Turkey ready for biggest cross-border op in its history – pro-gov’t daily

Turkey has made all necessary preparations for the biggest cross-border operation in the country's history, into Syria's Manbij and east of the Euphrates river, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak reported on Monday. Some 80,000 Turkish soldiers are ready for the new operation in areas controlled by the Syrian-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), according to the news outlet. This is double the number of troops required in the 1974 military offensive to take control of northern Cyprus, which still stands as Turkey's biggest cross-border operation.

Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun due to arrive in Canada Thailand for asylum

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family saying she feared for her life, is due to arrive in Canada on Saturday, after being granted asylum in the North American country. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada had accepted a request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to take in Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who grabbed international attention earlier this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse.

US-led coalition against the Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria

President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia in the fight against Islamic State. The coalition “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements,” Colonel Sean Ryan said. Washington’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria fear the withdrawal will open the way for Turkey to mount a long-threatened offensive against their area. Turkey views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as a national security threat.

U.S.-Led Airstrikes in Syria leave 2 Russians dead

A Russian woman and child have been killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria while at least a dozen more are trapped in the war-torn country, a Chechen human rights council member has said. Citing “civil sources,” Syrian state media reported that 11 civilians were killed in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on an Islamic State-held village in eastern Syria on Thursday. A 35-year-old Chechen woman and a four-year-old Dagestani boy were killed in the attack, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited Chechnya’s human rights council member Kheda Saratova as saying Friday.

Jamal Khashoggi latest: CCTV ‘shows butchered journalist’s body parts being carried in bags’

Disturbing footage purportedly showing murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's body parts being carried in bags has emerged.

In the CCTV men can be seen carrying black bags and suitcases into the home of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dressed in normal clothes, the males bring in the luggage - allegedly containing the butchered journalist's remains - one after another.

The residence is a short distance from the consulate where Mr Khashoggi, a leading critic of Saudi policies, was killed in early October.

Putin says Russia, Turkey will play a ‘decisive’ role in Syria peace

Russia and Turkey have a crucial role to play in resolving the conflict in Syria, President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a day after their countries agreed to coordinate military steps following the U.S. decision to withdraw its forces. In a New Year’s message to Erdogan published by the Kremlin on Sunday, Putin said that “Moscow and Ankara are making a decisive contribution to the fight against terrorism in Syria, as well as to the promotion of a political settlement in that country.” His comment came a day after the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers, as well as the countries’ intelligence chiefs, held talks in Moscow on Syria as they move to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s decision to order a military pullout.