“Units from the Syrian National Army headed towards the Manbij front and took preliminary positions (in preparation) for the battle,” said Major Youssef Hamoud, the spokesman for the National Army, the main Turkey-backed rebel force in the area. The group is aimed at unifying disparate factions in northwest Syria.
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were meeting for the first time in about six months, but they stopped short of announcing the resumption of peace talks that collapsed last year. The leaders had a “frank exchange of views” on the way forward, they said in a joint statement after meeting at a United Nations compound on the island on early on Friday.
“No one would imagine that in today’s world and in this century, we would witness such an organized murder, with an apparatus organizing such a heinous killing,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting, referring to the findings in the case of Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi consulate on October 2, but never emerged.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.
“Why did these 15 people come here? Why were 18 people arrested? All of this needs to be explained in all its details,” Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of the two Turkish officials told Reuters.
The Turkish sources did not say how they believed the killing was carried out.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a ceasefire in the rebel-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria on Friday and said an anticipated government assault on insurgents there could result in a massacre. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Moscow opposed a truce, and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory.