Rus­sians add po­lice in Syria safe zones

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

MOSCOW — Four bat­tal­ions of Rus­sian mil­i­tary po­lice are de­ployed in safe zones in Syria, Rus­sia’s de­fense min­is­ter said.

Rus­sia and Iran, both sup­port­ers of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad, and Turkey, which backs rebels fight­ing Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces, agreed on a plan in May to es­tab­lish four “de-es­ca­la­tion” zones in Syria, press­ing As­sad’s air force to halt flights over des­ig­nated ar­eas across the wartorn coun­try.

De­fense Min­is­ter Sergei Shoigu told Rus­sian news agen­cies Wed­nes­day that the four bat­tal­ions are now op­er­at­ing in the safe zones. The chief of the Rus­sian gen­eral staff last week men­tioned mil­i­tary po­lice in just one zone and did not give any num­bers.

Rus­sia has sup­ported As­sad’s of­fen­sive against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants since 2015 and sent the first bat­tal­ion of mil­i­tary po­lice to Syria in De­cem­ber.

AP/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS

Af­ter three months of main­te­nance and restora­tion, the 107-year-old bat­tle­ship Ge­or­gios Averof — a relic of the era of dread­noughts — is re­turned Wed­nes­day to its berth in Athens, where it is a float­ing mu­seum.

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