Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

File photo showing smoke and flame rise from an oil storage tank that was set on fire during clashes at Ras Lanuf terminal, the oil crescent, Libya, June 18, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

  • The Libyan army spokesperson said that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
  • Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.

LONDON: Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.
The official spokesman for the Libyan National Army confirmed that army units are in control of the entire oil crescent region but sent units to mop up opposition forces who gathered west of the region.
Col. Ahmed Al-Mesmari said, in an interview on Al-Arabiya Channel, that Libyan army units continue their operation against Al-Jadran militia and their allies south of Nofaliah and in the area known as KM60 east of the city of Sirte.
Al-Mesmari added the army units have been chasing the militants since taking over unit one of the ‘Ras Lanuf’ oil compound. Al-Mesmari revealed also that the militias left behind huge quantities of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in addition to several prisoners.
The Libyan army spokesperson added that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
Earlier, the Libyan army chief of staff General Khalifah Haftar declared in an audio recording that the objective of his units is to liberate the oil crescent from militia control and to return the vital oil installation to the country’s economy.
General Haftar also said that he holds the leader of the local militia in the oil crescent Ibrahim Al-Jadran responsible for the latest clashes.
Al-Jadran has defied all Libyan administrations since the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, in 2011.
Al-Jadran also succeeded in the past in halting all oil exports from the oil crescent areain Libya until his forces were routed by the army, in 2016.


Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

A Turkish soldier is seen in an armoured personnel carrier at a check point near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

  • Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained

SYDNEY: A Turkish court rejected an Australian request to extradite a citizen it believes is a top recruiter for the Daesh group, Australia’s foreign minister said on Friday, in a setback for Canberra’s efforts to prosecute him at home.
Melbourne-born Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in Daesh videos and magazines. Australia has alleged that he actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of militancy.
“We are disappointed that the Kilis Criminal Court in Turkey has rejected the request to extradite Neil Prakash to Australia,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“We will continue to engage with Turkish authorities as they consider whether to appeal the extradition decision,” she said.
Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained there nearly two years ago.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported from Kilis that Prakash was initially ordered to be freed but was later charged under Turkish law with being a Daesh member.
A spokesman at Turkey’s foreign ministry in Istanbul had no immediate comment and the Turkish embassy in Australia did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a militant group.
Canberra announced financial sanctions against Prakash in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
The Australian government wrongly reported in 2016, based on US intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an air strike in Mosul, Iraq. It later confirmed that Prakash was detained in Turkey.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
A staunch ally of the United States and its actions against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens were fighting in the region.