Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020

Middle East

Find breaking news, top stories and features from Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Jordan condemns Jerusalem Old City railway plan

Jordan has condemned a decision by Israel to advance a plan to build a railway line and station underneath the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Israeli transport ministry said on Monday that a new route had been approved for an extension of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed railway. A 3km (2-mile) tunnel will lead to […]

Iran's judiciary says jailed German freed, returned home

DUBAI (REUTERS) – Iran has freed a German citizen sentenced to three years in jail, the Iranian judiciary said on Tuesday (Feb 18), a day after Teheran said a detained Iranian accused of violating US sanctions had returned home from Germany. “On Monday, a German citizen returned home. He was arrested while ago and was […]

Syrian forces consolidate control of Aleppo, pledge to eradicate remaining insurgents

BEIRUT (REUTERS) – The Syrian army said on Monday (Feb 17) it had taken full control of dozens of towns in Aleppo’s northwestern countryside and it would press on with its campaign to wipe out militant groups “wherever they are found”. The advances were made after President Bashar al-Assad’s forces drove insurgents from the M5 […]

US troops clash with government loyalists in Syria

A man has reportedly been killed in a rare confrontation in north-eastern Syria between US-led coalition forces and pro-government militia fighters. Syria’s state news agency, Sana, said a civilian died when US troops fired at a crowd stopping them pass through a checkpoint east of Qamishli city. A monitoring group said it was not clear […]

UN lists 112 firms linked to Israeli settlements

The UN human rights office has issued a long-awaited report on companies linked to Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The report names 112 business entities the office says it has reasonable grounds to conclude have been involved in activities related to settlements. They include Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and Motorola Solutions. The Palestinians […]

Iran denies satellite programme has military dimension

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s government on Wednesday (Feb 12) rejected the United States’ allegations that the Islamic republic’s satellite programme has a military dimension, days after the failed launch of its latest satellite. “The subject of satellite launch vehicles and satellites is a civilian matter,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by state […]

Lebanon government wins confidence vote as protests rock Beirut

BEIRUT (REUTERS) – Lebanon’s new government won a vote of confidence from parliament on Tuesday (Feb 11) as protesters trying to block the session clashed with security forces, leaving hundreds injured. Smoke wafted through the city as riot police fired tear gas at the protesters, who were seeking to keep MPs from reaching the heavily […]

Passenger plane was nearly shot down in Syria, Russia says

BEIRUT (NYTIMES) – A passenger plane with 172 people aboard made an emergency landing at a Russian military base in Syria on Thursday after drawing fire from Syrian air defences in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in the area, Russian state news agencies reported Friday (Feb 7). A spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry, […]

Airliner ‘nearly hit’ by Syria anti-aircraft fire

A passenger plane in Syria was forced to re-route after it was almost hit by the country’s missile defence system, Russia’s defence ministry says. According to a statement quoted by Russian media, the plane was about to land in Damascus when Syrian anti-aircraft fire responded to an alleged Israeli attack early on Thursday. The Airbus […]