this is bbc world news. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: is this their final battle? kurdish fighters in north—eastern syria launch a major assault against what remains of the islamic state group. elizabeth warren makes it official — launching her bid for the white house — promising to champion ordinary, working people. prosecutors are appealing against the acquittal of 27 suspects in tunisia's 2015 terror attacks. seven men were jailed for life. the queen's husband, the duke of edinburgh, surrenders his driving licencejust weeks after a crash that injured two women. hello and welcome to bbc news. the battle against the spread of the so—called islamic state has
raged on for years, but now a spokesman for the kurdish—led alliance in north—eastern syria says its forces are launching their final battle against the group in the tiny pocket of territory it still holds around the village of baghouz near the iraqi border. the announcement comes just days after president trump said he believed the end of the self—declared is caliphate could be announced in the coming week. but as sebastian usher reports, the threat still remains in the region. the us backed sdf has played a key role in the war against is in syria. its biggest victory was to drive the jihadists out of their de facto capital, raqqa, in the past few months it ‘s picked off one town, village, or hamlet after another in the corner north—eastern of syria to which is fighters have been driven. all that's left for the jihadists there are a few square miles next to the iraqi border. a far cry from the caliphate
the group once declared across huge swathes of syria and iraq. the sdf delayed its final attack until thousands of civilians in the area could get out. now they say a decisive battle is under way. the united states military, our coalition partners, and the syrian democratic forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by isis in syria and iraq. last week, president trump said the total defeat of is could be defeated within days. that certainly suits his agenda of withdrawing all us troops from syria. but he's been criticised before for declaring final victory over is prematurely. caution is still needed. is holds other sliver of territory in syria further west. while its sleeper cells remain active. and it's the same story in iraq. the group's ability to continue a guerrilla insurgency persists. the fate of his hostages, such as the british journalist john cantlie, remains unclear, as does that of its leader,
abu bakr al—baghdadi. its most effective foe, the sdf, faces an uncertain future, if and when its us backers leave. sebastian usher, bbc news. earlier, i spoke with professor joshua landis — director of the centre for middle east studies at the university of oklahoma. i asked how important a battle this is. very important, symbolically because this is the end of the caliphate, the territory that isis took in afghanistan in 2014 and ‘is and building a state the size of great britain. that is what distinguished isis from other groups like al-qaeda. it tried to set up a bona fide state, caliphate, and al—baghdadi announced himself at the mosque pretending to be the successor to the prophet muhammad.
this is what created so much publicity across the globe and so, with its destruction, president trump is trying to declare victory. and he wants to leave and that will, of course, open up a new chapter because isis is still very much alive as a terrorist organisation. it has spread to yemen, nigeria, libya, afghanistan again. it has spread around, they are not gone, there are about five deadly attacks in iraq every week by isis. donald trump, as you say, is trying to leave the region. does that explain the timing for this attack right now? yes, he is trying to wipe it out so he can get down to withdrawing. he has geared up his new presidential campaign and this is clearly going to be an important platform, is i'm going to finish the war in syria, i'm not going to fight endless middle east wars like my predecessors did. i'm going to bring the troops home.
he needs to win battles in afghanistan, and this is important, it is popular with the american people because the us has spent something like $5 trillion fighting wars in the middle east, the benefits of which are not visible to the american people who want better schools and roads, so he is trying to make that a part of his campaign and declare victory and get home. but probably the end of the caliphate but not the end of islamic state so if this battle, is successful, what will happen in syria after that, in terms of islamic state? there will undoubtedly be attacks and what it requires is a state and a police force, a military, to take america's place and at first trump thought this would be turkey but of course turkey wants to destroy the ypg, america's kurdish partner, and america does not want them
to come into north syria, which means the syrian army would be the natural substitute for the us but america has spent the past eight years fighting syria, hoping to get rid of bashar al—asaad, so the last thing that the us can do is make a deal with syria to step in with the kurds, so this means america will leave really without an alternative to itself and that could be raggedy and could leave an opening for isis to regroup. professorjoshua landis from the university of oklahoma. us senator elizabeth warren has officially launched her bid to become the democratic presidential nominee. shejoins a growing list of democrats keen to take on republican president donald trump in 2020.
the massachusetts democrat made the announcement in the working class city of lawrence. the man in the white house is not the cause of what is broken. he is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what's gone wrong in america. a product of a rigged system that props up the rich and the powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else. the cost of college has nearly tripled. and 40% of americans couldn't find $400 to cover an emergency. that is millions of hard—working people in this country whose lives would be turned upside down if the transmission fell out of the car or somebody got sick and missed a week at work. the middle—class squeeze is real and millions of families can barely breathe. it is not right! cheering. here's chris buckler in washington, with more
on elizabeth warren's campaign strategy. very much trying to set herself aside from president trump, who she is presenting as somebody who is wealthy and privileged and essentially be a late and she tried to present herself as someone of the working people. in fact, she even walked onto the stage with that anthem of working women, nine to five playing. it gives you a sense that elizabeth warren is trying to rally the grassroots of ordinary people, choosing that old manufacturing town of florence to show again that she was alongside those people who, in the past, had fought for workers‘ rights and had fought for workers pay. i think we have had this antagonistic relationship
between her and donald trump. donald trump has referred to her time and time again as pocahontas. he likes to give nicknames to some of his political opponents and this nickname, pocahontas, comes from her claims that she has, in her past, some native american heritage. but how she has used those claims has been really controversial. he, for example, the president encouraged her and challenged her to take a dna test, which she said she would do. that immediately had a response from the cherokee nation saying that that is not how you actually establish tribal citizenship and that that was a bad idea. they have also been critical of how she claimed native american citizenship in the past at university and it gives you an idea that really she does face a challenge for some of those claims. at the moment, as i say, the field is wide open. there is not a front—runner as things stand. kamala harris has had a good start. she was accomplished and articulate in a prime—time cnn special in which he spoke to people who were potential voters. cory booker, he was out on the campaign trail today. today he is in iowa, he
is trying to get across his message. kirsten gillibrand, av club are sure, we expect her to announce her campaign tomorrow, all senators who potentially have a chance at winning that democratic nomination. the other one to mention, of course, though, isjoe biden, the former vice president, who still has not announced whether or not he is prepared to make a run for the presidency in 2020. he could be a leading candidate if he decides to run. but at the moment, there is no front runner and that is why we are seen all of these democratic candidates really trying to grab attention. kris kobach. —— chris buckler. in tunisia, state prosecutors have appealed against the acquittal of 27 suspects who stood trial for the 2015 terror attacks. 60 people were killed in those attacks, most of them british. it comes as a court sentenced seven people to life in prison for their involvement in the attacks. the first one hit the bardo museum in tunis. the second targeted tourists at a beach resort near the town of sousse. bbc world affairs correspondent richard galpin reports. the mass trials here at the courts in tunisia began more
than a year ago. now more than a dozen militants have been sentenced to prison, some for life. but many others have been acquitted. gunfire. it was back in 2015 that tourists were targeted in two devastating attacks claimed by so—called islamic state. the attack here in the popular resort of zeus was the most deadly. a lone gunmen armed with a kalashnikov and explosives running along the beach, killing holiday—makers at random and doing the same inside a large, crowded hotel. 38 people, most of them british, were killed. police who were nearby failed to intervene and tell it was too late. just three months earlier there had been a very similar attack at the national museum in tunis. this time two gunmen rampaging through the building, killing more than 20 tourists and a security guard. following this incident,
there were many questions why the tunisian authorities did not do more to ensure holiday—makers would be safe in the country. given the clear threat from islamist militants. as a result, the country's vital tourism industry plummeted and it was only in 2017 that it began to pick up again after security at holiday resorts and other popular areas was improved. richard galpin, bbc news. turkish officials say 18 people are now believed to have been killed after a apartment block collapsed in istanbul on wednesday. rescuers are still continuing their search for survivors in the rubble of the eight—storey building. 1a people are said to have been injured and the country's president visited some of the victims in hospital. recep tayyip erdogan also attended the funeral of nine members of one family who lost their lives. on saturday, violence erupted
in france during another set of demonstrations by the country's "yellow vest" movement. 0ne protester lost his fingers during clashes in paris. it's the thirteenth week of marches, which began in mid—november. caroline rigby reports. seen here in black, holding his arms and running for shelter, the protestor‘s fingers were ripped off by a rubber—pellet grenade which exploded in his hand as he tried to throw it away. according to one eyewitness, the man had been attempting to take pictures of demonstrators breaking down barriers outside the national assembly. for a 13th weekend running, thousands of gilets jaunes demonstrators once again took to the streets of paris. police responded to pockets of violence with tear gas and anti—riot munitions. what began as a protest over fuel
tax in november has broadened into a sustained revolt against the rising cost of living and the policies of president macron‘s government. translation: for decades now, we have seen our elected representatives have not been working in the interest of the people. they've been working more for lobbies and other interests. translation: when i see poverty in france, when i see the people abandoned by our government — and notjust this one, for decades, whether it be sarkozy and all the others — i say to myself that we must act. elsewhere in france, tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in other cities, from nantes to bordeaux, and toulouse to marseille. in brittany, there was an arson attack on the home of the head of france's national assembly, though it is not yet clear whether it was linked to the latest protests. in response emmanuel macron tweeted, "nothing justifies intimidation and violence towards an elected official of the republic."
the president remains under sustained pressure to quell the wider unrest in france. but, while the gilets jaunes continue to feel the political class is out of touch with the wider population, there looks to be little chance of a rapid end to the country's longest—running protest in decades. caroline rigby, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: would you buy so—called works of art by a fascist dictator? we'll find out what happened to these paintings at auction. there's mr mandela. mr nelson mandela, a free man, taking his first steps into a new south africa. iran's spiritual leader ayatollah khomeini has said he's passed a death sentence
on salman rushdie, the british author of a book which many muslims say is blasphemous. the people of haiti have flocked to church to give thanks for the ousting of their former president, 'baby doc' duvalier. because of his considerable value as a stallion, shergar was kept in a special secure box in the stud farm's central block. shergar was driven away in a horse box the thieves had brought with them. there stepped down from the plane a figure in mourning. elizabeth ii, queen of this realm and of all her other realms and territories, head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: us—backed kurdish fighters in north—eastern syria say they're launching a major offensive against what remains of the islamic state group.
us democratic senator elizabeth warren launches her bid for the white house, promising to champion ordinary, working people. the scientist who discovered the link between eating too much processed meat and bowel cancer has accused the uk and other european governments of not doing enough to encourage people to cut their consumption. professor denis corpet wants authorities held accountable, but one uk department insists it's committed to ensuring all food products are safe. ben ando reports. the cancer risks in eating too much processed meat like bacon and have we re processed meat like bacon and have were exposed four years ago but since then, this is the man who discovered the link, nothing was done to lessen consumption. he has
described it as a dereliction of duty by politicians in the uk and eu. chemicals used to help preserve the meat can be responsible for causing bowel cancer. no trade is put into processed food to protect it from a teary which can cause food poisoning, which itself can be very, very dangerous. they say they tried to get things balance. how much is safe ? to get things balance. how much is safe? bacon, corned beef, deli meats, should not exceed 70 g a day, two sausages or three thin slices of home. we know the link between process meat and cancer is not well—known, but it is putting it
into context that smoking is inherently much more risky. denis corpet says parents in particular need to think how much processed meat children are eating. here in the uk, the queen's husband has voluntarily given up his driving licence. in a statement buckingham palace said that prince philip had made the decision after careful consideration. it comes after the 97—year—old duke apologised over a car crash last month, near the sandringham estate in norfolk, in which his vehicle landed on its side after a collision with a car carrying two women and a baby. our reporter andy moore gave me more details. according to the one—line statement, it is a decision taken by the duke after careful consideration. it is an admission he feels he is not safe to drive. we understand from palace sources that it is a decision he took himself, that he just
felt it wasn't right. we do know that about five days after the accident he sent a letter to one of the women involved in the incident and he said he was very contrite about the consequences. he said he had been dazzled by the low sun. it was basically an admission he had been at fault. you may also remember that a few days after the accident he was seen with another car. he was driving around sandringham without a seatbelt, and he took a lot of criticism over that. so maybe it's a combination of both. a little bit of bad pr, and perhaps at the age of 97, he's realised it's not safe for him to drive, and there are plenty of other people who can drive him. does this end the matter, or is there an ongoing investigation into that accident? there is an ongoing investigation. he could face a charge of driving without due care and attention. police have completed their investigation. they have sent a file to the crown prosecution service.
the crown prosecution service say they will deliver their decision in due course, and they say they will take into account the decision to surrender his licence. there are some experts in the field who say it is probably less likely that there will be a prosecution if the driver surrenders his licence, as the duke has done. five paintings said to be by adolf hilter went under the hammer in nuremberg on saturday but failed to sell. 26 pieces of art were pulled from the sale because suspicions were raised they could be fakes. the auction sparked outrage with the city's mayor calling it in "bad taste". the bbc‘s tim allman has more. five entirely unremarkable watercolours — that is, until you take a look at the signature. these paintings are claimed to be the works of adolf hitler, aspiring artist and one of history's greatest villains.
but a planned auction failed to find a single buyer. they were frightened away by the police and security forces, and because of all the news that all these watercolours and oil painting and drawings would be fakes. this isn't the first time doubts have been cast over art attributed to the former nazi dictator. last month, three other watercolours were seized by police before a planned auction in berlin. hitler was a prolific artist in his youth. in his book, mein kampf, he claimed to have produced as many as three paintings a day. most of them were destroyed. so how many fakes are we talking about? somewhere betwee 500 to a couple of thousand, which is a ridiculous many, especially, as you know, after the second world war, only 30—something survived. whether these were fake or not, the sale of hitler's paintings is hugely controversial.
his shadow looms large, even when it comes to art. tim allman, bbc news. the head of nasa says they plan to send humans to the moon again, but that this time they'll stay. the space agency will start with an orbiting lunar outpost designed to send astronauts to the surface, and then build a more permanent structure on the moon. i asked space journalist dr ken kramer to tell us more about nasa's plans. it's been 50 years. we want to go back to the moon. we're developing sls rocket and the orion capsule to do that, and we're also developing a mini space station at the moon that they will launch to, and that's called the gateway. we want to launch the first element of the gateway in 2022, then we'll send an astronaut to go into lunar orbit around 2023, and then we want to test a human lander in 202a. and then hopefully, if that all works out, we will send the first humans back to the moon in 2024 — i'm sorry, 2028.
and, hopefully, europe is going to be part of that, because europe is a big part of the orion capsule programme that will carry the humans to the moon. now, as you say, it's been almost exactly half a century since the moon landing. why the sudden interest now in going back? well, there's been a developing interest. you know, unfortunately, the politicians 50 years ago ended the apollo programme. both of the bushes wanted to return to the moon, but the congress didn't quite agree. now, there seems to be a consensus among many nations, us, europe, russia, and china, that it's important to go back to the moon. so there's been a change in the political mindset about it, and that's what it takes, because we have the technology. what we need to go to the moon is political willpower and the funding, and so that's what seems to be changing now. we've been hearing a lot about china's expedition to
the dark side of the moon. is there a little bit of competitiveness here, with the united states wanting to keep up? oh, absolutely, and i'm really glad china's pursuing their lunar dreams, because that is what's going to spur the western countries into action, i believe, so — and i hope. so i'm all for china going to the moon, and definitely, a little bit of competition is absolutely good. hopefully, we'll also work with them, because if we can work together as humanity, it'll cut the cost down, and we can use the resources from each country to land there, and probably send an international crew when we do land on the moon. the plans for nasa to go back to the moon. stay with us. well, the weather is in the process
of calming down after all of that storminess we've had in the last few days. and as storm erik pulls away out into the norwegian sea, behind it, it leaves a legacy of changeable weather. we have got some rain out there right now. it's pretty damp across some central and southern parts of the uk, brought by this area of cloud here. this is a weather front which will be sliding across southern and central parts of the uk. all of this cloud here to the north, actually, that's the remnants of storm erik that we've had in the last couple of days. so here's the forecast through the early hours. bits and pieces of rain across central and southern areas of the uk. clear for scotland and much of northern and north—eastern england there. in fact, a touch of frost first thing on sunday morning, and pretty chilly in belfast, as well, around 2 degrees at 6:00am. so what can we expect, then, on sunday? well, the morning is looking cloudy and damp for many of us across the southern half of the uk. but this weather front will be swiftly moving away towards the east, so the weather will improve.
but it's going to be a slow process for places like lincolnshire and east anglia. some of that rain could last into lunchtime. now, notice how all the while it's sunny across eastern and central scotland. beautiful day, i think, for edinburgh, for newcastle, aberdeen too. but showers are expected to push into northern ireland by the time we get to lunchtime, and then these showers will sweep across other parts of the uk later on sunday, so hence the mixed bag on sunday. now, as we head into monday, high pressure starts to build from spain and portugal. in fact, it's going to establish itself across much of western europe, which means that the weather will start to settle down from monday onwards, and any weather fronts that do come close to our neighbourhood will actually be diverted towards the north. so this is where all the weather fronts will go. we are in this window of much drier weather. temperatures of 10 degrees on monday in london, and it's relatively mild. you can see how the jet stream
actually meanders around the uk, in fact, at times even north of iceland, into scandinavia. and to the south of that, that's where we start to see the high pressure building, and with the winds blowing around in a clockwise fashion, the warmer air will be reaching the uk. so the summary for the week ahead is a lot of dry weather out, or at least mainly dry. there might be some sports of rain in north—western scotland. mild by day, but the nights with the clearer skies will be chilly, and there might be some fog around too. bye— bye. this is bbc news. the headlines: kurdish—led forces in north—eastern syria say they're launching their final battle against the so—called islamic state group in the tiny pocket of territory it still holds near the iraqi border. the announcement comes just days after president trump said the end of the self—declared is caliphate could soon be announced. us senator elizabeth warren has formally launched her bid to stand for the white house in 2020 with a speech in which she promised to tackle economic inequality.
shejoins a growing list of democrats keen to take on republican president donald trump in 2020. seven men have been sentenced to life in prison for terror attacks in tunisia that left nearly 60 people dead. the attacks in 2015 were claimed by the islamic state group. the first one hit tunisia's bardo museum. the second targeted tourists at a beach resort. now on bbc news it's time for a look back