Saudi-led coalition says destroyed Yemen rebel missile launch sites

Saudi-led coalition says destroyed Yemen rebel missile launch sitesA military coalition led by Saudi Arabia said Sunday it had destroyed sites used by Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen to launch missiles at the kingdom. The coalition announced in a statement the “destruction over the past 24 hours of ballistic missile (launch) sites run by the Huthi militias in Saada”, a northern Yemeni province bordering Saudi Arabia and controlled by the Huthis. Riyadh and its allies are fighting alongside Yemen’s government against the Iran-backed Huthis in a war that has killed thousands and pushed impoverished Yemen to the brink of famine.


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Merkel, rebel minister agree migrant deal to avert govt crisis

Merkel, rebel minister agree migrant deal to avert govt crisisGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a deal Monday on migration with her rebellious interior minister, Horst Seehofer, defusing a bitter row that had threatened her government. Both sides hammered out “a truly good compromise … after a tough struggle and difficult days,” Merkel said, adding that it involved setting up holding and processing centres for asylum seekers near German borders. “We now have a clear agreement how to prevent illegal immigration across the Austrian-German border in future,” said Seehofer, whose CSU is the traditional Bavaria state ally of Merkel’s CDU party.


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Mexico elections: Who is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left-wing rebel tipped to take power?

Mexico elections: Who is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left-wing rebel tipped to take power?Commentators say the former Mexico City mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, would inject a new dose of nationalism into government – something that could heighten tensions in already testy US-Mexican relations. Mr Lopez Obrador has led opinion polls throughout the campaign in an election marred by violence, with 130 candidates and political workers killed since September. If he ousts the ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), he would be the first leftist in decades to take the presidency.


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Rebel-held Syrian towns accept Assad rule after regime bombardment

Rebel-held Syrian towns accept Assad rule after regime bombardment A string of Syrian rebel-held towns and villages accepted government rule on Saturday as insurgent lines collapsed in parts of the southwest under an intense bombardment that the United Nations says has forced 160,000 people to flee. The southwest was an early hotbed of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and defeat there would leave rebels with just one remaining stronghold - the area around Idlib province bordering Turkey in the northwest. Rebels met Russian negotiators on Saturday to seek peace terms for Daraa province, where most of their southwest territory is located, but said these failed. Moscow is Assad’s strongest ally and its air power since 2015 has been crucial to his recapture of vast swathes of Syria. Local groups in many towns seized by the army in recent days had negotiated their own surrender deals independently of the main rebel operations rooms after heavy air raids. State television broadcast footage from inside the towns of Dael and al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya, where people were shown chanting pro-Assad slogans. Young boys sit atop a truck as they flee rebel-held areas of the city of Daraa Credit: MOHAMAD ABAZEED/AFP/Getty Images A war monitor and a military media unit run by the government’s ally Hezbollah said numerous other towns and villages had agreed to come back under Assad’s rule. Fierce battles were still roiling the area around Daraa city, near the Jordanian border, where the army was trying to capture a disused air base, rebels said, and the northwestern chunk of Daraa province remains in opposition hands. Air raids meanwhile intensified, said the monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as displaced people flocked to the border areas least likely to be hit and the United Nations warned about a humanitarian catastrophe. After the peace talks failed on Saturday, warplanes launched a new wave of strikes on the rebel-held towns of Bosra al-Sham, al-Nuaima and other areas, the Observatory reported, causing deaths, injuries and damage. The army’s offensive follows the capitulation of rebel enclaves near Homs and Damascus, including eastern Ghouta, which was recaptured after a scorched-earth assault that killed over a thousand civilians and laid waste to several towns. Syrians wait at the border areas near Jordan after they fled from the ongoing military operations by the Assad regime and its allies  Credit: Ammar Al Ali /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Warfare in the southwest could risk a further escalation because of its proximity to Israel. The Israelis have already targeted Iran-backed militias fighting on Assad’s side, which they have vowed to keep far from their country’s borders. The government’s offensive so far has focused on Daraa province, which borders Jordan, but not Quneitra province abutting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The entire southwest is part of a “de-escalation zone” agreed last year by Russia, the US and Jordan. Despite Washington’s threats that it would respond to breaches of that arrangement, it has shown no sign of doing so, and the opposition’s top negotiator on Thursday accused it of having struck a “malicious deal” to stay silent.


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