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.


Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

The marketing plan of the village has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

  • “Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” Suzan Eskander said

JEDDAH: For the first time in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah will host a multicultural festival that takes visitors on a virtual tour of 50 countries.
The global village will be set up inside Atallah Happy Land Park along the city’s famous waterfront every day from 5 p.m. to midnight between Feb. 28 and March 29.
The event is one of many aiming to enhance tourism, as well as the local economy.
Suzan Eskander, director-general of International Image, the organizing company, told Arab News that the village is expected to attract 1 million visitors.
“Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” she said.
“There will be pavilions for participants from five Gulf Cooperation Council states, 10 Arab countries, 18 African countries, 10 European countries and four countries from the Americas.”
She added that folkloric dances would be performed by bands from each country.
“Performers will be dressed in traditional costumes,” she said. “Visitors can also enjoy dishes and traditional products from different countries.”
Eskander also said paintings portraying heritage and culture in the different countries would be on display.
“In addition, we are hopeful that the children’s zone will wow young visitors,” she said. “Little guests can develop their skills in drawing and games, as well as play zones.”
Eskander said the village was timed to coincide with the city’s good weather season, adding that a marketing plan has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. Eskander expressed her gratitude to the General Entertainment Authority for their continued support and cooperation.
“They have not only provided us instructions for obtaining the festival’s license, but are still following up to ensure that everything is going smoothly,” she said.