Last 24 Hours: Ukraine battle over airport grows, food enters Syria’s Homs

The situation in eastern Ukraine is heating up as the battle for Donetsk airport grows in intensity. Eleven have been killed; control of the airport remains contested, the government claims it has troops holding positions there just as rebel flags have gone up.

Russia could move forward on running multiple Ukraine-sized operations, a U.S. general said. And Russia says Ukraine’s new troop deployment into the east won’t help in terms of peace.

As Boko Haram militants ramp up their efforts and control in West Africa, several leaders in the region are mulling a new force to fight the group. A meeting is planned next week under the African Union to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, Cameroon says Chad is sending a military contingent to fight Boko Haram.

Food has entered Syria’s besieged Homs city, serving tens of thousands, by way of a United Nations convoy after a truce was reached.

The Pentagon confirmed plans to send 400 United States trainers, hundreds more personnel to help train rebel forces in March train-and-equip mission.

Should know

Islamic State; 17 killed by ISIS members in Syria after hit-and-run attacks on them — Pakistan; 5 suspected militants killed by U.S. drone strike — Somalia; 2 police officers killed in rebel attack — Afghanistan; 2 police killed in Taliban roadside bomb — United States; Florida and Oklahoma execute convicted murderers

France; 12 arrested in suspicions of connection to Paris attacks — Belgium; 15 held by police, two killed after a dozen Belgian anti-terror raids — China; 60,000 arrested in drug sweep by police

Montenegro; Hundreds demonstrate against Kosovo official — Boston; Protests against police violence briefly shut down highway — Myanmar; Monks stage protest decrying UN envoy visit — Pakistan; Tear gas fired at French consulate protesters in Karachi — Hong Kong; Student leaders charged over pro-democracy protests

Saudi Arabia; Gov’t postpones activist’s flogging — Cuba; U.S. lessens measures on trade, travel — Afghanistan; Leader seeks to sideline with powerful bloc in break with past — United States; Seattle’s mayor proposes more tent cities to deal with homelessness.

To watch

Palestine/Israel; Sweden says Israel irritating allies over Palestine recognition, Arab states endorse new Palestinian move at UN Security Council — Iran; US’ Kerry and Iran’s Zarif set for Paris nuclear talks — Libya; Parties agree to more talks in Geneva next week

Congo; Government says offensive against FDLR rebels imminent —  Koreas; North Korea says South-U.S. exercises ‘open challenge’

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