DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s military says its troops have regained control of territories in northwestern Syria “in record time,” vowing to continue to chase armed groups “wherever they are.” The announcement on Monday came hours after troops consolidated the government’s hold over the key Aleppo province, capturing over 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in one day and securing the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire. The offensive, in full force since December, has displaced over 800,000 people within the shrinking rebel enclave, in one of the worst humanitarian crises since the war began nine years ago.
BEIJING (AP) — China says it may postpone its annual congress in March, its biggest political meeting of the year, because of the virus outbreak. The standing committee for the National People’s Congress says it believes it is necessary to postpone the gathering to give top priority to people’s lives, safety and health. The announcement came as the military dispatched hundreds more medical workers and extra supplies to the city hit hardest by a 2-month-old outbreak. More than 70,000 people have been infected and 1,770 have died in mainland China. The congress is due to start on March 5.
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — Two charter flights carrying passengers from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan amid a virus crisis have landed in the United States. The first plane carrying American passengers landed at a Northern California air force base just before midnight Sunday. A second flight touched down at a San Antonio air force base around 2 1/2 hours later, early Monday. Passengers will be quarantined for two weeks to make sure they don’t have the new virus that’s been spreading in Asia. Japan’s defense minister tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 U.S. passengers from the port to Tokyo’s airport. About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — People in and around the Mississippi capital of Jackson are bracing for more flooding as the rain-swollen Pearl River continues to rise. In a suburb of Jackson, John and Jina Smith were rowed to their home to check on flood damage and discovered about a foot and a half of water was inside. Jina Smith said they packed up as many possessions as they could on Thursday and left when the water got high. The Pearl is expected to crest Monday at 37.5 feet. With more rain expected, the governor says it will stay high for three to four days.