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Turkish Army ready for Syria operation: Defence Ministry

“Turkish Armed Forces will never tolerate the creation of a terror corridor at our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed.”

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Turkish Army in Syria

Ankara, Oct 8 : The Turkish Army has completed all preparations for a military operation in the east of Euphrates River in Syria to establish a safe zone, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

“The establishment of a Safe Zone/Peace Corridor is indispensable for Syrians to have a safe life by contributing to the stability and peace of our region,” the Ministry said on Twitter.

“Turkish Armed Forces will never tolerate the creation of a terror corridor at our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed.”

Turkey has already made its decision for clearing northern Syria of “terrorists”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, vowing to launch a military campaign into the east of Euphrates at any moment, Xinhua news agency reported.

He announced that US troops have started withdrawing from northern Syria after he held a phone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump late Sunday.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, noting that Washington would not intervene in a Turkish offensive.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), which controls the east of the Euphrates, was a key partner of the US in the fight against the Islamic State, but Ankara considers it as a “terrorist” offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria.

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Middle East

Nationwide lockdown eased in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has had more cases of coronavirus than any other place in the Arab world, with 78,541 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 425 deaths.

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Saudi Arabia Lockdown

Riyadh, May 28 : Saudi Arabia on Thursday started easing a five-day nationwide lockdown imposed during the festival of Eid amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A round-the-clock curfew has been partially relaxed except in the holy city of Mecca, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, reports the BBC.

Anyone wishing to leave home though is required to obtain a permit through a government app.

Measures will be further eased in phases over the next few weeks until the lockdown is fully lifted.

It is still unclear whether the major annual Haj pilgrimage will go ahead at the end of July.

Saudi Arabia has had more cases of coronavirus than any other place in the Arab world, with 78,541 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 425 deaths.

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Middle East

US to end sanctions waivers on Iranian nuclear projects

The Trump administration withdrew Washington from the Iranian 2015 landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

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Washington, May 28 : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the end of sanctions waivers on several Iranian civilian nuclear projects, Washington’s latest effort to pressure Tehran.

In a statement on Wednesday, Pompeo said that the measure applied to Iran’s Arak reactor conversion, the provision of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel, reports Xinhua news agency.

Multiple foreign companies have been working at these civilian projects to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“The sanctions waiver covering these activities will end following a final, 60-day wind-down period allowing companies and entities involved in these activities to cease their operations,” Pompeo said in the statement.

According to the statement, US President Donald Trump’s administration extended a 90-day waiver covering ongoing international support to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1, as a means “to ensure safety of operations”.

“We will continue to closely monitor all developments in Iran’s nuclear program and can modify this waiver at any time,” Pompeo added.

Analysts said ending the sanctions waivers is counterproductive.

“Another bad move. Trump and Pompeo are trying to goad Iran into abandoning all nuclear constraints,” tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former Sstate Department official.

The Trump administration withdrew Washington from the Iranian 2015 landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

Tehran, however, dismissed US calls and vowed resistance against the pressures.

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Israel reports 16,757 COVID-19 cases, 281 deaths

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

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Jerusalem, May 26 : The Israeli health ministry has reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number in the country to 16,757.

After four consecutive days without death cases, the ministry on Monday reported two new fatalities, bringing the death toll from the COVID-19 to 281, Xinhua reported.

The number of patients in serious condition decreased from 44 to 41, out of 115 patients currently hospitalized, the lowest number of hospitalized patients since March 12.

The number of recoveries increased by 154 to 14,457, while the active cases decreased to 2,019.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

China and Israel have cooperated on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 11, the Tel Aviv Municipality Hall, a landmark in the Israeli city, was illuminated with the colours of China’s national flag, showing solidarity with China in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

On March 19 and April 1, two video conferences were held between Chinese doctors and Israeli counterparts to share experience in containing the virus’ spread and treatment of the infected patients.

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