King says Jordanians ‘let down’ by international community

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said: Jordanians have paid a high price for shouldering a heavy refugee burden and he wished ‘the world was more sympathetic to their plight.’ (AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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King says Jordanians ‘let down’ by international community

AMMAN, Jordan: Jordan’s King Abdullah II says that “life for Jordanians today is very, very tough” as a result of a large refugee influx and that he feels the international community has “let down our people.”
He spoke to Russia’s TASS news agency in comments published Tuesday, ahead of a trip to Russia.
Abdullah praised “the work that Russia and Jordan have done in southern Syria to bring stability” to the area bordering the kingdom and said it’s now time to push for a political solution to Syria’s seven-year-old civil war. The fighting has displaced millions of Syrians, including many who fled to Jordan.
The king says Jordanians have paid a high price for shouldering a heavy refugee burden and that he wished “the world was more sympathetic to their plight.”


Syrian Kurdish-led council visits Damascus for new talks

Updated 39 min 11 sec ago
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Syrian Kurdish-led council visits Damascus for new talks

  • A delegation including members of the US-backed SDF held talks with Damascus earlier this month
  • The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels to President Bashar Assad’s government

BEIRUT: The political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been to Damascus for a second round of talks with the state, the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper said on Tuesday.
A delegation including members of the US-backed SDF, which controls roughly a quarter of Syria, held talks with Damascus earlier this month, their first declared visit to the capital.
The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels to President Bashar Assad’s government, as they seek to negotiate a political deal that keeps their autonomy within Syria.
The SDF is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, which has mostly avoided conflict with Assad and says its aim has been to secure Kurdish rights rather than topple the government.
This has set them apart from rebel factions fighting to topple Assad since 2011, which have now been defeated in much of the territory they once held.
The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) went for new talks on local administation and decentralization, Al-Watan cited its co-chair Riad Darar as saying on Tuesday.
“All the discussions happening now are ... to find out the other side’s point of view,” he said. The talks “need a lot of reflection to make decisions, and so the matter was left to other meetings.”
Such negotiations could raise new questions for US policy in Syria, where the US military has deployed into SDF territory during the battle against Islamic State.
The SDF seized swathes of land with US help, though Washington opposes their aim of regional autonomy. The region they control spreads across much of northern and eastern Syria, rich in farmland, oil, and water.
Damascus says the US forces are occupiers. For the first time, Assad said in May that he was “opening doors” for talks with the SDF, but also threatened force and said the Americans would leave one way or another.