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Iraq forces push deep into Old Mosul
Mosul: Iraqi forces battled deep into the devastated historical heart of Mosul and closed in fast on the last pockets of extremists on Sunday, eight months into an epic battle to retake the city. Three years after overrunning Mosul and making it the de facto Iraqi capital of the “caliphate” they proclaimed, the extremists only controlled about a square kilometre in the city, commanders said. Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi
 
 
Erdogan dismisses pledges over arms for Kurds in Syria
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday countries which promised to get back weapons supplied to Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria were trying to trick Turkey and would eventually realise their mistake. Ankara was infuriated by a US decision last month to arm the YPG, which Washington sees as a vital ally in the battle against Daesh in its Syrian stronghold of Raqa but which Turkey deems an
   
East Libyan forces claim control of Benghazi area
BENGHAZI: East Libyan forces said they had gained control on Saturday over one of two remaining districts of Benghazi where they faced armed resistance. The advance in the central Souq al-Hout neighbourhood was the latest step in the slow progress of the self-styled Libyan National Army commanded by Khalifa Haftar, which has been waging a campaign against extremists and other opponents in Libya’s second city for more than three
 
 
Car bomb in Idlib province kills 10: Monitor
BEIRUT: A car bomb killed 10 people in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported on Sunday. The attack occurred in a market in the town of Al-Dana, located in the north of the province near the border with Turkey, according to the Observatory. Three people under 18 were among the dead and the blast also injured at least 30 other people, it said.
   
Mosul celebrates Eid without Daesh in years
MOSUL: People in the Iraqi city of Mosul celebrated their first Muslim Eid holiday without Daesh in years on Sunday after the militants were ejected from much of the city, and hoped the battle to recapture the remaining area would soon be over. Children gathered in squares on the eastern side of the city. Some played on old swings and others with toy guns and rifles, which were among the toys allowed by Daesh militants after
 
 
Dutch slam extradition row with Morocco
The Hague: The Netherlands reacted coolly Sunday after Morocco summoned its ambassador home in a row about the extradition of an alleged drug trafficker, saying comments by Rabat were “incomprehensible and unnecessary”. Morocco said late on Saturday it has been in talks with Dutch officials in the past two days urging them to extradite “a notorious drug trafficker” who allegedly funds “some groups in northern Morocco”. It had
   
Syria’s more confident Assad offers Eid prayers in Hama
BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad offered prayers for Eid Al-Fitr in Hama on Sunday, the furthest he has travelled inside Syria in years, showing his growing confidence. State television broadcast footage of Assad standing to pray in a large mosque in Hama behind its imam, with other clerics standing alongside and a large crowd of worshippers. State news agency SANA quoted the preacher as saying that Assad’s presence in
 
 
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