The Battle of Mosul (Arabic: معركة الموصل; Central Kurdish: شەڕی مووسڵ) is a joint offensive by Iraqi government forces with allied militias, Iraqi Kurdistan, and international forces to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The offensive, dubbed Operation "We Are Coming, Nineveh" (قادمون يا نينوى; Qadimun Ya Naynawa), began on 16 October 2016, with forces besieging ISIL-controlled areas in the Nineveh Governorate surrounding Mosul. The battle for Mosul is considered key in the military intervention against ISIL, which seized the city in June 2014. Outnumbering ISIL forces 10 to 1, it is the largest deployment of Iraqi troops since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The operation follows the Mosul offensives in 2015 and 2016. The offensive began with Iraqi troops and Peshmerga fighters engaging ISIL on three fronts outside Mosul, going from village to village in the surrounding area. More than 120 towns and villages were liberated from ISIL control in the first two weeks of fighting. At dawn on 1 November, Iraqi Special Operations Forces entered the city on the eastern front. Met with fierce fighting, the government advance into the city was slowed by elaborate defenses – including road blocks, booby traps, suicide bombers and snipers – and by the presence of civilians.
The Battle of Mosul is concurrent with the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya and the Raqqa offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on ISIL's capital city and stronghold in Syria.
A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria.
In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Its capital Damascus and largest city Aleppo are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt.
The modern Syrian state was established after the end of centuries of Ottoman control in World War I as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945 when Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The Arab Republic of Syria came into being in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.
Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it has become suspended from the Arab League on November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an uprising against Assad and the Ba'athist government as part of the Arab Spring, a crackdown that contributed to the Syrian Civil War and to Syria's becoming one of the most violent countries in the world. Since the start of the war in 2011, a number of self-proclaimed state entities have since emerged on Syrian territories, including the Syrian Opposition, the of Iraq and the Levant.
В Китае местные археологи нашли останки крокодилов, живших около трех тысяч лет назад. Об этом в понедельник, 6 февраля, сообщает China Daily.
По сведениям издания, ученые совершили находку случайно. На древние кости размером с те, что используются в маджонге (китайская азартная настольная игра — прим. «Лента.ру»), они наткнулись во время раскопок в подземной пещере в районе города Сиань, административного центра северо-западной провинции Шэньси,
По словам главы экспедиции Юэа Ляньцзяня, рептилии на данной территории существовали во времена династии Западная Чжоу (с 11 века до 771 года до новой эры). «Эта находка позволила нам получить важные данные об ареале обитания крокодилов несколько тысяч лет назад. Ранее такие останки удавалось находить только на юге страны», — рассказал ученый, добавив, что, если судить по находке, то в те времена климат Северо-Западного Китая был гораздо более влажным, вероятно, субтропическим. А в месте обнаружения останков крокодилов находился крупный водоем и несколько озер поменьше.
Также во время раскопок археологи нашли 10 древних могил, несколько засыпанных колодцев, руины здания, две гончарные печи и более 100 подземных полостей со множеством изделий из бронзы, камня, кости и керамики.