Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

3 Syrian rebel groups approve truce in region near Damascus

Three Syrian opposition factions have agreed to a cease-fire in southern Damascus under an agreement brokered by Egypt and Russia that was not signed by the Syrian government, officials said Thursday.

The deal did not specify the area, but the three rebel groups control a pocket south of Damascus that is adjacent to areas controlled by Islamic State. The deal would allow for humanitarian access but, unlike other similar agreements, would not involve the relocation of militants or residents.

Several such deals in recent years have involved busing tens of thousands of people to the rebel-held Idlib province, in northwestern Syria. The opposition has accused the government of forced displacement, charges denied by Syrian officials.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency said the deal did not include the Syrian government.

Kurdish leader worse than Islamic State, Iraqi militias say * The spokesman of Iraq's state-sanctioned militias on Thursday described the Kurdish leader behind last month's vote for independence as "worse" than the Islamic State, but said the militias have no immediate plans to take military action.

Karim al-Nouri, spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces, accused the Kurdish regional president, Masoud Barzani, of behaving like the leader of a fifth column during the war against Islamic State.

Barzani "is more dangerous than Daesh because he comes from within Iraq," said al-Nouri, using the Arabic term for the terrorist group.

Last month's nonbinding referendum, in which more than 90 percent voted for independence, escalated long-running tension between the autonomous Kurdish region and the central government over the sharing of oil wealth and the fate of disputed territories like the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which is held by Kurdish forces but lies outside their autonomous zone.

Kenya bans electoral reform demonstrations * Kenya's interior minister says police will not allow opposition demonstrations in their strongholds in the country's three biggest cities because of "imminent danger of breach of peace."

Fred Matiangi said Thursday that opposition demonstrations are banned in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

Kenya's opposition leaders have urged supporters to hold peaceful demonstrations to pressure the electoral commission to reform its staff and operations before fresh elections are held on Oct. 26.

The Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in August citing irregularities and illegalities in the vote-counting and the electoral commission's refusal to allow review of its computer system.

UAE ends visas for North Korean workers * The United Arab Emirates said Thursday it would stop issuing new visas to North Korean workers, becoming the latest Persian Gulf country to limit Pyongyang's ability to evade sanctions and raise money abroad amid tension with the U. …

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