Syria Kurds to pull forces from flashpoint town Manbij

File photo showing fighters from the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council stand behind a sand barrier as they look toward Turkish-backed fighters’ position at the front line north of Manbij town, Syria. (AP)
Updated 05 June 2018

Syria Kurds to pull forces from flashpoint town Manbij

BEIRUT: A powerful Syrian Kurdish militia announced Tuesday it will withdraw from Manbij, a day after key brokers Ankara and Washington held talks on the fate of the strategic town.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) spearheaded a victorious offensive in 2016 to rid Manbij of the Daesh group, and had kept military advisers in the town to train local forces.
“Now, after more than two years of continuous work and with the Manbij Military Council being self-sufficient in their training, the YPG has decided to pull its military advisers from Manbij,” it said in a statement.
The YPG forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-Arab alliance that has ousted IS from swathes of Syria with help from the US-led coalition.
The coalition has both American and French troops stationed in Manbij, but the YPG statement did not say whether they would be redeployed.
It also made no mention of ongoing efforts between the US and Turkey to resolve the fate of the flashpoint town.
For months, Ankara has threatened to march on Manbij, accusing the YPG of being the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted in Turkey.
Those threats raised fears of a confrontation between Turkish and American troops that talks have tried to tamp down.
Last month, Ankara and Washington outlined a “roadmap” to coordinate security in Manbij.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusolgu discussed the Manbij plan in Washington on Monday, the State Department said.
“They endorsed a Road Map to this end and underlined their mutual commitment to its implementation, reflecting agreement to closely follow developments on the ground,” it said in a statement, providing no further details.


Sudan calls on UN to urge Ethiopia, Egypt not to take unilateral measures on Renaissance Dam

Updated 17 min 37 sec ago

Sudan calls on UN to urge Ethiopia, Egypt not to take unilateral measures on Renaissance Dam

  • Sudan is arranging to continue its bilateral meetings with the Egyptian and Ethiopian ministers to start negotiations

DUBAI: Sudan called on the United Nations Security Council to urge Ethiopia and Egypt to refrain from taking any unilateral measures regarding the Renaissance Dam, the state news agency SUNA reported on Wednesday. 
The Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasser Abbas, said the memorandum submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asma Abdalla, to the Security Council was a statement of “Sudan’s inherent right to this important file.” 
Abbas said the letter asked the Security Council to urge all parties to refrain from taking any unilateral measures that may affect regional and international peace and security.
He said Sudan was arranging to continue its bilateral meetings with the Egyptian and Ethiopian ministers to start negotiations on the Renaissance Dam, which has been stalled since last February.
He said the video conference meetings would be held with each delegation separately. 
In the letter sent to the Security Council, Abdalla said Sudan was keen to resume the tripartite Renaissance Dam negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia.
Abdalla, who became Sudan’s first female Minister of Foreign Affairs last year in the transitional cabinet of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said her country was ready “to reach a comprehensive and satisfactory settlement.”