Kurdish and Turkey-backed fighters clash in Syria, 11 killed

Kurdish and Turkey-backed fighters clash in Syria, 11 killed
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been backed by the US and played a major role in defeating the Daesh group in Syria. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Kurdish and Turkey-backed fighters clash in Syria, 11 killed

Kurdish and Turkey-backed fighters clash in Syria, 11 killed
  • Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces fighters were repelling a Turkey-backed attack

BEIRUT: Clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkey-backed opposition gunmen in northern Syria left at least 11 fighters dead in some of the most intense fighting in weeks between the two sides, an opposition war monitor and a Kurdish spokesman said Tuesday.
Exchange of fire and shelling between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkey-backed opposition gunmen who identify as the Syrian National Army have not been uncommon since Turkish troops invaded parts of northern Syria in October of last year.
The Monday night clashes near the town of Ein Issa were triggered by an attack by Turkey-backed gunmen on SDF positions, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor. The Observatory said Turkey-backed fighters lost 11 gunmen in the battle and an unknown number of SDF fighters were also killed or wounded.
An SDF spokesman who goes by the name of Mervan Qamishlo confirmed the clashes, saying that the group’s fighters were repelling a Turkey-backed attack. He did not comment on how many SDF gunmen were killed.
A spokesman for the Turkey-backed fighters did not respond to requests for comment.
Turkey says Kurdish fighters in Syria are linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, that has led a decades-long insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast region and is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The US-backed SDF played a major role in defeating the Daesh group in Syria that lost its last sliver of land in March last year. The SDF is holding thousands of Daesh militants in jails it runs.


Freed academic urges support for Iran’s innocent detainees

Freed academic urges support for Iran’s innocent detainees
Updated 4 min 4 sec ago

Freed academic urges support for Iran’s innocent detainees

Freed academic urges support for Iran’s innocent detainees
  • Two months since her release, Moore-Gilbert has reminded the world of other foreigners and innocent Iranians languishing in jail
  • Kylie Moore-Gilbert: I may be free, but there are countless innocent others still imprisoned in Iran whom deserve your support

LONDON: A British-Australian academic detained in Iran for two years has spoken out two months after her release to call for freedom for other innocent people currently jailed by the Tehran regime.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert spent more than two years in jail in the Iranian capital on unsubstantiated charges of espionage, before being freed late last year.

She initially faced a 10-year sentence, but was released early as part of a prisoner swap with Iran.

Now, two months since she was released, she has highlighted the cases of a number of others who remain in Iranian detention.

She tweeted Monday: “I may be free, but there are countless innocent others still imprisoned in Iran whom deserve your support,” and tagged a number of individuals or campaigns related to Iranian detentions.

She also referenced the “many many Iranians” facing detention in the country — which, officially, has a prison population of quarter of a million people.

Among those Moore-Gilbert mentioned was Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman who has been detained by Tehran since 2016 over highly contentious allegations of espionage and an attempt to overthrow the regime.

Moore-Gilbert also reflected on the time she spent in Iranian detention, and thanked those who had campaigned for her release.

“I can never regain the 2+ years which were stolen from me, but I am looking to the future with strength, positivity and an renewed appreciation for what I’d long taken for granted- justice and freedom,” she said.

Iran’s detention of foreigners — often on exaggerated charges relating to spying — has long been a bone of contention between the Islamic republic and the bulk of the international community.

Rights groups including Amnesty International frequently raise the issue, and in a rare joint-protest in September last year, the British, German and French governments — all of which have citizens currently detained in Iran — summoned their respective Iranian ambassadors to raise the issue.

In addition to protesting Iran’s policy of detaining foreigners, they also expressed concern about the repression of human rights activists in the country, and its harassment of media and cultural organizations.