|The Grand Turk|
|[DAWN] EVER since the failed coup in 2016 in , the AKP-led government in Ankara has hardened its attitude towards all sorts of dissent. While governments have a duty to guard against any unconstitutional takeovers of the state, they must not use this as a cover to smother all opposition. Unfortunately, developments in Turkey are taking a very authoritarian turn. On Friday, six journalists were handed life sentences for "aiding plotters" of the coup. The sentences came even though in one of the cases Turkey’s constitutional court had ruled that the detention of the accused amounted to a violation of his rights. In the period since the coup, the state has led a sweeping crackdown against all those even suspected of harbouring sympathies for exiled , whom the state accuses of orchestrating the failed putsch. Mr Gulen has denied any role. According to reports, more than 50,000 people have been while around 150,000 have been sacked or suspended, including government servants, teachers and others.|
But it is not just that the state is rounding up. Last month the authorities detained several doctors, members of the Medical Association. The medics were rounded up for criticising Ankara’s incursion inside Syria to battle Kurdish militias active in the Arab country. President Erdogan termed the doctors "terrorist lovers" for daring to criticise the military operation. In a related development, over 300 people have been held for opposing Turkey’s Syrian incursion, including those who made comments on social media, accused of spreading "terror propaganda". All these arrests reflect that in Turkey, there is shrinking space for dissent. Without doubt Turkey faces many threats; the attempted coup was a very real challenge to the authority of an elected government. Moreover, a bloody war is raging next door in Syria, while a low-level Kurdish insurgency continues inside Turkey. But while the country may be located in a rough neighbourhood and is facing internal issues, all challenges must be confronted while safeguarding democratic rights, chiefly freedom of speech. Parties and individuals must be free to criticise the actions of the state; if the government feels the criticism is misplaced, it must engage its critics in debate instead of jailing them or terming them ’traitors’. Turkey has had a long history of military intervention and its transition to democracy has been achieved after many sacrifices. Therefore, Ankara must guard democratic values and resist the allure of authoritarianism.
|Syrian Army general for Deir Ezzor killed by ISIS in deadly ambush|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] A leading commander in the Syrian Arab Army who was responsible for military intelligence in the Deir Ezzor region has been killed in an ambush carried out by forces.|
On Saturday (likely in the afternoon), Syrian Army Brigadier General Jamal Razuk was killed in east Syria by Islamic State who ambushed (so reports say) his vehicle somewhere along the highway running from Deir Ezzor city to Palmyra.
Initial reports stated that the Syrian Amy general was killed in a traffic accident; however, not long after these reports, ISIS took credit for his death via the pro-Islamic State media outlet Amaq.
Brigadier General Razuk was the chief of military intelligence for the Syrian Army in the Deir Ezzor region.
The ambush that killed him likely originated from a vast section of ISIS-held desert countryside (several thousand square kilometers in size) just south of the highway running from Palmyra to Deir Ezzor.
|VIDEO: Iraqi forces deploy guided-missile combat drones to eliminate ISIS remnants|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] The aviation arm of the Iraqi Army is now deploying Chinese-built, Predator-like advanced combat drones to hunt down the remnants of forces across the country.|
The combat drone, classified by its Chinese manufacturer as the CH-4B, is capable of operating at a height of 5,000 meters from where it can use laser-guided missiles and bombs loaded onto six hard-points near the wing-root.
Being equipped with advanced camera equipment, the drone can also serve in the reconnaissance role.
Given the limited reconnaissance-strike capability (i.e. the ability to constantly have warplanes in the air to track and attack targets as they are identified) of the Iraqi Air Force due to its size, the CH-4B of the Iraqi Army serves as a very helpful auxiliary fire support asset in direct assistance of troops on the ground and as a stand-off weapon.
|12 ISIL widows sentenced to death, life by Iraqi court|
|[Al Jazeera] A woman was sentenced to death and 11 other foreign widows to life in jail by an Iraqi court, for their involvement with the of Iraq and the Levant ( , also known as ISIS).|
The 12 women - 11 Turks and an Azeri, some of whom appeared at the court in Baghdad nursing infants - were convicted on Sunday, despite pleas they had been duped or forced by their husbands to join them in Iraq.
The women, aged between 20 and 50, were all in or Tal Afar, where their husbands were killed as Iraqi forces recaptured the northern cities from last year.
Only the woman condemned to death, speaking through an interpreter, acknowledged she willingly travelled to Iraq with her husband and their children.
"We had to leave because my husband was a wanted man. I wanted to live in an Islamic state where sharia (Islamic law) is the law of the land," she said.
But "I regret having come," said the 48-year-old woman, whose husband and two sons were killed in air attacks.
|Arab Coalition intercepts ballistic missile in Yemen|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] A ballistic missile was intercepted over the coastal city of Mokha west of by Arab Coalition forces on Sunday.|
Yemeni sources said that the ballistic missile launched by militias was destroyed by Arab Coalition air defense batteries before reaching its target.
Al-Arabiya correspondent reported that coalition aircraft destroyed a missile platform and more than 10 military vehicles carrying Houthi elements, as well as barricades and ammunition used by the militias.
The missile launch came as Arab Coalition fighters targeted Houthi militia reinforcements in the north-west of Taiz and south of the coastal province of Hodeidah.
Coalition aircraft also carried out 30 raids in the provinces of Hajjah, Saada and Jouf on Saturday which destroyed several targets.
|Pakistan’s Imran Khan ties knot to |
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Pak cricketer-turned-politican has tied the knot for the third time, his party said on Sunday, confirming his marriage to a woman local media call a "faith healer".|
Khan, who captained the Pakistain team when it won the Cricket World Cup in 1992, wed Bushra Watto in a low-key ceremony in the eastern city of Lahore.
Khan has previously referred to Watto, a mother of five, as his ’spiritual adviser’ and someone whose guidance he valued.
Khan’s previous two marriages, particularly when he wed his first wife, British socialite , captivated international tabloids as well as local media in the deeply conservative nation of 208 million people.
|Saleh’s nephew seen in Yemen’s Hodeidah following victories|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Tarek Saleh, the nephew of late Yemeni president , was seen in Hodeidah with the city’s governor al-Hassan Taher in the operations room to liberate the west coast.|
Areas in the west coast have been recently liberated, such as Hays.
Many Yemenis think Tarek’s public appearance sends a clear message to the Houthis especially that Tarek is viewed as the "second man" after Ali Abdullah Saleh and that he’s played an efficient role in the uprising against the Houthis in Sanaa.
Earlier this month, Tarek, who Sanaa where he was leading battles against the Houthis, called on all parties in different fronts and with different political affiliations to reach agreements to serve the mutual aim of confronting the movement.
|How Grace Got Her 'Fake' PhD|
|[All Africa] University of Zim-bob-we (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura allegedly took the institution's lecturers to Grace Mugabe's Mazowe orphanage so she could take oral examinations for her disputed Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, a Harare court heard yesterday.|
Nyagura (72) was on Friday for alleged criminal abuse of office for his role in the awarding of the degree to the former first lady.
Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande was told Nyagura single-handedly accepted the wife of former president 's application to study for the PhD without the knowledge of the UZ's sociology department.
Prosecutor Oscar Madhume said in 2011 Nyagura approved Ntombizodwa G Marufu (Grace's maiden name) application without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee in violation of UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmark.
He said during the same period, Nyagura appointed Professor Claude Mararike and Professor Chaneta to supervise Grace without the knowledge and approval of the department.
Nyagura is accused of usurping the powers of the UZ senate by single-handedly appointing examiners for Mugabe's research in violation of the UZ Act chapter 25:16 and Ordinance 1998/99.
Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Mugabe's Mazowe orphanage, where the defence oral examination was purportedly done without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee while in actual fact the examination is supposed to be done at the UZ premises.
The prosecution alleged that during the same year, Nyagura recommended to Mugabe that Grace should be awarded the PhD.
This was allegedly done without the knowledge of the UZ council and academic committee.
The sociology department distanced itself from both the candidate and awarding of the degree as it was done without their knowledge. Prosecutors said Grace did not meet the minimum requirements to study for the degree.
Nyagura, who is represented by advocate Lewis Uriri, to the charges and was remanded to March 5 on $200 bail.
As part of his bail conditions, Nyagura was ordered not to interfere with State witnesses who include lecturers.
|Al-Shabaab terrorists kill 3 teachers at Kenya school|
|[AA.TR] Three teachers are confirmed dead after Somali-based a attacked a primary school in northeastern Kenya early Friday, police confirmed.|
The al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group operating in the Horn of Africa is said to have entered the Qarsa school in Wajir County through the porous Kenya-Somali border, some 175 kilometers (109 miles) from the town.
"We’re not sure what their motive was, but they attacked the school early in the morning, killing three teachers and wounding a couple of others, who are suffering from gunshot wounds," from the area told Anadolu Agency on the phone.
"The planted improvised explosives on the road leading to the school, making it hard for ambulances and our teams to reach the place faster," said the officer, who asked not to be named due to restrictions to speaking to the media.
Speaking to Kenya’s Daily Nation online, Wajir County police commander Mohammed Sheikh said: "I can confirm that one of our vehicles that was responding to the attack was partly hit by an IED that had been buried along the route by the group, but all our officers are in good condition."
|Two European nationals ‘neutralized’ in Afrin, Syria|
|[AA.TR] Two nationals from European countries fighting as part of the terrorist group PYD/PKK have been "neutralized" during ’s Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northwestern Syria, according to information available online on social media.|
While Turkey’s operation in Syria continues, information on social media about some "neutralized" by army shows that some were European nationals.
According to this information, Spanish national Samuel Prada Leon, codenamed Baran Galicia, and French national Olivier Francois Jean Le Clainche, codenamed Kendal Breizh, were both "neutralized" last week in Afrin, the site of Turkey’s counter-terrorist Operation Olive Branch.
There are many foreign from European countries as well as the U.S. fighting for the PYD/PKK.
While Western countries have worked to stem their citizens from going to join , they have showed much less concern about Westerners joining the PYD/PKK, while largely failing to recognize the PYD/PKK as a terrorist threat.
Separately, Dutch citizen Sjoerd Heeger -- codenamed Baran Sason -- was killed in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border, during with the Syrian army and Iranian forces, also according to social media.
|The Grand Turk|
|Turkey gave the US another chance: FM Cavusoglu|
|[AA.TR] The U.S. and will either normalize relations or bilateral ties will grow even worse, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Sunday.|
Speaking to journalists during the Munich Security Conference, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey has lost confidence in the U.S. due to Washington’s support for the PYD/PKK terrorist group in Syria.
"Our relations with the U.S. have been going through a critical period. Either we are going to normalize relations, put relations back on track, or they will get even worse," he stressed.
Cavusoglu said that during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara last week, the sides agreed to establish two mechanisms, with the goal of addressing issues of disagreement between the two allies.
"One is on bilateral issues," he said, explaining that this mechanism would particularly focus on Ankara’s expectations from Washington regarding the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader, who orchestrated a defeated coup in 2016.
|Islamic State says responsible for attack on church in Russia|
|[REUTERS] has for a shooting in Russia’s southern province of that killed five people on Sunday, according to the group’s news agency Amaq, although it did not provide immediate evidence for the claim.|
A man shot into a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday, killing five and injuring at least five others, Russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry.