Clashes resume in Beirut as UN warns of migrant crisis
The Associated Press reports that clashes have broken out between Lebanese protesters and security forces near the parliament building in central Beirut, where the new Cabinet is scheduled to submit its policy statement ahead of a vote of confidence. Sky News reports that the UN’s top official in Lebanon has warned of a potential new migrant crisis unfolding into Europe unless Lebanese politicians take immediate action. The Guardian reports that Lebanon’s financial crisis has left its envied media industry in freefall, as Lebanon’s financial collapse that had long been predicted has obliterated revenues.
BBC News reports that a crisis in Yemen, the world’s greatest humanitarian emergency, could be reaching breaking point over the control of lifesaving aid that millions of Yemenis need to survive. The Associated Press reports that Yemen’s warring sides quietly began UN-backed talks about a prisoner swap in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Monday, according to the United Nations.
BBC News, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Reuters, report that five Turkish soldiers have been killed and five others wounded by Syrian army artillery fire in north-western Syria, Turkey’s defence ministry says, as shells reportedly struck a Turkish observation post at Taftanaz airbase in opposition-held Idlib province. The Times reports that Turkey deployed thousands of troops towards the last significant front line of Syria’s civil war yesterday, threatening a direct confrontation with the Assad regime’s forces.
The Associated Press reports that hundreds of thousands of Syrians are scrambling for refuge across the last opposition frontier in Idlib province, after government troops captured more than 600 square kilometres since Friday.
Reuters reports that a Russian team visiting Ankara to discuss the Syrian government offensive in the northwestern Idlib region has left, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Tuesday, with no apparent agreement on how to halt clashes that killed 13 Turkish soldiers in a week.
The Guardian reports that Palestinian-backed plans for a UN security council vote on Tuesday designed to show international opposition to Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan are expected to be shelved after the US and the UK raised separate objections to the draft text. The Associated Press reports that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will reiterate his rejection of the Trump administration’s plan in an address to the UN Security Council Tuesday, but members will not be voting on a draft resolution opposing the US proposal.
The Guardian and Reuters reports that more than 100 US service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, the Pentagon said Monday.
The Independent reports that the owner of an Iranian factory which produces American and Israeli flags burned at protests has said he hopes for better relations between Tehran and Washington, despite any potential impact on his business.
The Israeli media report President Reuven Rivlin’s speech to senior IDF officers in which he urged them to “continue to steer the ship of security wisely, with responsibility and without fear, without the intervention of those who are off-topic” during Israel’s ongoing period of political uncertainty. Rivlin alluded to politicians who may say, tweet and write things, and told the IDF officers “to go with the wisdom of battle and professional command you learned from your commanders, who took it from their commanders, and to make that your compass and conscience.” Rivlin in his speech also said he wished he could guarantee the quick formation of a government and political stability after the upcoming Israeli election, “but this is not the situation, my dear ones, and I am not in the habit of lying.”
All the Israeli media report that a delegation of Egyptian intelligence officers arrived yesterday in the Gaza Strip for ceasefire talks with Hamas. The Egyptians had earlier been in Israel for consultations with the National Security Council, Shin Bet and the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Upon arrival inside Gaza, the Egyptian delegation took a tour of the border region and held discussions with senior Hamas officials – although reportedly not Gaza chief Yahiyeh Sinwar. According to reports, the Egyptians are requesting that Hamas cease rocket fire and explosive-laden balloon launches into Israel, while urging Israel to quicken the pace of humanitarian and economic relief provided to Gaza.