A Syrian civilian was killed and another wounded in a rare clash between US troops and a group of government supporters who tried to block a United States convoy driving through a village in northeastern Syria, state media reported.
The Syrian state-run media on Wednesday said the killed man was among residents of a village east of the town of Qamishli who had gathered at an army checkpoint, pelting the US convoy with stones and taking down a US flag from one of the vehicles.
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At that point, US troops fired with live ammunition and smoke bombs at the residents, the report said.
A US military spokesman said coalition forces conducting a patrol near Qamishli encountered the checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian government forces.
“After coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals,” said Colonel Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the US-led coalition.
“In self-defence, coalition troops returned fire,” he said.
Hundreds of US troops are stationed in northeastern Syria, working with their local partners from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to fight against the ISIL (ISIS) group.
Videos posted on social media appeared to show residents quarrelling with US military personnel.
The SAA prevented today a US convoy from crossing Khirbet Amo, south Qamishli, and the villagers supported the SAA and threw stones on the US patrol which shot & killed 1 civilian. In the video, a civilian tells the occupation: “You cannot pass even if there are 100 agreements.” pic.twitter.com/I2ehR4k47N
— Kevork Almassian (@KevorkAlmassian) February 12, 2020
Residents said a Russian patrol from a contingent in Qamishli airport was sent to the village, which lies in an area in northeast Syria where Russian, US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces and the Syrian army all have a presence.
The US carries out patrols in northeastern Syria, but it was not immediately clear why the convoy drove into a government-controlled area.
The incident marks a rare confrontation involving US and Syrian troops in the region where Russian forces are also deployed – and is certain to further escalate tensions.
The Syrian war, now in its ninth year, has Russia supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s government, while Turkey is the rebels’ main backer.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey will attack Syrian government forces “anywhere in Syria” if another Turkish soldier is hurt.
Forces loyal to al-Assad, backed by Russian air cover, have been advancing into the last rebel-held areas of Idlib and nearby Aleppo countryside, seizing dozens of towns and sparking a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
Under a 2018 agreement with Russia in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Turkey established a dozen military observation posts in Idlib, where it backs some opposition groups.
Several of these posts have been surrounded by government forces in recent weeks. At least 13 Turkish soldiers have been killed by Syrian artillery fire this month.
Dozens killed in fighting in Afghanistan as peace talks continue |NationalTribune.com
Fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban left dozens dead in a restive eastern province as negotiators from both sides pushed ahead with peace talks in Qatar. Overnight clashes erupted in three districts of Nangarhar province when Taliban fighters attacked several checkpoints of Afghan forces and pro-government fighters, Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor…
Fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban left dozens dead in a restive eastern province as negotiators from both sides pushed ahead with peace talks in Qatar.
Overnight clashes erupted in three districts of Nangarhar province when Taliban fighters attacked several checkpoints of Afghan forces and pro-government fighters, Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
He said at least 11 Afghan security personnel were killed in fighting in Hesarak, while eight pro-government fighters were killed in Khogyani district.
The official added that about 30 Taliban fighters died in the clashes.
The Taliban has not commented on the fighting so far.
“There have been no attacks from our side … The enemies continue to attack and spill the blood of Afghans,” Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid said.
The latest fighting comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban are engaged in talks in Doha aimed at ending the long-running conflict.
Representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban started face-to-face talks on Monday after months of delay over a contentious prisoners swap agreement between the two sides.
The negotiations are a result of a deal between the Taliban and the United States signed in February, which also paved the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 2021.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said although the talks raise hopes of the war ending in the country, many challenges remain.
“This is a new phase in diplomacy for peace in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said last week.
“These negotiations are an important achievement, but there are … significant challenges on the way to reaching an agreement.”
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Many killed in Bangladesh mosque gas pipeline blast |NationalTribune.com
Relatives of a suspected gas explosion victim mourn in a hospital in Dhaka [Munir Uz Zaman/AFP] A gas pipeline explosion near a mosque in Bangladesh killed 13 people and injured 30 as worshippers were about to end their prayers, officials said on Saturday. The explosion, which fire service officials suspect was caused by leakage from…
Relatives of a suspected gas explosion victim mourn in a hospital in Dhaka [Munir Uz Zaman/AFP]
A gas pipeline explosion near a mosque in Bangladesh killed 13 people and injured 30 as worshippers were about to end their prayers, officials said on Saturday.
The explosion, which fire service officials suspect was caused by leakage from the pipeline, occurred on Friday night at a mosque in Narayanganj district, just outside the capital, Dhaka.
Dozens were rushed to Dhaka’s state-run specialised burn and plastic-surgery hospital, most of them with severe burns.
Thirteen people, including a seven-year-old child, died after they sustained burns, said Samanta Lal Sen, coordinator of the burns unit.
The death toll could rise further as many of them were in a critical condition, he said.
Fire officials said gas that accumulated in the mosque after pipeline leaks likely triggered the blasts.
“We primarily suspect that gas leaked from the pipeline and accumulated inside the mosque since the windows were shut. When the air conditioners was turned on, due to sparks the gas could have exploded,” said Abdullah Al Arefin, a senior fire service official.
All six air conditioners in the mosque exploded during the incident, he said.
Authorities have launched an investigation into the blast.
In Bangladesh, safety regulations are often flouted in construction. Hundreds are killed each year in fires in the nation of 168 million people.
In February last year, an inferno in Dhaka’s old quarters killed 78 people. One month later, 25 people were killed when a blaze engulfed an office building in the city.
Bangladesh: Office building fire kills 25 people in Dhaka
Man killed in Portland amid clashes between BLM protesters, pro-Trump supporters
Racial justice marchers and pro-Trump demonstrators converged on downtown Portland, Oregon, Saturday, sparking clashes and leaving one man shot and killed in the mayhem, police said. They had not identified the victim nor any suspect as of Sunday morning, but signaled the death was related to the competing demonstrations, suggesting that it was likely caught…
Racial justice marchers and pro-Trump demonstrators converged on downtown Portland, Oregon, Saturday, sparking clashes and leaving one man shot and killed in the mayhem, police said.
They had not identified the victim nor any suspect as of Sunday morning, but signaled the death was related to the competing demonstrations, suggesting that it was likely caught on social media that has saturated the three months’ worth of riots.
“It is still early in this investigation, and I ask everyone to give the detectives time to do their important work before drawing conclusions about what took place,” said Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. “If anyone can provide information about this case, I ask them to please reach out to our detectives. This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
Saturday marked the 90th day since the first riot broke out in Portland in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Nearly every day has seen BLM protesters light fires, engage in vandalism and clash with police.
The last two weekend have also seen pro-police marchers take to the city center — and be confronted by Black Lives Matter supporters.
Last weekend one right-wing activist brandished a gun at the BLM protesters, sparking complaints from the community that police did not intervene.
The police have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics toward the BLM demonstrations, which have rocked sections of the city on a nightly basis since late May.
The pro-Trump crowd conducted a vehicle caravan parade on Saturday, involving hundreds of vehicles. Police said traffic was clogged for miles.
The vehicle occupants and BLM protesters on the streets exchanged insults and some fights broke out, police said.
The caravan lasted about three hours, ending around 8:30.
Fifteen minutes later police say an officer heard shots fired, and discovered the victim.
KOIN 6 News said one of its reporters saw two men yelling, someone sprayed mace and then someone pulled a gun.
Mr. Trump, on Twitter, praised the pro-Trump caravan and blasted Oregon leaders, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has struggled to gain a handle on his city’s situation.
“The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able,” the president said, urging Gov. Kate Brown to request assistance.
She has rebuffed that suggestion, saying her state’s guard is occupied with forest fires.
In Portland, investigators Sunday morning asked anyone with footage or video of the incident to come forward so they could try to piece together what happened.
After the shooting, police said groups roamed downtown, with sporadic fights over the next two hours.
Officers made 10 arrests ranging from disorderly conduct to interfering with police.
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