Israel says it has hit dozens of targets in Syria belonging to the government and allied Iranian forces. The Israeli military says the “wide-scale strikes” responded to rockets fired by an Iranian unit into Israel. Syria says two civilians died and that Syrian air defenses shot down most of the missiles over Damascus. Other reports say the death toll was higher.
Donald Trump has announced that the US will lift sanctions on Turkey. The US president, who has come under withering criticism for abruptly withdrawing US troops – and paving the way for a deadly Turkish offensive against the Kurds – said on Wednesday that a “small number” of US troops would remain in Syria’s oilfields.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed on the parameters of a proposed Turkish “safe zone” in Syria, a development that could bring an end to Ankara’s offensive against Kurdish forces over the border by severely curtailing their control of the area. The deal was widely perceived as good news for Ankara and a poor result for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Kurdish officials say their fighters have evacuated Ras al-Ayn, giving Turkey and its allies control of one of the border cities that has borne the brunt of fighting since Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria. Kino Gabriel, an SDF spokesman, confirmed Ras al-Ayn had been abandoned as part of a five-day, US-brokered ceasefire with Turkey, in place since Thursday.
The United States said on Sunday it will withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northern Syria in the face of an expanding Turkish offensive while Syria’s army struck a deal with Kurdish forces to redeploy along its border with Turkey, both major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The developments illustrate Washington’s waning influence over events in Syria.
Turkish forces pushed deeper into northeastern Syria on Friday, the third day of Ankara’s cross-border offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters that has set off another mass displacement of civilians and met with widespread criticism from the international community. The invasion came after President Donald Trump opened the way by pulling American troops from their positions near the border and abandoning U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies attacked Kurdish militia in northeast Syria on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery before starting a cross-border ground operation that could transform an eight-year-old war. The assault began days after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled American troops out of the way, prompting denunciations from senior members of his own Republican Party who say he abandoned the Syrian Kurds, loyal allies of Washington.
The United States has concluded that the government of Bashar al-Assad used chlorine as a chemical weapon in May, marking the first confirmed violation of the ban on chemical weapons since Donald Trump authorized airstrikes in 2018 over Syria’s use of poison gas. The Trump administration has twice bombed Syria over Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons, in April 2017 and April 2018.
Insurgent groups have withdrawn from Khan Sheikhun in north-west Syria, clearing the way for pro-government forces to enter the town, in a milestone moment in the war for Idlib province, the country’s last major rebel stronghold. The development came hours after Turkey deployed tanks and armored cars deep into Syria, partly in response to days of advances by forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.
A New Zealand nurse kidnapped in Syria more than five years ago may still be alive, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has said, revealing her identity for the first time in an attempt to secure her release. Louisa Akavi, 62, and two Syrian colleagues have been held hostage for longer than anyone in the 156-year history of the international aid organization. The fall of Isis’s last stronghold in the region has potentially increased the risk of losing track of the New Zealander, but also raised hopes someone will come forward with information about all three.