Turkish forces target strategic hill near Syria’s Afrin

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters man a checkpoint in the Syrian town of Azaz, on a road leading to Afrin, on Jan. 27, 2018. (Ozan Kose / AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018
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Turkish forces target strategic hill near Syria’s Afrin

KILIS, Turkey: Syrian activists and a Kurdish militia say Turkish troops and allied fighters are targeting a strategic hill in northwestern Syria as their offensive enters its second week.
Associated Press reporters in Kilis, on the Turkish-Syrian border, heard constant shelling and clashes Sunday as Turkish aircraft whizzed above.
Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters have been trying to capture the hill that separates the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz since the start of the offensive on Jan 20.
Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Turkish troops briefly seized the hill but lost it to Kurdish fighters hours later.
The Kurdish militia known as the People’s Defense Units, or YPG, says Turkish-backed reinforcements were sent to the area following intense airstrikes.


Egyptian court adds radical group to terrorism list

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya was added to a list of terrorist groups. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 November 2018
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Egyptian court adds radical group to terrorism list

CAIRO: A Cairo criminal court has added radical group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya as well as 164 of its leaders and members to a list of terrorist entities, Egypt’s official gazette said on Sunday.

The group waged a bloody campaign against Egypt’s security forces in the 1990s but later gave up violence and entered mainstream politics.

Previous rulings adding individuals to the terrorism list have focused on the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been subject to a far-reaching crackdown since the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi was ousted as president in 2013.

In an Oct. 28 ruling, the Cairo court said that following the 2011 uprising that toppled former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, “many leaders and members of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya renounced their previous initiatives to stop violence,” according to the official gazette. Travel bans and asset freezes are automatically imposed on those included on the terrorist list. Criminal court rulings can be appealed against at the court of cassation, Egypt’s highest court.