ToniBler and Klinton: Love for West lives on in Kosovar names

Streets lined with US flags, murals thanking NATO, and boys named ToniBler and Klinton: Kosovars have no shortage of ways to thank Western powers for intervening 20 years ago to end the war with Serbia.

The Final Victory In The Battle Against ISIS Is Now In Sight (HBO)

From gun trenches in the hills overlooking the Syrian town of Baghuz, US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF rain down automatic weapons fire on what’s left of the Islamic State caliphate.

After being driven out of Mosul in 2017, ISIS has been pushed back – mile-by-mile, through fierce fighting – from nearly all the territory it used to control in Syria into a tiny patch of land on the Euphrates river near the border with Iraq.

SDF commanders like Adnan Afrin say the full territorial victory they’ve spent years fighting for is finally now in sight: “this sprawling organization that stunned the world has crumbled and is close to being defeated. It’s been painful, and difficult – from the day Isis started to this moment…but it’s ending now.”

The SDF advance has been slowed by the number of women and children that have streamed out of ISIS-controlled areas since the bombardment started. More than 60,000 people have left during the course of the siege.

On Wednesday, SDF officials said they were in control of most of the encampment with just a small group of ISIS fighters left inside, surrounded and outnumbered. But from rooftops on the outskirts of Baghuz, SDF snipers continue to take out targets, while 50-caliber machine guns rain down fire from above and US jets patrol the skies overhead.

The battle is almost over, but for now ISIS fighters are still refusing to stop clinging on to their last tiny piece of territory.

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Venezuela’s Guaido leaves Marrero’s house after arrest

Juan Guaido, the opposition leader recognized by the US and other countries as the interim leader of Venezuela, leaves the house of Roberto Marrero, after intelligence officers staged a pre-dawn raid on his chief of staff’s Caracas home. IMAGES

Venezuela Guaido denounces arrest of his chief of staff (tweet)

Juan Guaido, the opposition leader recognized by the US and other countries as interim leader of Venezuela, announces on Twitter that Venezuelan intelligence officers arrested his chief of staff Roberto Marrero. ANIMATED VIDEO

US’ Pompeo demands Venezuela release Guaido aide (tweet)

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demands on Twitter that Venezuela immediately release opposition leader Juan Guaido’s top aide and vows to hold accountable those involved in the arrest. IMAGES

Trump predicts IS will be bo gone from Syria ‘by tonight’

Speaking to press on the South Lawn before departing the White House, US President Donald Trump leaves 400 troops in Syria.