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    Nissan CEO calls on Renault to listen to detail of Ghosn allegations

    Nissan CEO calls on Renault to listen to detail of Ghosn allegations


    Nissan Motor's CEO called on directors at alliance partner Renault RENA.PA to heed its reasons for sacking former Chairman Carlos Ghosn over alleged financial misconduct amid tensions over how to handle the fallout from his arrest. Renault's interim...

    Nissan Motor's CEO called on directors at alliance partner Renault RENA.PA to heed its reasons for sacking former Chairman Carlos Ghosn over alleged financial misconduct amid tensions over how to handle the fallout from his arrest. Renault's interim chairman Philippe Lagayette said on Friday that its board had not considered replacing Ghosn, who was ousted by Nissan days after his arrest in Japan in November, as head of the French carmaker. "We hope the board will listen to our explanation," Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told reporters after a board meeting of the Japanese carmaker at which it confirmed plans to strengthen corporate governance following the Ghosn crisis.


    The mid-engined Dodge Viper that never was

    The mid-engined Dodge Viper that never was


    The iconic front-engined Dodge Viper could have ended up with its monstrous V10 in the middle of the car, had a secret project exploring said possibility gone...

    The iconic front-engined Dodge Viper could have ended up with its monstrous V10 in the middle of the car, had a secret project exploring said possibility gone differently


    Indian troops enforce lockdown to foil Kashmir protest march

    Indian troops enforce lockdown to foil Kashmir protest march


    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Soldiers and police fanned out across Indian-controlled Kashmir on Monday to enforce a security lockdown for a second straight day to stop anti-India protests and foil a call by separatists for a march toward India's main...

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Soldiers and police fanned out across Indian-controlled Kashmir on Monday to enforce a security lockdown for a second straight day to stop anti-India protests and foil a call by separatists for a march toward India's main military garrison in the disputed region.


    Foxconn not in settlement talks with Qualcomm in Apple battle: attorney

    Foxconn not in settlement talks with Qualcomm in Apple battle: attorney


    The lead attorney for the group of Apple Inc device assemblers seeking at least $9 billion in damages from Qualcomm Inc said on Sunday the contract manufacturers are not in settlement talks with the mobile chip supplier and are "gearing up and heading...

    The lead attorney for the group of Apple Inc device assemblers seeking at least $9 billion in damages from Qualcomm Inc said on Sunday the contract manufacturers are not in settlement talks with the mobile chip supplier and are "gearing up and heading toward the trial" in April. The conflict is but one aspect of the global legal battle between regulators, Apple and Qualcomm, which supplies modem chips that help phones connect to wireless data networks. Last week, Qualcomm secured a preliminary victory in a patent lawsuit in China that would have banned sales of some Apple iPhones there.


    Ottawa's envoy in China meets with second detained Canadian: ministry

    Ottawa's envoy in China meets with second detained Canadian: ministry


    Ottawa's ambassador to Beijing has met with the second Canadian detained in China on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada's foreign ministry said Sunday. The ministry said Ambassador John McCallum had met with Michael Spavor, a business...

    Ottawa's ambassador to Beijing has met with the second Canadian detained in China on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada's foreign ministry said Sunday. The ministry said Ambassador John McCallum had met with Michael Spavor, a business consultant, two days after meeting with another detained Canadian, Michael Kovrig, a think tank employee. "Canadian consular officials continue to provide consular services to him and his family and will continue to seek further access to Mr Spavor," the ministry said.


    Google to invest $1 bn in new New York campus

    Google to invest $1 bn in new New York campus


    Google's parent company Alphabet on Monday said it was investing more than $1 billion to set up a new campus in New York City. In a blog post, Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat said it would lease large office buildings in Manhattan's West Village...

    Google's parent company Alphabet on Monday said it was investing more than $1 billion to set up a new campus in New York City. In a blog post, Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat said it would lease large office buildings in Manhattan's West Village neighbourhood which will become the centerpiece of a campus of more than 1.7 million square-feet (160,000 square metres). The new campus, which should be operational starting in 2020, will be known as Google Hudson Square and "will be the primary location for our New York-based Global Business Organization," Porat wrote.


    French city honors victims of Christmas market attack

    French city honors victims of Christmas market attack


    PARIS (AP) — People filled a square in the French city of Strasbourg on Sunday to show respect and sympathy for the victims of last week's shooting attack near a famous Christmas market as the death toll rose to...

    PARIS (AP) — People filled a square in the French city of Strasbourg on Sunday to show respect and sympathy for the victims of last week's shooting attack near a famous Christmas market as the death toll rose to five.


    Qatar Buys Mexican Oil Stakes From Eni

    Qatar Buys Mexican Oil Stakes From Eni


    Eni and the government-owned energy company in Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, will produce about 90,000 barrels of oil a day from the Amoca, Mizton and Tecoalli fields in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of 2021, Saad...

    Eni and the government-owned energy company in Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, will produce about 90,000 barrels of oil a day from the Amoca, Mizton and Tecoalli fields in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of 2021, Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister, said in Doha. The fields hold 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, he said at a press conference with Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi.


    Sudan's president is first Arab leader to visit Syria since crisis

    Sudan's president is first Arab leader to visit Syria since crisis


    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, the first such visit by an Arab leader since the start of the Syrian conflict, Syrian state media said. President Bashar al Assad welcomed him at the airport, official...

    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, the first such visit by an Arab leader since the start of the Syrian conflict, Syrian state media said. President Bashar al Assad welcomed him at the airport, official photos showed. Many Arab countries have shunned Assad since the conflict that began early in 2011 after protests calling for his downfall swept Syria.


    Top Democrat Schiff Adds Call for Probe of Trump, Deutsche Bank Links

    Top Democrat Schiff Adds Call for Probe of Trump, Deutsche Bank Links


    Representative Adam Schiff of California said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that any type of compromise needs to be investigated. Schiff’s comments came three days after Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and fellow Senate...

    Representative Adam Schiff of California said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that any type of compromise needs to be investigated. Schiff’s comments came three days after Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and fellow Senate Democrat Chris Van Hollen called for a Banking Committee investigation of Deutsche Bank’s compliance with U.S. money-laundering regulations.


    Trump will ‘absolutely’ shut down government to build border wall, says top White House aide

    Trump will ‘absolutely’ shut down government to build border wall, says top White House aide


    Donald Trump is “absolutely” willing to shut down the government in order to get funding for a wall on the US border with Mexico, a top White House aide has said. “We will do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing...

    Donald Trump is “absolutely” willing to shut down the government in order to get funding for a wall on the US border with Mexico, a top White House aide has said. “We will do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of immigration,” said White House senior adviser Stephen Miller. The comments of Mr Miller, a hardliner on immigration issues, come days after Mr Trump met with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate respectively.


    Russia retains heightened military border presence: Ukraine leader

    Russia retains heightened military border presence: Ukraine leader


    Russia retains a heightened military presence on Ukraine's border, having pulled back "less than 10 percent" of its forces since tensions between the countries peaked in November, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday. "The biggest part (of...

    Russia retains a heightened military presence on Ukraine's border, having pulled back "less than 10 percent" of its forces since tensions between the countries peaked in November, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday. "The biggest part (of troops) is still there, less than 10 percent have been withdrawn," Poroshenko told a press conference.


    Student Charged After Video Shows Fight That Left Another Student Injured

    Student Charged After Video Shows Fight That Left Another Student Injured


    A student was charged with aggravated battery after an attack that left another student seriously injured was caught on video at the Lockport Township High School East...

    A student was charged with aggravated battery after an attack that left another student seriously injured was caught on video at the Lockport Township High School East Campus.


    Mueller's rush to sentence Trump associates - an unusual way to treat cooperating witnesses - suggests Russia investigation is ending

    Mueller's rush to sentence Trump associates - an unusual way to treat cooperating witnesses - suggests Russia investigation is ending


    Amid the whirlwind of hearings, guilty pleas and sentencing memos that has been Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe in the last few weeks, an unusual pattern has emerged. One of Mueller’s biggest successes as his team investigate 2016...

    Amid the whirlwind of hearings, guilty pleas and sentencing memos that has been Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe in the last few weeks, an unusual pattern has emerged. One of Mueller’s biggest successes as his team investigate 2016 election meddling and possible collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump’s campaign team, has been his ability to get former associates of the president to “flip” and cooperate with him. Among the more high-profile are Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn, and former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.


    Bomb kills 8 in Syrian town held by Turkey-backed forces

    Bomb kills 8 in Syrian town held by Turkey-backed forces


    BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb blast in a northwestern Syrian town held by Turkish-backed opposition forces killed at least eight people and wounded two dozen Sunday, activists and local security said, the latest in a series of attacks along the border where...

    BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb blast in a northwestern Syrian town held by Turkish-backed opposition forces killed at least eight people and wounded two dozen Sunday, activists and local security said, the latest in a series of attacks along the border where Turkey has troops.


    For sale: Restored home of Salem witch trials refugee

    For sale: Restored home of Salem witch trials refugee


    BOSTON (AP) — A once-run-down historic home that stands where a woman accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials settled after she was spared the noose is on the market after an extensive renovation...

    BOSTON (AP) — A once-run-down historic home that stands where a woman accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials settled after she was spared the noose is on the market after an extensive renovation project.


    Australia "recognition" move criticized in Israel

    Australia "recognition" move criticized in Israel


    Israel indicates displeasure at an Australian decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital - with a confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting the announcement does not go far enough. Pascale davies...

    Israel indicates displeasure at an Australian decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital - with a confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting the announcement does not go far enough. Pascale davies reports.


    Iraq lays cornerstone to rebuild iconic Mosul mosque

    Iraq lays cornerstone to rebuild iconic Mosul mosque


    Iraqis on Sunday laid the cornerstone in rebuilding Mosul's Al-Nuri mosque and leaning minaret, national emblems destroyed last year in the ferocious battle against the Islamic State group. The famed 12th century mosque and minaret, dubbed Al-Hadba or...

    Iraqis on Sunday laid the cornerstone in rebuilding Mosul's Al-Nuri mosque and leaning minaret, national emblems destroyed last year in the ferocious battle against the Islamic State group. The famed 12th century mosque and minaret, dubbed Al-Hadba or "the hunchback," hosted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's only public appearance as IS chief, when he declared a self-styled "caliphate" after the jihadists swept into Mosul in 2014. The structures were ravaged three years later in the final, most brutal stages of the months-long fight to rid Iraq's second city of IS.


    May's Team Pushes Back at Second Vote Reports: Brexit Update

    May's Team Pushes Back at Second Vote Reports: Brexit Update


    “Unreasonable people” in the U.K. are blocking the Brexit withdrawal agreement from passing, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Sunday. “We have a deal that’s been negotiated, unfortunately there are some very unreasonable people in...

    “Unreasonable people” in the U.K. are blocking the Brexit withdrawal agreement from passing, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Sunday. “We have a deal that’s been negotiated, unfortunately there are some very unreasonable people in Westminster that are trying to block that,” Coveney said in an RTE Television interview.


    South Africa's ANC Postpones Party Election List Conference

    South Africa's ANC Postpones Party Election List Conference


    The conference would be rescheduled to Jan. 4-5 from this weekend to accommodate the North West province, which hadn’t submitted its nominations, ANC acting spokesman Dakota Legeote said by phone. The conference had been delayed because of deep...

    The conference would be rescheduled to Jan. 4-5 from this weekend to accommodate the North West province, which hadn’t submitted its nominations, ANC acting spokesman Dakota Legeote said by phone. The conference had been delayed because of deep divisions within the party and allegations by some members of manipulation of the lists, City Press reported on Sunday. South Africa is due to hold national and provincial elections in 2019, likely in May. The country has a proportional representation system in which lawmakers are chosen according to where they sit on nomination lists.


    Malaysia's Mahathir says no rights to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

    Malaysia's Mahathir says no rights to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital


    Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday criticized Australia's move to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying countries had "no rights" to do so. Australia's move follows U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S....

    Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday criticized Australia's move to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying countries had "no rights" to do so. Australia's move follows U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May, which infuriated Palestinians and the wider Islamic world and upset Western allies. "Jerusalem should remain as it is now and not the capital of Israel," Mahathir told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Bangkok.


    Family of seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US custody disputes official story

    Family of seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US custody disputes official story


    The family of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody is disputing claims made by US officials who said she had not eaten or consumed water for days. The parents of Jakelin Caal said the girl had been given food and water and...

    The family of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody is disputing claims made by US officials who said she had not eaten or consumed water for days. The parents of Jakelin Caal said the girl had been given food and water and appeared to be in good health as she travelled through Mexico with her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz. Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas, said Mr Caal told him the group they were travelling with was dropped off in Mexico about a 90-minute walk from the US border.


    Displaced huddle in a basement as winter grips Syria

    Displaced huddle in a basement as winter grips Syria


    Al-Bab (Syria) (AFP) - After washing up her family's dishes over a plastic basin, 11-year-old Cedra sits on the floor of the dank basement in Syria to tackle her day's studies. A dark staircase leads from a street in the town of Al-Bab to the gloomy...

    Al-Bab (Syria) (AFP) - After washing up her family's dishes over a plastic basin, 11-year-old Cedra sits on the floor of the dank basement in Syria to tackle her day's studies. A dark staircase leads from a street in the town of Al-Bab to the gloomy space the young girl, her blind father and some 40 other families have the misfortune of calling home. "There's a single room which we use as a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom," said Cedra.


    Biden Leads Sanders, O'Rourke in Iowa Democratic Caucus Poll

    Biden Leads Sanders, O'Rourke in Iowa Democratic Caucus Poll


    The poll asked likely caucusgoers who their top choice for president would be among potential candidates for their party’s nomination. The Iowa poll found 32 percent of likely caucusgoers prefer Biden, with 19 percent selecting Sanders as their first...

    The poll asked likely caucusgoers who their top choice for president would be among potential candidates for their party’s nomination. The Iowa poll found 32 percent of likely caucusgoers prefer Biden, with 19 percent selecting Sanders as their first choice, and O’Rourke at 11 percent.


    Father of Strasbourg attacker said his son backed IS group

    Father of Strasbourg attacker said his son backed IS group


    PARIS (AP) — The man described as the father of the 29-year-old suspect in this week's deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg says his son subscribed to the beliefs of the Islamic State...

    PARIS (AP) — The man described as the father of the 29-year-old suspect in this week's deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg says his son subscribed to the beliefs of the Islamic State group.


    Family complains that Catholic priest used teen's funeral to condemn suicide

    Family complains that Catholic priest used teen's funeral to condemn suicide


    The parents of a teenage boy who took his own life have condemned a Catholic priest who questioned whether their son would get to heaven while presiding over his funeral. The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit expressed regret for the comments and said the...

    The parents of a teenage boy who took his own life have condemned a Catholic priest who questioned whether their son would get to heaven while presiding over his funeral. The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit expressed regret for the comments and said the Rev Don LaCuesta would not preach at funerals "for the foreseeable future". But the parents of Maison Hullibarger said they wanted the priest removed from his post for the heartbreak caused. "We wanted him to celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died," his mother, Linda Hullibarger, told The Detroit Free Press. Jeff Hullibarger added: "It was his time to tell everybody what he thought of suicide, (and) we couldn't believe what he was saying. “He was up there condemning our son, pretty much calling him a sinner. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said 'suicide' upwards of six times. They said they met the priest ahead of the service at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Temperance, Michigan, on December 8, setting out what they hoped to hear in a loving homily. However, the Catholic Church has traditionally taught that suicide was an unforgiveable sin. It has only been in recent years that the stance has softened to forgive suicide in situations of extreme stress. The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit apologised and said Mr LaCuesta would be removed from funeral duties and given extra assistance. "We share the family’s grief at such a profound loss. Our hope is always to bring comfort into situations of great pain, through funeral services centered on the love and healing power of Christ," it said in a statement. "Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case. We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry."


    Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

    Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica


    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra was ordered this week to rebuild it exactly as it...

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra was ordered this week to rebuild it exactly as it was.


    Family of dead migrant girl says she was healthy before being detained at US border

    Family of dead migrant girl says she was healthy before being detained at US border


    The family of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US Border Patrol custody is disputing an account from American officials who said she had not been given food or water for days. In a statement released by lawyers, the parents of Jakelin Caal said...

    The family of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US Border Patrol custody is disputing an account from American officials who said she had not been given food or water for days. In a statement released by lawyers, the parents of Jakelin Caal said the girl had been given food and water and appeared to be in good health as she travelled through Mexico with her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz. Border Patrol officials did not immediately respond to the family's comments. The family's statement was released on Saturday during a news conference in El Paso, Texas, at an immigrant shelter where Jakelin's father is staying. Her family did not attend and has asked for privacy. Jakelin and her father were seeking asylum in the US and were among a large group of migrants arrested on December 6 near a remote border crossing in New Mexico. Hours later they were placed on a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station, but Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing. She later died at a Texas hospital. Border Patrol officials on Friday said agents did everything they could to save the girl but that she had not had food or water for days. They added that an initial screening showed no evidence of health problems, and that her father had signed a form indicating she was in good health. Claudia Maquin, 27, shows a photo of her daughter, Jakelin, at her home in Raxruha, Guatemala  Credit: Oliver de Ros/AP But the family took issue with that form, which was in English, a language her father doesn't speak or read. He communicated with border agents in Spanish but he primarily speaks the Mayan Q'eqchi' language. "It is unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand," the statement said. Jakelin's family is urging authorities to conduct an "objective and thorough" investigation into the death and to determine whether officials met standards for the arrest and custody of children. A cause of death has not yet been released. A private prayer service was held in Texas on Friday so her father could see Jakelin's body before it is taken to Guatemala, said Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House shelter where her father is staying. "All of us were moved by the depth of his faith and his trust that God's hand is in all of this," Garcia said. Family members in Guatemala said Caal decided to migrate with his favorite child to earn money he could send back home. Jakelin's mother and three siblings remained in San Antonio Secortez, a village of about 420 inhabitants. 


    Prada apologizes for 'Pradamalia' toys that evoke racist blackface imagery

    Prada apologizes for 'Pradamalia' toys that evoke racist blackface imagery


    On the heels of Dolce & Gabbana's disastrous Chinese ad campaign, Prada found itself embroiled in its own controversy over monkey toys and keychains accused of evoking racist imagery. The company later apologized on Twitter, promising to recall the...

    On the heels of Dolce & Gabbana's disastrous Chinese ad campaign, Prada found itself embroiled in its own controversy over monkey toys and keychains accused of evoking racist imagery. The company later apologized on Twitter, promising to recall the offensive figurines from its new "Pradamalia" line of collectibles. "The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre.


    Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

    Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar


    DALLAS (AP) — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a former Baylor University student accused of rape to avoid jail time holds three degrees from Baylor. The criminal district attorney overseeing the case holds two. The prosecutor who...

    DALLAS (AP) — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a former Baylor University student accused of rape to avoid jail time holds three degrees from Baylor. The criminal district attorney overseeing the case holds two. The prosecutor who agreed to the plea agreement graduated from Baylor law school.


    Trucker saves dogs thrown from vehicle on New York highway

    Trucker saves dogs thrown from vehicle on New York highway


    NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of beagle mixes are on the mend after authorities say someone threw them out of a moving vehicle on a snowy New York highway. The dogs were rescued by a passing trucker, but one was so badly mangled that a front leg had to be...

    NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of beagle mixes are on the mend after authorities say someone threw them out of a moving vehicle on a snowy New York highway. The dogs were rescued by a passing trucker, but one was so badly mangled that a front leg had to be amputated.


    Yemenis fear collapse of UN-backed ceasefire accord

    Yemenis fear collapse of UN-backed ceasefire accord


    Residents of Yemen's flashpoint port of Hodeida and other cities fear a UN-brokered ceasefire could collapse at any moment, saying that after four years of conflict any accord is deeply fragile. The Red Sea port of Hodeida, a main frontline between...

    Residents of Yemen's flashpoint port of Hodeida and other cities fear a UN-brokered ceasefire could collapse at any moment, saying that after four years of conflict any accord is deeply fragile. The Red Sea port of Hodeida, a main frontline between rebels and loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition and a key conduit of aid, had woken to calm after weeks of confrontation. Saturday morning saw calm return to Hodeida, but shops and schools remained shuttered as gunmen deployed in the south and east.


    Salazar: I believe Trump is trying to end the problem

    Salazar: I believe Trump is trying to end the problem


    Former Florida House of Representatives candidate Maria Elvira Salazar weighs in who is responsible for the death of 7-year-old girl who died upon arriving at the U.S....

    Former Florida House of Representatives candidate Maria Elvira Salazar weighs in who is responsible for the death of 7-year-old girl who died upon arriving at the U.S. border.


    Inside the threatened Kurdish proto-state that holds the keys to defeating Isil

    Inside the threatened Kurdish proto-state that holds the keys to defeating Isil


    On one end of Qamishli’s main street flies the two-starred Syrian national flag. On the other, that of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. “One flag represents our past oppression, the other our freedom,” says Mahmoud, who owns a clothing shop...

    On one end of Qamishli’s main street flies the two-starred Syrian national flag. On the other, that of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. “One flag represents our past oppression, the other our freedom,” says Mahmoud, who owns a clothing shop which sits between the two.   Before the civil war, it would have been unthinkable for the Kurdish minority to openly pledge allegiance to anything other than the President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Arab Republic. But seven years into Syria's interminable conflict the Kurds appear to have carved out something of a proto-state in this corner of northeastern Syria, thanks in part to their efforts to flush out Isil. While they have been crushing the Caliphate to a tiny sliver of territory - taking the last town held by the Islamist on Friday morning - their separatist ambitions have largely been overlooked. Until now. Kurdish-held northern Syria The city of Qamishli has become the centre of the Kurds’ ambitious self-administration project. While a few government buildings and statues of President Assad remain, Qamishli and the surrounding areas are now firmly under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Mahmoud is a proud supporter of the PYD, but still he declines to give his full name to the Telegraph for fear of reprisal should the regime one day return. Assad has repeatedly promised to retake every inch of Syria, including the third currently in Kurdish hands. The prospect looked more likely than at any other time in the war this week after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered Turkish troops and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels to ready for an assault on Syria’s Kurds. Turkey views the PYD’s military arm, the Popular Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist organisation because of its links to an insurgent group inside Turkey, and has watched with growing concern at Kurdish expansionism on the other side of its border. In recent years, Turkish forces have already swept into Syria pushing the YPG out of territory west of the Euphrates river. But past offensives have stopped at its banks, partly to avoid direct confrontation with US troops that back the Kurds. "Turkey has lost enough time in terms of intervening to clean the terror swamp east of the Euphrates. We don't have the patience to wait one more day," Mr Erdogan warned on Friday. Men queue up to buy bread outside a bakery on the outskirts of Qamishli Credit: Sam Tarling The Kurds, who have so far relied on the US for support in their battles against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), have threatened to abandon the fight if they are left to fend for themselves in the face of a Turkish onslaught. But Washington has sent mixed signals on whether it would be behind them in any fight against Nato ally Turkey. “We don’t rely on any government, we just have strategic alliances,” Salih Muslim, a prominent political player in Rojava who until recently co-chaired the PYD, told the Sunday Telegraph. “The Kurds have expected a move from Turkey for a while now and will not easily back down.” Whatever they might say, it is clear is that the Kurds cannot stave off Turkish aggression alone. In the absence of a reliable ally in the US, they may soon be forced to decide whether to risk their chances, or eek out an unfavourable deal with Assad to secure long-term survival. “We have to take Assad at his word,” Khalaf Dahowd, head of the foreign committee of the Democratic Change Movement, told the Sunday Telegraph from his office in Qamishli, refering to the president's pledge to take back all Syria's territory. “If he gets the chance to take Rojava he will,” said Mr Dahowd, using the Kurdish name for the area of self-rule which covers some 15,000 square miles. A convoy of American Special Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces fighters makes a stop during a patrol near the Turkish border in northern Syria Credit:  Sam Tarling “Even when he was at his weakest point, before Russia intervened and it looked like he was going to lose everything, Assad refused to work with the Kurds,” he said. “Now he is winning, and as the saying goes - the winner takes all.” Kurdish officials who were part of the first delegation to Damascus over the summer say the Syrian government was not prepared to make a single concession. Despite this, the Kurds - who are just about the only side in the multi-faceted war not to have had a full-scale military conflict with the regime - still hold out hope for a political solution. The Kurds, who number more than two million in Syria, have made great sacrifices for their “democratic experiment”, as they call their pseudo-state in the north. Islamic State losing its grip on Syria The YPG has suffered considerable losses in the battles against Isil in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in the east. Officials estimate up to 8,000 fighters have been killed and 5,000 injured. Fierce battles are still ongoing for the last sliver of jihadist territory in Deir Ezzor. At least 5,000 IS fighters remain holed up in the pocket of territory, including some 2,000 foreign fighters, mostly Arabs and Europeans along with their families. The YPG has also made significant gains, including control of the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq, its most lucrative oil fields and the freedom to once again speak their native language after decades of repression. “There are basic things we cannot give up; we need our democratic rights and our culture and language to be protected,” said Fawza al-Youssef, the co-chair of the executive body of the North Syria Federation. “But there are other things that are negotiable.” Mahmoud Mohammad Serhan, 59, a a retired trader who now keeps a farm, gets a cutthroat shave at a barber shop in Qamishli Credit:  Sam Tarling Relinquishing control of the borders and folding the YPG, into the national army, would be among the demands she says the self-administration would consider in return for a decentralisation of government. It would also be willing to do a deal on the oil fields in eastern Deir Ezzor province, which account for more than 80 per cent of the country’s pre-war production and currently lie within their control. “We aren’t saying all of this is rightfully ours, but the people here should benefit,” Ms Youssef said.  The next few days will prove pivotal for the Kurds as they face the greatest existential threat to their autonomy project since the war began. “We can’t go back to where were were before 2011, when we had nothing,” said Ms Youssef. “We have not fought this hard for it all to be destroyed.”


    What the New Court Ruling Striking Down the ACA Means for Your Health Insurance

    What the New Court Ruling Striking Down the ACA Means for Your Health Insurance


    Just as the sign-up window for individual health insurance for 2019 is closing, a legal ruling is creating new uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and could potentially...

    Just as the sign-up window for individual health insurance for 2019 is closing, a legal ruling is creating new uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and could potentially ...