Erdogan’s ‘wise’ step to help Kurd peace talks

Updated 05 April 2013
0

Erdogan’s ‘wise’ step to help Kurd peace talks

ANKARA: Turkey said yesterday it has set up a consultative body of "wise people" to help shape public opinion on the latest peace process with Kurdish rebels.
The initiative, which involves an array of figures including popular actors and singers, follows a cease-fire call last month by jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
The group of "well-respected people whose common ground is democracy and freedoms" is due to have its first meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters.
The 63-member group is being asked to inform people across Turkey about the budding peace process aimed at ending the outlawed PKK's 29-year armed campaign for self-rule that has killed some 45,000 people, mostly Kurds.
Among the "wise people" are journalists, academics, business people and rights activists, as well as some popular actors and singers.
Ocalan called on March 21 for PKK fighters to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkish soil in a breakthrough announcement after months of secret negotiations from his isolated jail cell with the Turkish intelligence agency.
Pro-Kurdish lawmakers have repeatedly said a binding parliamentary committee was needed to oversee the fragile process, but Erdogan has rejected the idea.
Previous attempts at ending the insurgency were crippled after splinter groups within the PKK torpedoed efforts or Ankara backtracked because of opposition from nationalist groups.


US-backed Syria offensive kills 35 Daesh fighters: monitor

Updated 20 October 2018
0

US-backed Syria offensive kills 35 Daesh fighters: monitor

BEIRUT: An offensive by US-backed forces against Daesh’s last redoubt in eastern Syria killed 35 militants on Saturday, a Britain-based war monitor said.
Twenty-eight Daesh members were killed in air strikes by the US-led coalition around the town of Hajjin, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven militants were killed in ground fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces, who launched a coalition-backed offensive against the Daesh-held pocket in the Euphrates Valley last month.
Fighting has killed 414 militants and 227 SDF fighters in total since the assault began on September 10, the Observatory said.
Coalition air strikes on Daesh targets in another part of the pocket on Thursday and Friday killed at least 41 civilians, 10 of them children, the monitor said.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” across the land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of its territory to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, its presence has been reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the Hajjin pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor near the Iraqi border.
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.