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Last Updated:  Saturday, 12 April, 2003, 00:23 GMT 01:23 UK
Reporters' Log: War in Iraq
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The BBC's unrivalled team of correspondents is bringing you news from the Gulf and reaction from around the world. On this page BBC News Online logs their impressions and personal experiences as they watch events unfold.

Most recent postings are at the top.

Friday, 11 April

Washington :: Rob Watson :: 2252GMT

In Washington these days, Syria is about as popular as Saddam Hussein. Now for the first time, President Bush has joined in the criticism, warning Damascus not to play host to the former Iraqi leader or any of his Baath Party loyalists.

After visiting wounded American soldiers in a Washington suburb, the president said he expected the Syrians to do everything they could to prevent people escaping to their country who should be held to account, and he insisted if there were any Saddam Hussein loyalists already in Syria, they should be turned over to what he called "the proper folks".

Compared to other US officials, the President's tone was relatively mild. The Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly accused Damascus of allowing weapon supplies to Iraq and of sheltering Iraqi officials.

Going even further, his deputy at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, has warned that Syria would be held accountable for its actions.


St Petersburg :: Nikolai Gorshkov :: 2159GMT

The leaders of Russia, France and Germany welcomed the collapse of the Iraqi regime saying they never supported Saddam Hussein, but they again rejected the idea of changing government by force.

If we start doing so, President Putin said, we will plunge the world into a continuous non-stop battle.

Pointing to one of the cameramen sporting a Che Guevara T-shirt, he said Che was a fine example of exporting socialist revolution that thankfully failed. Now President Bush, said Mr Putin, was trying to export capitalist revolution, but he might fail as well.

He criticised the coalition for going to war under a false pretext. They said they went in to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, but didn't find any, said Mr Putin, so strictly speaking, there was no real justification for that war.


Baghdad :: Fergal Keane :: 2108GMT

We drove across the city to a hospital in a Shia area. One man I met, Dr. Gabriel, had no idea where his own wife and children were. He had not left the hospital compound in three weeks.


Baghdad :: Ben Brown :: 2104GMT

Today we travelled from Basra to Baghdad, and all along the road we saw lots of jubilant Iraqis. But when you get to Baghdad, joy is displaced by anxiety about the looting and disorder.

Scrambling for scraps from so many buildings, they were like over-eager bargain hunters at the January sales.

The people told me there was no security and no safety. They said they need police.


Washington :: Justin Webb :: 2044GMT

Donald Rumsfeld was asked today about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He said he had no doubt over a period of time US forces would find people who could lead them to the stocks.

He expressed no doubt at all that they existed and would eventually be found.

On the fate of Saddam Hussein, Mr Rumsfeld said he saw a lot of intelligence reports but nothing had convinced him either way. As he put it, "I lack conviction that he is dead, I lack conviction that he is alive."


Northeastern Baghdad :: Andrew North :: 2024GMT

There's been intense gunfire for another night in north east Baghdad in an area known as Saddam City.

Marines based nearby briefly came under fire with rounds landing inside their camp. They scrambled for their weapons as the first burst of machine gunfire hit the edge of their camp.

It's the third night of heavy gunfire in this deprived area of Baghdad. But this was the closest it's got to actually hitting the marines because, officers say, when they're patrolling Saddam City in the day, for the most part local people are overwhelmingly friendly.

What they think is happening is that Baath regime loyalists are lying low when the marines are there in the day, but clashing with locals at night.


Washington :: Nick Childs :: 2000GMT

It was an extraordinary combative performance by Donald Rumsfeld at the latest Pentagon briefing. Clearly exasperated by the new criticisms of US-led forces, the American defence secretary suggested that media reports of chaos and lawlessness in Iraq were exaggerated.

He agreed that US forces did have an obligation to help provide security and said that they were doing what they could to curb the looting where they saw it.

Mr Rumsfeld said no one condoned looting, but according to him much of the lawlessness was a natural pent up response by people to the end of a repressive regime. Any such transition was inevitably untidy, he said.

The Pentagon clearly hopes the situation will improve and insists it is doing so in other Iraqi cities like Basra.


Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1909GMT

Civil war is a word on everyone's lips. The violence seems to be fractured along religious lines. Who is doing what to whom depends on whether you are Sunni or Shia.

If this looting and attacking continues, there is fear that given the ethnic and religious differences that make up the country, the violence could descend into something much worse.


Near Kirkuk :: Demeetha Luthra :: 1902GMT

There are US Special Forces dotted around the area, and they have sealed off the oil field. One small patrol of US forces went around the city in a high profile exercise - pershaps to say "we are in control" - but as far as I can see Kurdish troops have not pulled out yet.


Northeastern Baghdad :: Andrew North :: 1848GMT

It's not clear who's firing at whom. The US marines that I'm with have just come under fire, but they may not actually have been deliberately targeted. It could have been crossfire.

But it came very close - within our camp near Saddam City.

The US marines said the gunfire could be coming from looters clashing wtih locals, it could be locals clashing with remnants of the Fedayeen. I'm impossible to tell.


Istanbul :: Jonny Dymond :: 1825GMT

I think the confusion over Kirkuk will have to be resolved before Turkey feels relieved.

It's difficult to clear up whether a Kurdish withdrawal has started, and how long that withdrawal might take. It's absolutely crucial, as far as the Turkish Government is concerned, that Kirkuk is clear of Peshmerger forces.


Washington D.C. :: Richard Lister :: 1750GMT

The US is planning a meeting for members of the Iraqi opposition in Nasiriya on Tuesday.

It's thought to be the stepping stone to a much larger conference in Baghdad, maybe this year, maybe the next, which will look at setting up an Iraqi administration.


Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 1721GMT

So far we haven't seen any Turkish monitors here. I don't know if Kurdish assurances have reassured them or not.

I was speaking to one of the Kurdish fighters earlier. On the one hand they're saying "yes, we are going to withdraw". But on the other hand they're also saying "look, we're tribes people, and my tribe comes from Kirkuk, so I'm going to stay here as a Kirkuk tribesman".


Mosul :: John Simpson :: 1700GMT

The oil fields here are firmly in the control of American Special Forces. We weren't allowed to get very close, but I saw one from the perimeter that had been blown up by Iraqi soldiers.

It had been done before the fall of the city in order to try to stop American pilots from seeing their targets. Completely futile.


Basra :: Clive Myrie :: 1641GMT

The last three or four days have been dreadful. There's been looting, rioting, and booty taken away.

But today we've seen the first signs that the British forces are concerned about lawlessness. but There are vehicle check-points and the 7th Armoured Brigade are pulling over cars to check them for loot.

The British really don't want to be a police force here, they want the locals to take over the job.


Baghdad :: Caroline Hawley :: 1613GMT

We've just arrived in Baghdad. We went to one hospital where outside the gates there were nurses carrying guns. They said they were there to protect the hospital against looting by militia amen loyal to Saddam.

There is a sense of bitterness here. Someone said to me: please save us, we don't need water or food, what we need is security.

Inside hospital they said they did have enough supplies, despite having treated 700 wounded over the last few days. Their biggest concern was protecting the hospital from looters.


Kirkuk, Northern Iraq :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 1605GMT

I think the Turks will be patient with the Kurdish troops still being in Kirkuk.

They've issued warnings, now they will have to wait for a few days. It's going to be such a big issue if Turks do come across the border into Northern Iraq that I think America is probably putting pressure on them to wait.


RAF Leuchars, Scotland :: Richard Wells :: 1555GMT

Out of the skies to the east, three specks appear at speed. Three Tornado aircraft on a victory fly-past before banking sharply to starboard and coming in to land.

In the control tower below them, the wives and children of the six crewmen are waving.

Together these Tornados from 111 Squadron have defended coalition bombers over Iraq, they've been shot at, and between them have notched up more than 500 hostile flying hours since they first went to the Gulf in March.

Now they're home. British soil, bathed in spring sunshine, has probably never looked so inviting.


Geneva :: Imogen Foulkes :: 1543GMT

The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the situation in Baghdad as catastrophic verging on anarchy. Two days of looting have left the city with virtually no functioning hospitals.

Medical supplies, such as incubators, emergency generators and even beds have been stolen.

Hospital staff are too frightened to come to work. The dead are left unattended in the streets and the ICRC says hot weather and the lack of water is increasing the risk of disease.

The Red Cross wants coalition forces to restore order as a matter of urgency, and to protect essential buildings, such as hospitals, from looters.


Near Mosul :: John Simpson :: 1532GMT

There is a real feeling of insanity in the air here. The era of Saddam is over and you can do anything, even break into the bank.

Anybody can steal anything, literally.

The Americans have sealed the area but nobody has sorted out the streets yet.

The big oil fields outside the city have been taken over.


Centcom, Qatar :: Jon Brain :: 1529GMT

American troops are still encountering some armed resistance in the capital, and there've been a number of firefights.

Some of the heaviest fighting has been at Al-Qaim, on the Syrian border, where units of the special Republican Guard are defending a compound.

Coalition commanders say their resistance is so fierce it's possible that the compound houses weapons of mass destruction or regime leaders on the run.

Central Command has issued a list of the fifty-five most wanted regime figures. Troops have been given packs of playing cards featuring pictures of the fifty-five and told to kill or capture them


Southern Baghdad :: Andrew North :: 1520GMT

I've just arrived in the US Marine camp in southern Baghdad.

The sound of mortars has been echoing around this part of Baghdad every fifteen minutes or so, although it's impossible to see the targets.

Early this morning, another US Marine position in southern Baghdad reported coming under machine gun fire. There are plumes of smoke rising in almost every direction - most from targets that were hit several days ago.

Traffic is running normally on many streets in the area and with many people giving US troops friendly waves.

But I saw extensive looting as I drove through a south-eastern suburb. At a damaged industrial complex US Marines appeared to be standing chatting as looters took away anything they could lay their hands on: strips of metal, chairs, desks and doors.

In an area nearby, many were pushing carts and trolleys loaded with packs of tinned food.


Washington :: Rob Watson :: 1501GMT

The White House says it's confident civil order will be restored in Iraq.

The White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said the widespread looting in the country was a natural reaction of people on their way to freedom from oppression.

He said the White House wasn't excusing it, or condoning it, but noted that it had happened in other places where totalitarian regimes had suddenly collapsed.


Nasiriya :: Adam Mynott :: 1445GMT

Another tragic shooting has happened today. At around 0630 local time a minibus approached one of dozens of checkpoints in town.

According to a US marine captain, despite signals from marines to slow down, the car in fact seemed to go more quickly as it went through the chicane in front of the checkpoint. The chicanes are built deliberately to slow vehicles down.

At this point the marines, fearing some sort of suicide attack, open fired with tragic results. Two children were killed and nine people also injured.

We've had checkpoints for 2 weeks in this city, and almost any driver must have been through a checkpoint at some point.

But there is a communication problem - few marines speak Arabic, few of the residents speak English. Hand signals and waves may be misunderstood. It's hard to tell but it will hopefully come out during the course of the inquiry.


Umm Qasr :: Jennifer Glass :: 1416GMT

The former American general Jay Garner has been called the Viceroy in Waiting, even the president elect of Iraq. But at every stop he made in Umm Qasr, the former American general had the same message for Iraqis he met: "It's your country, you rebuild it."

Garner says he's just here to help. His reconstruction team has been criticised because large reconstruction contracts have gone to American companies. Garner says there's nothing he can do about that, but that he welcomes international involvement to rebuild Iraq.

Security remains the biggest concern for Iraqis here in Umm Qasr and throughout Iraq. Garner says American and British forces should work to stop looting.

Once he arrives in Iraq, Garner says one of his first priorities will be to establish police forces. Here in Umm Qasr about a dozen men have already volunteered to be police officers.


Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 1409GMT

By and large there's not been the same level of looting we've seen in Mosul and Baghdad.

There are Peshmerga around, but who's in charge it's hard to say. But the Prime Minister of the PUK, who captured this city, is in a building across the road from me right now. And you can imagine Turkey is not going to like that one bit.


Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1352 GMT

Baghdad's becoming a city of barricades. We've found one guarding the end of the road near our hotel. It was almost in sight of the US marines. The people of Baghdad fear there simply aren't enough American boots on the ground here to stop the looting.

The marines are changing their posture, as their spokesman told me, reacting quickly to instances of the looting of medical facilities for example.


Tehran :: Miranda Eeles :: 1340GMT

Today's sermon by Ayatollah Khamenei was the first official reaction given by Iran after the fall of Baghdad. Khamenei said he was happy for the Iraqi people that Saddam had been toppled, but he condemned the US-led campaign as an attack against Muslims and Islam.

He then advised the Iraqi opposition to be careful, and not carry out acts of vengence that would give coalition forces a pretext to stay. Anybody who collaborated with the coalition he said, would be a national disgrace.


Baghdad :: David Willis :: 1308GMT

The situation is very chaotic here. A desperate situation in the city's hospitals.

Initially the targets were government buildings but now it is also shops.

In some parts we believe religious leaders are trying to stop people from the looting.

Many people are staying in behind locked doors hoping the army will get the situation under control. They are petrified and remain without power and in some cases food.


Ankara :: Jonny Dymond :: 1248GMT

Following a meeting of senior government and Turkish military officials, foreign minister Abdullah Gul has given a statement to the media.

He said that Turkey was reconsidering the position of troops, that it was keeping a very close eye on developments, adding that Turkey's "sensitivities are very clear" and that it wouldn't "take a step back."

He said he had cancelled a proposed trip to Damascus because of the situation in northern Iraq and he said that Turkish contact teams, or military observers, will be in Kirkuk within an hour.


Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 1243GMT

It's the end of the Saddam Hussein regime altogether. I didn't expect Mosul to fall nearly so quickly. I know the Americans or the Kurds didn't.

I've been all the way round Kirkuk today. You don't see anything like the presence of armed Peshmerga on the streets as yesterday.

But they are still here. And the Prime Minister of the PUK - the Kurdish faction which captured this town yesterday - is just across the road. He has 50 to 100 armed troops with him. It isn't quite what the Americans would like.

Presumably he'll be going soon and he'll take his troops with him.


CentComm, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 1227GMT

We're seeing a number of different moves. On the British front we know that some forces are leaving. HMS Ark Royal is coming home. Some of the Tornados are coming home.

There will be adjustments in the logistics brigades. And it's possible that other British forces will be brought in.

As far as America's concerned, it's ramping up. We're going to see the 4th Infantry Division, the most sophisticated unit in the American army moving into Iraq from Kuwait, possibly to go to Tikrit.

There are going to be other US forces being sent to the Syrian border where there is still quite a lot of action and they need to bolster their forces there.


St Petersburg :: Steve Rosenburg :: 1218GMT

The message from St Petersburg is that the coalition forces may be winning this war but its time to stop the fighting and hand everything over to the UN and let it take control of the post-war reconstruction.

That's what President Putin has been talking about over the last few weeks.

The big problem is that these three countries - Russia, France and Germany - opposed the war, tried to stop it from happening and they failed.

America didn't listen to them before. It's unlikely they'll listen to them now.


Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 1214GMT

The looting that began two days ago on government offices and Baath party residences has now gone beyond that. It's on the verge of getting out of control.

The American forces in Baghdad are setting up checkpoints and trying to secure more areas of the city. But there just aren't enough of them.

That's the picture in Baghdad at the moment. It looks like it could get worse. The United Nations has urged America to provide security but the UN itself isn't here to move in a humanitarian way.

And the American Marines and the 3rd Infantry Division are still fighting pockets of resistance. They have military operations on their hands.

It will only be when the penny drops in Washington and London that some sort of security structure can be put in place.


US Central Command, Qatar :: Dominic Hughes :: 1159GMT

The picture in Iraq is one of overwhelming US dominance and a gradual move to Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town.

It's here that some of the regime may have fled. And to assist in their capture the coalition forces have produced a pack of 55 cards to be distributed to troops, each featuring the face of a wanted Iraqi leader.


Nasiriyah :: Adam Mynott :: 1120GMT

We don't know the full details of what happened here yet.

What is perhaps odd is that there have been checkpoints in Nasiriyah for the best par tof a fortnight. So pretty much every driver knows what a checkpoint is, and what's expected of them.


Baghdad :: David Willis :: 1040GMT

People seem to be helping themselves to whatever they can lay their hands on. In several cases those hands are barely large enough to grip the goods they're holding. I saw one very small boy struggling to carry a large fire extinguisher. I doubt he knew what it was, let alone how to use it.


Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 1025GMT

Fighting is still going on, but the main threat is the looting which has reached at least one hospital. I watched looters dragging out heart monitors and incubators from the building.

The people of Baghdad are starting to take things into their own hands. There've been exchanges of gunfire between looters and shopkeepers, and we saw one alleged looter beaten to death in front of us.


US Central Command, Qatar :: Jonathan Marcus :: 1018GMT

US spokesmen here are admitting that things went off a little prematurely. They didn't expect to see Kurdish forces move into Kirkuk quite so quickly.

But the Americans are saying they're aware of the very serious problems of sorting the post-war order out in this particular part of Iraq.

They're hopeful that Kurdish fighters have listened to their leaders and will do whatever their commanders say.

But it could have been very different if Turkey had allowed 60,000 US troops to move into Iraq from the north, this whole situation would have panned out very differently.

There were those in the Turkish military who were quite eager to see that plan pursued. But there were those in the parliament who weren't and they won out.

The Turks partly have themselves to blame for the situation. Off the record and in private, that's certainly an undercurrent that we're getting here.


Ankara :: Jonny Dymond :: 0957GMT

Senior members of the Turkish government and military are meeting to discuss the situation in Iraq.

Turkey has warned that it will not tolerate Kurdish control of the city of Kirkuk which was occupied by Kurdish guerrillas on Thursday.

Foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, has said that Turkey also opposes large-scale population transfers in the region.

So, the government is looking to the United States to uphold its promises: to get the Kurdish Peshmerga out of Kirkuk and to control any large-scale population transfers that could bring large numbers of Kurds into the city.

Turkey has given no timescale for Kurdish force to leave but it clearly expects it to happen swiftly - a matter of hours, not days.


US Central Command, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 0941GMT

Tikrit may fall as easily as other cities. I would hesitate to use the word "massing" for any Iraqi military moves around Tikrit. To my knowledge there has been no evidence of that kind.

There are the remnants of Republican Guard divisions who are still operating in that area. They've been hit from the air very hard.

We are likely to see the arrival of the American 4th Infantry Division in the next couple of days. It's the most sophisticated infantry division in the world with all sorts of hi-tech equipment at their disposal.

It will probably fall to them to take on Tikrit, if there is a battle there to be fought and we simply don't know that at this stage.


Amman, Jordan :: Lyse Doucet :: 0926GMT

The International Committee of the Red Cross has not returned to the hospitals in Baghdad, it says.

They've been there throughout the three weeks of military action in Baghdad. Hospital staff were too frightened to work, the Red Cross says, and patients are discharging themselves because they found it too dangerous.

But in the midst of all this we heard this morning that Oxfam has decided to send three trucks from Jordan into Baghdad to help with the medical situation.


Baghdad :: David Willis :: 0914GMT

I set off at dawn this morning from the presidential palace that we were holed up in overnight.

I made what turned out to be a fairly hair-raising journey through the city centre to the hotel where all of the media is staying.

I flagged down a lift from some people waving a white flag and managed to convince them to take me to the hotel.

When we reached a checkpoint we encountered some extremely nervous US Marines and because I was on the phone at the time they made me lie down in the road.

They forced me from the car at gunpoint simply because they are nervous about people with cell phones. They believe phones are being used by Iraqis and Iraqi agents to orchestrate and coordinate attacks on Americans.

It gives you some idea of how jittery people are at the moment here.


Westminster, London :: Reeta Chakrabarti :: 0833GMT

The British Government thinks the situation in Basra is rather different from the one in Baghdad.

The International Development Secretary Claire Short has just pointed out that there was a certain amount of looting initially but that has now been brought under control and that order has been restored.

She was saying that preventing this sort of looting must be a top priority.

She agrees with the UN that it's a legal obligation on the occupying powers to restore order and keep a civilian administration going. She says the priority must be the protection of hospitals.


US Central Command, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 0819GMT

It is interesting to point out that the shooting incident in Nasiriyah is not the first incident of its kind.

We have seen repeated images over the past couple of weeks and stories of very jittery American soldiers who are uncertain of what is going on.

There were some very striking images of US soldiers driving at night in Baghdad just yesterday. They shot on a car that they thought approached them too closely.

Privately British officials here are profoundly shocked by some of these images. They talk privately of a rather trigger-happy American troop presence in certain parts of the country.

We haven't seen episodes like this in Basra for example. And there is concern in British circles that the Americans are not up for this sort of thing.


Nasiriyah :: Adam Mynott :: 0809GMT

A US Marine captain, Jay Delarosa, said Marines at one of dozens of checkpoints in Nasiriyah signalled to a car to stop as it was approaching Marines manning the post.

He said the driver did not respond to the signals and continued to drive through a chicane constructed by Marines in front of the checkpoint.

At this point, according to the captain, the Marines on duty opened fire, killing two children and injuring nine other Iraqi civilians. Captain Delarosa said the Marines deeply regretted this incident.

He said no weapons or explosives had been found on the two vehicles which came under fire.


St Petersburg :: Steve Rosenburg :: 0756GMT

This conference is very much a reaction to Belfast. It's a rival summit of sorts to the war and peace summit we saw in northern Ireland between George Bush and Tony Blair.

The message here is likely to be that Washington and London don't have the right to make all the decisions over Iraq's future.

The war may be nearing its end but Russia, France and Germany want the process to now be handed over to the United Nations.

There are political and financial concerns. Politically Russia believes that giving it over to the UN would be the right thing to do.

And theoretically that could give Russia some degree of influence. There are also economic concerns here. Russia knows it may have lost everything it had in Iraq.

This comprised considerable economic interests - oil deals and business contracts. Only by getting the UN involved now does Russia stand a chance of getting a slice of the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.


Nasiriyah :: Adam Mynott :: 0727GMT

The details are still sketchy. But I understand that two Iraqi children were shot dead this morning by US Marines at a checkpoint.

Nine other civilians were injured. I have been told that a car approached the checkpoint, ignored signs for the vehicle to stop.

Apparently it made its way through the chicane that the marines had built before the checkpoint. It still didn't slow down. At this point Marines opened fire on the vehicle and another vehicle was also hit.

The injured have been taken to the US medical facilities. Marines say they considerably regret this incident.


Baghdad :: David Willis :: 0716GMT

I've arrived at the Palestine Hotel in the centre of Baghdad having travelled through Iraq with the US marines for weeks. It was a perilous journey. I have seen lots of looting going on in Baghdad. Even the hospitals are targets.

Yesterday's fighting near a mosque was the scariest part of this journey. I was on the floor of a vehicle that wasn't protected from rocket attack. Everyone was saying their prayers yesterday.

The US marines I have spent weeks with now are an extra-ordinary bunch of young men and I emphasis young. Some are still in their teens. They have never been through conflict before. After yesterday their commanding officer described them as heroes. It is an awesome ordeal for young men.

Today in the city, the Marines remain jittery. I think they are spread very thinly here, trying to secure government buildings. The Marines don't have time to go about law enforcement, so the looting continues. As for re-enforcements we just don't know when they will come.


Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 0630GMT

Baghdad may in theory be free. But its people are passing their first days of liberty in a greater fear than they've ever known.

Fighting is still going on sporadically, but the main threat to security is the looting, which has now reached at least one hospital.

I witnessed looters dragging out heart monitors and incubators from the building, along with anything else that could be moved.

The German and Swedish embassies have been ransacked and there are reports of attacks on the national museum. Some ministries and shopping centres have been set ablaze.


US Central Command, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 0627GMT

It seems as if the situation in Mosul is moving rapidly. Donald Rumsfeld has suggested there would be a takeover by US forces, accompanied by the Kurdish guerrillas.

This is not going to be a repeat of yesterday's headlong rush by Kurdish fighters into Kirkuk. That is something that officials here have privately admitted shouldn't have happened as it did.

This is a much more coordinated move and it suggests that the US relationship with the Kurds is functioning. And it will go some way to reassuring Turkey that this remains very much and American led operation.


Basra :: Clive Myrie :: 0620GMT

Do the British forces here concentrate simply on security in Basra or do they try and police the city, that is the conundrum here at the moment.

There are about 1000 Royal Marines on the streets but that is not enough to police every nook and cranny of this city. There are also members of the army here but not enough.

The forces simply don't want to get into a policing role. They do not want to chase looters down alleyways. They want a local solution to this problem. That is why they are talking to local groupings about the way forward.

Aid organisations say they will not fly aid or workers in here to an area that is unsecure. They want security first.

The military says you have to deal with any remaining resistance first and the aid agencies are backing that strategy too.


Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0604GMT

The Americans have been very careful in saying there will be small numbers of Kurdish fighters entering the city of Mosul today, with coalition forces.

It will not be a repeat of the rush to Kirkuk yesterday.

Tikrit is likely to be next then. It is the birthplace of Saddam and is where it seems all the Iraqi soldiers have retreated to from other northern positions.

I think Tikrit will be the last stand and a very violent one at that when it comes.


St Petersburg :: Nikolai Gorshkov :: 0558GMT

The leaders of Russia, France and Germany are meeting in St Petersburg to discuss their strategy in dealing with post-Saddam Iraq and the victorious coalition.

They were among the most vocal critics of the US-led action and are expected to reaffirm their desire to bring the Iraqi problem back into the framework of the United Nations.

Some commentators have already dubbed it an anti-Belfast summit. The reference is to the meeting of President Bush and the prime minister Tony Blair in Northern Ireland earlier in the week.

Russia, France and Germany insist the reconstruction of Iraq should be carried out under the auspices of the United Nations.

They have an ally in the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, who has been arguing that only the United Nations can lend legitimacy to any new government in Baghdad.


Washington :: Justin Webb :: 0552GMT

American and Kurdish forces are reported to have entered the northern Iraqi city of Mosul overnight. Many Iraqi forces guarding the city have surrendered.

The United States has promised to persuade the Kurds to withdraw from the other important northern stronghold of Kirkuk after the Turkish government threatened to intervene.


Ankara :: Jonny Dymond :: 0531GMT

Turkey is most concerned that the 12 million Kurds who live in within its borders would start up a separatist campaign. That's why Turkey doesn't want an independent Kurdistan on its border.

Turkey fought a very long and very bloody civil war against a Kurdish paramilitary group - the PKK - which enjoyed support on the ground in the southeast of Turkey.

Well over 30,000 people were killed in a very ruthless operation over a period of about 15 years.

Turkey believes that this war, which only ended in 1999, will start up again if there is an independent Kurdish state to threaten its own borders.

However many times the Kurds in northern Iraq say they're not interested in independence, Turkey simply doesn't believe them.

They are very suspicious of it. That's why they appear so heavy-handed to the rest of the world.


Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 0440 GMT

There is near anarchy in Baghdad now. The only reason I'm able to talk to you on this expensive BBC equipment is because our hotel is completely surrounded by US troops.

A maternity hospital was looted in front of our eyes. People were taking medical equipment they could have no possible use for.


Washington :: Steve Kingstone :: 0343 GMT

America's deputy defence secretary urges France and Russia to consider writing off debts owed to the two countries by Iraq.


Washington :: Justin Webb :: 0307 GMT

The US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says there is good communication with the Turkish Government. That communication is vital if the US is to persuade Turkish forces not to invade to stop a Kurdish state being set up in northern Iraq.

The Secretary of State Colin Powell has personally promised the Turks that Kurdish fighters who took the oil city of Kirkuk against American wishes will be persuaded to withdraw and leave it in US hands.

As one Pentagon official put it: "We love the Kurds - but in this case, they will not get their way."


Doha, Qatar :: Malcolm Brabant :: 0156 GMT

The coalition remains concerned that some elements of the regime are still functioning. That appears to be the reasoning behind a particularly violent air raid on the building occupied by Saddam Hussein's favourite half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, which doubled as a headquarters for Iraqi intelligence.

The building, near Ar Ramadi, 50 miles west of Baghdad, had been under surveillance by special forces for some time, and they guided in six highly accurate and powerful JDAM bombs.

The defenders of Mosul in the north have clearly had enough of the aerial bombardment.

They are preparing to surrender, as long as the Americans grant them amnesty and, above all, stop the air strikes.

But the US commander on the ground says that he is not in the business of providing amnesties.


Reporters with the US and British military are restricted in what they can say about precise locations or military plans.

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