World Briefs

Airstrikes in Syria’s besieged Aleppo kill more than 20

BEIRUT (AP) — Airstrikes pounded rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Thursday, killing more than 20 people and hitting a water pumping station on the third day of a renewed air campaign on the besieged territory, Syrian activists and rescue workers said.

The Russian military meanwhile said airstrikes in the rebel-held province of Idlib earlier this week killed at least 30 members of an al-Qaida-linked group, including three commanders. The strikes are part of a major Syrian and Russian offensive launched earlier this week on opposition-held areas that has killed dozens of people.

In one area, volunteer first responders dug through the rubble for four hours before pulling out a six-year-old child who was still alive. The child’s mother was killed in the strikes, said Ibrahim al-Haj, a spokesman for the rescuers, known as the Syrian Civil Defense.

The activist-run Public Services Authority said the Bab al-Nairab water plant was struck with a barrel bomb. Spokesman Ahmad al-Shami said the plant was damaged but is still operating.

“This regime uses any means to add pressure to civilians. It has bombed bakeries and hospitals and has not made an exception for water and electricity,” he told The Associated Press.

AP source: Trump offers Flynn national security adviser job

NEW YORK (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump offered former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn the job of national security adviser as he began to build out his national security team Thursday, according to a senior Trump official. The move came as Trump made his most direct foray into foreign policy since the election, meeting with Japan’s prime minister.

Flynn, who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has advised Trump on national security issues for months. As national security adviser, he would work in the White House and have frequent access to the president. The post does not require Senate confirmation.

The official wouldn’t say whether Flynn had accepted the job, which left open the possibility that the arrangement was not finalized. The official was not authorized to discuss the offer publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Flynn, who turns 58 in December, built a reputation in the Army as an astute intelligence professional and a straight talker. He retired in 2014 and has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s White House and Pentagon, taking issue with the administration’s approach to global affairs and fighting Islamic State militants.

Trump is a foreign policy novice and his early moves on national security are being closely watched by U.S allies and adversaries alike. He’s said to be considering a range of officials with varying degrees of experience to lead the State Department and Pentagon.

Flynn’s reputation: astute intelligence pro, straight talker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the man Donald Trump has asked to be his national security adviser, built a reputation in the Army as an astute intelligence professional and a straight talker.

What set Flynn apart after he shed his uniform in 2014 was the blistering public criticism he quickly leveled at the White House and Pentagon, taking issue with a wide range of national security policies, including the administration’s approach to fighting the Islamic State group and, more generally, its handling of global affairs.

In recent public comments, including his fiery address at the Republican National Convention, Flynn has emphasized his view that the threat posed by IS requires a more aggressive U.S. military, as well as his belief that Washington should work more closely with Moscow. Flynn is a champion of other foreign policy themes Trump pushed during the campaign, including renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal.

This alignment of views, coupled with his outspokenness, could make Flynn a particularly useful ally to Trump and counterweight to those senior military officers who have been leery of deeper U.S. involvement in the Middle East as well as those convinced that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine demands a harsher U.S. response.

Flynn’s military experience might have made him seem like a natural choice to lead the Pentagon. But without a waiver from Congress, he is not eligible to be secretary of defense because federal law says “a person may not be appointed as secretary of defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer.” Flynn retired from the Army after two turbulent years as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s top spy agency.