Kurdish YPG militia says Syrian army must help to stop Turkey

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters are seen in the town of Salwah, less than 10 kilometres from the Syria-Turkey border, ahead of firing towards Kurdish forces from the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region, on Feb. 19, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Kurdish YPG militia says Syrian army must help to stop Turkey

ANKARA: The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Thursday that fighters backing the Syrian regime were deploying on the frontlines to help repel a Turkish assault, but that assistance would be needed from the regime forces itself.
“Groups aligned to the Syrian Army came to Afrin, but not in the quantity or capacity to stop the Turkish occupation,” YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters. “The Syrian army must fulfil its duty ... to protect Syria’s borders.”
The YPG has called on the Syrian regime to send troops to the Afrin region in the northwest, and pro-Damascus militias arrived there late on Tuesday. Hundreds of those fighters have been deployed on front lines in Afrin battling Turkish forces, Mahmoud said.
But Assad did not send the army itself, a deployment that could have sparked a wider direct confrontation with the Syrian government if Turkey did not back down.
Ankara, a pro-Assad commander and Kurdish officials have all said recently that Russia intervened to stop Damascus sending the army to defend Afrin after reports of a deal with the Syrian Kurdish forces.
While Russia is Assad’s strongest ally in the war, it is also working with Turkey, which backs rebel factions, to negotiate a wider settlement to the conflict.
Yesterday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said he believed there was no deal in place between the Syrian government and the YPG.
“We have information that they have not reached a deal,” Bozdag said in a televised interview.
In a separate area, a witness and a war-monitoring group said government forces moved into a Kurdish-held enclave in the north of the city of Aleppo on Thursday morning.
Assad has repeatedly said he wants to take back every inch of Syria, but the state has tolerated the Kurdish control over the Sheikh Maqsoud area and nearby neighborhoods in Aleppo.


UN envoy says ‘robust monitoring regime’ urgently needed in Yemen, Saudi hails Yemen accord

Updated 14 December 2018
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UN envoy says ‘robust monitoring regime’ urgently needed in Yemen, Saudi hails Yemen accord

  • The withdrawal of armed forces from the Yemeni port of Hodeidah will happen within days
  • Saudi Arabia says it is committed to reaching a political solution that guarantees the security and stability of Yemen

JEDDAH: UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths on Friday urged the creation of a “robust and competent monitoring regime” in war-ravaged Yemen, one day after fighting parties agreed to a cease-fire at a vital port.
“A robust and competent monitoring regime is not just essential. It is also urgently needed,” Griffiths told the Security Council, adding that “allowing the UN the lead role in the ports is the vital first step.”
If implemented, the deal on Hodeidah port, a key gateway for aid and food imports, could bring relief to a country where 14 million people stand on the brink of famine.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Friday hailed the accord reached at the UN-brokered peace talks in Sweden.
Yemen’s warring parties on Thursday agreed to a cease-fire on a vital port in a series of breakthroughs in the talks.
In a statement by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom backed “the agreements reached in Sweden in UN-sponsored talks between a delegation of Yemen’s legitimate government and the Houthi rebels,” the official SPA news agency reported.
“The Kingdom remains engaged in the search for a political solution in Yemen which guarantees the security and stability of the country,” the statement said.
The statement also called on the Iran-aligned Houthis to “embark on this path” toward a political solution.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also said on Friday that it welcomed the agreement between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Houthi militia. 
The ministry said that the Kingdom was committed to reaching a political solution that guarantees the security and stability of Yemen.
The handing over of the port of Hodeidah to the control of the United Nations will help to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, the ministry stressed.