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US: 400 ‘peacekeepers’ to remain in Syria

By: RFE/RL Source: RFE/RL The White House has clarified its plans for U.S. forces in Syria, now saying it will leave 400 troops in the war-torn country a day after saying the number of “peacekeepers” would be 200. A White House official on February 22 confirmed the revised number and said they will be based as part of the Tanf garrison in northeastern Syria. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on February 21 had said that a “peacekeeping” group of about 200 troops would remain in Syria for a “period of time.” There was no immediate explanation for the revised figure of troops. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hailed the U.S. decision to keep...

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Turkey to purchase Russian missile system

By: RFE/RL Source: RFE/RL Turkey’s president has said his country will proceed with plans to purchase the advanced S-400 air-defense system from Russia despite pressure from the United States to scrap the deal. “We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it is out of the question for us to turn back,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists in Ankara on February 16. U.S. officials had given NATO-member Turkey an informal deadline of February 15 to respond to a rival U.S. offer to purchase a Patriot missile-defense system for $3.5 billion. Erdogan said Turkey was still open to purchasing the Patriot systems, but Washington has said it would withdraw the offer if Turkey...

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Saudi sends first communications satellite into orbit

By: MENAFN Source: MENAFN RIYADH, Feb 6, (KUNA): Saudi Arabia’s first communication satellite (SGS-1) has been launched successfully from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America on Tuesday. An Ariane 5 rocket put the satellite into orbit, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported this evening, citing a statement by King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz signed the fi- nal piece of satellite before its launch with the words, ‘above the clouds.’ Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khaled bin Abdul- Aziz Al-Falih hailed the event as ‘a spectacular...

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