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The Levant

Erdogan wants French people to get rid of Macron

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he hoped France would soon get rid of President Emmanuel Macron, describing him as a burden on France which was going through dangerous times. Ties between Turkey and France, both NATO members, have been particularly tense in recent months over policy differences on …

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Jordan warns Israel isn’t serious about peace

Israel should stop engaging in activities that undermine peace with Palestine, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi said, reiterating the importance of the two-state solution in maintaining harmony in the region. Safadi, who was meeting his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi at the King Hussein Bridge Border crossing …

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Netanyahu wants to drop Gantz in new election bid

Israel edged closer on Wednesday towards a fourth national election in two years after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main governing partner, Benny Gantz, backed an opposition move to dissolve parliament. Parliament gave preliminary approval to a dissolution bill, but the legislation needs to pass three as yet unscheduled votes to …

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US still wants military bases in Afghanistan

The Pentagon has approved drawdown plans in Afghanistan that will still keep two larger bases in the country as officials carry out President Donald Trump’s orders to slash troop levels to 2,500 by Jan. 15, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday. Trump’s post-election decision last month to cut nearly …

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Macron wants Lebanese consensus in exchange for aid

President Emmanuel Macron will seek to revive a French initiative on Lebanon when he hosts an international aid conference on Wednesday, but with the country’s fractious political class bickering, hopes of a breakthrough appear slim. Four months after a massive explosion that killed more than 200 people and destroyed swathes …

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European banks have defied Trump’s anti-Iran sanctions

Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in late October to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing that the move would deter legitimate humanitarian trade and hurt the allies’ common interests, diplomatic correspondence shows. Germany’s Bundesbank also kept a multi-billion-euro deposit facility open for Iranian banks, including …

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Turkey clamps down further on Gulen network

Turkey ordered the detention of 82 military personnel in an operation targeting supporters of the Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a failed coup in 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday. Operations targeting the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen have continued under a four-year-long crackdown since …

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Turkey defies NATO with more East Med exploration

Turkey’s seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis returned to port on Monday from disputed Mediterranean waters, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara. NATO members Turkey and Greece have conflicting claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources …

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Much needed respirators donated by WHO to Gaza

The World Health Organization delivered 15 ventilators to Gaza hospitals on Sunday amid a spike in COVID-19 infections that has tested the Palestinian territory’s under-developed health system. The donation of the intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, came a week after local and international public health advisers said hospitals in …

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Latest Afghan car bomb kills 30 security officers

A car bombing in the Afghanistan’s central province of Ghazni killed at least 30 Afghan security force members on Sunday, officials said, and casualties could increase given the intensity and location of the blast. Baz Mohammad Hemat, director of the provincial hospital in Ghazni, said 30 bodies and 24 injured …

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Protests erupt in Paris over police brutality, Macron objects

Hundreds of black-clad protesters clashed with police at the end of a demonstration against police violence in Paris on Saturday after masked protesters launched fireworks at police lines, put up barricades and threw stones. The majority of the thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully, but small groups of masked protesters dressed …

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Uzbeks in Syria targetted for repatriation

Uzbekistan plans to repatriate another group of its citizens, mostly women and children, from Syria where they are staying at crowded camps with other families of Islamic State fighters, an Uzbek government source told Reuters on Friday. A government delegation from Tashkent has visited the Al-Hol and Roj camps in …

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Sadr supporters clash, kill Iraqi anti-government protestors

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed an anti-government protest camp in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya on Friday, and at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in the clashes, a Reuters witness and a medical source said. Followers of Sadr carrying pictures of the cleric marched …

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EU, Macron move to punish Turkey over Cyprus

The European Parliament urged the EU on Thursday to impose sanctions on Turkey after President Tayyip Erdogan this month paid a visit to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of Cyprus. With 631 votes in favour, three against and 59 abstentions, the parliament agreed a non-binding resolution in support of EU …

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