Syria’s Assad slams Turkey offensive as ‘support for terrorism’

In this file photo, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with AFP news agency in Damascus, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on April 13, 2017. (SANA via REUTERS)
Updated 22 January 2018

Syria’s Assad slams Turkey offensive as ‘support for terrorism’

DAMASCUS: President Bashar Assad on Sunday condemned Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, saying it was part of Ankara’s support for extremist groups.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebels entered the Afrin region on Sunday, a day after launching their offensive against the Kurdish-controlled area.
“The brutal Turkish aggression on the Syrian town of Afrin cannot be separated from the Turkish regime’s policy from the first day of Syria’s crisis, which was essentially built on supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations, whatever their names,” Assad said in statements carried by state news agency SANA.
Since Syria’s conflict broke out in 2011, the government has repeatedly slammed Ankara for its support of rebels, accusing it of funding jihadist factions.
As Turkish threats of a potential attack escalated last week, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad warned that Syria could shoot down Turkish warplanes used in an assault.
But the Damascus regime has also previously taken a hard line against the Kurdish authorities, which have implemented semi-autonomous institutions across parts of northern Syria, including Afrin.
On Saturday, a foreign ministry official denied claims by Turkish authorities that it had been informed of the Afrin offensive and called the attack “the latest move in Turkey’s attacks on Syria’s sovereignty.”


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

Updated 23 October 2019

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

  • Rabbani’s departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago
  • Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process

KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tendered his resignation on Wednesday following differences with President Ashraf Ghani, who Rabbani accused of sidelining him.
His departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago, and served as acting minister on the basis of an order by the president.
Rabbani is an ally of Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani and is the president’s election rival.
Rabbani’s resignation comes weeks ahead of the possible formation of a new government if an election winner is announced.
“During my time, the working environment in the National Unity Government was not good from the start,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“I witnessed parallel structures being created and have seen essential institutions — key pillars of the system — pushed to the side.”
The presidential palace had no immediate comment about Rabbani’s resignation or his allegations, which according to his supporters include being barred from attending conferences and events overseas that fall under his remit.
Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process, which included a warm reception in Islamabad to a visiting Taliban delegation. The Afghan presidential palace openly opposed Pakistan’s warm welcome of the delegation.