FILE PHOTO - Syrian Democratic Forces are seen in Raqqa, Syria July 31, 2017.  REUTERS/ Rodi Said
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are seen in Raqqa, Syria on July 31, 2017. Reuters / Rodi Said

About 2,000 ISIL fighters remain in Syria's Raqqa, US envoy says



About 2,000 ISIL fighters are estimated to remain in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting for their survival in the face of an offensive by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a senior US official said.

Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the coalition against ISIL, said the SDF had cleared about 45 per cent of Raqqa since launching an attack in early June to seize [ISIL's] stronghold in northern Syria.

"Today in Raqqa [ISIL] is fighting for every last block … and fighting for their own survival" Mr McGurk told reporters on Friday.

Some 2,000 ISIL fighters are left in the city and "most likely will die in Raqqa", he said.

The assault on Raqqa coincided with the final stages of a campaign to drive ISIL from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where the Islamist militants were defeated last month.

Mr McGurk said ISIL has lost 70,000 square kilometres of the territory it once held in the two countries — 78 per cent of what they had seized in Iraq and 58 per cent of what they held in Syria.

Before every military operation, coalition forces surround the area targeted to make sure ISIL's foreign fighters cannot escape and make their way out of Iraq and Syria, he said.

With the close co-operation of Turkish forces, the entire Syrian-Turkish border was sealed and ISIL can no longer send militants trained in Syria for attacks in Europe and elsewhere, Mr McGurk said.

The coalition has compiled a database of almost 19,000 names of ISIL fighters gathered from cell phones, address books and other documents found on battlefields which it is sharing with the international police agency Interpol, he said.

ISIL is also fighting the forces of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, who is backed by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias.

Mr McGurk said "deconfliction" arrangements the US and Russian militaries have made to avoid accidents as they operate separately in Syria were working well despite deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two countries.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday the US-Russian relationship was at "an all-time and very dangerous low", and Russia said new sanctions imposed by Washington meant an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration.

"So far we have not seen an effect on our engagement with the Russians when it comes to Syria," Mr McGurk said.

THE SPECS

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Ad Astra

Director: James Gray

Stars: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

Five out of five stars 

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE


Company name: Clara
Started: 2019
Founders: Patrick Rogers, Lee McMahon, Arthur Guest, Ahmed Arif
Based: Dubai
Industry: LegalTech
Funding size: $4 million of seed financing
Investors: Wamda Capital, Shorooq Partners, Techstars, 500 Global, OTF, Venture Souq, Knuru Capital, Plug and Play and The LegalTech Fund

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

'Hocus Pocus 2'

Director: Anne Fletcher

Stars: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy

Rating: 3.5/5

Why does a queen bee feast only on royal jelly?

Some facts about bees:

The queen bee eats only royal jelly, an extraordinary food created by worker bees so she lives much longer

The life cycle of a worker bee is from 40-60 days

A queen bee lives for 3-5 years

This allows her to lay millions of eggs and allows the continuity of the bee colony

About 20,000 honey bees and one queen populate each hive

Honey is packed with vital vitamins, minerals, enzymes, water and anti-oxidants.

Apart from honey, five other products are royal jelly, the special food bees feed their queen 

Pollen is their protein source, a super food that is nutritious, rich in amino acids

Beewax is used to construct the combs. Due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial elements, it is used in skin treatments

Propolis, a resin-like material produced by bees is used to make hives. It has natural antibiotic qualities so works to sterilize hive,  protects from disease, keeps their home free from germs. Also used to treat sores, infection, warts

Bee venom is used by bees to protect themselves. Has anti-inflammatory properties, sometimes used to relieve conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, nerve and muscle pain

Honey, royal jelly, pollen have health enhancing qualities

The other three products are used for therapeutic purposes

Is beekeeping dangerous?

As long as you deal with bees gently, you will be safe, says Mohammed Al Najeh, who has worked with bees since he was a boy.

“The biggest mistake people make is they panic when they see a bee. They are small but smart creatures. If you move your hand quickly to hit the bees, this is an aggressive action and bees will defend themselves. They can sense the adrenalin in our body. But if we are calm, they are move away.”

 

 

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Coming soon

Torno Subito by Massimo Bottura

When the W Dubai – The Palm hotel opens at the end of this year, one of the highlights will be Massimo Bottura’s new restaurant, Torno Subito, which promises “to take guests on a journey back to 1960s Italy”. It is the three Michelinstarred chef’s first venture in Dubai and should be every bit as ambitious as you would expect from the man whose restaurant in Italy, Osteria Francescana, was crowned number one in this year’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Akira Back Dubai

Another exciting opening at the W Dubai – The Palm hotel is South Korean chef Akira Back’s new restaurant, which will continue to showcase some of the finest Asian food in the world. Back, whose Seoul restaurant, Dosa, won a Michelin star last year, describes his menu as,  “an innovative Japanese cuisine prepared with a Korean accent”.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The highly experimental chef, whose dishes are as much about spectacle as taste, opens his first restaurant in Dubai next year. Housed at The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will feature contemporary twists on recipes that date back to the 1300s, including goats’ milk cheesecake. Always remember with a Blumenthal dish: nothing is quite as it seems. 

Race card

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m
5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
6pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 Listed (PA) Dh230,000 (T) 1,600m
6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
7pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 2,400m

On Instagram: @WithHopeUAE

Although social media can be harmful to our mental health, paradoxically, one of the antidotes comes with the many social-media accounts devoted to normalising mental-health struggles. With Hope UAE is one of them.
The group, which has about 3,600 followers, was started three years ago by five Emirati women to address the stigma surrounding the subject. Via Instagram, the group recently began featuring personal accounts by Emiratis. The posts are written under the hashtag #mymindmatters, along with a black-and-white photo of the subject holding the group’s signature red balloon.
“Depression is ugly,” says one of the users, Amani. “It paints everything around me and everything in me.”
Saaed, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of caring for four family members with psychological disorders. “I’ve had no support and no resources here to help me,” he says. “It has been, and still is, a one-man battle against the demons of fractured minds.”
In addition to With Hope UAE’s frank social-media presence, the group holds talks and workshops in Dubai. “Change takes time,” Reem Al Ali, vice chairman and a founding member of With Hope UAE, told The National earlier this year. “It won’t happen overnight, and it will take persistent and passionate people to bring about this change.”

Meatless Days
Sara Suleri, with an introduction by Kamila Shamsie
​​​​​​​Penguin 

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Name: Peter Dicce

Title: Assistant dean of students and director of athletics

Favourite sport: soccer

Favourite team: Bayern Munich

Favourite player: Franz Beckenbauer

Favourite activity in Abu Dhabi: scuba diving in the Northern Emirates