Turkish drones start operating in northern Syria, says ministry

Syrian boys play with plastic guns on the first day of the Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Adha in al-Dana in Syria's rebel-controlled Idlib region, near the border with Turkey, on August 11, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Turkish drones start operating in northern Syria, says ministry

  • Turkey and the US agreed last week to set up a joint operations center regarding the safe zone to be established in northern Syria

ISTANBUL: Turkish drones have started operating in northern Syria where Washington and Ankara have agreed to create a safe zone, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Turkey and the US agreed last week to set up a joint operations center regarding the safe zone to be established in northern Syria. No agreement has been announced on key details such as the size of the zone and the command structure of joint patrols that would be conducted there.

FASTFACT

Turkey and the US agreed last week to set up a joint operations center regarding the safe zone to be established in northern Syria.

A six-person US delegation arrived in the southern Turkish province of Sanliurfa on Monday to work on the establishment of the operations center. The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that work was continuing to make the joint operations center in Sanliurfa operational. Turkish drones had started carrying out work in the area where the safe zone will be created, but did not provide further information on the drones’ operations, it added.

Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for northeastern Syria, where US allies on the ground in the battle against Daesh militants.

 


Protest coverage: Iraqi channel faces month-long ban

Updated 32 min 23 sec ago

Protest coverage: Iraqi channel faces month-long ban

  • Its Baghdad office was raided in the first week of rallies and on Jan. 10

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities have ordered the closure for a month of Al-Dijla television, which has aired intensive coverage of anti-government protests in recent months, media and police sources said on Tuesday.

“Interior Ministry forces fully shut down Al-Dijla’s offices in Baghdad last night and respectfully asked the staff to leave,” a source from the broadcaster said.

An Interior Ministry official confirmed that security forces had stormed the offices in the Jadiriyah neighborhood of east Baghdad late on Monday.

At least 80 employees work at the Baghdad bureau and another 50 work at the station’s headquarters in Amman, from where it broadcasts.

The Al-Dijla employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said the main office had been ordered by Jordanian authorities to stop broadcasting for a month.

FASTFACT

Al-Dijlah has provided daily coverage of the anti-government protests sweeping Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south since Oct. 1, despite pressure on its staff.

“The Iraqi government requested from Jordan that it halt the station’s broadcasting for a month based on an Iraqi complaint,” the source said.

Starting on Monday, the frequency on which Al-Dijla typically broadcasts has showed a still image of its logo.

Al-Dijla has provided daily coverage of the anti-government protests sweeping Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south since Oct. 1, despite pressure on its staff.

Its Baghdad office was raided in the first week of rallies and on Jan. 10, one of its correspondents and his cameraman were gunned down in the southern city of Basra.

Before he was killed, correspondent Ahmad Abdessamad, 37, said he had been threatened by Iraqi armed groups because he criticized powerful neighbour Iran in his coverage.

On Jan. 20, Al-Dijla’s leading anchorman Nabil Jassem got into an on-air dispute with the prime minister’s spokesman for military issues, Abdelkarim Khalaf.

Khalaf refused to respond to a question from Jassem about the number of casualties in protest-related violence, and the two accused each other of being disrespectful before Khalaf walked off the set.

In reaction to the shutdown, Al-Dijla administrative head Jamal Al-Karbuli tweeted: “Al-Dijla pays the price for truth.”

Haidar Al-Maytham, a member of the Iraqi National Syndicate for Journalists, said on Tuesday that authorities had taken issue with Al-Dijla’s “politics.”

“There are political disagreements and differences of opinion between the channel’s administration and Iraqi officials, which led to the decision (to shut it down),” Maytham said.

Major powers and advocacy groups have called on Iraq to do more to ensure media freedom and protect journalists covering the protests