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This is BBC World News Today.
I'm Geeta Guru-Murthy.
Our top stories.
A new escalation of the war in Syria
as Turkey says its ground forces
have crossed the border to target
Kurdish fighters there.
The death toll in the attack
on a luxury hotel in Kabul increases
to 18, after residents had to flee
during a 12-hour siege.
Germany's Social Democrats vote
to open talks with Angela Merkel's
Conservatives to form
another grand coalition.
A second day of women's marches
around the world, including here in
London. We bring you the latest.
Hello and welcome
to World News Today.
The UN Security Council is due
to discuss the worsening crisis
in Syria, with Turkey opening up
a new front against Kurdish militia
in the north of the country.
The militia, the YPG,
are backed by the United States
but viewed by Turkey
as a terrorist organisation.
On Sunday, Turkish troops crossed
the border over the border,
from where our correspondent,
Mark Lowen, sent this report.
As if Syria needed more of this.
Artillery fire from Turkey,
launching a new ground
and air offensive.
It's called Operation Olive Branch,
though it's anything
but a gesture of peace.
From the skies, Turkish F-16s struck
yesterday, their target,
the Syrian Kurdish militia known
as the YPG.
Turkey sees them as terrorists,
linked to the outlawed
Kurdish militants, the PKK,
and it wants them pushed back
from the border town of Afrin.
Turkey's president has his own
troops fighting for their hero,
and with elections next year,
war rallies his
This is a national
struggle, and in this national
struggle we will crush anyone
who stands against us!
But the YPG has powerful
friends, they are trained
and armed by the US.
That has infuriated Turkey,
which says the Americans have chosen
terrorists over their Nato ally.
In the hills beside the border,
we found a further build-up,
as the offensive shows no
sign of ending.
Every few minutes, you hear the thud
of an artillery strike.
Turkey has clearly committed
militarily to this operation and has
widespread popular support here,
but if the Turks suffer losses,
or civilian casualties
grow, that could change.
And the risk is clear.
This border town was hit
by a rocket, said to be
from the YPG, killing one,
and injuring more.
Turkey is on dangerous ground,
and a long, costly offensive
is only just beginning.
Mark Lowen, BBC News
on the Turkey-Syrian border.
With me is Sebastian Usher,
our Arab Affairs Editor.
Talking about a long and costly
offensive and we heard from the
Turkish leader that he thinks he can
keep this limited.
Erdogan said the
opposite and said it could be
relatively brief, but the pain he
has said himself, rhetorically,
which she reaffirmed today is to
crush all of Turkey's enemies and
that is the Kurds both in Syria and
in Turkey so that is a huge game and
not just about this region. It goes
further and that is about 50
kilometres east. And we saw the
Turkish forces carry out an
offensive of more limited nature in
2015 to prevent the Kurds from
bringing that to Canton is together
into one and they backed off to some
extent. At the moment it is
difficult to see which forced,
beside the Kurds themselves will
stand up to them.
YPG are known for
battling against the militants,
tough opponent. How far could the
repercussions spread and how long
will it go on?
I think Mark is
correct that this could be a long
campaign. The YPG is more battle
hardened than it was and it was the
force that drove Isis out of rack.
-- Raqqa. They are well ensconced
where they are, the Kurdish area,
where they got support from the
local population. There are other
Kurdish forces near and other parts
of the alliance which they lead that
could join them. Although Turkey, on
paper, has overwhelming force, it
would be hard to use that to have a
quick victory unless they
essentially bomb are thin to the
extent that we saw the Russians do
when they were attacking the rebels.
That would provoke a huge
international outcry and already
Turkey is very isolated. Perhaps not
dangerously so because it is not as
if the Russians or the Americans are
about to start shooting their planes
down in the air but with the UN
Security Council speaking tomorrow
there are bound to be strong words
against what has happened and the
longer it goes on at the moment,
countries calling for restraint,
they will up their rhetoric just as
Mr Erdogan has upped his rhetoric.
How ultimately would the US react?
We have heard that they were warned
that these aircraft would be
The US doesn't have that
many options. It backed the YPG,
believing they were the most
effective force against IS on the
ground. The only practical effective
force it could use. But the history
of the Kurds, when they have served
their purpose, after that, the
outside forces have abandoned them
because they do not have the power
of a state like Turkey or Iraq.
threaten the whole redrawing of
So in a sense the Kurds are
cynical because they know when it
comes down to is they would be
fighting the battle themselves even
though they will have some
international support but it does
make the US not -- look not very
good. It makes them look as though
they cannot call the shots or
protect their own clients in Syria.
Very different from the way Russia
has manoeuvred into a position of
Very complex, thank you
forces -- explaining it.
Authorities in Afghanistan say 18
people, including 14 foreigners,
are now confirmed dead after gunmen
attacked a luxury hotel in Kabul.
Afghan troops fought
through the night, over more than 12
hours, to free those trapped inside.
The Taliban says it
carried out the attack.
Zia Shahreyar has the story.
The final moments of a fight that
had lasted all night.
Gunfire and explosions,
as Afghan special forces
battle to regain control
of the Intercontinental Hotel.
One soldier throws a grenade.
He moves away, then the explosion.
The room is soon on fire,
evidence of the struggle
that had taken place.
The Afghan national flag
waving from the roof,
proof that the building
has been retaken.
More than 150 people were inside
yesterday evening when gunmen burst
in and opened fire. Eyewitnesses
said they were after foreigners.
were knocking on the door of each
room, trying to reach their targets.
They killed ordinary
people and officials,
they were also targeting foreigners.
These images, filmed by local TV,
show people escaping by climbing
down bed sheets that they'd
tied to balconies.
This telecoms engineer fell
from the sixth floor
as he tried to get away.
When the sixth floor
caught fire this morning,
my roommates told me to either
burn or escape.
I got a bed sheet and tied
it to the balcony.
I tried to come down,
but I was heavy, and my arms
were not strong enough.
I fell down, and injured
my shoulder and leg.
This has been probably the deadliest
attack on foreign civilians
in Kabul since the US
invasion of Afghanistan.
We've been told that the attackers
spoke local languages,
and shouted at Afghans to be
separated from foreign
This sustained and complex assault
will prompt urgent questions
as to how the gunmen got through.
Zia Shahreyar, BBC News, Kabul.
Germany has moved a step closer
to forming a new government.
The centre-left Social Democratic
Party has voted to enter
into new coalition talks
with Chancellor Merkel's
At a party meeting in Bonn,
the SPD's Martin Schulz had urged
many sceptical delegates to press
ahead, describing a new coalition
as the best way to combat hard
right politics in Europe.
Angela Merkel welcomed
The CDU already cleared the way
for coalition talks last week
after concluding the exploratory
talks, now we are pleased
and welcome that the SPD did
so today at its congress.
Today, we are preparing for this
Tomorrow, within the CDU
we will work together,
and then quickly enter into joint
the Social Democrats.
That's what today's
decision of the SPD allows.
Jenny Hill in Berlin says that
with party leader, Martin Schulz,
convincing the conference to support
the idea of a coalition,
talks to form a government
could begin as soon as tomorrow.
His view is that if they can pull
this off, if they go
into Government, in his view it's
the responsible thing to do to try
and form a government,
but that it's possible,
in his view, to renew the party
within that coalition,
but their task is going to be huge.
They are very low in the polls,
they will have to distinguish
themselves from Mrs Merkel's
Conservatives if they are to try
and rebuild their electorate,
many of whom, of course,
disappeared off to vote AFD,
the far right party.
There is a lot of work to be done,
and he's going to have to do
something to unite the party,
that is if they still want him
as leader, because of course he has
presided over this real controversy.
Worth just pointing out,
when it comes to coalition talks
which will take place later this
week, if and when the two sides can
get some kind of deal drafted,
the party base, all 440,000 members
of the SPD will have to approve it,
via postal ballot before any actual
coalition Government can be formed.
So, Mrs Merkel isn't out
of the woods just yet,
but I think today you have
seen her overcome
a significant hurdle.
They have taken a step towards,
I suppose, delivering
the Government, the stability
she has promised Germany all along.
Let's take a look at some of
the other stories making the news.
The US Senate is resuming its debate
on funding the US government. They
are sitting for a rare Sunday
session to try and force the opening
of government agencies shut down
because of the impasse over military
funding and health care. It was said
there would be a vote early on
Six people have been
killed during opposition
protests in the capital
of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Police used teargas and live
ammunition to disperse
demonstrators in Kinshasa,
who were demanding that President
Joseph Kabila give up power.
Mr Kabila's term of office expired
more than a year ago.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov has said the West's
was worse than at the
height of the Cold War.
He was speaking in an interview
with the Russian daily Kommersant,
after a two-day visit to New York.
He said that back during
the East-West tensions of the second
half of the last century,
there was at least "some decorum".
Stay with us on BBC
World News, still to come.
Not just any visit
from the neighbours -
a North Korean delegation heads
South to check on the
Winter Olympic venues.
The reaction of American servicemen
I am going home. I
am going home.
Demonstrators waiting for Mike
Gatting and his rebel cricket team
were attacked with tear gas and set
upon by police dogs. Anti-apartheid
campaigners said they would carry on
the protests throughout the tour.
They call him the Butcher of Lyon.
He is being held on a fraud charge
in Bolivia but the West Germans want
to extradite him for crimes
committed in wartime France. There
he was the Gestapo chief.
Millions came to bathe as close as
possible to this spot, a tide of
humanity that was believed by
officials to have broken all
This is BBC World News Today.
The latest headlines.
Turkey says its forces have entered
a Kurdish-controlled enclave
in northern Syria.
President Erdogan says he hopes
the incursion will be brief.
Afghan authorities say the death
toll has increased to 18 in
a militant attack on a luxury
hotel in Kabul.
Thousands of protesters have taken
part in a women's March as part of
an international campaign to combat
It follows similar marches that took
place yesterday in the US -
on what was the anniversary
of Donald Trump's inauguration.
Those marches have
entered a second day now,
with one of the biggest events
is planned to take place
in US city of Las Vegas,
Rajini Vaidyanathan is there for us.
The main focus is this event in Las
Vegas. It has not kicked off yet,
but as you can see over there,
thousands of women have packed into
the stadium just outside the centre
of Las Vegas. The focus of the event
is actually trying to get women to
register to vote, because it last
year was a rallying cry, this year
is all about getting things done and
getting more people in positions of
power and also encouraging people to
run to office. I'm joined by two
people who have travelled from afar.
Thanks to having me.
Katie. Thanks to having me. You are
both sisters who have come from
Connecticut and California. Starting
with you, Emily, why is it so
important to come here?
As a mother
of two little boys, raising them, we
want our attention to good values. I
want little boys that are kind and
caring, and my boys are adopted a
minority children that is a very
specific cause bus about being what
is happening in our country right
now. When I sit down at the dinner
table with them I have a hard time
helping them seaways that they can
emulate their president right now.
But aside from people's political
stances, when I look at the leader
of a country, I want to look at
someone I can show my children I
want represented in my own home.
Katie, many people who support
Donald Trump say that is his style
and even if what Emily says might be
the case that some people, it is
about results and the economy is
I think we need to take
a look at that in a couple of years
from now and really demand more from
our president. I am not convinced
that the moment that we are headed
down right path. Becoming a new
mother has meant trying to deepen my
own understanding of where we are
headed as a country for her future.
What do you think needs to change
the most? What are you agitating
I'd like to see more women
involved in their local politics. I
think the national stage is taking a
lot of air in the room right now and
if we have a voice we must use it.
It is important to get engaged. I'm
here to deepen my own understanding
of various perspectives to try and
take that to the polls with me and
also take that to my daily and
weekly routine at work and at home
and in my life in my community in
I need to get
more involved. Some of the
supporters of the women's March in
France's president, Emmanuel Macron,
has told the BBC he shares
the outrage of African countries
about reports Donald Trump used
a vulgar and offensive
word to describe them.
Mr Trump was forced to deny
being a racist when he was accused
of making the comments
during an Oval Office
meeting on immigration.
He was speaking to Andrew Marr.
Let me ask you about another leader,
and I wondered what you thought when
you got up in the morning and saw
what Donald Trump had said about
certain African countries. He denies
using it but a lot of people said he
did. Among the African countries out
rays were many Francophone countries
in Africa and did you share their
For sure. It is not a word
you can use and if we want precisely
to build peace and development in
these countries and respectful
You cannot use
By definition. And a
lot of the issues in the Middle East
and Africa is due to a lot of
frustrations and due to a lot of and
we have -- past humiliations. We
have to respect all of these
I wonder what you make of
him as a person, having come across
He is not a
classical politician. First of all,
he was elected by his own people and
he is the President of the United
States. And that is a great country
and a great responsibility. That is
where I want to work with him and I
think we can build a long and strong
relationship. We disagree on many
topics. I call him regularly and I
am direct and Frank and sometimes I
managed to convince him, and
sometimes I fail.
speaking to Andrew Marr. It is worth
a look at the website if you want to
see that in full. Let's catch up
with all of the sport.
Cristiano Ronaldo ended a miserable
run of form with a late double
to help Real Madrid thump
La Coruna 7-1.
Ronaldo had only scored four league
goals before Sunday's clash
with third-from-bottom Deportivo.
Gareth Bale and Nacho also bagged
braces each side of half-time.
So Real move back above Villarreal
and into the Champions
Leaders Barcelona are playing
Real Betis right now.
Barca have scored three times
in quick succession
for a 3-0 lead.
Ivan Rakatic, Lionel Messi
scored the second and
Luis Suarez the third.
Over in Italy, Dries Mertens ended
a long goal drought to give Napoli
a 1-0 victory at Atalanta,
that saw the Serie A leaders
move four points clear.
Second-placed Juventus clash
with Genoa on Monday.
Harry Kane struck his 99th
Premier League goal
to save Tottenham with a 1-1 draw
Kane's now just a goal away
from becoming the 27th
member of the '100 Club'.
The result moves Spurs to within two
points of fourth-placed Liverpool,
who have a game in hand.
Mauricio Pochettino wasn't happy
with the loss of two
vital points in the push
for a Champions League place.
We must give credit to the opponent
but our performance was not great
and I am not happy with our
What in particular?
possession we need to move the ball
quicker and create more. I think we
made a lot of mistaken decisions and
it's impossible to win the game when
you make many mistakes.
Watford have appointed Javi Gracia
as their new manager
following the sacking of Marco
Silva became the eighth sacking
in this Premier League season.
Watford claimed Everton's
"unwarranted approach" for Silva
as their replacement coach
for Ronald Koeman,
was the "catalyst" behind
their decision to sack him.
The Spaniard Gracia last managed
Russian club Rubin Kazan and has
signed an 18-month deal.
It's the final of the Masters
Snooker with Kyren Wilson
and Mark Allen gunning for a maiden
title in London.
Wilson and Allen shared the opening
eight frames before Allen hit
the final's first century
in frame 12.
He leads 7-5 at the
The winner is first to 10 frames.
Tommy Fleetwood played with some
to defend his Abu Dhabi golf title.
The European number one
finished on 22-under-par,
two strokes clear of Ross Fisher.
Four-times major winner Rory McIlroy
finished tied for third
alongside Matt Fitzpatrick.
McIlroy said Fleetwood's finish
was "obscene" as he carded six
birdies over the closing nine holes.
It was just important that we
carried on going forward and it's
all well and good having a great
year and it was the best year of my
life but we want to keep pushing and
like I say, I want to know where my
potential will take me but I wanted
to keep pushing and make sure that
we just kept improving and it was
important to do that and this week
feels like another step along the
Playing some excellent golf at
England captain Eoin Morgan
says their one day cricket
win against Australia
is probably their best
as a group yet.
England have taken an unassailable
3-0 lead in the series,
thanks largely to an unbeaten
century from wicketkeeper
Jos Buttler in Sydney.
He was helped by 53 not out
from all rounder Chris Woakes
as England posted 302-6
from their 50 overs.
Australia fell 16 runs
short in their reply,
with controversy over Steve Smith
being caught out.
Mark Wood picked up two wickets.
The final two one-dayers take place
in Adelaide on Friday
and Perth next Sunday.
And now to Priests on the Piste.
Yep, you heard it right.
The 21st annual Alpine Skiing
Championships for Clergymen took
place in Poland this weekend.
They compete for
the John Paul II cup.
Competitors are divided not
on their beliefs but on age.
They compete on the 800
metre slalom course.
The cassocks aren't the most
Pretty cool pictures. Back to you.
It looks fantastic.
North Korean officials have been
inspecting winter olympic
venues in South Korea.
It's the first such trip
by a delegation from the North since
South Korean President Moon Jae-In,
took office last May.
Sophia Tran-Thomson reports.
A warning it contains
some flash photography.
The symbolic torch is already doing
the rounds in South Korea,
but with less than three weeks
until the opening ceremony
of Pyeongchang's winter Olympics,
there has been plenty of speculation
that the North wouldn't
be taking part.
On Sunday, a sigh of relief
for organisers and athletes
as a North Korean delegation crossed
the border under heavy police guard.
The officials, led by a North Korean
girl band star, will spend two days
inspecting the venues
and preparing cultural performances.
Boarding a train in Seoul,
the representatives avoided
answering questions about why
they previously postponed the visit.
Regardless, the trip
is somewhat of a breakthrough,
after a year of escalating tension
over the north's nuclear missile
programme and a milestone
announcement from the IOC
in Switzerland on Saturday,
confirming that the two nations
will march together at the opening
ceremony and compete under
a unified Korean flag.
The north will send 22
athletes to the Winter Games
and compete in three sports
and five disciplines.
participation in the winter Olympics
will present the most dramatic scene
in the history of the Olympics.
It can be a chance to show
the value and power of sport,
when players from two Koreas march
together and compete
as a unified team.
Seoul and the organisers
hope that the games,
which they are calling
the Peace Olympics, could ease
tensions with their northern
neighbour, who they have never
officially made peace with,
since the Korean War ended
with Armistice in 1953.
Don't forget you can get
in touch with me and some
of the team on Twitter.