Assault on Idlib risks ‘scattering terrorists’ abroad: Paris

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian delivers a speech at the annual French ambassadors' conference in Paris, France, August 29, 2018. (Reuters/File)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Assault on Idlib risks ‘scattering terrorists’ abroad: Paris

  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Tuesday that a Syrian government offensive on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib could scatter thousands of terrorists

PARIS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Tuesday that a Syrian government offensive on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib could scatter thousands of foreign terrorists abroad, posing a security threat to the West.
“There are in all likelihood dozens of French fighters from both Al-Qaeda and Daesh” in Idlib, Le Drian told France’s BFMTV, warning that there were “also many terrorists from other nations who could scatter” in the event of a joint Syrian-Russian offensive, posing “risks for our security.
Le Drian said there was “still time to guard against this scenario” and expressed support for Turkey “in its efforts to keep the population safe, particularly the civilian population.”
France, the European country worst hit by a wave of attacks since 2015, has been on high alert for radicals returning home from areas in Iraq and Syria that have been recaptured from Daesh.
Le Drian estimated at “between 10,000 and 15,000” the number of terrorists left in Idlib.
“The attack being prepared by the Syrian regime with Russia’s backing is extremely dangerous,” he said.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.