An official of Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Monday the country’s airspace had not been used during airdrops carried out by the US to support Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Kobani, Reuters said. Turkey has refused calls from Kurdish forces to allow arms to flow through its territory to help the defenders. Kobani has been surrounded by Islamic State militants for more than a month. The airdrops included medical supplies and weapons provided by the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, according to US officials.
Insurgents have attacked several army checkpoints in eastern and southern Afghanistan, killing at least four troops, officials said. Several people were wounded in the attacks, which happened on Sunday, AP reported. The four soldiers died in an attack in the eastern province of Logar, in the Charkh district, Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said on Monday. “Scores of insurgents” were killed in a subsequent airstrike there, according to him. In southern Uruzgan province, insurgents attacked police checkpoints in Gezab district, and four attackers were reportedly killed.
An international coalition against terrorism should be established through the UN Security Council, and not in a unilateral way to achieve geopolitical goals, TASS quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying on Monday. “If we speak on coalitions, let’s form such a coalition, let’s adopt such a decision at the UN Security Council,” he said. “Making the fight against terrorism subordinated to a political aim of punishing these or those regimes is very wrong, abnormal and counterproductive and leads only to increasing chaos.”
Joko Widodo, sworn in as Indonesia’s president on Monday, reached out to political foes seeking support for his agenda. Widodo is the first leader without deep roots going back to the era of dictator, Suharto, AFP reported. The inauguration was attended by foreign dignitaries, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. A hostile parliament dominated by parties that opposed Widodo at the election could make it hard for him to push through reforms aimed at reviving Southeast Asia’s top economy and helping the poorest.
The Australian parliament lifted a ban on Monday on facial coverings including burqas and niqabs, AP said. A government department said earlier this month that “persons with facial coverings” would no longer be allowed in the open public galleries of the House of Representatives or the Senate. However, hours before parliament was to resume on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services said that people wearing face coverings would again be allowed in all public areas of Parliament House. Face coverings will only have to be removed temporarily at the security check point at the front door.
Syrian Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants received some support from the US, as it air-dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies near the town of Kobani, located near Turkish border, US Central Command said on Sunday. US Air Force C-130 aircraft carried out multiple airdrops. It "delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies that were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL's attempts to overtake Kobani," the military said in a statement. The Central Command added that 135 airstrikes near Kobani in recent days have killed hundreds of fighters and delayed the Islamic State’s advances, but the security situation in the town remains “fragile.” "The Islamic State continues to threaten the city and Kurdish forces continue to resist," the statement said.