DAMASCUS -- Russian warplanes carried out on Saturday multiple strikes against the Turkey-backed rebels in the northern countryside of Aleppo Province in northern Syria, a war monitor reported.
On its website, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based watchdog group, said "Russian jets have executed three airstrikes on positions of the Turkey-backed factions in Basofan area in the southwest of Afrin city in the northern countryside of Aleppo."
Russian warplanes also struck positions of the rebels in Idlib and Hama provinces, the observatory added, without providing information on casualties. (Russia-Syria-Turkey-Airstrikes)
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JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday that he will hold his first meetings with senior Gulf ministers in New York.
Bennett was set to depart on Saturday night to the United States to address the UN General Assembly on Monday, his office said in a statement.
On Sunday, he is expected to meet Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, according to the statement. (Israel-Gulf states-Meeting)
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TUNIS -- A total of 113 leaders and members of regional and local offices of Tunisia's Islamist party Ennahdha (Renaissance) announced on Saturday their collective resignation from the party, reported Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP).
Former Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki is among those who have resigned from the Ennahdha party, the first majority party in the Tunisian parliament. The list also included many leaders of Ennahdha's consultative assembly as well as members of regional councils.
In a statement published in local media, they said their resignation is due to "the lack of reforms within the party," adding that "the leadership of Ennahdha is responsible for an important part of the deterioration of the situation in the country." (Tunis-Party-Resignation)
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BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi government on Saturday declared its rejection of local calls for normalization of relations with Israel as such a move is "prohibited by the Iraqi laws."
A statement by the media office of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi confirmed that "the concept of normalization is constitutionally, legally, and politically rejected in the Iraqi state, and that the government clearly expressed Iraq's firm position in support of the Palestinian right in establishing an independent state with al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital."
The government's statement came in response to what it alleged the "illegal meeting raising the slogan of normalization with Israel" held by some Iraqi tribal figures in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. (Iraq-Israel-Relations)