Daesh abducts hundreds of civilians from Syrian refugee camps

The militants raided the displacement camp, taking “more than 100 families” including relatives of Daesh defectors and of militants killed in fighting. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2018

Daesh abducts hundreds of civilians from Syrian refugee camps

  • The Daesh militia took “more than 100 families” during a raid in a displacement camp in east Syria
  • A number of fighters of the Kurdish-led SDF died trying to defend the camp in a battle that lasted several hours

JEDDAH: Daesh militants have abducted hundreds of civilians after storming a displacement camp in eastern Syria during a battle with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Several SDF fighters died trying to defend the camp in a battle on Friday night that lasted several hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Daesh gunmen seized up to 130 families by force and took them to areas in the last pocket of territory they control in the region. The families are mostly made up of foreign women, including widows of Daesh members killed earlier in the Syrian war. The observatory warned that Daesh may kill them.

The US-backed SDF launched a major assault on Sept. 10 on the small stretch of the Euphrates Valley around the town of Hajin, where they estimate about 3,000 Daesh militants are holed up.

But they have sustained heavy casualties in the operation being conducted with US-led air support.

Since Wednesday, 37 SDF fighters have been killed in militant counterattacks and Daesh has lost 58 fighters, most of them in retaliatory coalition air strikes, the observatory said.

“Daesh is pressing its attacks in the Hajin area as the SDF battles to hold them off with the support of the international coalition,” observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

But a prolonged sandstorm has made it difficult for the coalition to carry out airstrikes.

Founded in 2015, the SDF is spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a powerful Kurdish armed movement.

Hundreds of foreigners have joined the YPG to battle Daesh, which has its own notorious contingent of foreign fighters.

Meanwhile the UN, Israel and Syria have reached an agreement to reopen the Quneitra crossing in the occupied Golan Heights on Monday.

“The United States welcomes the reopening of this crossing, which will allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), with about 1,000 troops, was established in 1974 and monitors a cease-fire line separating Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan Heights from Syria.

UNDOF resumed its patrols in the area of the crossing point in August, after withdrawing in 2014 when Al-Qaeda-linked forces overran the area.


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 16 min 24 sec ago

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.