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WHO: Cholera Death Toll in Yemen Rises to 1,500

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 15:16
The World Health Organization says a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak in Yemen has claimed 1,500 lives since April and is suspected of sickening 246,000 people. WHO representative in Yemen Dr. Nevio Zagaria said in a news conference in Sanaa on Saturday that the number of suspected cases in the country's second outbreak of cholera in six months has multiplied tenfold in the last two months. The death toll rose from 1,300 as announced two weeks ago by WHO, which put the number of...
Categories: Iraq

After Mosul and Raqqa Fall, Where Will Next Battle With IS Be?

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 12:37
With the Islamic State (IS) militant group on the verge of defeat in the Iraqi city of Mosul and surrounded by counter-Islamic State forces in the Syrian city of Raqqa, one question looms — where will the next major battle be? Many U.S. military officials point to the Euphrates River Valley, namely Deir Ezzor province in Syria, and the area around the city of al-Qaim in Iraq. Those areas are not heavily populated like Mosul or Raqqa, but the fight could still prove incredibly difficult as...
Categories: Iraq

Turkey Moves Further From Secularism in Dropping Evolution From Schools

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:20
Turkey has always prided itself on being a secular state. The nation enshrined the separation of church and state in its constitution by constitutional amendment in 1928. But that was nearly a century ago, and about 99 percent of the nation’s citizens are now identified as Muslim. Watch: Evolution vs. Erdogan: Turkey Struggles with Basic Science The current government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received some criticism for eroding the country’s historic...
Categories: Iraq

Evolution vs. Erdogan: Turkey Struggles with Basic Science

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:14
The separation of church and state was enshrined in Turkey's constitution by constitutional amendment in 1928. But the current government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received some criticism for eroding the country's historic commitment to secularism. The latest move by the government is to ban the teaching of evolution in high school. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.
Categories: Iraq

US Envoy in Ankara to Defuse Tensions With Ally in War Against IS

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 23:15
Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting Islamic State, flew into Ankara Friday in the latest efforts by Washington to calm mounting tensions involving key allies in the war against IS. Those tensions threaten to derail efforts to capture the Syrian town of Raqqa, the militants' self-declared capital. McGurk's visit comes the same day that President Donald Trump spoke by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. An indication of the difficulty of...
Categories: Iraq

After Attack on IS, Iran Proposes Expanding Missile Program

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 22:45
Iran's parliament is considering a proposal to spend nearly $550 million to bolster security and expand the country's missile program. The proposal follows an Iranian rocket strike on Islamic State in Syria that analysts called retaliation for twin terror attacks in Tehran and a warning to regional rivals. The bill would raise the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) budget to $8 billion, in addition to an already approved five-year development plan that requires the...
Categories: Iraq

Trump, Turkey's Erdogan Discuss Gulf Crisis Involving Qatar

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 22:03
President Donald Trump spoke with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Friday to discuss the ongoing feud between Qatar and several Arab states, a conflict that some are calling the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years. Trump and Erdogan talked by phone to discuss how to resolve the dispute "while ensuring all countries work together to stop terrorist funding and to combat extremist ideology," the White House said in a statement. Turkey has been a supporter of Qatar,...
Categories: Iraq

The Sorrow in Iraq's Triumph

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 21:35
As Iraqi and coalition forces declare victory in Mosul, some fighting continues amid mass mourning for what has been lost
Categories: Iraq

UN: 'Significant Number' of Displaced Syrians Returning Home

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 17:59
Almost a half-million displaced Syrians have returned to their homes since the beginning of the year, mostly to check on property and relatives, according to estimates from the United Nations. The U.N. refugee agency said Friday it had seen a "notable trend of spontaneous returns" this year, and estimated that more than 440,000 internally displaced Syrians and another 31,000 refugees who left the country had returned home. Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the agency, told...
Categories: Iraq

Suicide Bombers Target Lebanese Soldiers, Kill Only Themselves

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:51
Suicide bombers targeted Lebanese soldiers conducting raids on refugee settlements along the Syria-Lebanon border Friday, wounding seven troops but killing only themselves, the military said. According to the army statement, the soldiers were raiding a settlement in the border town of Arsal on Friday morning when the attacks took place. There were five suicide bombers and another man, who threw a hand grenade at soldiers as they conducted manhunts in the refugee settlements. One...
Categories: Iraq

Watchdog: Sarin Nerve Gas Used in Deadly Syrian Attack

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 11:23
An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed Friday that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, the latest confirmation of chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war.   The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province left more than 90 people dead, including women and children, and sparked outrage around the world as photos and video of the aftermath, including quivering children dying on camera, were widely...
Categories: Iraq

US-led Forces Tighten Ring Around IS Stronghold in Syria

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 08:38
American officials say that U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have surrounded the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, and that the extremists' escape routes have been sealed. The State Department said Thursday it is important that once Raqqa is free from Islamic State control, a government approved by the local population can be elected. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that the fall of Raqqa does not mean the end of Islamic State activity in Syria.
Categories: Iraq

Qatar Seeks US Backing for Negotiations With Saudis

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 08:09
Qatar’s foreign minister says Doha is interested in negotiating an end to the standoff with regional forces, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the country’s sovereignty. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke at the Arab Center in Washington this week, two days after meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding the tiny Gulf nation’s growing dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and several other nations. Watch: Qatar Willing to...
Categories: Iraq

Qatar Says It is Willing to Negotiate But Will Not Give Up Sovereignty

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 08:07
Despite diplomatic activity in Washington this week, the blockade of Qatar by its Persian Gulf neighbors continues. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with top officials from Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, calling for negotiations to end the crisis. But Saudi Arabia says its demands on Qatar are non-negotiable, and Qatar says it will negotiate, but will not give up its sovereignty. VOA Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from the State Department.
Categories: Iraq

After Mosul, Iraq Plans to Launch Assault on IS in Hawija

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 03:15
As the push to recapture Mosul from Islamic State (IS) enters its final days, Iraqi forces say they will soon launch an assault on Hawija, the terror group's last stronghold in the country. Iraqi forces say IS's self-proclaimed caliphate is crumbling after three years of brutal control, although the militants are considered likely to persist as an insurgent force even after they are forced out of Hawija, roughly 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Mosul. Iraqi forces say they do...
Categories: Iraq

IAEA: Iran Complying with Nuclear Deal

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 02:35
The United Nations said Thursday that Tehran is in compliance with its obligations under an international nuclear deal, but U.S. envoy Nikki Haley disputed that. "Today's meeting of the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 2231 is taking place against a backdrop of steady implementation, cooperation and progress," U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman said in his semi-annual briefing on the subject. The resolution was adopted in July 2015, endorsing the...
Categories: Iraq

Report: Raqqa Completely Encircled by US-backed Forces

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 19:50
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have fully encircled Raqqa, which serves as the de-facto capital of the Islamic State group in Syria, cutting off the jihadist group’s last route out of the city, according to a monitoring group. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday that SDF forces captured two villages on the southern bank of the Euphrates River, effectively cutting off the last IS escape route. "They thereby cut the last route IS used to withdraw...
Categories: Iraq

Canada Extends Mission in Iraq to March 2019

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:53
Canada is extending its military mission against the Islamic State group in Iraq for another two years.   Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said Thursday that Canada is renewing its contribution to the Global Coalition until March 31, 2019.   Canada has about 200 special forces soldiers operating in northern Iraq supported by a combat hospital, a helicopter detachment, a surveillance plane and an air-to-air refueling aircraft. The government calls it an advise-and-assist mission...
Categories: Iraq