Two Saudi soldiers killed near Yemen border, as death toll climbs

Almost 2,000 killed in Yemen, report says; France wants Europe to do more in fight against ISIS; leader of Al-Qaida in Syria says 'Assad's fall won't take long.'

Latest updates:

4:05 P.M. EU extends embargo, sanctions, travel ban on Syria by additional year
The European Union is extending sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad and his closest allies for another year, citing continued repression and human rights abuses.

The EU said in a statement Thursday that "the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate," enough cause to extend travel bans and asset freezes to some 200 Syrian officials and 70 entities.
The EU also has an arms embargo and export restrictions on sensitive materials. It has an import ban on crude oil and bans EU companies toINVEST in the Syrian oil industry. (AP)
3:25 P.M. Two Saudi soldiers killed near Yemen border
Two Saudi border guards were killed and five wounded by shells fired from Yemeni territories, an Interior Ministry spokesman said late on Wednesday, as the United Nations said the war's death toll was close to 2,000.
Saudi forces and the Houthis have been trading fire across the border since an Arab alliance began military operations against the Iranian-backed Shi'ite group.
Saudi state news agency SPA said the border guards were killed at a military post in Dhahran al-Janoub, along the border with Yemen, when projectiles fired from the Yemeni side struck.
Two of the soldiers died on the spot while five others were wounded and taken to a hospital, the agency said. (Reuters)
3:25 P.M. Death toll in Yemen nears 2,000
The World Health Organization (WHO), which compiles figures on casualties in Yemen, said its latest figures show that 1,942 people had been killed between March 19 and May 22.
It said 7,870 people were injured in the same period.
Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment on the reports. (Reuters)

1:03 P.M. Turkish city cancels plans to honor ex-NY Times journalist over Erdogan criticism
A Turkish city has canceled plans to bestow a rare honor on a former New York Times journalist because of an article in which he criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Stephen Kinzer was scheduled to be made an honorary citizen of the southern city of Gaziantep this week in recognition of his work that helped save Roman mosaics that were threatened by flooding from a dam.
Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Sahin confirmed on Twitter Thursday that her office decided not to honor Kinzer because of "unjust allegations against our president in his writings."
The decision is the latest in a series of moves by Turkish authorities to crack down on free expression and punish critical voices.
Dozens of people are on trial in Turkey for insulting Erdogan. (AP)
11:31 A.M. France wants Europe to do more to fight ISIS
France's foreign minister wants European countries to do more to fight the Islamic State group, and is seeking support from Russia in international talks about defeating the group.
France, which joined U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq, is hosting a conference Tuesday on the international efforts against IS.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on France-Inter radio Thursday that European countries "aren't doing many things" against the group, even as hundreds of European extremists have joined IS fighters.
He also said France is including Russia in the anti-IS discussions.
Fabius criticized the Iraqi government for "ostracizing" Sunni communities who could help fight IS. Doubts have grown recently about whether the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government can overcome the sectarian divisions. (AP)
12:18 A.M. Leader of Al-Qaida in Syria says 'Assad's fall won't take long'
The leader of Al-Qaida's Syria wing Nusra Front said his group was aiming to capture Damascus and the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad would happen quickly.
"We will continue our focus on Damascus and on toppling this regime," Abu Mohamad al-Golani told Al Jazeera in a rare interview. "I assure you, Assad's fall won't take a long time


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