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 12 December 2018
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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.


Brother of 2017 Manchester bomber being extradited from Libya to Britain

Updated 27 min 13 sec ago
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Brother of 2017 Manchester bomber being extradited from Libya to Britain

  • Salman Abedi blew himself up at the end of a show by US singer Ariana Grande in 2017, killing 22 people
  • London requested the extradition of his brother Hashem after police issued an arrest warrant against him

TRIPOLI: The brother of a suicide bomber suspected of helping plan a 2017 attack on a concert in the British city of Manchester is being extradited from Libya, according to the force that was holding him in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton born to Libyan parents, blew himself up at the end of a show by US singer Ariana Grande in the deadliest militant attack in Britain for 12 years.
The blast killed 22 people and injured more than 500.
London requested the extradition of his brother Hashem after police issued an arrest warrant against him for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.
But Tripoli had long stalled on the request.
“I confirm to you that Hashem is now in the air on his way to the UK ... he is extradited in accordance with a court verdict,” said a spokesman for the Tripoli-based Special Deterrence Force (Rada), who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.
“We received an official letter from the head of the attorney general’s investigations department, telling us to extradite Hashem Abedi to UK authorities based on a verdict by Tripoli’s court of appeals.”
Rada, a counter-terrorism and anti-crime group aligned with the government in Tripoli, arrested Hashem shortly after the bombing on suspicion he had helped plan the attack.
Rada said at the time that Salman and Hashem flew together to Libya in April 2017, before Salman returned to Britain to carry out the attack at the Manchester Arena in May.