Algeria army arrests 5 on suspicion of planning 'attacks'

Demonstrators hold a national flag during a protest demanding the removal of the ruling elite in Algiers, Algeria July 12, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 14 July 2019

Algeria army arrests 5 on suspicion of planning 'attacks'

  • The suspects "planned attacks against peaceful protests across different parts of the country"
  • Algeria has been rocked by months of protests since longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika

ALGIERS: The Algerian army has arrested five suspects for planning "attacks" against anti-government demonstrations that have swept the North African country since February 22, the defence ministry said on Sunday.
The suspects "planned attacks against peaceful protests across different parts of the country", it said in a statement, adding they were arrested in "anti-terrorist" raids last week in the Batna region southeast of the capital Algiers.
It identified the suspects as "terrorists", a term Algerian authorities use to describe armed Islamists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.
Algeria has been rocked by months of protests since longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced in February he would run for a fifth term.
He quit office but protesters have kept up the mass demonstrations, calling for an overhaul of the "system" and departure of key Bouteflika-era figures.
Interim president Abdelkader Bensalah has proposed a "neutral" national dialogue, without the involvement of the state or the military, to prepare for new presidential polls.
His proposals, backed by powerful army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah who has emerged as the country's key powerbroker since Bouteflika's departure, have failed to calm protesters.
Massive rallies continue to be held weekly on Fridays in Algiers and other key towns.
In recent weeks, police have detained dozens of demonstrators -- releasing them at the end of the Friday rallies.
Observers say the detentions and other measures including heavy police deployments are meant to discourage protesters from taking to the streets.


Turkey: About 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early July

Updated 20 November 2019

Turkey: About 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early July

  • Authorities said Syrians not registered in Turkey’s largest city should return to the provinces in which they are registered by Oct. 30, or face forced removal
  • Turkey has deported 86,625 illegal migrants so far this year, compared to 56,000 in all of 2018

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Interior Minister said on Wednesday that around 100,000 Syrians living without approval in Istanbul had left it since early July, when the government set a deadline for Syrians not registered in the city to leave for other provinces.
As sentiment toward Syrian refugees among Turks began to sour in recent years, authorities said Syrians not registered in Turkey’s largest city should return to the provinces in which they are registered by Oct. 30, or face forced removal.
Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees who fled the eight-year-old civil war, more than any other country. The Syrian population in Istanbul, home to some 15 million people, had swollen to more than half a million, more than those in any other Turkish city.
Syrians registered in other cities came to Istanbul, leading to an accumulation in the city, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told parliament.
“Around 100,000 Syrian have returned to provinces in which they are registered since July 12,” he said, adding that a total of 200,000 migrants had left the city.
Turkey also houses migrants from other Middle Eastern and African nations.
On Friday, the Istanbul governor’s office said more than 6,000 Syrian migrants in Istanbul were sent to temporary housing centers in other provinces since early July.
Ankara wants to settle some Syrian refugees in a swathe of land it now controls in northeast Syria, after it launched an offensive last month against the Kurdish YPG militia.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch last month published reports saying Turkey is forcibly sending Syrian refugees to northern Syria. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called the claims in the reports “false and imaginary.”
Turkey has deported 86,625 illegal migrants so far this year, compared to 56,000 in all of 2018, Soylu said.