Turkish forces target strategic hill near Syria’s Afrin

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters man a checkpoint in the Syrian town of Azaz, on a road leading to Afrin, on Jan. 27, 2018. (Ozan Kose / AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018

Turkish forces target strategic hill near Syria’s Afrin

KILIS, Turkey: Syrian activists and a Kurdish militia say Turkish troops and allied fighters are targeting a strategic hill in northwestern Syria as their offensive enters its second week.
Associated Press reporters in Kilis, on the Turkish-Syrian border, heard constant shelling and clashes Sunday as Turkish aircraft whizzed above.
Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters have been trying to capture the hill that separates the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz since the start of the offensive on Jan 20.
Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Turkish troops briefly seized the hill but lost it to Kurdish fighters hours later.
The Kurdish militia known as the People’s Defense Units, or YPG, says Turkish-backed reinforcements were sent to the area following intense airstrikes.


Wife of White Helmets co-founder Le Mesurier banned from leaving Turkey

Updated 23 min 37 sec ago

Wife of White Helmets co-founder Le Mesurier banned from leaving Turkey

  • Winberg will not be allowed to leave the country, as long as the investigation into her husband’s death continues
  • The preliminary autopsy reports suggest suicide was the most likely cause of death, with the final report set to be completed next week

ISTANBUL: Turkey has imposed a travel ban on Emma Winberg, the wife of James Le Mesurier, founder of the Mayday Rescue Foundation, who was found dead in Istanbul on Monday.
Speculation abounds over the circumstances of Le Mesurier’s death, with questions over whether the former British intelligence officer was murdered or committed suicide.
Though Turkish police sources believe Le Mesurier jumped to his death from his flat, his wife, 39, has not been allowed to return home because of Turkish law.
Le Mesurier had reportedly told his wife of suicidal thoughts two weeks before the incident. His wife notified the police that he was in a deteriorating psychological state and taking anti-depressants and medication for stress. His hospital records are also being examined.
Umur Yildirim, an attorney specialized in criminal justice, said that according to Turkish law, it was possible for Turkish authorities to impose a travel ban on people not of Turkish nationality of importance to an open investigation.  
Winberg will not be allowed to leave the country, as long as the investigation into her husband’s death continues.
Based on reports, Le Mesurier’s residence was only accessible via fingerprint, and in testimony released by Turkish authorities, Winberg claimed the pair had taken sleeping pills at around 4 a.m.the night before. She was woken by police after they were notified of a body lying outside the building.
The preliminary autopsy reports suggest suicide was the most likely cause of death, with the final report set to be completed next week. The investigation continues.
Le Mesurier was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the UK government in 2016.