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The Latest: Russia says pilot downed in Syria fought back

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Russia’s military says a pilot who ejected after Syrian insurgents shot down his plane traded fire with militants on the ground and then blew himself up to avoid being captured.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Maj. Roman Filipov on Saturday bailed out successfully from the burning plane over the northern Idlib province, but was surrounded by al-Qaida-linked militants when he landed. It says he fought the militants and then blew himself up with a hand grenade when they came close.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered that Filipov be honored posthumously with the nation’s highest medal, the Hero of Russia.

Filipov’s plane was struck by a portable air defense missile, the first time a Russian jet has been shot down by insurgents since Moscow launched an air campaign in support of President Bashar Assad’s forces in 2015.

9:15 p.m.

The Russian military says "several" Syrian civilians were killed when mortar rounds fired by rebels struck Russian aid distribution points in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, the head of the military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said Monday’s shelling also wounded people, without providing figures. He added that Russian aid workers were evacuated to safety and were not hurt.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported that mortar shells landed near the offices of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, killing two people inside and wounding three.

Russian volunteers were distributing aid collected by Russia’s Muslim and Christian communities outside the building and at another location.

6:15 p.m.

Turkey’s military says a soldier has been killed in shelling in the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

A military statement said the soldier died Monday in the Kuri Hill region.

At least 16 Turkish soldiers have been killed since Ankara launched an offensive last month aimed at driving Syrian Kurdish fighters out of the northern Syrian enclave along the border.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish force to be an extension of the Kurdish insurgency in its own southeast.

Earlier Monday, a Turkish tank was hit by an anti-tank missile in the Kuchuk Darmik region, the military said. No one was wounded in that attack.

5:40 p.m.

Rebels under siege on the outskirts of Damascus are pounding the Syrian capital with rockets and mortar shells, a barrage that state media says has killed one person and wounded 13.

The SANA news agency said Monday that "armed groups" were firing into Damascus from the eastern Ghouta suburbs, one of the last remaining opposition-held pockets in the capital region.

Government forces pounded the suburbs with airstrikes on Monday. Syrian activists say at least 28 people have been killed.

The U.N. estimates 400,000 people are trapped under a government siege in eastern Ghouta. A top humanitarian official called the region the "epicenter of suffering" in Syria.

4:30 p.m.

Turkey says it has detained 573 people for criticizing its offensive in northern Syria since the operation began earlier this month.

An Interior Ministry statement said Monday that 449 people have been detained so far for allegedly engaging in "terror propaganda" on social media, while a further 124 were detained for participating in protests against the military operation into the Syrian Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin.

Turkey launched its offensive on Jan. 20 to clear Afrin of Syrian Kurdish forces, whom Ankara views as terrorists because of their links to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused opponents of the offensive of supporting terrorism, while authorities warned they would be prosecuted.

Those detained include several members of the Turkish Medical Association who warned against the operation’s human costs. Erdogan accused the group of being "terrorist lovers."

3 p.m.

A Russian news agency says two people have been killed and three wounded in shelling near two Russian aid distribution points in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

RIA Novosti said mortar shells landed near the offices of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch on Monday, killing two people inside and wounding three.

Russian volunteers were distributing aid collected by Russia’s Muslim and Christian communities outside the building and at another location.

The Russian Orthodox Church said none of its staff were hurt.

2:50 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a Turkish military convoy has been dispatched to establish an observation post in northwest Syria.

The Anadolu Agency says the convoy reached a rural area in the western countryside of the province of Aleppo to establish Turkey’s fourth post in Syria’s largest rebel stronghold.

Turkey began deploying forces in an observer role to northwestern Syria in October, as part of a "de-escalation" agreement with Iran and Russia to stabilize the lines of conflict in war-torn Syria.

The deployment comes amid heightened tensions between rebels and pro-government forces at their shared frontier, after the government retook a contested air base in January.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a convoy of dozens of armed vehicles crossed into rebel-held territory from Turkey early Monday.

A similar convoy was struck by a car bomb while transiting through rebel territory last Tuesday. It was not clear who was behind the attack, which killed a civilian who was part of the convoy.

2:30 p.m.

Syrian activists say at least 23 civilians have been killed in intense government airstrikes on a rebel-held suburb near Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says waves of airstrikes hit at least five neighborhoods in the Eastern Ghouta suburb, the only remaining rebel stronghold near the capital, Damascus.

The activist-run Ghouta Media Center also reported that 23 were killed. The Observatory says at least 70 have been wounded and that the number of casualties is likely to climb as rescuers operations are underway.

Among those killed was a rescue worker from the first-responders team known as White Helmets. The two groups say he died on duty in Arbeen, one of the neighborhoods hit by the airstrikes.

An estimated 400,000 residents live in Eastern Ghouta, besieged by Syrian government forces. ___

11:45 a.m.

Syrian activists say two hospitals have been hit amid a wave of airstrikes on opposition-held areas in the northwest province of Idlib, the largest remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.

The bombardment comes after rebels shot down a Russian fighter jet on Saturday.

The activist-run Edlib Media Center and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say one of the bombed hospitals was in the town of Kafranbel. They say it was hit on Monday morning.

Also, a spokesman for the Syrian American Medical Society says a hospitals it operates was struck three times on Sunday night.

The spokesman, Mohamad Katoub, says the hospital is in the town of Maaret al-Numan and is no longer operational.

A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders was damaged in an airstrike last Tuesday.

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Antioch killing over stolen laundry

Three men looking for clothes stolen from an Antioch apartment complex laundry room shot and killed a man who wasn’t involved in the theft, police said Thursday.

Boise Alexander Duggan and Jeremy Mark Griffin, both 24, and Johntue Felix Hinds, 28, have each been arrested and charged with murder and assault with a firearm in the Nov. 14 slaying of Juan Jose Hernandez.

Griffin, who lives in Oakley, was also charged by Contra Costa County prosecutors with being a felon in possession of a gun and dissuading a witness. He and Duggan, a Concord resident, are also being held on alleged parole violations.

The incident began when Griffin, Duggan and a third person found that their clothes were missing from a laundry room at the Delta Pines apartment complex at 2301 Sycamore Drive, said acting police Sgt. Santiago Castillo.

Griffin, Duggan and Hinds, an Antioch resident, then went to a unit where they believed the thief was staying, Castillo said.

"There were multiple people inside the apartment at the time, which included the victim, who had nothing to do with the theft of the laundry," Castillo said.

An argument erupted, during which Hernandez was shot dead.

All three defendants are being held without bail at County Jail in Martinez.

Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: hlee@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @henryklee

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Patriarch Aphrem II: Syrians remained steadfast thanks to diversity and harmony

Damascus, SANA- Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church Mor Ignatius Aphrem II said that the diversity and harmony of the Syrian society have endowed it with the strength to stand in face of the global war waged against it.

Speaking at a ceremony honoring Speaker of the People’s Assembly, Hammoudeh Sabbagh, at the Cathedral of Saint George for Syriac Orthodox in Damascus, Aphrem II added that the Syrian society is coherent in a way that makes Syria able to foil all the schemes which seek to empty the region of the Christians similar to what happened in Turkey, Iraq, al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Bethlehem.

For his part, Speaker Sabbagh said that the enemies haven’t been able to undermine the Syrian people thanks to their solidarity with their army, and wise and courageous leadership, affirming that Syria has approached the final triumph over terrorism.

In turn, Grand Mufti of the Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, said that Syria has always been united and it has been able to defeat its enemies thanks to its national unity, the steadfastness of its people, the sacrifices of its army and the bravery of its leader.

R. Jazaeri/Ghossoun

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Central Hotels signs with Green Valley Real Estate

First Central Hotel, one of the properties managed by Central Hotels Management.

Green Valley Real Estate and Central Hotel Management Group have signed a partnership agreement to manage hotel properties, with the former currently having projects in Turkey.

The signing ceremony was attended by Green Valley Real Estate Group director general Ali Al Salami, and Central Hotel Management chairman Ahmad Al Abdullah Al Ansari.

This cooperation will kick off with Central Hotel Management Group managing a number of Green Valley’s projects in Turkey, followed by projects in Morocco, Georgia and Bosnia. The new brand will be named ‘Green Valley Central’ and will manage all projects in Bursa, Yaluva, Trabzon and Sapanca.

Al Salami said in a statement: "We are pleased to sign this partnership agreement with Central Hotels Management group to manage our projects in Turkey. This agreement comes to fulfill our promises to esteemed customers who bought their units in Turkey on a hotel system basis, which offers them good investment returns in attractive tourist destinations."

Established in 2004, the Green Valley Real Estate Group owns a total of 42 real estate development projects across the globe, and all its projects in Turkey are now under the hotel property management system, although most of its projects were not previously part of such arrangement.

Green Valley Central also plans to expand in Morocco, Georgia and Bosnia at a later stage.

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Reading The Latest Antioch Turkey News

Do you want to make sure you know what is going in on in Antioch? If you’re invested in this part of Turkey, you’ll want to make sure you check the news regularly. If you lead a busy life, these tips will help you to make time for the news.

Consider A Digital Newspaper Subscription

If you don’t have the time to sit down and read a physical paper, why not read a digital one instead? Many papers that cover world news offer digital subscriptions.

With a digital subscription, you’ll be able to check the news from any device. You’ll even have the chance to read the news on your phone! You won’t have to set aside chunks of time to read the news. You’ll simply be able to look at the news when you have a few minutes to spare.

Use News Apps

Do you feel like you forget to check the news? If the news isn’t usually at the forefront of your mind, you should have notifications sent to your phone. When a big news story hits, you’ll get a notification. You can read it whenever you have the time.

Ask Friends To Send You News Stories

If you have friends or family members that live in Turkey, you should ask them to send important stories to you. They might be able to send you stories that you wouldn’t have found on their own. They’ll have a clear idea of what is going on in Turkey, which means they’ll be able to share a lot of news with you.

If you want to be reading all of the latest Antioch Turkey news, there are plenty of things you should be doing. Find a way to keep track of the news. Look for a system that will work for you.

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Christmas lights shine on in Antioch — even after end of lights competition

City of Franklin kicked off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony on the public square. Shelley Mays/The Tennessean

The fact that Metro Beautification discontinued its annual Holiday Lights competition has not dimmed Kevin Williams’ enthusiasm for decorating.

Williams, who won his district in the lights competition three years in a row, is back at it and just as fired up as ever this Christmas season — official contest or not.

Williams, a 20-year-old college student, says he takes his inspiration from his grandpa and uncle who used to decorate for Christmas when he was a "little fella" too small to get up on the roof with them. And he says that once he got started following in their holiday footsteps, he just can’t seem to stop.

He calls it his "Christmas magic."

"Just when it seems as if I can’t think of any more to add, something always ends up going up," said Williams, who does all of the decorating during his Thanksgiving break from his studies at University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he is studying music.

"Each year the ideas grew and so did the display," he said of his 2017 exhibition at his grandparents house at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch. The display now includes a reindeer pulling Santa onto the icicled roof ("We put a motor with it and it actually runs up and down the side of the house!," he said), Mickey’s Gingerbread House, as well as Mickey and Minnie, multiple stars, candy canes, a lighted Nativity, several Nutcrackers, and a holiday train.

Kevin Williams decorates his grandparents’ house at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch every Christmas.

(Photo: Submitted Photo)

Williams clearly loves his project and the positive response he gets from his family and from passersby:

"I may not have the flashiest display with a light show and music, but I think it is well organized and classy. I value simple, clean, and symmetrical things over volume. This year’s addition is two angels and a star. The two angels are bolted to the roof while the star is hung from my uncle’s ham radio tower in the back yard——I climbed 35 feet up on that thing to put it up there——top 10 scariest things I’ve ever done," he said, laughing.

"The star and angels are a nice addition in my opinion and are a great reminder of the reason for celebrating this holiday. My ultimate goal isn’t for fame and recognition — I just hope that when people drive by they get a smile on their face and feel the Christmas spirit.

"I think a lot of people value that people like me take the time to decorate their houses," he said. "Yeah it’s a lot of work, but it brings joy to people and makes people get into the Christmas spirit. What more can you ask for! "

There may not be a citywide lights contest this year, but Williams and his creation is definitely a winner in my book.

Reach Ms. Cheap at 615-259-8282 or mscheap@tennessean.com. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/mscheap, and at Tennessean.com/mscheap, and on Twitter @Ms_Cheap.

Some other recommended light displays

Kevin Williams’ Christmas display, described above, is at 4025 Keeley Drive in Antioch. It will be up from dusk until about 11 p.m. through New Year’s Day.

This is the 35th — and final — year for Sunnyside Lights at 1956 Sunnyside Drive off Hillsboro Road in Brentwood. This display, created by Bill Minneci in memory of his son, has become a Christmas Light tradition that draws as many as 2,000 cars (and lots of buses) per night. Not only are the lights wonderful (there are over 97,000 lights) but Santa will be there for visits and picture from 5:30- 9:30 Dec. 15-23, with donations accepted for the Shrine Children’s Hospital. sunnysidelights.com

Drive down West End Avenue to see the Parthenon in its holiday glory with its red and green lights. It’s very festive and easy to drive by.

Gaylord Opryland Resort with its millions of lights is always a holiday destination. You can drive around the circle at the Magnolia Lobby and see an impressive array of the white lights as well as the beautiful larger than life nativity.

Hillsboro West End Neighborhood (around Hillsboro Village) has some great displays that were entered in their neighborhood holiday lights contest. Good streets include: Fairfax, Westwood, Westmoreland and Barton avenues.

Sumner County has some good light looking options: Fairview Plantation in Gallatin and Lights on Luna, 176 Luna Lane, in Hendersonville, were both recommended.

London’s Lights on Barnes Road in Antioch.

The Lipscomb University circle in front of the Allen Arena has a spectacular light exhibition with beautifully lighted trees.

And if you know of other great light displays, please let me know at mscheap@tennessean.com

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Share memories or express condolences below.

Patrick Brown

Antioch – Age 53, passed away November 8, 2017. Survived by wife, Nishani Brown; daughters, Imani Darden & Brittany Brown; grand-daughter, Raleigh Dillon; parents, George & Doris Brown; siblings, Margaret Brown (James); Julia Brown & Barbara Brown (Robert); grandmother, Mittie Bagley a host of other relatives & friends. Visitation Thursday November 16, 2017, 9:30-11:30 with funeral to follow at Mt. Zion Baptist Church 2261 Murfreesboro Rd. Antioch, Tn. Bishop Joseph Walker, Officiating. Terrell Broady Funeral Home, 615-244-4755

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Krispy Kreme truck burglarized in Antioch neighborhood

Police responded to the neighborhood around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. (WSMV)

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) –

Police are investigating after a Krispy Kreme truck was burglarized in an Antioch neighborhood Thursday morning.

Officers initially responded when neighbors called and reported gunshots were fired on Baby Ruth Lane around 4:30 a.m.

When police arrived, they learned that a Krispy Kreme truck had been broken into.

One of the residents said they saw someone throwing doughnuts onto the street.

The driver reportedly lives in the area where the incident happened.

Police said they did not find any evidence of shots being fired. They are still working to determine if the incidents are related.

No one has been taken into custody at this time.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Antioch TN And Making It Your Home

Do you want to move to Antioch TN but aren’t sure of what to do to get started? You can get some advice here if you want to make sure you have the best chance at living a life there that you will enjoy to the fullest.

It’s going to be a good idea to find a job in the area or around it before you live there. If you find a job that’s around the city, make sure you factor in what it’s going to cost you to travel there in things like gas. You don’t want to move there only to find out that you can’t afford the rent and to drive to and from your job a few hours a day. Also, know if a job opportunity is legitimate before moving and that you actually are going to be employed.

You’re going to need to find a place to stay. You can either buy or rent a home or you can rent an apartment. No matter which route you go, make sure you check out the property you’re interested in in person before you agree to pay for it. You may want to come to the area and stay in a hotel while you check out homes for a few days. That way, you can pick the one out that fits you the best and that you know you can afford when all is said and done.

You can move to Antioch TN and have a great time while you live there if you prepare to move there properly. Just use the tips you were given and they will help you find what you need. A good place to stay and a steady job are what will make it easier to love life in an area.

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A Rural Tennessee Town Is Bracing For A White Nationalist Rally This Weekend

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

A small Tennessee town is bracing for what some fear could be a repeat of the violent clashes earlier this year in Charlottesville, Virginia.

An umbrella group of white nationalists calling itself the Nationalist Front has planned a "White Lives Matter" rally for Saturday in Shelbyville, a town located about 60 miles southeast of Nashville. According to the event page, the rally will begin in the morning in downtown Shelbyville, followed by a private meet-up of white nationalists.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Shelbyville mayor’s office said that the white nationalist rally did not require a city permit and that it had not been contacted by counter-protesters.

Residents of the town told the Tennessean they were worried violence would erupt.

"The City of Shelbyville has a responsibility to protect free speech rights," the mayor’s office wrote. "Given the recent incidents in our country surrounding protest and counter-protests, the City is taking very seriously multiple concerns regarding the safety of expected protesters, counter-protesters, the public, and the protection of public and private property from damage."

The mayor said that police will strictly enforce separation of the two sides.

In neighboring Murfreesboro, where there may be a second demonstration on Saturday and where many white nationalists plan to stay during the weekend, the mayor posted a video on Facebook rebuking the group and featuring a number of local pastors with the hashtag #WeAreMurfreesboro.

View this post on Facebook Facebook: video.php

Local events have been canceled in anticipation of unrest. Local news reported that police at Middle Tennessee State University warned students of a possible torchlit rally Friday night.

According to one of the rally’s organizers, Brad Griffin, the Nationalist Front includes the neo-Confederate League of the South, the KKK-affiliated Traditionalist Worker’s Party, National Socialist Movement (same name as Hitler’s "National Socialist" party, aka the Nazi party), Vanguard America, Anti-Communist Action, The Right Stuff, the Daily Stormer, and the League of the South.

James Alex Fields, charged with second-degree murder for allegedly running his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters in Charlottesville in August, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, marched with Vanguard America during the rally there.

Griffin runs the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent under the pen name Hunter Wallace, and handles public relations for the League of the South.

Griffin said the aim of the rally is to draw more attention to the shooting last month at Emanuel Samson Church in Antioch, Tennessee, and to protest refugee resettlement in the state. He and others are upset that Sudan is no longer on the travel ban list and that Trump has not begun construction of the wall on the border with Mexico.

Griffin and other organizers have issued a series of directives on the event’s invite. Here are some:

The tragic events in Antioch, which was retaliation for the Dylann Roof shooting in Charleston, illustrated that the national media only cares about pushing its false narrative of White racism and black victimhood.

Objectives: Draw national attention to the Emanuel Samson church shooting. Foster greater unity and cohesion within our own movement. Turn the page on Charlottesville.

Chants will include WHITE LIVES MATTER, BLOOD AND SOIL and YOU WILL NOT REPLACE US.

DO NOT bring a swastika flag. This is a settled issue in the Nationalist Front.

"Blood and soil" and "You will not replace us" are traditional KKK chants. These same groups chanted the same slogans during a torchlit march on the University of Virginia’s campus in August.

Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, issued a statement Wednesday outlining "legal and moral constraints" for all League members, which included:

Obey all authorities charged with keeping public order. If you believe an order or command of a public official violates your right to free speech, assembly, or some other matter, report this to our League leaders and we will in turn report to our attorneys on the scene.

Engage in violence, and at the proper level, only in defense of your own person, that of your compatriots, and your property.

White nationalists at protests around the country have maintained that they were the victims of violence and did not start physical altercations, despite several instances where that was not the case, including in Charlottesville.

Griffin said he and other white nationalists have lain low during the backlash over Charlottesville, retreating mostly to private events and working on their web presence after tech companies barred them from technological services.

"I think staying quiet worked to allow the backlash to calm down," he said.

Griffin also said many white nationalists no longer have a trusting relationship with law enforcement because Charlottesville police removed them from Emancipation Park after violence erupted.

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