Here is a round-up of global news developments:
- Heavy clashes are underway between Syrian government troops and foreign-backed militants in several fronts in and around the major city of Aleppo. The militants are pushing to break the Syrian army’s siege on the eastern parts of the city. Government troops have recently opened safe passages for civilians to leave Aleppo.
- Syria’s Foreign Minister, Waleed al-Muallem, says Damascus will participate in the new round of peace talks with no preconditions. He made the announcement in a meeting with United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy. Ramzy has formally invited the Syrian government to the talks.
- In the Armenian capital Yerevan, a hostage-taking situation in a police station ends after a fortnight. All the gunmen have surrendered to the authorities and are now in police custody. The police station raid began by a group called Founding Parliament to press the authorities to release their leader.
- Iraq's Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi says Daesh leaders and their families have sold their belongings and fled from Mosul as Iraqi forces close in on the northern city. Iraqi forces are conducting operations to set the stage for a massive offensive to fully liberate Mosul from Daesh.
- The Taliban have killed at least 24 police officers in the southern Afghan province of Helmand in two days. Battles between government forces and the militants have been raging in the area since late Friday. The Taliban are now in control of 60 percent of Helmand.
- Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli army, the man was armed with a knife and charged at Israeli soldiers on the outskirts of the city of Nablus. He was killed before harming any soldier.
- Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has rejected a peace plan proposed by the United Nations which had already been accepted by the former government. Ansarullah says any settlement of the crisis must first tackle a unity administration. The agreement urges Ansarullah fighters and their allies to withdraw from the capital Sana’a.
- Italy says it has rescued nearly 6-thousand asylum seekers in its southern waters since Thursday. They are thought to be from Africa. Italian coast guard says it rescued the refugees by boats patrolling off Libya. Two refugees died traveling in an overcrowded fishing boat.
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