US-backed forces announce 3-day curfew in Raqqa city

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces walk along a road after Raqqa was liberated from the Daesh group, in Raqqa, Syria October 17, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 June 2018
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US-backed forces announce 3-day curfew in Raqqa city

  • Local security forces in Syria’s northern city of Raqqa announced a two-day curfew starting Sunday in response to intelligence on potential attacks by the Daesh group
  • Daesh was kicked out of its former bastion Raqqa in October by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which then stood up police units to hold the city

AMMAN: US-backed forces in control of Syria’s Raqqa city imposed a three-day curfew on Sunday and declared a state of emergency saying Daesh militants had infiltrated the city and planned a bombing campaign.
Witnesses say internal security forces affiliated to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who had announced late last night the surprise curfew from dawn in the former Daesh stronghold until Tuesday, set up checkpoints across the devastated city.
A statement said the state of emergency in the city were “protective measures.”
“Our intelligence apparatus has received information of the entry of terrorist groups tied to Daesh that are about to wage attacks to undermine secuity in the city,” the statement read.
The curfew prevents anyone from leaving or entering the city that was retaken by US-backed militias last October, after a four-month battle that left thousands of civilians dead and most of its neighborhoods flattened in devastating US led aerial strikes.
Daesh in 2014 had declared Raqqa the capital of its self-proclaimed state. Two residents said the city has seen in recent weeks growing tensions between the majority Arab residents and SDF forces dominated by Kurdish personnel that spilled into sporadic protests last month. The protests, quelled by force, called for the SDF’s eviction from the city.
They said many of its over 100,000 residents are angered by a policy of obligatory military conscription of youths and resentful of perceived discriminatory practices against the majority Arab population by senior Kurdish officials who effectively run the city.
The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, denies these accusations and says its local councils are run by the city’s residents and says it seeks to redress decades of ethnic discrimination against Kurds by the Syria’s ruling Baath party
Another resident in touch with local officials said the security operation aimed at arresting the leader of a disaffected Arab rebel group Thwar Al-Raqqa, affiliated with the SDF. A previous attempt last month to arrest him provoked violent demonstrations by his supporters.


Israeli police arrest 19 Palestinians at Jerusalem holy site

Updated 20 February 2019
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Israeli police arrest 19 Palestinians at Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM: Israeli police say they have arrested 19 Palestinians as clashes broke out at a contested Jerusalem holy site.
Police say dozens of Palestinians participated in a prayer protest Tuesday, attempting to breach a section of the compound that has been closed by Israeli court order for years.
Palestinian medics reported that several protesters were injured in the standoff.
The incident follows a similar scuffle on Monday in which Palestinians tried to break the gate that Israel placed on the closed area last week.
The compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
Any trace of Israeli security interference in the shrine, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, can ignite violence.