Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differencesA brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg Burke, an American, tweeted that he and his Spanish deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, had quit to let Pope Francis appoint a new team in what was a “time of transition”. A Vatican source said both Burke and Ovejero had wanted more autonomy from the Vatican department that oversees all communications, known as the Dicastery for Communications.

US flag flies in Syria’s Manbij despite pullout notice

US flag flies in Syria's Manbij despite pullout noticeThe Stars and Stripes fluttered above four US armoured vehicles driving through drizzle in the Syrian city of Manbij Sunday, each visibly carrying an armed soldier on lookout duty. The US patrol inside the strategic city near the Turkish border comes despite President Donald Trump’s shock announcement this month that he is pulling American troops out of the war-torn country. Almost eight years into Syria’s civil war, a Kurdish-led alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controls a large swathe of territory in the country’s northeast, including Manbij.

Trump appears to slow Syria troop pullout plan

Trump appears to slow Syria troop pullout planThe shift came a day after a senior Republican senator said Trump had promised to stay in Syria to finish the job of defeating the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. Trump had earlier stunned allies — and prompted the resignation of his respected defense secretary, Jim Mattis — by abruptly announcing that the jihadists were defeated and that US troops in Syria were ready to leave. “We’re slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants,” Trump wrote.