Iraqi forces launch operation to seize last Islamic State enclave in Mosul
BAGHDAD/MOSUL, Iraq Iraqi armed forces launched an operation on Saturday to capture the last Islamic State-held enclave in Mosul, according to a military statement.
GENEVA The United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that for the first time it had reached the opposition-held Azaz area of northern Syria where it found an estimated 45,000 displaced people living in appalling conditions in makeshift camps.
"This is an area that the U.N. has not been able to physically reach ever since the beginning of the conflict," Yacoub El Hillo, director of UNHCR's Middle East and North Africa Bureau, told reporters in Geneva.
Azaz is located opposite Kilis camp on the Turkish side that holds about 10,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed that border, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"On this (Syrian) side it is makeshift camps in appalling conditions. So hopefully this will be the first of many, many convoys that we will be operating," El Hillo said.
The Syrian government does not allow U.N. agencies to enter rebel-held areas from across its borders, but aid agencies including Medecins Sans Frontieres have been active in the Azaz region where temperatures are now sub-zero, he said.
"They want us to continue, it could not have happened without the Syrian government. For the planes to land near Latakia we had to have landing permits and also for the trucks to move," El Hillo said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Jon Boyle)
CAIRO Egypt launched a fresh round of air strikes over Libya on Saturday, Egyptian military sources and an eyewitness told Reuters, targeting militant camps it said were responsible for a shooting spree that killed dozens of Egyptian Christians.
BANGKOK The United Nations expressed grave concern on Saturday over the deportation by Myanmar and Thailand of a Turkish national over alleged connections to a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.