Syrian girl blogger, 7, appeals to Trump

Aleppo’s tweeting girl, Bana Al-Abed. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2017
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Syrian girl blogger, 7, appeals to Trump

ISTANBUL: Seven-year-old Syrian girl Bana Al-Abed, who came to international attention with her tweets giving a tragic account of the war in Aleppo, has written an open letter to new US President Donald Trump.
In her letter Bana, who was evacuated from the besieged city to Turkey in December, appealed to Trump to help the children of Syria, the BBC reported Tuesday.
“I am part of the Syrian children who suffered from the Syrian war,” she wrote, according to a transcript of the letter her mother sent to the BBC.
She told Trump her school in Aleppo was destroyed by the bombing and some of her friends had died.
“Right now in Turkey, I can go out and enjoy. I can go to school although I didn’t yet. That is why peace is important for everyone including you.
“However, millions of Syrian children are not like me right now and suffering in different parts of Syria,” she wrote.
“You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you.”
At least 15,000 children are among the more than 300,000 people who have been killed in Syria’s six-year war between President Bashar Assad’s regime and rebel forces.
Through her tragic descriptions of life in besieged Aleppo on her @AlabedBana Twitter account, Bana became a symbol of the tragedy unfolding in Syria, although the government had slammed her and her mother’s nearly daily tweets as propaganda.
Turkey, which backs the Syrian rebels, is hosting some 2.7 million refugees from the conflict.
Syrian rebels and Assad’s government are holding peace talks in Kazakhstan but there have been no signs of a breakthrough.
Trump’s administration was invited to participate in the talks organized by key players Russia, Turkey and Iran but did not send a delegation. Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday that the new US president was open to conducting joint operations with Russia to combat the Daesh group, who control significant territory in northern Syria.


Turkey orders 61 soldiers detained for suspected Gulen links — media

Updated 37 min 36 sec ago
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Turkey orders 61 soldiers detained for suspected Gulen links — media

ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 61 soldiers from the navy and land forces, including senior officers, for suspected links to a US-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a 2016 failed coup, state media said on Monday.
Eighteen of those ordered detained were on active duty, Anadolu news agency said, adding the suspects included 13 majors and 12 captains from the land forces and 24 first lieutenants from the navy.
Authorities have carried out regular sweeps against alleged members of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network since the coup attempt of July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.
In a separate operation, Istanbul police said they detained 21 people who were using an encrypted messaging application used by the network. Most of those detained were teachers who formerly taught at the network’s schools or public institutions, police said.
Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the post-coup crackdown, which mostly took place under a state of emergency which was declared shortly after the attempted coup and remained in effect until July 2018.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s critics accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.