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Damascus allows Iraq to hit ISIL targets in Syria: State media | Syria News

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has authorised Iraqi forces to attack ISIL targets inside his country without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

The development comes as the two neighbours, who are also both allied with Iran, work to coordinate their fight against rival groups ahead of a planned US military withdrawal from Syria.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group declared a caliphate in 2014 after seizing large swaths of Syria and Iraq, establishing its de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

However, the group has lost all of its strongholds and the vast majority of the territory it controlled since then, although thousands of its armed members are thought to remain in war-battered Syria. 

Iraqi warplanes and artillery have pounded ISIL positions inside Syria in the past, after getting the green light from Syrian authorities.

The group has been defeated in Iraq but still holds a small area in Syria close to the Iraqi border.

On Saturday, al-Assad received a letter from Iraq’s Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi calling for both countries’ coordination in “fighting terrorism”, SANA said.

President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the US will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which fought in the forefront of the battle against ISIL, has expressed concerns that the US plans to withdraw forces could lead to the revival of the armed group, saying that they had not been defeated yet in Syria.

The SDF said the fight against the group was at a “decisive” stage that requires even more support from the US-led coalition against it.

Economic deal

Separately, in Tehran, Iran and Syria signed on Sunday a long-term strategic and economic agreement as the war winds down in the latter.

Syria’s SANA news agency quoted Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammed Samer al-Khalil, who signed the agreement, as saying that the deal includes “full cooperation on the financial and banking levels”.

Al-Khalil said that “priority in the reconstruction of Syria will be given to Iranian public and private companies,” according to SANA’s report.

The Syrian government estimates reconstruction of the war-torn country will cost some $200bn and last 15 years.

Iran and Russia have been the main backers of al-Assad’s government since the crisis began nearly eight years ago.

The Syrian government has gained control of large parts of the country with the help of Iran and Russia and some Arab countries, including the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, have reopened their embassies in Damascus.

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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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