“Final battle” of ISIS is in its final days, says commander of U.S.-backed Syrian forces – CBS News

The “final battle” with ISIS is in its final days, with ISIS is pinned down to an area of around a quarter of a square mile. That’s the update reporters received Saturday from the commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, Jia Furat.

He said the final ISIS village of Baghuz Fawqani had not yet fallen, but his ground forces were holding fire and moving forward cautiously because so many civilians remain trapped as human shields.

Military officials say they severely underestimated the number of civilians inside that village when they launched the offensive to crush the last remnants of the so-called caliphate one week ago

Source: “Final battle” of ISIS is in its final days, says commander of U.S.-backed Syrian forces – CBS News

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US-South Korea reach agreement over cost of US troops in region – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)The US and South Korea have reached a preliminary agreement on the cost of keeping nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea, two State Department officials said, alleviating fears among President Donald Trump’s advisers that he could move to withdraw US troops during his upcoming summit with North Korea’s leader.

Under the revised Special Measures Agreement, South Korea would boost its financial contribution to nearly $1 billion, according to a State Department official and South Korean media. That’s an increase on the about $800 million South Korea had been paying per year during the previous five-year commitment.

Source: US-South Korea reach agreement over cost of US troops in region – CNNPolitics

US pulling out of Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia, Pompeo says | Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that the U.S. is pulling out of a major arms-control treaty with Russia.

Citing alleged violations by Russia regarding the pact that’s been a centerpiece of arms control since the Cold War, Pompeo said the U.S. is suspending its obligations and will terminate the deal entirely if Russia does not return to full compliance in six months.

He said the U.S. “has fully adhered” to the pact for more than 30 years, “but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions. We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.”

The American withdrawal had been expected. It follows years of unresolved disputes over Russian compliance with the 1987 pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty. It was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 310 miles and 3,400 miles. Russia denies that it has been in violation.

Source: US pulling out of Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia, Pompeo says | Fox News

POMPEO CONFIDENT OF TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT

US Navy sails warship through Taiwan Strait – CNNPolitics

(CNN)The US Navy sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, according to the US Pacific Fleet, which oversees operations in the area.

The guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the USNS Walter S. Diehl “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit” that was “in accordance with international law,” US Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman told CNN.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Gorman added.
The US Navy also sailed two ships through the Strait in October and November, operations that were shadowed by multiple Chinese warships.

Source: US Navy sails warship through Taiwan Strait – CNNPolitics

Israel, in rare move, announces attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, delivers warning | Fox News

By Frank Mills

Israel confirmed early Monday that its military attacked Iranian targets in Syria, in a rare statement on such an operation.

The military’s statement was issued hours after Israeli missile defenses intercepted an incoming missile over the Golan Heights in the wake of rare daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.

The Israeli military initially had declined to comment on the airstrike, though it said a rocket fired at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

Israeli warplanes have used Lebanon’s airspace recently to strike deep inside Syria, including attacking a warehouse near Damascus International Airport earlier this month, according to Syrian state media.

Source: Israel, in rare move, announces attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, delivers warning | Fox News

Trump visits air base where remains of Americans killed in Syria are returned – CBS News

Four Americans were killed this week in an attack claimed by ISIS

President Trump announced Saturday morning he was heading to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the remains of four Americans killed in an attack in Syria on Wednesday will be returned.

Source: Trump visits air base where remains of Americans killed in Syria are returned – CBS News

Iranian cargo plane crash kills 15, leaves 1 survivor

TEHRAN, Iran — A decades-old Iranian Boeing 707 military cargo plane reportedly carrying meat from Kyrgyzstan crashed on Monday while trying to land west of Iran’s capital, killing 15 people on board and leaving a sole survivor, authorities said.

The crash of the jetliner marked just the latest aviation disaster for Iran, which hoped to replace its aging fleet under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

But instead, President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accord in May scuttled billions of dollars in planned sales by Airbus and Boeing Co. to the Islamic Republic, only increasing the danger for passengers in Iran planes.

The aircraft, which bore the paint scheme of the Iranian air force’s Saha civilian airline, was making emergency landing around 8:30 a.m. Monday at Fath Airport, an airfield controlled by Iran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The plane skidded off the runway, crashed through a perimeter fence and into a residential neighborhood.

Source: Iranian cargo plane crash kills 15, leaves 1 survivor

5 killed in Afghanistan attack – CNN

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Attackers killed five people at a police station in Herat, Afghanistan, on Saturday evening, Herat police Chief Aminullah Amarkhel told CNN.

The victims were three policemen and two civilians, according to the regional hospital in Herat, in the far west of the country. Herat provincial spokesman Jelany Farhad confirmed that one of the civilians killed was a child.
Four other people were wounded in the attack and brought to the hospital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Source: 5 killed in Afghanistan attack – CNN

Militant Suspected Of USS Cole Bombing Is Killed In U.S. Airstrike, Trump Says : NPR

President Trump and U.S. Central Command on Sunday confirmed that a United States airstrike in Yemen has killed one of the militants believed to be behind the deadly USS Cole bombing in 2000.

Jamal al-Badawi, an al-Qaida commander, was on the FBI’s most wanted list for his part in the attack. Seventeen American sailors died in the bombing, which came when two suicide attackers in a small boat detonated explosives as the Navy destroyer was refueling in Yemen’s Aden harbor. The blast left a gaping hole in the side of the Cole. Nearly 40 others were injured in the attack.

“Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” President Trump tweeted on Sunday. “We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!”

U.S. military officials had previously announced they targeted al-Badawi in a “precision strike” in Yemen on New Year’s Day. They said there was no collateral damage.

Source: Militant Suspected Of USS Cole Bombing Is Killed In U.S. Airstrike, Trump Says : NPR

U.S. court rules for Trump on transgender military limits | Reuters

The new plan, for example, “appears to permit some transgender individuals to serve in the military consistent with established military mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards,” the court said.

The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as a “clinically significant distress” due to a conflict between a person’s gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. Not all transgender people suffer from gender dysphoria, according to the association, which opposes a military ban.

Trump’s move reversed Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and receive medical care to transition genders.

Source: U.S. court rules for Trump on transgender military limits | Reuters

Statement From Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View

Under the direction of President Trump, the Department of Defense remains focused on safeguarding our nation. We have deep respect for Secretary Mattis’ lifetime of service, and it has been a privilege to serve as his deputy secretary.
As acting secretary of defense, I now look forward to working with President Trump to carry out his vision alongside strong leaders including the service secretaries, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the combatant commanders, and senior personnel in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The Department of Defense continues to be one of our nation’s bedrock institutions.

Source: Statement From Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View