Monitor: 9 militants killed in Russia strikes on Idlib

The Russian strikes targeted Hurras Al-Deen and Ansar Al-Tawhid groups. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 October 2019

Monitor: 9 militants killed in Russia strikes on Idlib

  • The strikes targeted Hurras Al-Deen and Ansar Al-Tawhid groups
  • Russia and China voted for Idlib ceasefire in a UN Security Council resolution

BEIRUT: Nine militants were killed Saturday in Russian airstrikes on Syria’s war-torn province of Idlib, a monitoring group said.

“Russian strikes this morning targeted the Hurras Al-Deen group and Ansar Al-Tahwid in eastern Idlib... killing nine jihadists,” said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding eight others were wounded.

Six of the dead were members of the Al-Qaeda linked Hurras Al-Deen, a group which is also targeted by the US-led coalition.

Moscow is a key ally of Syria’s President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war, and despite an Idlib cease-fire deal reached on August 31, the province has continued to be targeted by Russian air attacks.

Russia-backed regime fighters have for weeks been chipping away at the edges of the province bordering Turkey that is the last militant stronghold outside of Assad’s control.

Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham — a group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate — extended its administrative control over the whole of Idlib in January, but other rebel factions remain present.

In late August, clashes between anti-government fighters and regime forces left more than 50 dead on both sides, when the militia attacked loyalist positions in the south.

Last month, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution backed by 12 of the 15 member states that called for a cease-fire in Idlib province.

It was Russia’s 13th veto of a UN resolution since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, highlighting the Security Council’s impasse over the issue.

The Syrian war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.


South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

Updated 13 October 2019

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

  • Hamdok will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile

JUBA: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will attend peace talks in the South Sudan capital Monday with rebel leaders from several Sudanese states, said official sources in Juba.
“Tomorrow’s meeting is to mark the launching of Sudan’s peace talks,” Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, told AFP Sunday.
Hamdok, who was only appointed in August in a deal between the army and the opposition, will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Kiir, who just a few weeks ago signed his own peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, offered to mediate between Sudan and the rebels back in November 2018.
This new set of talks follow a first round in September when both sides agreed on a road map for the negotiations.
This week’s meeting is intended to tackle the main issues, said Ateny.
Also attending will be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last week won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Their presence, said Ateny, was to give the talks more weight.
A senior Sudanese delegation arrived in Juba on Sunday.
The Sudanese delegation will meet Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in Bule Nile and South Kordofan states. Al-Hilu will lead the rebel delegation.
This new peace initiative comes after the fall of longtime Sudanese autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April.
Prime Minister Hamdok has been tasked with leading Sudan back to civilian rule, but he has said he also wants to end the conflicts with the rebels.
Over the years, the rebels’ conflict with Khartoum have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.