Turkey detains 82 foreigners planning to go to Syria: report

Turkish police officers escort people suspected of being Daesh militants, outside a court in the Black sea region city of Samsun, Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Muhammer Ay/IHA Photos via AP)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Turkey detains 82 foreigners planning to go to Syria: report

ANKARA: Turkish authorities have detained 82 foreigners in Istanbul suspected of having links to the Daesh group and planning to go to Syria, as Turkey’s crackdown against the jihadist group widens.
Police officers have been conducting raids almost daily against Daesh cells across the country, with increasing intensity in the past few weeks.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said the suspects had previously been involved with Daesh fighters in “conflict zones,” and were planning to try to reach Syria “in the coming days.”
Separately, the privately owned Dogan news agency reported that nearly 800 alleged Daesh members had illegally crossed into Turkey from Syria, though it did not say over what period.
Police raided 14 addresses in Istanbul, and also detained 11 other suspects of Syrian origin in the southern city of Adana, Anadolu reported.
The detentions were reported a day after a series of anti-Daesh raids in Ankara during which at least 173 people were detained in operations conducted by 1,500 police officers.
Most of those detained were of Syrian origin, Dogan reported.
The agency added that authorities had carried out Thursday’s raids over fears of an attack on November 10, the date on which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of the modern Turkish republic, died in 1938.
Dozens of people had already been detained in Ankara late last month, some of whom were suspected of planning an attack on Republic Day on October 29.
According to the interior ministry, around 450 suspects were detained on suspicion of helping or being in contact with Daesh in October.


Turkey has suffered a series of terror attacks attributed to Daesh operatives over the past two years, including one on a popular Istanbul nightclub during a New Year 2017 party in which 39 people were killed by an Daesh gunman, Abdulgadir Masharipov.
Masharipov, who was born in Uzbekistan, has confessed to the 2017 attack at the Reina nightclub and will go on trial in Istanbul on Dec. 11.
With Daesh fighters on the run and losing territory in Syria and Iraq, including major cities like Mosul in northern Iraq, there are fears that foreigners who came to fight will pose security risks if they return home.
At least 5,600 citizens or residents of 33 countries have already returned, the Soufan Center, a nonprofit security analysis group, said last month.
Despite a lull in attacks in Turkey since January, tensions remain high as authorities hunt extremist cells across the country.
In the Aegean city of Izmir, seven suspected Daesh members were detained while nine suspects were seized in the northern city of Trabzon, Anadolu said on Friday.
During the Trabzon operation, two guns were found with 159 rounds of ammunition.


Turkey came under attack from Daesh beginning in late 2015 after Ankara allowed the US military to conduct air strikes on Daesh targets in Syria via Turkey’s Incirlik air base.
Turkey had long been one of the main points of passage to Syria for foreigners, especially Westerners, trying to join jihadist groups.
Ankara was previously accused of turning a blind eye and was criticized by its Western allies for not doing enough to fight the Daesh group.
But in August 2016 Ankara launched operation “Euphrates Shield” to support rebels in northern Syria trying to clear the border region of Daesh fighters.
The authorities claimed the operation was a success and ended it in March.
And last month, Turkey entered northwest Syria’s largely jihadist-controlled Idlib Province to form a “de-escalation zone” in the fight against jihadists.
Idlib has been controlled for the past few months by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate.


Center for Government Communication launched for 88th Saudi National Day

Updated 37 sec ago
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Center for Government Communication launched for 88th Saudi National Day

  • The CGC aims to highlight the achievements of the nation in a year to achieve the desired impact and strengthen the national identity of individuals, enhance pride in National Day, and interact with its activities and programs and initiatives.
  • Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad: The progress made in consolidating the media discourse, as well as the growing integration and coordination among the governmental bodies, has been very visible.

RIYADH:  Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad announced on Thursday the inauguration of the unified media center for the 88th National Day at a ceremony held in Riyadh, attended by a large number of journalists, the leaders of the Ministry of Media and official spokespersons of the participating government bodies.
He affirmed that the progress made in consolidating the media discourse, as well as the growing integration and coordination among the governmental bodies, has been very visible.
Al-Awwad added that those who walk in the streets of the Kingdom understand this through the unified visual identity of the streets of Saudi cities and buildings on the occasion of National Day.
He said that “the success we are witnessing today could not have been achieved without the guidance, support and confidence of our wise leadership, God, and the cooperation, support, and commitment of government officials” adding that everyone is a partner in work and in achieving success.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, Ministry of Information spokesman and director-general of the Center for Government Communication (CGC), said that the number of publications that were circulated marking Saudi’s 88th National Day in the media and social networking sites reached 221,000.
He added that about 2,000 journalists participated in the National Day through the platform of the center. He pointed to the digital platform “Tawareel” as one of the initiatives of the CGC in the Ministry of Media to enhance achieve greater coordination between the center and government agencies.
Those figures showed that the center was on the right track and that coordination was increasing day by day. The national media plan for the National Day for the first time created a unified visual and verbal identity for Saudi National Day 88. It also coordinated the efforts of various governmental agencies and the private sector through the establishment of a unified media center that brings together the participants in this event to ensure commitment to identity and the unification of media messages.
The CGC aims to highlight the achievements of the nation in a year to achieve the desired impact and strengthen the national identity of individuals, enhance pride in National Day, and interact with its activities and programs and initiatives.
Al-Maghlooth said that the inauguration ceremony of the CGC for the 88th National Day was a long process which had begun to bear fruit at the beginning of this year when the Ministry of Information announced the establishment of the governmental and international communication centers as strategic initiatives to adopt the best media practices worldwide.
He pointed out that one objective was a united media message: Through strengthening coordination and information integration between government agencies. CGC will be providing support through training and development, preparing strategic plans and information campaigns, crisis management, and providing monitoring, analysis, data and information.
Al-Maghlooth explained what the Ministry of Media had achieved since the launch of the centers of government and international communication in early 2018; a qualitative leap as illustrated by the statistics.
He said that the Kingdom hosted more than 818 international journalists from more than 100 countries who participated in covering the Hajj and highlighting it in proportion to its important status and the Kingdom’s great efforts.
The achievements and figures confirm that the center and other government entities work together well and will continue to make progress with the guidance, support and care of the country’s leadership, and with the cooperation and continuous support of the government bodies, to achieve the goals and aspirations of Vision 2030, which reaches the sky.