Archive for February 11th, 2016

Raqqa: SDF arrests 150 tribesmen refused to join the U.S.-backed alliance


(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian Democratic Forces arrested about 150 tribesmen in northeastern Raqqa province as they refused to join the U.S.-backed alliance to fight ISIS, activists said Sunday.

Media activist said SDF fighters have waged a series of raids on the Arab villages of al-Soukariyeh, al-Tyba, Eastern Tel Abyad, al-Antar and al-Ali Bajabla. Most of the abducted tribesmen were members of Jaysh al-Ashaer, or the Tribes Army,  he added.

The SDF was formed in mid-October as an alliance between the powerful Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and rebel groups including Arab and Assyrian militias to fight Islamic State. But few weeks later SDF had engaged in fighting with moderate rebels groups amid reports of unspoken coordination with Syrian regime forces and Russia.

Amnesty International accused last October the Kurdish armed units in northern Syria of razing Arab and Turkmen villages, actions it says amounted to war crimes.

The alleged abuses took place in areas administered by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Researchers visited 14 towns and villages controlled by Kurdish forces in Hasakah and Raqqa provinces, where fighters had retaken territory previously held by the Islamic State.

Since it began in 2011, Syria’s war has fractured into a complex array of fronts between Kurds, rebels, regime and jihadists, and has killed more than 260,000 people.

Source: Zaman alwsl.


Hamas, Israel reach agreement on prisoner swap for captured soldier Shalit

JERUSALEM (BNO NEWS) — Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement which will secure the release of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, officials at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on late Tuesday.

Shalit was abducted by Hamas militants on June 25, 2006 and has been held in captivity since. His family has been attempting for years to have contact with him without avail.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “a brief window of opportunity” has been opened that would possibly lead to Gilad Shalit’s homecoming. They added: “The window appeared following fears that collapsing Mideast regimes and the rise of extremist forces would make Gilad Shalit’s return impossible.”

The Israeli cabinet is due to vote on the prisoner exchange agreement, but Netanyahu aides estimate that the deal will be approved by the cabinet. Several ministers who have voiced opposition to freeing terrorists in exchange for Shalit are being pushed to approve the deal.

The Egyptian intelligence has been mediating the previous rounds of talks between the Israeli delegation and Hamas. Speaking with Haaertz, one Egyptian official said: “After 64 months of tough negotiations we were able to complete the deal. It was a very difficult task, which included thousands of hours of negotiations.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the deal that will reportedly free 1,027 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. He said from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, where he arrived on Tuesday, that he hopes that all Palestinian prisoners would be released from Israeli jails.

According to the deal, Israel will release 450 prisoners next week, including 315 prisoners serving life sentences. Another 577 prisoners, including all 27 female prisoners, will be released two months after concluding the first part of the deal, the Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

Governments around the world have strongly condemned the continued detention of the IDF soldier and called on Hamas, a group the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, to release him immediately. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the deal, saying that holding Shalit “in captivity has been utterly unjustified from the beginning and yet it has gone on for 5 long years.”

He added: “We have always called for his unconditional release. We are pleased that this long overdue development is finally taking place.”

However, it remains to be seen whether the agreement will be carried out. Last December, Israel and Hamas apparently also reached a deal for the release of Shalit, but the agreement never came about. Since then, negotiations for his release as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian movement have dragged on.

Since Shalit’s capture, the only signs of life have been three letters, an audio tape released a year after he was taken and a brief video broadcast on October 2, 2009.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Source: Wire Update.


Jordanian parliament to discuss Israeli gas import deal

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Jordan’s House of Representatives approved a request submitted by 35 MPs on Tuesday to dedicate a public session in parliament to discuss the agreement for the import of Israeli gas from America’s Noble Energy Company. The company operates in the occupied Palestinian territories and the agreement has created a storm in Jordanian political circles.

Although the parliament did not specify a date for the session, according to its own procedural rules the discussion must be held within two weeks of the request being submitted.

The government in Amman announced its intention to sign the Israeli gas agreement for the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), despite the parliament’s recommendation to scrap the deal. NEPCO has signed a preliminary agreement (letter of intent) to import Israeli natural gas over 30 years with a total value of $15 billion, for which the Zionist state would provide around 45 billion cubic meters from the Leviathan field.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Jordan to create 200,000 jobs for Syrian refugees

Monday, 08 February 2016

Jordan will provide approximately 200,000 jobs for Syrian refugees, the country’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury said yesterday.

Speaking during a press conference to discuss the outcomes of Syria Conference held in London, UK on Thursday, Fakhoury pointed out that “Turkey has hinted at the possibility of providing one million jobs, while Lebanon will offer 210,000 jobs to Syrians.”

“There are about 143,000 Syrian students who benefit from the education services in the kingdom while 82-92,000 of them remain without education.”

He said donors have expressed their readiness to offer $1 billion to build more classrooms and new schools for Syrian refugees.

Jordan is expected to receive $2.1 billion in the coming three years, he explained, with $1.5 billion being spent on sewage, education, health and infrastructure.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


France cancels Israeli drone order

Monday, 08 February 2016

The French government has cancelled its order for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) from the Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit, reported on Sunday.

Quoting Israel’s Channel 10 TV, it said that France had “capitulated” to European boycott pressure, “even for military products.” The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in France apparently collected 8,000 signatures on a petition against the government’s deal with the Israeli company.

The BDS campaign demanded that France should cancel the purchase of the drones because they were used by the Israeli army “to kill civilians” in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Middle East Monitor.