Israel questions Iranian blogger after giving her asylum

Neda Amin. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Israel questions Iranian blogger after giving her asylum

JERUSALEM: An Iranian blogger granted asylum in Israel has been questioned by its Shin Bet internal security service on suspicion of illegal communication with Iran, an Israeli official said on Friday.
Israel admitted Neda Amin, who was previously based in Turkey, on humanitarian grounds in August, saying that she faced forced repatriation to Iran and would be at risk given her writings for an Israeli news site. Amin is of part-Jewish origin.
Israel and Iran are enemies. As home to thousands of Iranian Jewish immigrants, Israel has in the past allowed such citizens to visit or correspond with relatives in Iran. But Israeli law bars contact with Tehran’s military or similar state agencies.
A Shin Bet statement said that, after moving to Israel, Amin communicated with “Iranian representatives” and was questioned about this by the security service, whose responsibilities include counter-espionage.
The statement used a Hebrew term for Amin’s alleged Iranian contacts that can also translate as “agents” or “officials.”
Asked by Reuters for clarification, an Israeli security official said only that the people with whom Amin was accused of communicating were not her relatives, and were inside Iran.
Amin was not under arrest, said the Israeli official, who requested anonymity, adding: “Whether there is a (criminal) case here is still being investigated.”
Reached by telephone, Amin declined to discuss the matter.
“I’m okay. I’m free, and I’m at the home of a friend,” she said. “I don’t want to speak about this topic now.”
Amin, originally from Tehran, added that her father was Jewish and mother Muslim. “My idea and my belief is that I am Jewish,” she said.


Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

This Wednesday, April 4, 2018, file photo shows a US position, installed near the tense front line between the US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria.(AP)
Updated 20 min 43 sec ago
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Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

  • The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group
  • Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon announced Tuesday that American observation posts in northern Syria, meant to prevent altercations between the Turkish army and US-supported Kurdish militia, have been erected, despite Ankara's request to scrap the move.
US support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has strained relations with Turkey, which fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border.
"At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey," Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said.
Mattis announced in November that the US military was in the process of installing the observation posts.
The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group.
"We take Turkish security concerns seriously and we are committed to coordinating our efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria," Manning added.
The Turkish army since 2016 has already launched two military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria, the last of which saw Ankara-backed Syrian rebels take the border city of Afrin in March.
After Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria in late October the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the backbone, announced the suspension of their operations against Daesh for several days, to the embarrassment of Washington.
During a meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had asked that Washington scrap the observation posts.
Akar also called for the US to end its cooperation with the YPG.
Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country.