Turkey will not leave Syria until Syrian people have an election, Erdogan says

Turkey will not leave Syria until the Syrian people hold an election, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2018

Turkey will not leave Syria until Syrian people have an election, Erdogan says

ISTANBUL: Turkey will not leave Syria until the Syrian people hold an election, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
“Whenever the Syrian people hold an election, we will leave Syria to its owners after they hold their elections,” Erdogan said at a forum in Istanbul.
Erdogan agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month to set up a demilitarized zone between rebel and government fighters in northern Syria. It also has a presence in the northwest Afrin region and further east, around Jarablus.
Erdogan also said on Thursday that Turkey is not experiencing difficulty in conducting talks with radical groups in Idlib, the last major rebel-controlled enclave outside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s control.
Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, which includes the Al-Qaeda-linked group formerly known as Nusra Front, is the most powerful extremist alliance in Idlib. Turkey designated the group a terrorist organization in August, matching a decision by the United Nations in June.
Last month, in a summit in Sochi, Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to create a demilitarized zone with a depth of 15-20 km, from which radical groups will withdraw by Oct. 15.
On Thursday, Erdogan said that in addition to 12 observation hosted by Turkey in the area, Russia has 10 observation points and Iran has six.
“Securing this corridor means securing Idlib,” he said. “And we have started fortifying our observation posts.”


Egypt, UAE resume first Qatar flights since 2017

Updated 18 January 2021

Egypt, UAE resume first Qatar flights since 2017

  • An EgyptAir flight took off from Doha to Cairo, making it the first commercial flight in three and a half years between both countries
  • It was followed shortly after by the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the UAE

DOHA: The first direct flights since 2017 between Qatar and its former rivals Egypt and the UAE took to the skies on Monday, following the end of a regional crisis.
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of being too close to Iran and of backing Islamic extremists, charges Doha denies.
The quartet agreed to heal the rift at a Gulf summit on January 5 in Saudi Arabia, after a flurry of diplomatic activity by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.
The first commercial flight from Qatar to Egypt in three and a half years, an EgyptAir service to Cairo, took off from windswept Doha airport.
It was followed shortly after by the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the UAE.
The resumption of flights from Doha to Cairo will simplify travel for the large contingent of Egyptians living in Qatar.
As many as 300,000 Egyptians call Qatar home, according to official statistics, but many were unable to travel home during the crisis.
In May 2020, frustrated Egyptians protested outside the compound housing Egypt’s then-empty embassy.
Following the demonstration, 18 repatriation flights operated via neutral Oman to comply with Cairo’s ban on direct air traffic.
A Qatar Airways plane was due to also make the trip to Cairo later Monday.
Flights between Doha and Saudi Arabia, which has also opened its land border to Qatar, resumed on January 11.
The row complicated regional travel, divided families and raised costs faced by Qatari businesses.
Mustafa Ahmed, 38, an Egyptian technical engineer, said he was “very happy.”
“With direct flights, life will be easier, especially for families and children, avoiding the torment of changing airports and planes and waiting for hours for transit flights,” he told AFP.
Egyptians in Qatar work in a number of sectors including education, health care and engineering.
Thousands of Qatar’s majority-expatriate workforce, however, have lost their jobs as a result of a downturn caused by the coronavirus epidemic.