17 February 2020 Military News
- Taliban says unless its leadership shifts policy, Afghan govt., foreign forces will be targeted Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- Taliban will not stop attacking Afghan government targets and foreign forces unless its 'leadership' gives instructions otherwise, a militant commander in Helmand says, amid uncertainties over a potential deal with the United States to curb violence.
- Five Afghan troops killed in Taliban attack on military base in Kunduz Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- The Taliban militants have stormed a military base in northern Afghanistan, killing at least five soldiers, according to officials.
- Despite Reported Deal At Peace Talks, Taliban Kills Five Afghan Troops In North RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- Afghan officials say at least five Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants stormed a base in northern Afghanistan, despite expectations for a "reduction in violence" before a U.S.-Taliban deal.
- Taliban: Peace Deal With US To Be Sealed by End of Feb VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- The Taliban appeared confident Monday it will sign a peace agreement with the United States by the end of this month in the presence of international guarantors to close the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.
- Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM conduct airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorist compound AFRICOM 17 Feb 2020 -- In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 17.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Secretary General welcomes NATO Parliamentary Assembly to NATO Headquarters NATO 17 Feb 2020 -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg chaired the annual meeting between the Standing Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NPA) and the North Atlantic Council on Monday (17 February 2020) in Brussels.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with the Acting President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Attila Mesterházy
- Norwegian F-35s to Patrol Iceland on Their First NATO Mission Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- A total of about 150 people will be dispatched to Iceland to operate four aircraft due to the advanced technology on Norway's new F-35 fighter jets.
- Russia says US causes irreparable damage to security balance by deploying weapons to space Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- The United States will deal an irreversible blow to the existing security balance in space, Russia has warned, in the wake of an announcement by Washington about plans to deploy weapons to space.
- Russia's USC Unveils Commissioning Timeline For Cutting-Edge Admiral Kasatonov Warship Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- Russia's first Project 22350 frigate Admiral Flota Kasatonov will be commissioned to the Russian Navy in the first quarter of 2020, according to the head of Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) Alexey Rakhmanov.
- PLA unveils latest Z-10 attack helicopter upgrade Global Times 17 Feb 2020 -- The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has unveiled its latest edition of the Z-10 attack helicopter, featuring exhaust openings that face upward instead of outward, with experts claiming the chopper's infrared signal will make it harder to target.
- Naval drills enhance ability in Pacific Ocean Global Times 17 Feb 2020 -- A warship fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently conducted an air defense exercise in the far seas of the Pacific Ocean, a move experts said on Monday showed the Navy's high capability in the Pacific waters.
- China urges five nuke powers to safeguard NPT regime PLA Daily 17 Feb 2020 -- The ninth formal conference among the five nuclear-weapon states (also the five permanent members (P5) of the United Nations (UN) Security Council) was held in London from February 12 to 13, 2020. It was chaired by Thomas Drew, Director General for Consular and Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK, with Chris Ford, Assistant Secretary of State of the US, Vladimir L. Leontiev, Deputy Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and David Bertolotti, Director of Strategic, Security and Disarmament Affairs of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attending the meeting. Fu Cong, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, headed Chinese delegation to the conference.
- P-8I Naval Jets Were Deployed to Track Chinese Troops in Doklam Face-Off - Indian Chief of Defence Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- In 2017, the two-and-a-half-month standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam region - a tri-junction at the border which separates India, Bhutan, and China - commenced after Indian troops objected to Chinese road construction.
- 'Exclusion of Women is Unjustified': Supreme Court of India Rules Ladies Can Command Army Units Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- The Indian government has held against women commanding posts in the Army on the grounds that "troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command".
- Iranian defense ministry wins $280 mln worth of shipbuilding deals Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- Iranian defense ministry is to build 83 new large vessels for the country's transportation authority in deals that are worth $280 million.
- IRGC chief: Iran's missile strike on US legitimate defense, strategic in nature Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- The chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the country's missile strike on a US base in Iraq in response to the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his companions was legitimate defense while being of a strategic nature.
- Philippine Move to Scrap US Military Deal Boosts China's Clout in Asia VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- The Philippine president's proposed cancellation of a 32-year-old military pact with the United States gives regional power China chances to strengthen its influence in Asia as U.S. military units would visit less often.
- 17 February 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 17 Feb 2020
- As north-west Syria violence reaches 'horrifying' new level, UN relief chief says ceasefire is only option UN News 17 Feb 2020 -- The crisis in north-west Syria has reached a "horrifying new level", the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief warned on Monday.
- Liberation of Aleppo not end of Syrian army's anti-terror campaign: Assad Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- President Bashar al-Assad has congratulated the Syrian nation and government forces over major territorial gains made in the country's embattled northwestern province of Aleppo following intense battles with foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants, emphasizing the achievements do not mark the end of the campaign against terrorism that has plagued the country.
- Syrian army intercepts, downs militant drone near Homs refinery Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- Syrian government forces have intercepted and shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants as it was flying in the skies close to a major refinery in the country's central province of Homs.
- Trump Calls For Russia To Stop Backing Syrian 'Atrocities' On Eve Of Ankara-Moscow Talks RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 16, "expressing concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria," according to White House press secretary Judd Deere.
- UK to Maintain Syria Sanctions After Transition Period – Foreign Office Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- The United Kingdom will keep sanctions on Syria in place after it unbinds its laws from those of the European Union, the Foreign Office said Monday.
- Russian, Turkish Military Conduct Patrol in Syria's Hasakah Province Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- The Russian military police are continuing to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border at several routes in the provinces of Aleppo, Hasakah and Raqqa, the head of the Russian Defence Ministry's centre for Syria reconciliation, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlev said on Monday.
- Syrian Forces Continue Lightning Advance in Country's North, Free Most of Aleppo Province – Reports Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- The Syrian Army completed the liberation of the city of Aleppo, the Arab Republic's second-largest population center, in late 2016, but militants continued to control much of the province of Aleppo in the years since, their de-facto control ensured in a 2017 peace deal.
- Assad: Aleppo Will Return as Strong as Ever VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the city of Aleppo, the economic center of Aleppo province, will "return stronger than ever," after Syrian forces retook complete control from rebel fighters.
- Assad Presses Offensive, as Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Idlib VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- Hundreds of thousands of civilians, many women and children, are trapped in northwestern Syria with little food or adequate shelter for sub-zero temperatures in what the United Nations says is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the region since war erupted in Syria almost nine years ago. Dozens of makeshift medical facilities and aid warehouses have been struck in relentless sorties by Syrian and Russian jets, say UN officials and independent watchdogs.
- Iraq: Education access still a challenge in former ISIL-controlled areas UN News 17 Feb 2020 -- More than two years after the defeat of ISIL in Iraq, some children in areas formerly controlled by the terrorist group still cannot access school or get the necessary documentation required for enrollment, a UN report published on Monday finds.
- Intra-Libyan Joint Military Commission Resuming Its Meeting in Geneva Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- The Intra-Libyan Joint Military Commission is resuming its meeting in Geneva on 18 February, the UN said in a statement.
- FM Says Greece Ready to Join EU's New Mission for Enforcing Libya Arms Embargo Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- Greece is ready to take part in the new European mission in the Mediterranean for controlling the arms embargo on Libya, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday, following the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union.
- Libya's LNA-Backed Interim Government Accuses Turkey of Aggression and 'Seeking to Conquer Country' Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- Ankara has accused Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar of violating the Libyan ceasefire, and has deployed troops and mercenaries to the country to shore up the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
- Kremlin Refutes Claims That There Are Russian Troops in Libya Sputnik 17 Feb 2020 -- Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with the broadcaster NTV that "Russia is currently managing the war there [in Libya] at the highest level".
- Over two dozen killed in assault on Burkina Faso church Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- Gunmen have killed 24 people and wounded 18 in an assault on a village church in northern Burkina Faso, officials say.
- Armed assailants kill 22 villagers, including 14 children, in Cameroon: UN Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- Armed men have killed 22 villagers, including over a dozen children, in the anglophone region of Cameroon, the United Nations says.
- Civilians Bear Brunt of Terror as Kenya's Operation Against Al-Shabab Continues in Forest VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- Kenya launched an operation to flush out al-Shabab terrorists from the northeast Boni Forest on the border with Somalia in 2015. The operation was meant to last a few months but – nearly five years later – security forces are still struggling to stamp out the Islamist militants. Villagers are afraid to venture into the forest and a deadly January attack on a joint Kenya-U.S. military base has highlighted ongoing insecurity.
- Bellingcat Says FSB Behind 2019 Berlin Killing Of Former Chechen Separatist Commander RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- The investigative journalism group Bellingcat says an investigation into the 2019 killing of a former Chechen separatist commander in Berlin shows the attack was planned and organized by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
- China Proposes Postponement of Its 'Two Sessions' in March VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- China has proposed postponing its annual "Two Sessions" meetings in March of the national legislature and top political advisory body pending a final decision next Monday, according to state media Xinhua News.
- China Mulls Postponing Political Meetings as Wuhan Tightens Quarantine Rules Radio Free Asia 17 Feb 2020 -- The ruling Chinese Communist Party looks set to postpone the annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) as large parts of China remained under lockdown amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, state media reported on Monday.
- Annual 'two sessions' may be delayed due to epidemic PLA Daily 17 Feb 2020 -- China's "two sessions", the country's biggest annual political event, may be postponed this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- China's top legislature schedules bi-monthly session Global Times 17 Feb 2020 -- The Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will convene its 16th bi-monthly session on Feb. 24 in Beijing, according to a statement issued after a chairpersons' meeting Monday.
- Balance needed between economic activity, virus watch Global Times 17 Feb 2020 -- There is growing public opinion on the need to speed up resumption of work in China, and some provinces and cities outside of Central China's Hubei Province have taken some actions. But there are indeed some officials and ordinary people who adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Although the number of newly diagnosed cases outside Hubei has been declining for 13 consecutive days, uncertainty still exists as the peak of population flow has not ended.
- Chinese Police Track Down Dissident Xu Zhiyong Using Facial Recognition Radio Free Asia 17 Feb 2020 -- Police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have detained dissident Xu Zhiyong -- who had been on the run for seven weeks -- using facial recognition technology and big data analysis, RFA has learned.
- Chinese Activist Detained After Calling on Xi to Resign VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- Prominent Chinese legal academic and activist Xu Zhiyong, who has urged President Xi Jinping to step down over China's major crises including the coronavirus epidemic, has been detained by authorities in South China, activists said Monday.
- Reports: Leaked Database Exposes Beijing's Religious 'Persecution' In Xinjiang RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- A newly leaked database gives an insight into how Chinese authorities have determined the fate of hundreds of thousands of Muslims held in internment camps, according to media reports.
- Iranians got used to US' contradictions, FM spokesman says IRNA 17 Feb 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that the dignified Iranians have gotten used to the contradictions of the disgraced officials of the US.
- Iran's reaction to US officials' irrelevant remarks on Iran elections ISNA 17 Feb 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has rejected irrelevant remarks made by some US officials about elections in Iran, saying that the Islamic Republic attaches significance to the issue of elections at a high level compared with other countries, especially those of the region.
- Mousavi: US must clarify its 'nontransparent' elections before questioning Iran Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry says instead of questioning the legitimacy of the voting process in Iran's elections, the US had better clarify its nontransparent voting system, which deprives most Americans of the right to express their choice.
- The Iranian Elections: Who's Running, Who's Not, Who's Been Barred RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- There will be more than 7,000 candidates contesting Iran's parliamentary elections -- less than half of those who applied to stand in the nationwide vote on February 21.
- Khan Tells Conference There Are No Militant Safe Havens In Pakistan RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has again rejected accusations that his country is harboring militants, and insisted that his government has done "everything" to facilitate the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.
- Blast kills eight, injures 22 in SW Pakistan IRNA 17 Feb 2020 -- At least eight people including policemen were killed and 22 others injured in a bomb blast in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta on Monday, local media reported.
- Bomb attack at religious rally kills 10 in Pakistani city Quetta Press TV 17 Feb 2020 -- At least 10 people, including two police officers, have been killed in a bomb attack in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan.
- Suicide Bomber in SW Pakistan Kills 8 at Islamist Rally VOA 17 Feb 2020 -- A suicide blast Monday ripped through a crowd in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight people and injuring around 20 others.
- EU Says Accession For Balkan Countries Still Possible RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- The respective presidents of the European Council and European Union Commission voiced the desire on February 16 to maintain close relations with countries in the Balkans as the EU seeks to preserve credibility with them after membership hopes for Albania and North Macedonia were recently dashed.
- 'Goodbye' Bosnia: Serb Leader Dodik Reiterates Call For Secession RFE/RL 17 Feb 2020 -- Lawmakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina's Bosnian Serb entity have gathered for an extraordinary session to discuss a response to a ruling by the country's Constitutional Court opposed by the Serbs.
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