El-Sisi wants return of Egypt militant held in Libya

This handout picture released on October 8, 2018, by the Libyan Armed Forces shows Egyptian jihadist leader Hisham al-Ashmawy after being arrested in the Libyan city of Derna. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
0

El-Sisi wants return of Egypt militant held in Libya

  • Hisham el-Ashmawy was arrested by Haftar's forces on Monday in the eastern city of Derna
  • “We want him to serve time in prison,” El-Sisi said in a televised speech

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi asked Thursday for a suspected extremist leader and former Egyptian special forces officer captured this week in Libya to be handed over to his country.
Forces of Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who supports an administration vying for power with Libya’s UN-backed unity government, have said they arrested Hisham el-Ashmawy on Monday in the eastern city of Derna.
“We want him to serve time in prison,” El-Sisi said in a televised speech on the sidelines of a military conference.
A spokesman for Haftar’s forces, who are backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, said Ashmawy was an alleged member of the Islamist extremist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and wanted over the attempted assassination of an ex-interior minister in September 2013.
Ashmawy left the Egyptian army in 2012 and joined Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, based in the eastern Sinai Peninsula.
He is believed to have gone to Libya in 2013, before Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the Daesh group in November 2014.
He is accused of being behind attacks in Egypt’s Western Desert.


Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

This Wednesday, April 4, 2018, file photo shows a US position, installed near the tense front line between the US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria.(AP)
Updated 39 min 8 sec ago
0

Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

  • The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group
  • Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon announced Tuesday that American observation posts in northern Syria, meant to prevent altercations between the Turkish army and US-supported Kurdish militia, have been erected, despite Ankara's request to scrap the move.
US support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has strained relations with Turkey, which fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border.
"At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey," Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said.
Mattis announced in November that the US military was in the process of installing the observation posts.
The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group.
"We take Turkish security concerns seriously and we are committed to coordinating our efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria," Manning added.
The Turkish army since 2016 has already launched two military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria, the last of which saw Ankara-backed Syrian rebels take the border city of Afrin in March.
After Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria in late October the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the backbone, announced the suspension of their operations against Daesh for several days, to the embarrassment of Washington.
During a meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had asked that Washington scrap the observation posts.
Akar also called for the US to end its cooperation with the YPG.
Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country.