The Daily Star : Middle East (155)

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Iraqi forces backed by jets and helicopters battled extremists inside west Mosul Saturday but still faced a tough and potentially protracted battle to retake ISIS' bastion

In push to reclaim Raqqa, Trump's choices range from bad to worse

U.S. President Donald Trump's push against ISIS in Syria could present him with an unenviable choice: Alienate NATO ally Turkey by relying on Kurdish fighters or adopt a plan that may slow the assault and require many more U.S. combat forces

3 dead in Gaza-Egypt smuggling tunnel: Palestinians

Palestinian authorities say three workers have died after inhaling toxic gas in a smuggling tunnel beneath Gaza's border with Egypt

Twin suicide attacks on bases in Syria's Homs kill 42: activists

Twin suicide attacks on security service bases in the heart of Syria's government-held third city of Homs killed 42 people Saturday, state television and activists said

U.N. envoy offers 'paper,' no sign of Syria thaw

U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura handed a working paper on procedural issues to delegations at Syrian peace talks Friday, but there appeared little prospect of them meeting directly soon.

Attacks near Al-Bab kill 60, mostly civilians

At least two attacks Friday near a Syrian town just captured by Turkish forces and Syrian opposition fighters from Daesh killed more than 60, mostly civilians and including two Turkish soldiers.

US provided intelligence for Iraq strike in Syria: Pentagon

he United States provided intelligence to Iraq for airstrikes it conducted inside Syria in retaliation for recent bomb attacks in Baghdad, the Pentagon said Friday.

ISIS claims suicide attack near Syria's Al-Bab

ISIS Friday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed dozens of people near Syria's Al-Bab just hours after rebels seized the town from the extremists.

Iran's enriched uranium stock roughly half amount allowed: IAEA

Iran has roughly half the enriched uranium allowed under a deal with major powers, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Friday, after large amounts were made officially unrecoverable, excluding them from the total.

Russia says will veto proposed Syria sanctions over chemical weapons

Russia will use its veto to block a draft U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on Syria for the use of chemical weapons, the deputy ambassador said Friday.

Syrian opposition receives UN working paper

The United Nations has handed a working paper on procedural issues and ideas for a political process to the Syrian opposition, its lead negotiator said after holding talks with mediator Staffan de Mistura.

US charges company, 11 people for breaking Syria trade embargo

U.S. authorities have charged 11 people and a company for exporting goods to Syria in violation of a U.S. trade embargo against the Middle Eastern nation, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement released on Friday.

UN weighs sanctions on Syria over chemical attacks

The U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors Friday to discuss chemical weapons use in Syria as the United States, France and Britain pushed for sanctions on those responsible for the attacks.

Jordanians protest price hikes, demand ouster of govt

Hundreds of Jordanians protested Friday across the kingdom against the government's decision to impose new taxes on a string of goods and services, calling on the cabinet to resign.

Turkey says Al-Bab completely captured from extremists

Turkish armed forces and allied Syrian rebels have completely taken the ISIS bastion of Al-Bab in northern Syria from the extremists, the military said Friday.

New Hamas Gaza leader in rare public appearance

The new leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, made his first public appearance since his election for the inauguration of a mosque on Friday, winning praise from his predecessor.

Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey could hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, if parliament fails to pass such a measure.

Egypt Christians flee Sinai after a spate of attacks

Suspected Islamic militants gunned down a Coptic Christian man and stabbed his daughter to death inside his home in northern Sinai, the seventh such killing in a month's time in the restive region, officials and a Christian priest said Friday, prompting hundreds of Christians to flee from the area ...

Jordan warplane crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

A Jordanian F-16 warplane crashed in Saudi Arabia Friday but its pilot survived, the Saudi-led military coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen said

Syrian govt negotiator says he will study U.N. paper

The chief Syrian government negotiator at peace talks in Geneva said Friday he had received a paper from U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura and would study it, but a first meeting had covered only the format of talks

Israel to publish long-awaited report on 2014 Gaza war

A report expected to criticize Israel's prime minister and the armed forces command over their conduct in the runup to the 2014 Gaza war is to be released next week, officials said Friday

Two Turkish soldiers killed in Al-Bab attack: PM

Two Turkish soldiers were killed Friday in a suicide attack in the former ISIS bastion of Al-Bab, the premier said, hours after a suicide bomber attacked Turkish-backed rebels outside the Syrian town

Iraq air force struck ISIS targets in Syria: PM

The Iraqi air force struck members of ISIS inside neighboring Syria Friday, officials said, adding that the targeted militants were responsible for recent bombings in Baghdad

Suicide bomber kills 29 near Syria town taken from ISIS: activists

Suicide bomber kills 29 near Syria town taken from ISIS: activists

Iraqi forces have secured half of Mosul airport: officials

Two Iraqi officials say that after a day of fierce fighting, Iraqi forces have secured half of Mosul's airport and most of a sprawling military base next to it on the city's southwestern edge

Suicide bomber kills at least 5 soldiers in Yemen's Zinjibar

A suicide bomber killed at least eight soldiers in an attack on a military camp in Yemen's southern city of Zinjibar at dawn Friday, a local official and residents said

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas over 'bias'

Israel will stop issuing work visas to Human Rights Watch staff, the NGO said Friday, with the Jewish state accusing the group of being "fundamentally biased" against it

Mental conflict endures for former child soldiers

Haunted by indelibly painful memories, deprived of schooling and strangers to their own families -- for former child soldiers returning to normal life is often as tough as being in combat

UN envoy urges Syrian rivals to transcend divisions

The U.N.'s Syria envoy called on the war-torn nation's rival sides to meet their historic responsibility and seek a deal to end the six-year conflict ahead of a full day of talks set for Friday

Daesh routed in Mosul airport, rebels take control of Al-Bab

Daesh was dealt a crippling double blow Thursday, as Iraqi forces recaptured a strategic airport south of Mosul while Turkey-backed Syrian rebels claimed control of Al-Bab, a former bastion of the militant group in north Syria.

Rockets and a selfie: Iraqis enter Mosul airport

There was still morning mist in the air when Iraq's Rapid Response units began their push to take Mosul airport from Daesh Thursday.

Syrian women want talks to tackle detainees

Syrian women demanded Thursday that the fate of their detained or missing relatives be addressed in United Nations-sponsored peace talks, hoping they lead to prisoner releases.

Israeli police say find evidence of corruption involving former aide to Netanyahu

Israeli police said Thursday they have evidence that a former chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illegally advanced his own business interests while holding the position.

Saudi's first Comic-Con fest cited for 'violation'

Organizers of Saudi Arabia's first Comic-Con pop culture festival will be penalized over a "violation," the government's entertainment agency said Thursday.

Syria govt, opposition negotiators sit face-to-face under UN flag for first time in three years at peace talks

Syria govt, opposition negotiators sit face-to-face under UN flag for first time in three years at peace talks

130 bodies found in Syria mass graves

The bodies of some 130 fighters shot execution-style or beheaded by rival extremists have been found in mass graves in northwestern Syria, activists and rebel sources said Thursday.

Syria's warring sides trade fire as peace talks convene

Syrian jets bombed rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Deraa and Hama provinces and insurgents fired rockets at government targets on Thursday, just as peace talks were set to resume in Geneva after a 10-month hiatus, a war monitoring group said

Iraq hopes to reclaim heritage lost to ISIS

Iraqi officials are calling for international help to reclaim archaeological sites and other heritage destroyed by ISIS extremists

Bashir orders full aid access to South Sudan famine areas

President Omar al-Bashir has ordered Sudanese authorities to assist the delivery of international humanitarian aid to famine-hit South Sudan through the country, an official said Thursday.

Greece arrests two Turks suspected of involvement in failed coup: sources

Greek authorities have arrested two Turkish soldiers suspected of involvement in a failed coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last year, government officials in Athens said on Thursday.

Syrian women demand UN talks address fate of detainees

Syrian women Thursday demanded that the fate of their detained or missing relatives be addressed in United Nations-sponsored peace talks, hoping they lead to prisoner releases.

Turkey says 2,000 Syrian families set for citizenship

Istanbul authorities Thursday said 2,000 Syrian families in the city could be set for Turkish citizenship but the government insisted approval would only come after an April referendum on boosting the president's powers.

Putin says wants to stabilize Syria's 'legitimate' power

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow's goal in Syria was to "stabilize the legitimate authority" and strike a "decisive blow" against terrorism.

Israel shuts Jerusalem school accused of Hamas links

Israeli police said Thursday they had closed a private Palestinian school in occupied east Jerusalem, accusing its officials of belonging to Hamas.

UAE signs over $5B in deals at arms fair

The United Arab Emirates announced Thursday it signed contracts worth a total of more than $5 billion to purchase weaponry during its international arms fair in Abu Dhabi this week.

Israeli warplanes shoot down Hamas drone: army

Israeli warplanes on Thursday shot down over the Mediterranean a drone controlled by the Gaza Strip's Islamist rulers Hamas, the army said

Egypt denies reports about giving Sinai to Palestinians

The spokesman for Egypt's president is categorically denying Israeli reports that Egypt has proposed giving up part of Sinai Peninsula for the Palestinians to set up an independent state.

Aid group: 13 migrants suffocate in Libya shipping container

Thirteen African migrants suffocated inside a shipping container while being transported over four days between two Libyan towns, a Red Crescent official said Thursday

Turkey not making enough progress to merit visa-free EU travel: source

Turkey is not delivering sufficiently on reforms to meet the terms of a migration deal that would allow Turks visa-free travel into the European Union, a senior EU official told Reuters on Thursday, citing an EU Commission report

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday backed pardoning a soldier sentenced to 18 months in prison for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant, media reported