Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018

Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

CAIRO: Egypt’s military has intensified home demolitions in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula as part of its campaign against a local affiliate of Daesh, an international rights group said Tuesday.
The military launched a massive security operation in early February in restive northern Sinai, the epicenter of an extremist insurgency spearheaded by the local Daesh affiliate. The campaign also includes parts of the Nile Delta region and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya.
Human Rights Watch said in a report that Egypt’s military vastly expanded widespread destruction of homes, commercial buildings and farms in Northern Sinai province since Feb. 9.
“The new destruction, including hundreds of hectares of farmland and at least 3,000 homes and commercial buildings, together with 600 buildings destroyed in January, is the largest since the army officially began evictions in 2014,” HRW said.
“Turning people’s homes into rubble is part of the same self-defeating security plan that has restricted food and movement to inflict pain on Sinai residents,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the watchdog’s Mideast director.
HRW said the destruction has extended well beyond two government-designated security buffer zones in Sinai cities of al-Arish and Rafah.
Egypt has built the buffer zone along Gaza’s border in an effort to prevent militants from using a vast underground tunnel network that was created to evade a decade-old Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the territory. It also bulldozed homes and olive groves around the el-Arish airport where Daesh militants attempted to hit the country’s defense and interior ministers in December.
Egypt has been battling Islamic militants for years in Sinai, but the insurgency gained strength after the 2013 overthrow of an Islamist president.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 40 min 12 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”