Coalitions falls in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – The coalition government in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) collapsed after the People's Party (HP) announced its withdrawal on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, who is HP leader as well, announced his party's decision to withdraw from the coalition on Wednesday, according to Turkish Agency Cyprus (TAK).

At a news conference, Ozersay said the party members will decide on whether they will continue as an opposition party or make negotiations to form a government.

He said the reason behind their withdrawal was the property rentals of the ministry of finance and "confidence crisis".

Ozersay added he does not exclude the possibility of snap elections.

Earlier Wednesday, Minister of Finance Serdar Denktas had resigned from his post.

Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman also announced that he will submit government's resignation on Thursday.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. — ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

‘US-led coalition killed many civilians in Raqqa’

            By Ali Murat Alhas</p>  <p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – The U.S.-led coalition in Syria killed more than 1,600 civilians in the city of Raqqa during its military campaign against the Daesh terror group in 2017, Amnesty International and a watchdog group said Thursday.</p>  <p>  <p>An interactive website developed by the human rights group and Airwars, a London-based group that monitors the impact of the U.S.-led campaign against Daesh, urged the U.S.-led coalition to take responsibility for the killing of large numbers of civilians who were trapped between Daesh snipers and landmines and coalition attacks.</p>  <p>  <p>The website, called &quot;Rhetoric Versus Reality: How the Most Precise Air Campaign In History Left Raqqa The Most Destroyed City In Modern Times,&quot; said that between June and October 2017, the coalition launched thousands of air and artillery strikes to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are closely affiliated with the YPG/PKK terror group.</p>  <p>  <p>Stressing that the coalition claimed to have taken all necessary measures to spare civilians, the website said this rhetoric was &quot;a far cry from reality&quot;, as it did not coincide with the facts on the ground for the civilians who were slaughtered during the military campaign.</p>  <p>  <p>According to the website, the coalition conducted indiscriminate strikes in residential neighborhoods of the city, whereas former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis defined the anti-Daesh alliance as &quot;good guys&quot; who took many chances to avoid civilian casualties &quot;at all costs&quot;.</p>  <p>  <p>The website pointed out that the coalition strikes led to the decimation of entire families, referring to one tragic incident where four families sheltering in the basement of a five-story building were hit by airstrikes, leaving at least 32 dead, including 20 children.</p>  <p>  <p>&quot;I've lost everyone who was dear to me. My four children, my husband, my mother, my sister, my whole family,&quot; said Ayat Mohammed Jasem, a survivor of the airstrike.</p>  <p>  <p>The website stated that the coalition admitted killing 159 civilians in Raqqa – barely 10% of the real number, noting it must take responsibility for the deaths of all civilians.</p>  <p>  <p>Amnesty and Airwars urged the coalition to make public all relevant information, set up an independent and impartial mechanism to investigate the matter and create a fund to help the families of the deceased.

Trump administration complicit in Saudi crimes: Report

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is complicit in the ongoing bombing campaign in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia, The Washington Post said Wednesday.</p>  <p>Trump recently vetoed a resolution aiming to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war, claiming it would weaken his status as commander-in-chief and that Washington's support for Saudi Arabia &quot;does not amount to engaging in hostilities&quot;.</p>  <p>&quot;In reality, the Saudi bombing campaign would be unsustainable without that U.S. support, or the continuing sale of bombs and other material,&quot; the Post's editorial board said in an opinion piece.</p>  <p>&quot;That makes the Trump administration complicit in the continuing atrocities, such as the latest school and hospital bombings,&quot; it said.</p>  <p> Since March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has bombed a hospital in the district of Kitaf and a school in the country's capital, Sanaa, according to the newspaper.</p>  <p>The strikes left at least 21 civilians dead, at least 12 of them children.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition against Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014.</p>  <p>The campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.</p>  <p>Last year, a UN investigation found that these attacks could possibly amount to war crimes.</p>  <p>      <p>The Post's editorial board noted that Congress needs to look for other ways to force a change in U.S. policy toward the government led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “whose record of extraordinary recklessness in foreign policy has been matched by unprecedented domestic repression”.</p>  <p>It said the ideal approach would be to address both issues, which are intertwined, and this is the strategy of a bipartisan Senate bill. In addition to suspending arms transfers to the kingdom until it ends its campaign in Yemen, the bill seeks to force accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist.</p>  <p>Khashoggi was murdered last October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. But following a rising number of contradictions in its narrative, it sought to blame the journalist's death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.

"Handing a free pass to the crown prince after U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded he was responsible for the Khashoggi murder would be an invitation to further atrocities," it said.

The Post said that while the bill has a good chance of passing, the Republican leadership, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch, has not yet allowed a vote.

Opposition coalition opens first office in NW Syria

            By Omer Koparan and Adham Kako</p>    <p>AZAZ, Syria (AA) - The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces on Wednesday opened its first office in northwestern Syria.</p>    <p>“This new office will allow us to be closer to local governments and our people,” coalition leader Abdul Rahman Mustafa told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>Affiliated with Syria’s interim government, the coalition is an umbrella organization of groups opposed to the Assad regime.</p>  <p>An opening ceremony for the new office -- located in Aleppo’s town of Cobanbey (Al-Rai in Arabic) -- was attended by coalition officials, local council members, members of Syria’s interim government, Free Syrian Army commanders and local tribal figures.</p>    <p>Recognized by 122 countries, the coalition was established in 2012.

Iraq conducts 1st flight with coalition at Syria border

            By Ibrahim Salih and Ali Muhammed</p>  <p>BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi F-16 fighter jets conducted their first flight alongside the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh above the Iraqi-Syrian border, the Iraqi Air Force said early Saturday.</p>  <p>The statement said the flight was part of a defensive mission.</p>  <p>It added that it was aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Iraqi Air Force.</p>  <p>Gen. Brook Leonard, the coalition's director of air operations, was quoted in the statement as saying that the Iraqi Air Force was continuing to build up its capabilities.</p>  <p>He said advisors from the coalition are working with their Iraqi counterparts to coordinate operations against the Daesh terrorist organization.</p>  <p>The Iraqi government announced in December 2017 that its war against Daesh was over and the territories it controlled had been seized.</p>  <p>*Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet</p>  <p> 

UPDATE – Trump vetoes resolution on ending US support in Yemen

            ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT </p>  <p>By Servet Gunerigok</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Tuesday that called for the U.S. to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.  </p>  <p>&quot;This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,&quot; Trump said in a statement.</p>  <p>The move was the second veto of Trump’s presidency.</p>  <p>The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate and co-sponsored by presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, invoking the War Powers resolution, a federal law that gives Congress the power to check the president when committing the U.S. to an armed conflict.</p>  <p>The House passed a similar resolution on Yemen in February, but it was not able to reach the Senate due to a procedural issue.</p>  <p>On Twitter, Sanders said he was &quot;disappointed, but not surprised&quot; at the veto. </p>  <p>&quot;The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Trump has rejected the bi-partisan resolution to end U.S. involvement in the horrific war in Yemen,&quot; Sanders tweeted.</p>  <p> &quot;From a president elected on the promise of putting a stop to our endless wars, this veto is a painful missed opportunity,&quot; said Rep. Ro Khanna. </p>  <p>Khanna called the resolution a major win, saying &quot;It sends a clear signal to the Saudis that they need to lift their blockade and allow humanitarian assistance into Yemen if they care about their relationship with Congress.&quot;</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition against Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014. </p>  <p>The campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.</p>  <p>The bill also served as a sharp criticism of the Trump administration's stance on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 last year.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts but following a rising number of contradictions in its narrative sought to blame the journalist's death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents. </p>  <p>That explanation fell flat for many, including congressional leaders, who insist Khashoggi's high-profile murder could not have been carried out without Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's blessing, especially after the CIA reportedly determined with high confidence in November that bin Salman ordered the killing.</p>  <p>*Michael Hernandez contributed to the story

Trump vetoes resolution on ending US support in Yemen

            By Servet Gunerigok</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Tuesday that called for the U.S. to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.  </p>  <p>&quot;This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,&quot; Trump said in a statement.</p>  <p>Tuesday's move is the second veto of Trump’s presidency.</p>  <p>The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate and co-sponsored by presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, invoking the War Powers resolution, a federal law that gives Congress the power to check the president when committing the U.S. to an armed conflict.</p>  <p>The House passed a similar resolution on Yemen in February, but it was not able to reach the Senate due to a procedural issue.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition against Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014. </p>  <p>The campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.</p>  <p> 

Israel:Parliamentary polls closed, coalition leads vote

             By Anees Barghouthi</p>    <p>JERUSALEM (AA) - Some 65 percent of Israeli voters cast ballots on Tuesday in the parliamentary election, said the electoral commission.</p>    <p>With polls closed in the Knesset voting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party lost against the Blue and White coalition led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid 37-33, according to Israeli Channel 12.</p>    <p>Meanwhile, Channel 11 said the coalition acquired 37 seats, while the Likud Party hold 36.</p>    <p>However, Channel 13 reported that each gained 36 seats at the parliament.</p>    <p>The voting took place at 10,720 polling stations across the country, while 96 stations at Israeli embassies and consulates abroad were also open for voting, according to the country's electoral commission.</p>    <p>There were 6.3 million eligible voters in Israel, according to the country's electoral commission.</p>    <p>More than 40 political parties vied to win seats at the 120-member Knesset, although only 12 parties are expected to pass the electoral threshold.

US, UK arms kill more than 200 Yemeni civilians: Report

            By Servet Gunerigok</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-led coalition has killed more than 200 people, including women and children, using U.S. and British-made weapons in Yemen, said a report Wednesday. </p>  <p>The report, &quot;Day of Judgment: The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen&quot; was prepared by the U.S.-based University Network for Human Rights and the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana.</p>  <p>The 128-page investigation documented 27 &quot;apparently unlawful&quot; attacks on civilians carried out by the coalition between April 2015 and April 2018.</p>  <p>&quot;These twenty-seven airstrikes killed at least 203 people and injured at least 749. At least 122 children and at least 56 women were among the dead and wounded,&quot; said the report. </p>  <p>&quot;Many of the attacks appeared to take place far from any potential military target. Others caused harm to civilians that vastly outweighed any likely military benefit,&quot; it said, adding the coalition forces had not taken adequate precautions to minimize harm to civilians. </p>  <p>According to the report, U.S.-made munitions, including cluster bombs, had likely been used in 25 attacks and UK-made munitions, including Paveway IV and &quot;Hakim&quot; precision guided bombs, in five of the attacks.</p>  <p> It said 16 attacks were on civilian gatherings, civilian homes and a civilian boat; five attacks were on educational and health facilities; five attacks were on civilian businesses; and one attack was on a government cultural center.  </p>  <p>&quot;These cases reinforce prior evidence demonstrating that the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition is failing to fulfill its obligations under the laws of war and repeatedly using U.S. weapons in apparently disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks,&quot; said the report. </p>  <p>The release comes weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require President Donald Trump to halt U.S. assistance for the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen. </p>  <p>Also in February, an all-party committee of the House of Lords concluded in a report that the British government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are unlawful.  </p>  <p>Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains. </p>  <p>Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including numerous civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, while another 14 million are now at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

Yesh Atid, L'Yisrael to enter Israel poll on joint list

            JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel’s Yesh Atid and Hosen L’Yisrael parties on Thursday announced plans to contest upcoming elections slated for April on a joint list, according to local media reports.<br>

The list is expected to be led by former army chief Benny Gantz (Hosen L’Yisrael); former Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid); former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Hosen L’Yisrael); and former army chief Gabi Ashkenazi.

“Out of a spirit of national responsibility, we have decided to form a united list that will become Israel's new ruling party,” Gantz, Lapid and Ya'alon said in a joint statement issued Thursday.

If their list succeeds at the polls, Gantz would serve as prime minister until late 2021 while Ya'alon would be given the defense portfolio, according to The Jerusalem post.

Afterwards, the newspaper surmised, Lapid would assume the premiership while Gantz would take on the role of defense minister.