2016-9-3 10:56




August 21, 2016

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting. The death toll continues to rise after an explosion at a wedding in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep.

The Associated Press quotes officials as saying that 22 people are dead and 94 are wounded.

It is not clear who is responsible for the attack. Last week, the region was hit by three attacks blamed on Kurdish separatists in the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.

A Turkish member of parliament has said it was the type of attack that could have been launched by the Islamic State group or the PKK.

Gaziantep is about 64 kilometers from the Syrian border.

Turkey has been wracked by a series of attacks in recent months, including a bombing at Istanbul airport that killed 44 people. Another bombing in Ankara in March killed 40.

The country is also still reeling from last month's failed coup attempt.

The attack in Gaziantep came after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country will take a more active role in Syria in the next six months to prevent the country from being divided along ethnic lines.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Mr. Yildirim said, "The bloodshed needs to stop. Babies, children and innocent people should not die."

He said Turkey will be more active in trying to stop the danger [that's getting] from getting worse in the next six months.

Yildirim went on to say that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad had no role in Syria's future but that talks with him would be necessary during a transitional period because "he is one of the actors today no matter whether we like it or not."

For more, log on to our website. This is VOA news.

Afghan forces have retaken a key northern district just hours after it fell to the Taliban.

Afghan officials told a joint news conference in Kabul Saturday that fierce fighting for the control of Khan Abad left at least 75 insurgents dead, including four Taliban commanders.

They also confirmed that six Afghan security personnel were killed while another 16 were wounded.

The Taliban seized control of Khan Abad in an overnight offensive that it claimed killed and wounded dozens of Afghan forces.

Tens of thousands of Yemeni demonstrators backing Shiite Houthi rebels marched Saturday in the rebel-held capital of Sana'a.

Organizers billed the march as a show of support for a controversial new governing council that's opposed by the United Nations and many Western governments. It was also in support of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Shiite leader who was driven from power in 2012 after ruling for more than three decades.

Also Saturday, witnesses said that warplanes from a U.S.-backed Saudi coalition bombed the nearby presidential palace and other targets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Kenya Monday to discuss terrorism in neighboring countries before traveling to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Kerry will meet first with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss regional issues, such as conflict in neighboring South Sudan and ongoing violence in Somalia.

He will then travel to Nigeria to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the country's economy, corruption issues and the threat of the militant group Boko Haram.

Kerry travels to Saudi Arabia for meetings with gulf leaders, his British counterparts and the U.N. envoy to Yemen to discuss the war in Yemen.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says Rio de Janeiro has hosted an "iconic" games that were organized in the midst of city's ongoing struggles.

Bach told reporters that no public money had been spent on organizing the event, which he said took place in a city where there social problems and social divides.

"... and I think that this was good for everybody, there to be close to reality, not to have in a bubble in 16 days of Olympic Games, somehow being isolated."

Before the games, Rio had been criticized for wasting billions of dollars in preparation for pollution in a bay where some events were held and for poor transportation infrastructure.

I'm David Byrd in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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