U.S. protests Turkish intervention in Iraq

ISTANBUL, Turkey

A U.S. special envoy rushed back to Turkey but failed to reach agreement yesterday on Turkey’s plans to send troops into northern Iraq over Washington’s objections.

Fearing friendly fire incidents with U.S. forces and clashes with Iraqi Kurds, the United States opposes Turkish intervention. President Bush said Sunday his administration had made clear that it expected the Turks to keep out of northern Iraq.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson and American military officials in his meetings with Turkish leaders, said afterward that no agreement had been reached. He pledged to hold more talks today.

Opposition to a Turkish intervention increased yesterday with Germany and Belgium announcing that a Turkish incursion could force NATO to review its mission to boost the country’s defenses against a possible Iraqi attack. The countries said such a move would compromise the defensive basis of NATO’s deployment of AWACS surveillance planes and other specialist units to Turkey.

The European Union also warned Turkey against entering northern Iraq. Such a move could hurt Ankara’s candidacy to join the union.

Even so, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a possible Turkish intervention yesterday with the country’s military leader, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok.

Iraqi TV station broadcasts prisoners of war

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Iraqi state television yesterday showed two men said to have been the U.S. crew of an Apache helicopter forced down during heavy fighting in central Iraq.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. war commander, confirmed that one helicopter did not return from its mission Sunday and that its two-man crew was missing. The men were identified as Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young Jr., 26, of Lithia Springs, Ga., and Chief Warrant Officer David Williams, 30, of Orlando, Fla.

If confirmed, the airmen would be the second set of POWs displayed by the Iraqis in as many days. On Sunday, the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera carried Iraqi television footage of five U.S. soldiers who were captured near An Nasiriyah, a crossing point over the Euphrates River.

Unlike those soldiers, the men shown yesterday did not appear to be injured.

The two wore cream-colored pilots’ overalls and did not speak to the camera but appeared confused. They turned their heads and looked in different directions while being filmed. One of the men sipped from a glass of water, looking wary but not cowed.

Palestinian youth dies in West Bank conflict

JERUSALEM

A Palestinian teenager was shot to death yesterday during a clash with Israeli soldiers on the West Bank as troops searched houses on a routine sweep for militants. Three other youths were wounded, witnesses said.

Ahmed Abahreh, 15, was shot in the head, according to doctors at Jenin Hospital in the West Bank. Witnesses said Abahreh was throwing stones at the soldiers. The army said he tossed a homemade firebomb at troops.

Another youth was injured in the leg. The army said a Palestinian was hurt when a firebomb exploded in his hand but it was unclear whether it was the same boy. Two other Palestinians were wounded when troops fired on them after they climbed aboard an army vehicle, the army said. Their condition was unknown.

The skirmishes came as troops dismantled an illegal Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Doctors find lead as fear of disease grows

HONG KONG

A mystery disease spread new fears across Asia yesterday as Singapore quarantined hundreds of people, and Hong Kong and Vietnam reported more deaths amid closed schools and growing fear.

At the same time, scientists in Geneva and the United States said they believe the cause of the flu-like ailment that has stymied them for weeks could be one of the viruses that causes the common cold.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday that evidence is mounting the cause is a coronavirus, a bug that can cause colds.

CDC director Julie Gerberding, in Atlanta, said a form of the virus unlike any seen in humans before has been found in the lungs and other tissue of some victims.

Furthermore, patients seem to develop antibodies to the virus as they get sicker with the pneumonia, Gerberding said.

Vote may rule out peace in Chechnya

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia

Russian officials declared yesterday that the approval of a new constitution by Chechnya’s voters has completely discredited the separatist cause, further dimming hopes the Kremlin would negotiate an end to the 3 1/2-year war.

The constitution, which confirms the region’s status as part of Russia, was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum Sunday.

The Kremlin had advertised the referendum as the beginning of a peace process for Chechnya, which since 1994 has experienced two brutal wars pitting Russian forces against separatists and an interim period of de facto independence marked by lawlessness.

Critics said no fair vote was possible in a war and that the only path to peace would be to negotiate with rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov – an option Russian officials previously ruled out.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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