In our Friday news wrap, U.S. military officials confirmed they have begun pulling cargo out of northeastern Syria, ahead of President Trump’s mandated withdrawal of 2,000 American troops. U.S. soldiers have fought the Islamic State in partnership with Syrian Kurdish forces, who said they now feel “left alone.” Also, snowstorms across Europe have killed at least 20 people in the past week.
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In the day's other news: U.S. military officials confirmed that they have begun pulling cargo out of Northeastern Syria. That is ahead of some 2,000 American troops withdrawing, as President Trump has ordered.
The troops have helped Syrian Kurdish forces who are battling the Islamic State group. But a Kurdish militia spokesman charged today that they are being abandoned.
The existence of the Islamic State group in this region is an international issue, and therefore the world has to take responsibility in this matter.
However, until now, and despite the presence of American and coalition forces, they haven't fulfilled their responsibility towards these people. We see that we have been left alone.
The U.S. withdrawal also leaves the Syrian Kurds facing threats of attack from Turkey. Turkish military units continued moving today toward the border with Syria. The Turkish government insists the Kurds are terrorists.
A Saudi Arabian teenager who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family has now been granted asylum in Canada; 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun departed for Toronto today after securing refugee status from the United Nations. Her story drew global attention when she barricaded herself in a Bangkok Airport hotel room last Saturday. She tweeted that her life would be in danger if she returned to Saudi Arabia.
Snowstorms roaring across Europe claimed more lives today in the Balkans. Two snowboarders were killed in an avalanche in Bulgaria. Over all of the continent, severe winter weather has killed at least 20 people in the past week. Heavy snowfall has cut off remote villages and triggered power outages amid bitter cold temperatures.
Officials in one Bosnian town declared an emergency today.
Because of heavy snow, in some parts over three feet, some of the roads have been blocked. We need more machines to clean. We have run out of resources and money from the town for emergency services during winter, so it was inevitable for us to declare a state of natural disaster.
Meanwhile, crews in Switzerland are still shoveling snow out of a hotel in the Alps a day after an avalanche injured three people there.
Florida's state clemency board posthumously pardoned the so-called Groveland Four today. The four young black men were falsely accused of raping a white teenage girl in Lake County back in 1949. A mob of white residents killed one of the men. The three others were convicted on scant evidence, including one who was later shot dead by the sheriff while awaiting a retrial.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recovery from lung cancer surgery is — quote — "on track." A spokeswoman for the court said that Ginsburg has no remaining traces of cancer, and no further treatment is needed. She also announced that the 85-year-old will miss next week's court arguments while she continues to recuperate at home.
Early reports indicate that the current flu season may be milder than last year's. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates six to seven million Americans have fallen ill with the flu since October, and nearly 85,000 of those have been hospitalized. Last year's flu season was much worse than usual, with nearly 80,000 deaths.
On Wall Street, stocks fell for the first time in six days, amid concerns about the lingering federal government shutdown. The Dow Jones industrial average lost six points to close just under 23996. The Nasdaq fell 14, and the S&P 500 slipped a fraction of a point.
And a rare bronze penny minted during World War II has sold for $204,000. It was auctioned last night in Florida. The Lincoln penny is part of a small batch mistakenly produced in 1943, when bronze was to be saved for the war effort. Only 10 to 15 are said to exist.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": feeling the effects of the ongoing shutdown; a ride-along with Arizona Border Patrol agents; fears of a new strain of drug-resistant malaria in Cambodia; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze where we go from here; plus, much more.