50-member Syrian opposition body emerges from Riyadh meeting

Updated 24 November 2017
0

50-member Syrian opposition body emerges from Riyadh meeting

RIYADH: Syrian opposition leaders gathering in Riyadh have decided to form a new, 50-member High Negotiation Committee (HNC).
The final communique said the aim of the conference was to unify the opposition for a political solution based on the 2012 Geneva Declaration and UN Security Council resolutions, in order to prepare for a transitional period that leads Syria to a decentralized, civil, democratic and pluralistic political system.
The Geneva Declaration calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, which can include members of the current Syrian regime.
The opposition leaders stressed the multiculturalism and territorial unity of Syria, and vowed to preserve its institutions and hold accountable all those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people.
The participants agreed to negotiate directly with the Syrian regime in order to “establish a transitional governing authority capable of preparing a neutral environment within which the transitional process can move,” on condition that President Bashar Assad and his regime leave office at the start of the transition. The participants also approved the organizational structure and procedural rules of the HNC.
Col. Ismael Ayoub, who defected to the opposition from the Syrian Air Force, told Arab News that Kurdish and Turkmen representatives complained that they were not sufficiently included. But he said this was one of the most successful Syrian opposition conferences.
In the communique, opposition representatives said a peaceful and unbiased transition “will not happen without the departure of Bashar Assad and his cronies and the repression machine at the start of the transition period.”
Ahmed Ramadan, an opposition member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), said it is now up to the regime to show seriousness.
“The message today is that we have a unified vision when it comes to negotiations,” he told The Associated Press (AP).
A Cairo-based opposition group agreed on Thursday to join ranks with other opposition groups and send a unified delegation to Geneva.
“The Cairo group has joined the main opposition delegation to Geneva,” Ramadan told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
 


Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

A Turkish soldier is seen in an armoured personnel carrier at a check point near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
0

Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

  • Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained

SYDNEY: A Turkish court rejected an Australian request to extradite a citizen it believes is a top recruiter for the Daesh group, Australia’s foreign minister said on Friday, in a setback for Canberra’s efforts to prosecute him at home.
Melbourne-born Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in Daesh videos and magazines. Australia has alleged that he actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of militancy.
“We are disappointed that the Kilis Criminal Court in Turkey has rejected the request to extradite Neil Prakash to Australia,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“We will continue to engage with Turkish authorities as they consider whether to appeal the extradition decision,” she said.
Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained there nearly two years ago.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported from Kilis that Prakash was initially ordered to be freed but was later charged under Turkish law with being a Daesh member.
A spokesman at Turkey’s foreign ministry in Istanbul had no immediate comment and the Turkish embassy in Australia did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a militant group.
Canberra announced financial sanctions against Prakash in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
The Australian government wrongly reported in 2016, based on US intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an air strike in Mosul, Iraq. It later confirmed that Prakash was detained in Turkey.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
A staunch ally of the United States and its actions against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens were fighting in the region.