Civilian protests hamper new joint patrols in Idlib

Civilian protests hamper new joint patrols in Idlib
Protesters surround a Turkish military M60T tank as they attempt to block traffic on the M4 highway, which links the northern Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Latakia. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 17 March 2020

Civilian protests hamper new joint patrols in Idlib

Civilian protests hamper new joint patrols in Idlib
  • Turkish self-interest in northwest Syria will lead to crackdown on militants it once supported, analysts tell Arab News

ANKARA: Turkish and Russian troops who began joint patrols on Sunday on the key east-west M4 highway in northwest Syria faced protests and roadblocks set up by local residents.

Militant fighters in Idlib also launched attacks despite a cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Russia signed in Moscow on March 5, and the planned route for the patrols had to be shortened.

The M4 runs from the Mediterranean through northern Syria to the Iraqi border, and has been partially closed for the past eight years. Some parts of it remain under opposition control.

“These patrols are meant to be politically symbolic, demonstrating both countries’ ability to cut through rebel-controlled Idlib and secure the highway,” Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, told Arab News.

But she said the blocking of the patrols by local residents suggests that the cease-fire deal is unpopular among opposition groups, who fear that Turkey will hand areas south of the M4 to Russia.

Prof. Michael Tanchum, senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said Ankara had to cooperate with Moscow to preserve Turkey’s larger interests in Syria. “Ankara won’t tolerate these opposition groups derailing its renewed cooperation with Moscow,” he said.

“Turkey’s priority is to secure Russia’s consent to Turkey asserting its influence in Kobani and other Kurdish-dominated regions in northern Syria. As part of this objective, Turkish construction projects in the region are essential.”


UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
Updated 19 January 2021

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
  • The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areasboth sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas

DUBAI: The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday,.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviewed the prospects of advancing relations with Cyprus in a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.
Christodoulides praised the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.
During his visit to the UAE, the Cypriot minister also met with the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Saqr Ghobash, accompanied with the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, Yannis Michaelides.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas.
Ghobash said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.
A parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, Ghobash said, and stressed the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.
Christodoulides said that the UAE was a leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.
He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.