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story.lead_photo.caption Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks Tuesday about a proposed buffer zone in Syria during a meeting of his party’s parliamentary group in Ankara.

Turkey antsy on U.S. aid for Kurd buffer

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's president heavily criticized the U.S. on Tuesday over delays in establishing a buffer zone in Syria, saying that if Washington won't contribute to the effort, Ankara will do it alone.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Donald Trump last month discussed setting up a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in Syria. Turkey has demanded Syrian Kurdish militia withdraw from there and Erdogan has been seeking logistical and financial assistance from Washington for that.

Syria's main Kurdish parties have rejected the Turkish proposal for a "safe zone," saying Ankara's control of a 20-mile border area would endanger the Kurds.

Erdogan, addressing his ruling party's legislators in Parliament, said that if the U.S. "does not keep to its promise to cleanse the region of terrorists and does not contribute to the creation of a safe zone under Turkey's control, then we will take care of our own business."

Erdogan warned that Ankara's patience is waning over delays in the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the U.S.-patrolled northern Syrian town of Manbij.

Erdogan also said that talks with Trump on these issues were "productive and promising" but added: "We are not getting the same productivity from low level diplomatic and military meetings."

ISIS-abducted reporter alive, U.K. says

LONDON -- The British government believes photojournalist John Cantlie is alive more than six years after his abduction in northwestern Syria, Britain's security minister said Tuesday.

Security Minister Ben Wallace told journalists that officials think Cantlie is being held by Islamic State operatives, but he did not reveal what intelligence information supported the government's belief the British photojournalist still is alive.

Cantlie was kidnapped by the Islamic State group in November 2012 along with American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by the extremists.

Cantlie, who is in his 40s, appeared in Islamic State propaganda videos, likely under duress. The extremists featured him as a spokesman in videos posted online by the group's followers and picked up by some TV stations and online outlets.

Before he was taken hostage, Cantlie worked for several British publications, including The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph.

Burkina Faso claims to kill 146 militants

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso -- Burkina Faso's armed forces have killed 146 jihadis in counterterror operations in the northwest near the border with Mali, the army's commander general said.

The response came after armed men attacked Kain village in Yatenga province early Monday, killing 14 people, Gen. Moise Minoungou said on national television late Monday. The operations, including air support, also targeted Bahn in the north region and Bomboro in the Boucle du Mouhoun region.

The statement said there were light injuries and no deaths among security forces.

Islamic extremists in recent months have increased attacks in Burkina Faso's volatile Sahel region. A Canadian man was recently kidnapped and killed, and another Canadian and Italian are missing.

Burkina Faso on Tuesday hosted the leaders of the five nations in a regional counterterror force, the G5 Sahel that was formed in 2017. Other members are Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Japan announced $23 million in support, plus $2.7 million for Burkina Faso, as the force continues to be underfunded.

Tenant held in Paris fire; deaths at 10

PARIS -- Paris' deadliest fire in over a decade killed at least 10 people Tuesday as flames engulfed a nine-story apartment building, sending residents to the roof and clambering across balconies to escape.

A 40-year-old woman who lived in the building and who reportedly has a history of psychiatric problems was arrested nearby on accusations of setting the fire. French police opened a criminal investigation.

Multiple neighbors said they heard the suspect and her neighbor, an off-duty firefighter, arguing over the woman's music before the fire broke out.

Police responding to the dispute stopped by the woman's apartment. The firefighter and his girlfriend told officers they were leaving to sleep elsewhere in peace and thought the neighbor had lost her mind and one day there would be an accident because of her, according to a police report.

In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, the 22-year-old firefighter said he returned to the building a few minutes later and ran into the woman in the stairwell, which was already beginning to smell of smoke.

"She wished me good luck, telling me that I loved flames," he recalled in the interview.

It was the deadliest fire in Paris since the April 2005 hotel fire near the capital's famed Opera that killed 24 people.

Photo by AP/Paris Fire Brigade/BENOIT MOSER
A firefighter evacuates a resident Tuesday from a burning nine-story apartment building in Paris.

A Section on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: The world in brief

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