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                   Thursday 5 april 2018
            U.S. forces in Syria seen setting up new front-line positions

            By SARAH EL DEEB                                                                                                    the joint Kurdish-Arab body
            MANBIJ,  Syria  (AP)  —  A                                                                                          leading the U.S.-allied forc-
            week  ago,  there  was  just                                                                                        es here, said the post went
            a  single  house  where  U.S.                                                                                       up a week ago.
            soldiers  had  hoisted  an                                                                                          "We  are  1  kilometer  from
            American flag on a hill not                                                                                         (the  village  of)  Datat,  the
            far from a tense front line in                                                                                      front line. There is a new U.S.
            Syria.                                                                                                              position  constructed  here.
            On Wednesday, there was                                                                                             It has been here for seven
            a growing fortified position                                                                                        or eight days here," said the
            with  a  perimeter  of  large                                                                                       commander,  who  spoke
            sand  barriers  and  barbed                                                                                         on condition of anonymity
            wire,  a  new  watch  tower                                                                                         in  line  with  the  Kurdish-led
            and a half-dozen armored                                                                                            force's regulations but goes
            vehicles.                                                                                                           by the nom de guerre of Ali
            Even as U.S. President Don-                                                                                         Manbij.
            ald Trump spoke of pulling                                                                                          Previously,  the  U.S.  forces
            out of Syria "very soon," an                                                                                        only  patrolled  the  front
            Associated Press team saw                                                                                           line  and  kept  one  position
            American forces setting up                                                                                          near Manbij, but now more
            front-line  positions  outside                                                                                      forces are expected at the
            the strategic northern town                                                                                         new  post,  the  local  com-
            of  Manbij,  west  of  the  Eu-                                                                                     mander said.
            phrates River.               A U.S. soldier, left, sits on an armored vehicle behind a sand barrier at a newly installed position   "Before, it was only patrols.
                                         near the tense front line between the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-
            The area is the scene of a   backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.                     Now  it  is  better,"  he  said.
            tense standoff. U.S.-backed                                                                        Associated Press   "It  is  to  protect  the  area
            Kurdish-led   forces   who                                                                                          and  to  ensure  that  there
            hold  Manbij  are  facing  off  place.                    to  force  size  would  there-  other end. Inside an obser-  is no attack from Turkey or
            against Turkish-backed Syr-  In  response  to  an  AP  que-  fore  be  normal,"  Pahon  vation  post  atop  a  roof,  a  from the mercenaries in the
            ian fighters.                ry,  Pentagon  spokesman  said in an email.               soldier scanned the horizon  area."
            Turkey has vowed to retake  Eric  Pahon  said  the  coali-  The AP team, which was es-  through  binoculars.  A  fork-  A Kurdish official on the site
            Manbij  and  other  Kurdish-  tion cannot discuss specific  corted  by  Kurdish  fighters,  lift  was  parked  near  some  said  more  such  posts  are
            held territory along the Syr-  movements  and  locations  saw that the new U.S. out-   wooden  planks,  indicating  expected to be built along
            ian-Turkish  border;  the  U.S.  of forces in Syria.      post was a work in progress.  more  work  remains  to  be  the  more  than  50-kilome-
            troops  stationed  here  are  He  said  that  commanders  A  half-dozen  armored  ve-  done.                        ter  front  line  with  Turkey-
            a key reason why they are  are delegated the author-      hicles sat on opposite sides  The outpost was clearly vis-  backed Syrian fighters.
            holding back.                ity  and  the  responsibility  of  the  outpost,  each  with  ible from a main road, with  Trump  told  reporters  Tues-
            The  U.S.-led  coalition  in  to  position people  and  re-  a soldier on watch. A cou-  civilians  and  a  mosque  day that he expects to de-
            Syria  said  last  week  that  sources needed to accom-   ple  of  soldiers  at  one  end  nearby.                  cide “very quickly” wheth-
            there were no U.S. bases in  plish the mission and to pro-  plowed  the  ground  to  lay  A  front-line  commander  in  er  to  remove  the  forces,
            the area and that U.S. pa-   tect themselves.             sandbags,  while  another  Manbij  and  a  member  of  saying their primary mission
            trols  were  not  fixed  in  one  "Occasional  modifications  group  worked  out  at  the  the Manbij Military Council,  was to defeat IS.q

            Bah rain's largest oil find estimated at 80 billion barrels

            By AYA BATRAWY                                                                         day.  The  non-OPEC  coun-   Arabia's  oil-rich  coastal  ar-
            DUBAI,  United  Arab  Emir-                                                            try  also  produces  close  to  eas and desert. It hosts the
            ates  (AP)  —  The  small  is-                                                         160,000  barrels  of  oil  per  U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
            land-nation  of  Bahrain  on                                                           day  from  an  offshore  field  Bahrain  is  not  a  major  oil
            Wednesday      announced                                                               it shares with Saudi Arabia.  producer, but the new finds
            the  discovery  of  80  billion                                                        The  minister  announced  a  have  the  potential  to  sig-
            barrels of shale oil, its larg-                                                        separate  discovery  of  gas  nificantly raise the country's
            est oil and gas find ever.                                                             reserves  below  Bahrain's  profile and boost its econ-
            Bahrain's  oil  minister  and                                                          main gas reservoir, with es-  omy,  which  has  suffered
            energy executives detailed                                                             timates that push deep gas  double  blows  in  recent
            the  find  at  a  press  con-                                                          reserves  in  the  region  to  years  from  lower  oil  prices
            ference,  saying  the  tight                                                           between  10  and  20  trillion  and  years  of  unrest  and
            oil  was  discovered  in  the                                                          cubic feet.                  protests  by  some  of  the
            offshore  Khalij  al-Bahrain                                                           Experts  and  officials  said  country's majority Shiites.
            Basin,  which  spans  some                                                             they  expect  the  newly  The country has introduced
            2,000   square   kilometers                                                            discovered  oil  field  to  be  some austerity measures to
            (770  square  miles)  in  shal-                                                        'on  production'  within  five  limit  spending  and  boost
            low waters off the country's   In this Nov. 7, 2016, file photo, Bahraini Oil Minister Sheikh Mo-  years.   Bahrain   started  revenue,  including  reduc-
            western coast.               hammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa speaks at the annual Abu Dhabi   pumping  oil  in  1932,  be-  ing some fuel subsidies and
                                         International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi,
            The  field  also  contains  an   United Arab Emirates.                                 coming  the  first  among  its  increasing taxes. Like Saudi
            estimated  14  trillion  cu-                                          Associated Press  Arab Gulf neighbors to pro-  Arabia and the United Arab
            bic  feet  of  gas.  Oil  Minis-                                                       duce  oil.  The  Arab  state,  Emirates,  it  introduced  a  5
            ter  Sheikh  Mohammed  bin  extracted  from  the  Khalij  dwarfs the  onshore Bahrain  ruled  by  a  Sunni-led  mon-  percent  value-added  tax
            Khalifa  Al  Khalifa  said  the  al-Bahrain Basin is still being  oil  field,  which  produces  archy, is located in the Per-  this year to most goods and
            amount of oil that can be  studied.  Still,  the  discovery  around  45,000  barrels  per  sian Gulf just east of Saudi  services.q
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