announced.The downing comes just a few weeks after Iranian forces downed an American drone in the same area. The mutual shoot-downs could escalate the already tense situation in the Persian Gulf region.Trump said the unmanned aerial vehicle threatened USS Boxer.Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told The New York Times that Boxer was in international waters at the time of the incident. The drone “closed within a threatening range” before Boxer took action.U.S. Marines embarked on Boxer used radio-jamming gear to bring down the drone, CNN reporter Ryan Browne tweeted.“The drone was immediately destroyed,” Trump said.It’s unclear what kind of drone the Marines forced down. Iran’s aviation industry produces a wide range of inexpensive UAVs, including several variants of the Mohajer drone that first entered service in the late 1980s.Iranian forces in 2011 captured a secretive U.S. Air Force RQ-170 stealth spy drone. Tehran’s engineers reverse-engineered the batwing RQ-170 and produced crude copies of their own.Tehran equipped the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad with an array of UAVs.Iran around a decade ago began arming some of its drone types with missiles and bombs. Iran Aviation Industries Organization in 2014 revealed a Mohajer variant that Iranian media claimed could shoot down other aircraft.



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Storm Area 51: US Air Force warns alien-hunters against breaking into top-secret base

Storm Area 51: US Air Force warns alien-hunters against breaking into top-secret baseThe US Air Force has urged people not to invade Area 51 in search of aliens.Anyone attempting to do so will have to deal with highly developed defence measures, the military has said.A widespread internet joke – joined by more than a million people – suggests that people attempt to run into the Area 51 base on 20 September. If enough people do so, then at least some will be able to get through and storm the base, the Facebook group suggests.“They can’t stop all of us” it says. ”Let’s see them aliens.”Officials say they will not discuss the details of the security measures that are built to keep people out of the base. But they stressed that they are powerful and suggested soldiers are trained for this kind of situation.The range provides “flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace” for testing and “advanced training in support of US national interests”, it said.Nellis Air Force Base said in a statement that officials are aware of the Facebook posting and “any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged”.After decades of government officials refusing to acknowledge Area 51, the CIA released declassified documents in 2013 referring to the 8,000-square mile installation by name and locating it on a map near the dry Groom Lake bed.The base has been a testing ground for a host of top-secret aircraft, including the U-2 in the 1950s and later the B-2 stealth bomber.Secrecy surrounding the site has fuelled conspiracy theories among UFO enthusiasts and sprouted a small, alien-themed tourist industry in surrounding desert communities, including cafes, a motel and even a brothel.Additional reporting by agencies



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