Assad regime accelerates offensive as humanitarian crisis deepens
The Times and The Telegraph report that Russia and the Assad regime escalated their offensive in northwest Syria on Tuesday night, defying criticism from UN officials who accused them of again deliberately striking hospitals and schools. The Times reports that Mark Lowcock, the UN head of humanitarian affairs, demanded Russia accept a “collective stake in humanity”, saying the scale of displacement and death in the last enclave held by rebels was creating the worst crisis of the 21st century. The Associated Press reports that talks between Russia and Turkey meant to reduce tensions did not yield a “satisfactory result” for Ankara, but both sides agreed to continue negotiations, a spokesman for Turkey’s president said Tuesday.
The Guardian, Reuters, The Associated Press and The Independent report that Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appear at a court hearing on 17 March for the start of a corruption trial against him, the Israeli judiciary has announced.
BBC News reports that 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, after 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.
Reuters and the Associated Press report that Libya’s internationally recognised government on Tuesday suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.
The Associated Press report that a small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen’s Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say.
The Associated Press reports that Yemen’s Houthi rebels have blocked half of the United Nations’ aid delivery programs in the war-torn country — a strong-arm tactic to force the agency to give them greater control over the massive humanitarian campaign.
The Times reports that investors in Petrofac enjoyed a rare bit of good news yesterday when the troubled oil services group said that it had secured $1.65 billion of new work in the United Arab Emirates.
Reuters reports that Aramco Trading Co (ATC) has sealed a new deal to secure long-term crude oil supplies from state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) that can be processed at refineries owned by Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) in Asia, trade sources said.
The Associated Press reports that Lebanon’s financial situation points to a likely restructuring of the country’s massive debt and financial sector to preserve declining foreign currency reserves, Fitch Ratings said Tuesday.
The Telegraph reports that a Syrian father has taught his young daughter to laugh at bombs to help cope with Syrian war, in a video that has gone viral on social media platforms.
In The Guardian, Martin Chulov and Dan Sabbagh assess how Iraq is beginning to recover from the death of Qassem Soleimani, arguing the loss of the revered Quds Force commander and his aides has derailed country’s momentum in region.
In the Financial Times, David Gardner argues that Iran’s hardliners back by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Problem (IRGC) ‘face a legitimacy problem’ at this week’s parliamentary elections, as disaffected voters could boycott ballots this week.
In The Independent, Richard Hall writes that the battle for Aleppo is ending with ‘liberation for some but Armageddon for others’, as government supporters celebrate defeat of rebels whilst humanitarian disaster unfolds on other side of battle lines.
In The Independent, Borzou Daragahi writes that Turkey has acquitted nine individuals on charges stemming from 2013 Gezi protests in surprise move, which leave commentators unsure as to whether the judiciary is defying the president or Erdogan is changing direction.