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The Latest: France worried chlorine bombs were used in Syria


The Latest on Syria-related developments (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he's concerned about signs that chlorine gas may have been used multiple times against Syrian civilians in recent weeks.

Macron's office said in a statement that he expressed his concerns in a phone call Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The statement didn't indicate who Macron thinks is responsible, but Macron said France is determined to hold anyone who uses chemical weapons accountable.

A U.N.-mandated investigation team is probing reports that bombs allegedly containing weaponized chlorine were used on two recent occasions in Syria.

Macron asked Putin to "do everything" so that Syria's government stops "intolerable degradation of the humanitarian situation" in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib province.

A punishing campaign by the Syrian government and Russia has battered the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus and the northwestern province of Idlib as President Bashar Assad's government tries to bring them under control.

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1 p.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants against the co-leader of the country's pro-Kurdish party and 16 other activists for speaking out against Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria.

Anadolu Agency said Friday that People's Democratic Party, or HDP, chairwoman Serpil Kemalbay and other activists are wanted for questioning for reading out a declaration against the operation during a conference last week. Her co-chairman, Selahattin Demirtas, was jailed last year, accused of links to Kurdish rebels.

Turkey has detained hundreds of people in the past two weeks for allegedly engaging in terrorist propaganda for speaking out against the Turkish military offensive against the enclave of Afrin aimed at rooting out Syrian Kurdish militia. Ankara says the militia group is an extension of the rebels fighting inside Turkey.

The detention warrant for Kemalbay comes as the HDP prepares to hold a congress on Sunday to elect a new leadership.

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9:20 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish jets have resumed airstrikes in the Syrian Kurdish-run enclave of Afrin after a brief lull.

Anadolu Agency said F-16 jets resumed their aerial bombing campaign late on Thursday.

Unconfirmed Turkish media reports had Turkey had halted flights after Russia, which effectively controls the skies over the region, had closed the airspace over Afrin, following the Feb. 3 downing of a Russian jet in northern Idlib province.

Anadolu said the warplanes struck Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes and Raju, among other targets.

Turkey launched an offensive into the enclave three weeks ago to rout Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers to be a security threat because of their links to outlawed rebels in Turkey.


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