Syria Kurds announce capture of prominent French extremist

A handout image provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) shows a portrait of French militant Adrien Guihal, known as the voice that claimed 2016 attacks in France for Daesh, May 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Syria Kurds announce capture of prominent French extremist

Qamishli, NORTHERN SYRIA: Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria on Thursday announced the capture of French militants Adrien Guihal, known as the voice that claimed 2016 attacks in France for Daesh group.
“The SDF’s intelligence services conducted an operation on May 19 that led to the capture of a group of extremists led by Adrien Guihal, known as Abu Osama Al-Faransi,” the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement.
Guihal was thought to be among the most dangerous members of the large French contingent in the ranks of Daesh, whose controlled huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria before collapsing last year.
The Kurdish forces controlling northeastern Syria have detained dozens of French Daesh members who have gone underground in recent months, including well-known figures such as Thomas Barnouin and Emilie Konig.
The SDF statement said Guihal was detained together with his wife, who was not identified.


Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

Updated 17 June 2018
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Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

  • Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted
  • One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media

ANKARA: The jailed presidential candidate for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition made his first television appearance in over a year and a half on Sunday, giving a campaign speech ahead of next week’s elections.
Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted, was nominated by his Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as a candidate last month.
One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media from his prison cell in the northwestern city of Edirne, while Turkish media have been saturated with coverage of President Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers.
Speaking on state broadcaster TRT in a scheduled 10-minute address, to which he is entitled under election law, Demirtas said voting for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party would mean putting the fate of the country “between one man’s two lips.”
“The only reason I am still here is that the AKP is scared of me. They think tying my hands here and going from square to square spreading accusations about me is being courageous,” a visibly thinner Demirtas said.
“They are openly violating the constitution by declaring me guilty even though there is no conviction ruling against me, and are trying to direct the public by misinforming them,” he said.
The snap parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday will herald the switch to the new powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
In previous elections, Demirtas won votes beyond his core Kurdish constituency, and is likely to draw significant backing in the first round of the presidential vote, while boosting the prospects of his party entering parliament.
Demirtas’s HDP arranged a viewing of his speech in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy Square, where hundreds of supporters gathered to watch.
“You should have no doubt that I will be acquitted in front of the law as soon as possible. So long as the judicial authorities follow the superiority of the law and not the government’s expectations,” Demirtas said, as supporters cheered and waved flags.