US tells Turkey ‘it will end weapons support for Syrian Kurdish YPG’

US tells Turkey ‘it will end weapons support for Syrian Kurdish YPG’
A Syrian rebel-fighter stands in the Tal Malid area, north of Aleppo, as he watches smoke billow from a Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) position in the area of Afrin, on January 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2018

US tells Turkey ‘it will end weapons support for Syrian Kurdish YPG’

US tells Turkey ‘it will end weapons support for Syrian Kurdish YPG’

ANKARA: The US has told Turkey it will not provide any more weapons to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Turkish state media said on Saturday, as Turkey’s offensive against the US-backed YPG in Syria entered its eighth day.
The Turkish incursion in northwest Syria’s Afrin region against the YPG has opened a new front in the multi-sided Syrian civil war, but has also further strained ties with NATO ally Washington.
Washington has angered Ankara by providing arms, training and air support to the Syrian Kurdish forces. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast for three decades.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday that Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan, and US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held a phone call on Friday in which McMaster confirmed the US would no longer provide weapons to the YPG.
On Thursday, the Pentagon said it carefully tracked weapons provided to the YPG and would continue discussions with Turkey, after Ankara urged Washington to end its support for the YPG or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria.
On Friday, Erdogan said Turkish forces would sweep Kurdish fighters from the Syrian border and could push all the way east to the frontier with Iraq — a move which risks a possible confrontation with US forces allied to the Kurds.
Since the start of the incursion, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Ankara, Erdogan has said Turkish forces would push east toward the town of Manbij, part of Kurdish-held territory some 100 km east of Afrin, where US troops were deployed to deter Turkish and US-backed fighters from clashing.
Any Turkish advance toward Manbij could threaten US efforts to stabilize northern Syria, where the US has about 2,000 troops, officially as part of the international coalition against Daesh.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that the US needs to withdraw from the Manbij region immediately.
Cavusoglu told reporters that Turkey wanted to see concrete steps by the US to end its support for the YPG.
In a sign of growing bilateral tensions, Ankara and Washington disagreed over the main message of a phone call between Erdogan and US President Donald Trump held on Wednesday.
The White House said Trump had urged Erdogan to curtail the military operation in Syria, while Turkey said Erdogan had told Trump that US troops should withdraw from Manbij.
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said she had seen media reports about the phone call, but was not aware of any change in US posture.
Anadolu said Kalin and McMaster had agreed for Turkey and the US to remain in close coordination to “avoid misunderstandings.”
Separately, hundreds of Kurds took to the streets of Cologne on Saturday in protest over Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria, as German officials warned against tensions between the country’s huge Kurdish and Turkish communities.
“Freedom for Kurdistan” and “Shame on you, Europe!” read some of the protesters’ placards in the western German city.
As the protest got underway, police put the number of demonstrators at 1,000, while an AFP journalist put the figure at several thousand.
Germany is home to some one million Kurds and three million people of Turkish origin.
Scuffles have erupted between members of the two communities since Turkey launched the Olive Branch operation, with several Turkish mosques in Germany hit by acts of vandalism.
According to Cologne police chief Uwe Jacob, the “risks of conflict (at the protest) were considerable.”
“Turkey has launched a war of aggression that breaches international law,” Kurdish community co-leader Mehmet Tanriverdi told regional newspaper Heilbronner Stimme Saturday.
The protest was organized by NAV-DEM, a Kurdish association deemed close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is blacklisted by Ankara and its Western allies as a terror group.
In a separate development, several thousand Turkish Cypriots marched on Friday against what they said is Turkey’s unwanted influence that has emboldened hard-right groups to try and silence opposing views.
Protesters representing about 20 left-wing groups braved pouring rain to voice their opposition to Turkey’s agitation of “fascist” and “extremist” segments of their society.
The march in the breakaway, Turkish Cypriot half of the ethnically divided island nation’s capital came four days after an attack against the offices of left-wing newspaper Afrika by supporters of Turkey’s president over its criticism of Ankara’s military offensive in northern Syria.
Afrika Editor-in-Chief Sener Levent accused Erdogan of inciting supporters to vandalize the paper’s offices for saying the offensive was Ankara’s attempt to occupy Syrian territory.
Afrika earlier ran a headline that likened Turkey’s action to its military “occupation” of Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish Cypriot north, where Turkey has kept 35,000 troops since 1974 when it invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece.
Erdogan called Afrika “a cheap and nasty newspaper” that ran an “impertinent” headline and invited supporters to “give the necessary response to this.”
Levent said he was happy to see so many people standing up for free speech.
“It is these people who are against Erdogan ... we will never accept this harsh regime brought over from Turkey,” he said.
“No one will be able to stop this paper from saying what’s right.”
Several Greek Cypriots also joined in the march. Demonstrator Aydin Mehmet Ali said Cypriots need to create a united front against “fascistic and dictatorial actions from inside and outside” the country.


Train collision in Alexandria leaves several injured, local reports say

Train collision in Alexandria leaves several injured, local reports say
Updated 28 min 41 sec ago

Train collision in Alexandria leaves several injured, local reports say

Train collision in Alexandria leaves several injured, local reports say

CAIRO: Scores were injured in a train collision in Alexandria on Tuesday morning, Egyptian media reports say.

Al Arabiya TV reported that two people were killed in the  incident, citing their local correspondent.  

The two trains collided near “Mahatet Masr” and the transportation ministry will release more information. 


Palestinians, Jewish settlers clash in tense Jerusalem neighborhood

Palestinians, Jewish settlers clash in tense Jerusalem neighborhood
Updated 22 June 2021

Palestinians, Jewish settlers clash in tense Jerusalem neighborhood

Palestinians, Jewish settlers clash in tense Jerusalem neighborhood
  • Settler groups are trying to evict several Palestinian families
  • Threatened evictions fueled protests and clashes in the runup to last month’s 11-day Gaza war

JERUSALEM: Palestinians and Jewish settlers hurled stones, chairs and fireworks at each other overnight in a tense Jerusalem neighborhood where settler groups are trying to evict several Palestinian families, officials said Tuesday.
The threatened evictions fueled protests and clashes in the runup to last month’s 11-day Gaza war and pose a test for Israel’s new governing coalition, which includes three pro-settler parties but is hoping to sideline the Palestinian issue to avoid internal divisions.
Israeli police and border officials said they arrested four suspects in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. It was unclear who started the brawl. One woman was reportedly injured when she was hit in the back by a stone, police said.
The Red Crescent emergency service said its crews treated 20 Palestinians, including 16 suffering from pepper spray and tear gas and others wounded by rubber-coated bullets. Two other people were wounded, including an elderly man who was hit in the head, it said.
The Red Crescent said settlers threw stones at one of its ambulances and Israeli forces sprayed skunk water on a second ambulance belonging to the service.
The eruption of violence is the latest friction in Sheikh Jarrah, where weeks of unrest captured international attention ahead of the 11-day Israel-Hamas war last month. The cease-fire took effect on May 21, but the long-running campaign by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families continues.
And so the cycle of tension endures, in a stark early test for Israel’s new coalition government, which is just over a week old.
At the helm under a rotation agreement is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Yamina party. In two years, he’ll be replaced by Yair Lapid, leader of centrist Yesh Atid. And leading the opposition is Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, ousted from the premiership after holding the post for 12 years.
An intervention by Israel’s attorney general at the height of the unrest has put the most imminent evictions on hold. But rights groups say evictions could still proceed in the coming months as international attention wanes, potentially igniting another round of bloodshed.
The settlers have been waging a decades-long campaign to evict the families from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods in the so-called Holy Basin just outside the walls of the Old City, in one of the most sensitive parts of east Jerusalem.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Israel views the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The settlers say the homes are built on land that was owned by Jews prior to the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation. Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim such property, a right denied to Palestinians who lost lands and homes in the same conflict.


Houthi’s escalation of violence, rejection of peace, will not go unpunished: Yemen leaders

Houthi’s escalation of violence, rejection of peace, will not go unpunished: Yemen leaders
Updated 22 June 2021

Houthi’s escalation of violence, rejection of peace, will not go unpunished: Yemen leaders

Houthi’s escalation of violence, rejection of peace, will not go unpunished: Yemen leaders
  • Group’s military escalation in Yemen as well as attacks against Saudi Arabia undermine peace efforts

DUBAI: The Houthi escalation in attacks in Yemen and Saudi Arabia will not go unpunished and government forces are ready to thwart the Iran-backed group’s violence after its rejection of peace efforts, senior Yemeni officials said.

The government and the Yemeni people stand with all their capabilities behind the national army, the popular resistance and the tribesmen until the restoration of the state and ending the Houthi group and its racist project supported by Iran, Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said, state news agency Saba reported.

The escalation in the attacks carried out by the Houthi militia and its repeated targeting of those displaced and the civilians in Marib, Hodeidah and elsewhere, as well as against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia, will not go unpunished, Abdulmalik added.

Muamar Al-Eryani, the minister of information, culture and tourism, stressed that the group’s military escalation in Yemen as well as attacks against Saudi Arabia have undermined peace efforts or worse, a rejection of peaceful solutions.

“This hysteric and dangerous escalation confirms Houthi militia’s continuation of its coup and loyalty to Iranian agenda and destructive policies aiming at spreading chaos and terrorism in the region,” Al-Eryani said in a statement.

Al-Eryani added that the military escalation coincided with the recruitment of child soldiers and brainwashing them in summer camps, and again called on the international community to denounce the violence and pressure the militia to respond to peace efforts.


Egypt affirms support for Libya

Egypt affirms support for Libya
Libyan Government of National Accord fighters stand guard at the reopening of a road between Misrata and Sirte. (AFP)
Updated 22 June 2021

Egypt affirms support for Libya

Egypt affirms support for Libya
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stresses full support toward efforts to restore security and stability to Libya

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has affirmed that restoring Libya’s sovereignty begins with the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries, stressing Egypt’s full support for these efforts during all its actions at the bilateral, regional and international levels.
During his meeting with the Libyan foreign minister, Najla El Mangoush, in Cairo, President El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s full support for the Presidential Council and the Libyan Government of National Unity during the transitional period with the aim of restoring security and stability to Libya, leading to holding national elections in December. He said that this is an essential step on the path to a political settlement of the Libyan crisis by activating the free will of the Libyan people.
He affirmed Egypt’s firm support for preserving the territorial integrity of Libya, safeguarding the capabilities of the Libyan people, and not interfering in Libya’s internal affairs.
The Libyan foreign minister expressed the Libyan government’s appreciation of the Egyptian role in the region and Egypt’s tireless efforts to support its brothers in Libya, which stem from the principles of preserving the unity of the Libyan territories and restoring stability and preserving the national institutions of the Libyan state.
These include the unification of the military establishment, the end of foreign interference, the exit of all mercenaries and foreign fighters, and the establishment of the principles of dialogue between the Libyan parties.
These include the unification of the military establishment, the end of foreign interference, the exit of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya, the establishment of the principles of dialogue between the Libyan parties, support for national reconciliation in preparation for fair and transparent elections.
She commended Egypt’s support of efforts to settle the Libyan crisis, in light of the historical ties between the two countries.

Battle for the Nile
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Arab League intervention in Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam not new: Aboul Gheit

Arab League intervention in Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam not new: Aboul Gheit
Secretary-General of Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaks during a news conference after the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 22 June 2021

Arab League intervention in Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam not new: Aboul Gheit

Arab League intervention in Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam not new: Aboul Gheit
  • Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the Arab decision included a protest against any step that would illegally fill the dam, which represented a threat to the water security of Egypt and Sudan

CAIRO: Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said that the role of the league in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue is not new and that Ethiopia claims there is an Arab-African clash over the matter.
The secretary-general explained in television statements to the local Sada Al-Balad TV channel that the Doha meeting raised important points, the first of which was that the water security of Egypt and Sudan was part of Arab national security and the second was the request of the Security Council to hold a meeting about the issue.
Aboul Gheit said that the intervention of the Arab League in the issue of the Renaissance Dam was not new. It had previously formed a committee consisting of several countries, in addition to the league’s envoy at the UN, to follow up on the issue. He said that there was an urgent need for a member state of the Security Council to adopt the demand for holding a session on the issue, similar to Tunisia, explaining that the matter would come at the request of Egypt or Sudan.
He said that the Arab decision included a protest against any step that would illegally fill the dam, which represented a threat to the water security of Egypt and Sudan.
Aboul Gheit said that there was an Ethiopian attempt to claim that there was an Arab-African clash, explaining that this was not the case, especially since Egypt and Sudan were part of Africa, and two-thirds of Arabs lived in Africa.
He said that the Ethiopian claim mainly aimed to win the support of Africa on the issue of the Renaissance Dam at the expense of the two downstream countries, explaining that African Arabs, led by Egypt, always provided support to their continent. The secretary-general indicated that the cooperation between the Arab League and the African Union was clear as the league participated in the meetings of the African Union and vice versa, explaining that Ethiopia had the right to reject what it saw, but the Arab League also had the right to support the rights of its countries.
Aboul Gheit said that far from the Ethiopian reaction, which was characterized by a strong attack on the role of the Arab League, respect for the rules of international law remained a necessity that should be adhered to during the next stage.
“We are not in the jungle . . . The Nile River is governed by the rules of international law, and there is an absolute right for Egypt and Sudan to reject any unilateral measure that causes harm,” he said.
Aboul Gheit said that there was a legal obligation for the Ethiopian government to respect the rights of all riparian countries and not to cause any harm to downstream countries.
He said that Ethiopia must take into account all concerns that might affect the downstream countries, explaining that issues should be addressed through dialogue and consultation between the three countries.
The secretary-general added that the matter required an active role by the African Union and the EU, and that he believed the international community would not accept threats to stability in the Horn of Africa.
He stressed the need to push for negotiations to reach a binding agreement on the filling of the Renaissance Dam.
Aboul Gheit warned that continued Ethiopian intransigence would lead to a dangerous situation, especially as such a policy could lead to deaths. He said that the ministerial decision taken by the meeting in Doha was unanimous and that all countries had announced their support for the downstream nations.

 

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