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A destroyed church south of Qamishli
A destroyed church south of Qamishli
Allan Kaval

QAMISHLI — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad"s smiling face beams down from a large billboard on the central artery of Qamishli, a city in northeast Syria. But further down the road towards the city's eastern suburbs, what looks imposingly over the avenue is a portrait of a triumphant-looking Abdullah Ocalan, the anointed leader of Turkey's Kurdish population.

The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a formerly Marxist-Leninist militant group that has long battled the Turkish state for Kurdish independence, is still widely revered here. After all, Qamishli is the center of a region controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the local PKK affiliate that seized most of Syria's Kurdish areas after July 2012 thanks to an informal non-aggression pact with the Assad regime.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 127: Ukraine Recaptures Snake Island

First captured by Russia in February when the war began, the Black Sea island garnered particular attention when a Ukrainian soldier challenged an attacking Russian warship with a memorable phrase...

Snake Island after a heavy overnight bombardment that forced Russian troops to stage an evacuation

Shaun Lavelle, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Russian forces have retreated from Snake Island in the Black Sea after a “successful” operation, said the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Thursday. Military experts say Ukraine’s recapturing the strategic island weakens any potential plans Russia may have for a future land attack located on the coastline.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Early on Thursday Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian forces were forced to evacuate using speedboats. The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, said on Telegram that the "occupiers" had left after being “unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile and air strikes."

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