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US refutes Syrian government’s claim of entering Manbij | Syria News

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The Syrian army has not entered Manbij, the United States military has said, after Syrian forces claimed they had gone into the key northern city and raised the national flag.

“Despite incorrect information about changes to the military forces in Manbij city, (the US-led coalition) has seen no indication of these claims being true,” US Central Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown said on Friday.

Manbij is a strategic city close to the Turkish border where Kurdish forces have been deployed since 2016.

US and French special operations troops are also stationed there, assisting the Kurds, but the Americans will be withdrawing under a surprise pull-out announced by President Donald Trump last week.

Brown called on all parties to respect the “integrity of Manbij and the safety of its citizens”.

“Our mission has not changed. We will continue to support our coalition partners, while also conducting a deliberate and controlled withdrawal of forces, while taking all measures possible to ensure our troops’ safety and that of our partners on the ground,” he told AFP news agency.

‘No sign of Syrian forces’

The Syrian government announced earlier on Friday that it has entered the town of Manbij and raised the national flag there.

It also pledged to guarantee “full security for all Syrian citizens and others present in the area”, according to Syrian state-run news agency SANA.

However, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish border, said residents of Manbij, which lies 30km south of the Turkish border, dispute the Syrian army’s claim.

“Manbij residents who we spoke to have said that they have not seen any sign of Syrian forces in their city but what we know is that Syrian government troops have already been on the outskirts of the city, where they were part of an international coalition that is fighting remnants of ISIL,” he said.

Nura al-Hamed, deputy head of the Manbij local authority, told AFP that the regime deployment was the result of Russian-sponsored negotiations.

“The regime forces will not enter the city of Manbij itself but will deploy on the demarcation line” with Turkish-backed Syrian groups, she said.

Shift in alliance

The Syrian army’s deployment creates a government buffer arching across northern Syria that fully separates the Turkish army and its proxies from the Kurds.

Turkey reacted to the deployment by warning “all sides to stay away from provocative actions” while a large convoy of its Syrian auxiliaries were seen moving closer to the western edge of Manbij.

The US withdrawal from Syria has sent Kurdish forces scrambling to find allies to fend off a possible attack from Turkey, which views the fighters as “terrorists”.

The Kurds have welcomed a Syrian government advance in Manbij province, a pragmatic shift in alliances that will dash their aspirations for autonomy but could help them cut their losses.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been the backbone of an alliance that has spearheaded the US-backed fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

“We invite the Syrian government forces… to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, particularly in Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion,” the YPG said in a statement.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent said the YPG’s appeal was a “tactic by its fighters to avoid confrontation with the Turkish forces who they, of course, know they are no match for”.

Following the conflicting reports regarding Manbij on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan said Turkey will have no reason to be in Manbij once “terrorist organisations” leave.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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