Syria Kurds to pull forces from flashpoint town Manbij

File photo showing fighters from the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council stand behind a sand barrier as they look toward Turkish-backed fighters’ position at the front line north of Manbij town, Syria. (AP)
Updated 05 June 2018
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Syria Kurds to pull forces from flashpoint town Manbij

BEIRUT: A powerful Syrian Kurdish militia announced Tuesday it will withdraw from Manbij, a day after key brokers Ankara and Washington held talks on the fate of the strategic town.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) spearheaded a victorious offensive in 2016 to rid Manbij of the Daesh group, and had kept military advisers in the town to train local forces.
“Now, after more than two years of continuous work and with the Manbij Military Council being self-sufficient in their training, the YPG has decided to pull its military advisers from Manbij,” it said in a statement.
The YPG forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-Arab alliance that has ousted IS from swathes of Syria with help from the US-led coalition.
The coalition has both American and French troops stationed in Manbij, but the YPG statement did not say whether they would be redeployed.
It also made no mention of ongoing efforts between the US and Turkey to resolve the fate of the flashpoint town.
For months, Ankara has threatened to march on Manbij, accusing the YPG of being the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted in Turkey.
Those threats raised fears of a confrontation between Turkish and American troops that talks have tried to tamp down.
Last month, Ankara and Washington outlined a “roadmap” to coordinate security in Manbij.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusolgu discussed the Manbij plan in Washington on Monday, the State Department said.
“They endorsed a Road Map to this end and underlined their mutual commitment to its implementation, reflecting agreement to closely follow developments on the ground,” it said in a statement, providing no further details.


Sudan generals, protesters split on who will lead transition

Updated 21 May 2019
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Sudan generals, protesters split on who will lead transition

  • Demonstrators want to limit the role of the military in the transitional council
  • They are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change during the talks

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling generals and protesters behind months of mass demonstrations that drove autocrat Omar Al-Bashir from power are divided over who will lead the country during its transition period.
The issue remains a stumbling block in the negotiations between the two sides. Their latest round of talks ended early on Tuesday without agreement.
The protesters, represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, insist on a “limited military representation” in a sovereign council that will guide Sudan through the three-year transition.
The military insists it play the lead role in the council.
The protesters fear the generals intend to hold on to power or cut a deal with other factions that would leave much of Al-Bashir’s regime intact.
Since his ouster, Al-Bashir has been jailed in Khartoum.