Syria Kurds say US to ‘adjust’ weapons deliveries

Fighters of Kurdish Peshmerga forces get ready for an operation in the city of Sinjar, in this December 20, 2014 file photo, at the Mount Sinjar, south-west of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (AFP)
Updated 28 November 2017
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Syria Kurds say US to ‘adjust’ weapons deliveries

QAMISHLI, Syria: Washington will “adjust” its delivery of weapons to an anti-terrorist alliance in Syria dominated by Kurdish fighters, Kurdish officials said on Monday, insisting that collaboration with the US will “continue.”
The comments come after Turkey said it had received assurances from the White House that it would halt supplies of weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish militia in Syria.
The US began supplying weapons directly to the YPG earlier this year as part of its support for the anti-terrorist Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish militia.
The decision deeply angered Ankara, which considers the YPG a “terrorist” group.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that US President Donald Trump had told Turkey the weapons deliveries would end.
“Mr Trump said he gave a clear order and that after this, weapons would not be supplied to the YPG, essentially he said this nonsense should have been ended earlier,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Ankara.
Washington was less explicit, however, describing only “pending adjustments” to its support for the YPG, which forms the backbone of the SDF that ousted the Daesh group from Raqqa last month.
Kurdish officials said on Monday that any changes to weapons deliveries were the natural consequence of their successes against Daesh, and not a reflection of any change in their ties with Washington.
“There are no changes to the relations between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US administration,” said Abdel Karim Amr, an official with the Kurdish semi-autonomous administration in northern Syria.
“Obviously, there will be an adjustment in the delivery of arms to the SDF after the elimination of IS (Daesh), but there is no change in US policy regarding coordination” with the alliance, he added.
“The support will continue until we eliminate all that remains of IS’s presence in the entire region where there is coordination between the US administration and the SDF,” said Amr, who is charged with external relations for the Kurdish administration.
He described Turkey’s statements on the issue as “incorrect” and “imprecise.”
“We are the partners of the international coalition that is fighting terrorism, and that partnership will continue,” added Mustefa Bali of the SDF’s press office.
“We still have much to do with our partners in the coalition,” he added.
The SDF has been a key partner of the US-led coalition against Daesh, and together they have driven the terrorists from strongholds including their one-time de facto Syrian capital Raqqa.
But the relationship has caused tensions between Washington and Ankara, which launched its own military intervention in Syria last year targeting both Daesh and the YPG.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday Washington must honor the pledge to end weapons provisions to the Kurdish fighters.
“The ‘We will not give weapons’ remarks from a US president for the first time is important, but it will lose value if it is not implemented. It would be deceiving the world,” Bozdag said.


Sudan appoints new peace envoy to S.Sudan

Updated 17 October 2018
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Sudan appoints new peace envoy to S.Sudan

  • Jamal Al-Sheikh was put in charge of “following the implementation” of the peace deal signed last month by warring South Sudanese parties
  • Civil war in the world’s youngest country erupted in December 2013, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir on Wednesday appointed a peace envoy to South Sudan, mired in conflict since it won independence from its northern neighbor in 2011.
Former ambassador to Juba, Jamal Al-Sheikh, was put in charge of “following the implementation” of the peace deal signed last month by warring South Sudanese parties, Bashir told a gathering of Sudanese diplomats.
“Peace in Sudan cannot be separated from peace in the region, and achieving peace in South Sudan is a big step toward a comprehensive peace,” he said.
Civil war in the world’s youngest country erupted in December 2013, killing tens of thousands, displacing millions and triggering a regional refugee crisis.
South Sudanese arch-foes President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar signed their latest peace deal on September 12 in Ethiopia after talks hosted by Khartoum.
South Sudan gained independence under a peace deal ending a 22-year civil war pitting rebel groups against Khartoum.
But the Darfur region and the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, close to oil-rich South Sudan, have continued to see deadly conflict pitting rebel groups against the Sudanese government.
Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting insurgents against it.
A US-funded survey released recently estimated that nearly 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in South Sudan.