HEADLINES:

MIDDLE EAST

UN says it fears 'bloodbath' in northwest Syria fighting

The United Nations warned on Friday (February 21) that fighting in northwest Syria could “end in a bloodbath” and called again for a ceasefire, while Moscow denied reports of a mass flight of civilian


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Lebanon confirms first case of coronavirus, two more suspected

Lebanon confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday (February 21) and said it was monitoring two other potential cases after a 45-year-old woman arriving from Iran on Thursday tested positive, Heal


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US, Taliban say they will sign agreement on Feb 29

The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Fri


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Erdogan asks France, Germany to help end Syrian humanitarian crisis

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan asked the French and German leaders to provide “concrete” support in ending a humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria’s Idlib region, the Turkish presidency said on Fri


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Re-arrested Turkish businessman accuses Erdogan of intervening in case

Prominent Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala, re-arrested this week hours after being acquitted over his role in nationwide 2013 protests, said on Friday (February 21) President Tayyip Erdogan had in


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Iran confirms 13 more coronavirus cases, two deaths: Health Ministry

Iran confirmed 13 more new coronavirus cases and two deaths among the group of new cases, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a tweet on Friday (February 21).


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Haji Omaran, Parwezxan‎ border crossings closed due to coronavirus outbreak in Iran

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Friday (February 21) closed both the Haji Omaran and Parwezxan border crossings after five cases of the cornonavirus were recorded in the Iranian city of Qom, wi


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Libya's Haftar says any ceasefire would be contingent on Turkish withdrawal: RIA

Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s eastern military commander, said he would be ready for a ceasefire if Turkish and Syrian mercenaries left the country and Ankara stopped supplying weapons to Libya’s internatio


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Flare-up in fighting in northwest Syria pulls in Russian, Turkish forces

Turkish forces and Syrian rebels fought government troops in northwest Syria on Thursday (February 20) and Russian warplanes struck back in a sharp escalation of an intense battle over the last rebel


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Iranians begin voting in parliamentary election: state TV

Iranians began voting on Friday (February 21) in a parliamentary election that is unlikely to change the Islamic Republic’s troubled relations with the United States, after thousands of candidates wer


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Turkey exempts visa requirements for some EU states, Britain

Turkey has decided to exempt visa requirements for citizens from European Union countries Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland, as well Britain, for tourism up to 90 days as of March 2,


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No relent in fighting in northwest Syria, deepening misery for civilians

Russian warplanes struck at rebel-held towns in northwest Syria again on Thursday (February 20) and Turkish artillery supported insurgent attacks elsewhere as officials from the two countries struggle


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Iran ends week-long parliamentary election campaign

Campaigning officially ended on Thursday (February 20) for Iran’s parliamentary election, state media said, a day before a vote seen as a litmus test of the popularity of the Islamic republic.


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Pompeo in Saudi Arabia to talk Iran, economy and human rights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (February 19) to discuss regional security, namely Iran, after the US killing last month of a top Iranian general pushed the oil-


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No place to go: Syrian families fleeing Idlib stranded on the roads

Abu Abdallah has been on the road for days. After his family fled the air strikes pounding Idlib, they moved from one village to another in northwest Syria but have yet to find refuge.


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Yemen landmine kills six in convoy carrying defense minister, who is unharmed

Six Yemeni soldiers were killed when a convoy carrying the country’s defense minister was hit by a landmine explosion on Wednesday (February 19), but the minister was unharmed, government sources said


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UN tries to salvage Libya talks after government announces pullout

The United Nations tried to salvage talks over a ceasefire for Libya on Wednesday (February 19) after the government based in Tripoli said it was pulling out after a single day to protest against the


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In northern Syria, currency switch shows Turkey's influence

Last month Hussam Shamo, a baker in northern Syria, stopped selling his bread in Syrian pounds after the latest slump in the currency forced him to push up prices yet again.


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Iran confirms first two cases of new coronavirus: official

Iran confirmed on Wednesday (February 19) its first two cases of the new coronavirus, the government’s spokesman said, shortly after reports that preliminary tests on the two had come back positive.


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Pompeo says prepared to talk to Iran 'anytime', pressure to continue

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said authorities in Washington were prepared to talk to Iran “anytime”, but that it needed to “fundamentally” change its behavior and that a campaign of


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