1) U.S.-BACKED SYRIAN FORCE INITIATES ‘FINAL BATTLE’ AGAINST DAESH
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the United States, began an assault against the final DAESH enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday.
The assault is aiming to wipe out the last vestige of the jihadist group’s caliphate in the SDF’s area of operations.
The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages, though the DAESH also still has territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government.
SDF official Mustafa Bali described the assault as the ‘final battle’, later writing on Twitter that the attack had started and the enclave would be cleared soon.
Senior SDF official Redur Xelil cautioned that DAESH would continue to pose “great and serious” security threats even after a victory there.
2) NEW ZEALAND FLIGHT TURNS BACK MID AIR, NO PERMISSION TO LAND IN CHINA
An Air New Zealand flight bound for Shanghai was forced to turn back several hours into its journey on Sunday after finding out it did not have permission to land in China.
Flight NZ289, carrying about 270 passengers, left Auckland before midnight Saturday only to return about 10 a.m on Sunday.
The airline said a technicality meant the aircraft did not have Chinese regulatory authority to land in China.
China’s foreign ministry did not make any immediate comment when contacted by the press.