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Peter Kenyon

Turkey's military offensive in northwest Syria, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch," has alarmed several countries and led to an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council. It pits U.S. ally and NATO member Turkey against a Kurdish fighting force armed and trained by the United States as part of the fight to defeat ISIS in Syria.

The fighting has thrown a spotlight on the confusing and at times conflicting alliances and goals in the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.

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Turkey was once considered by the West to be a model Muslim democracy. It's been a critical U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS. And yet in 2017, Turkey has continued to become more and more authoritarian.

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Two deadlines are approaching that may signal the fate of the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The agreement saw Iran sharply curtail its nuclear program and allow extensive inspections in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

It has been 18 years since a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit northwest Turkey, killing some 17,000 people and leaving half a million homeless. A series of government initiatives were designed to make the next big quake less deadly. But experts are warning that some of those protections have been lost in a rush to develop urban green spaces into lucrative apartment buildings and shopping malls.

The decision last week by Gulf Arab states to sever ties and halt trade with the tiny, hydrocarbon-rich country of Qatar has focused attention on what critics call Qatar's funding of Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

U.S. investigators believe the crisis was sparked by hackers who transmitted fake, inflammatory messages appearing to come from Qatar's emir.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with your guide to this day's news, including news this morning of an attack in Iran's capital city of Tehran.

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