AP, REUTERS, AFP
BEIRUT, BRASILIA: Clashes have broken out between two powerful insurgent groups in northern Syria, leaving at least two people dead. The Al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Levant Liberation Committee and the Turkey-backed Nour El-Din El-Zinki group blamed each other for triggering Tuesday’s fighting in the northern province of Aleppo. The regime-controlled Syrian Central Military Media says the Al-Qaeda-linked fighters captured the villages of Taqad, Saadiyah and Habata. It added that fighting is ongoing in the town of Daret Azzeh. The Levant Liberation Committee said Nour El-Din El-Zinki militants shot dead five people, including four of its fighters, last week.The clashes are the first between the two former allies since they reached a deal to end similar fighting in October. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says two civilians were killed.
The US and Israel vowed on Tuesday to continue cooperating over Syria and in countering Iran in the Middle East, even as President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Brazilian capital that he planned to discuss how to intensify intelligence and operations cooperation in Syria and elsewhere to block Iranian “aggression.” In his first public comments on Trump’s decision, Pompeo said it “in no way changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel” and that campaigns to counter Daesh and Iranian aggression would continue.
Syria’s army has issued demobilization orders for a new round of men conscripted for compulsory service in 2010, a year before the civil war started.
The decision, announced by state media on Monday, ends the drawn-out deployment of Syrians who enlisted for between 18 months and two years of mandatory military service that year, but who ended up serving for more than eight years because of the conflict. The army issued “an order to demobilize officers from Recruitment Class 103” and recruits drafted in 2010. The order, which comes into effect on Wednesday, also demobilizes officers and reservists enrolled before July 2012. Those who wished to continue fighting in the army’s ranks could request to do so. It is the latest order to let go conscripts as the war winds down and the Damascus regime finds itself in control of almost two-thirds of the country.In May, the army “issued a decision to demobilize the officers and reservists of Recruitment Class 102,” also drafted in 2010.
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