Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in northeastern Syria

Turkish and Russian patrol is seen near the town of Darbasiyah, Syria, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in northeastern Syria

  • Syrian monitor said the man was killed in the village of Sarmasakh near the border
  • Turkish authorities said they will begin repatriate foreign Daesh fighters

IDIL, Turkey: A Syrian protester was killed after he was run over by a Turkish military vehicle conducting a joint patrol in northeastern Syria with Russian troops Friday, a Kurdish spokesman and Syria war monitor said.
The man was among a group of residents who were pelting the convoy with shoes and stones. Videos circulating online showed the group trying to mount one of the vehicles and then the men shouting, apparently after the man is run over.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the man was run over in the village of Sarmasakh near the border by a Turkish vehicle during the third joint patrol under a cease-fire deal brokered by Moscow that forced Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.
The patrols are aimed at allowing Turkey to ensure that the Syrian Kurdish groups have evacuated the border zone. The agreement with Russia — and a separate one with the US — halted the Turkish invasion of Syria last month that targeted groups it considers a security threat for their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.
Other videos from the area showed men, women and children pelting armored vehicles as they drove near a cemetery before speeding away.
The pelting of the Turkish-Russian patrol occurred east of the border town of Qamishli, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory, an opposition war monitor, and the Kurdish Hawar news agency.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian or Turkish military about the incident.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the troops were patrolling a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates River. It said the patrols were being supported by drones, but provided no further details.
An Associated Press journalist saw four Turkish armored personnel carriers cross into Syria to join the Russian forces.
Mutafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted that Turkish troops fired tear gas on protesters in Derik, injuring 10 people. The town is controlled by SDF and American forces, but the Turkish troops were passing through on the patrol.

Meanwhile, Turkey will start sending foreign Daesh fighters back to their home countries next week, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told state news agency Anadolu on Friday.
“Now we are telling you that we are going to send them back to you. We are starting this on Monday,” Soylu said, referring to members of Daesh.
Earlier this week, Soylu said Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of Daesh in custody, and had captured 287 during its recent operation in northern Syria.
Turkey has criticized Western countries for refusing to repatriate their citizens who left to join Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and stripping some of them of their citizenship.
It remains unclear whether Turkey will be able to repatriate those who have lost their citizenship.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained this week that Syrian Kurdish fighters were still present in areas along the border, despite the separate agreements with Russia and the United States.
Erdogan also said Turkish troops were being attacked by some Syrian Kurdish fighters from areas they had retreated to, adding that Turkey would not “remain a spectator” to these assaults.
The UN said on Friday that 92 civilians have died so far as a result of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN human rights office, said the death toll was based on “verified incidents” that included to Nov. 5.
Also in northern Syria, the Observatory and the Thiqa news agency, an activist collective, said on Friday a suicide attacker detonated a truck outside a police station in the northern town of Rai that is controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.
The Observatory said the blast killed three people, while Thiqa reported two civilian deaths.
Bombings in areas held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria are not uncommon. Last week, 13 people were killed in a blast in the town of Tal Abyad, which Turkish troops and opposition fighters they back captured last month.


Tunisia's Ennahda names Habib Jemli as choice for PM

Updated 23 min 29 sec ago

Tunisia's Ennahda names Habib Jemli as choice for PM

  • Jemli, 60, will now have two months to try to form a governing coalition

TUNIS: Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which came first in last month's parliamentary election, has chosen Habib Jemli as its choice for prime minister, party spokesman Imed Khemiri told Reuters.
Jemli, 60, a former junior agriculture minister in a previous Ennahda-led government, will now have two months to try to form a governing coalition.