10 pro-Iranian militiamen killed in eastern Syria

A heavily damaged building is seen in Idlib, in northwestern Syria. (AFP/File)
Updated 17 September 2019

10 pro-Iranian militiamen killed in eastern Syria

  • The strikes came as tensions mounted between archfoes Iran and the United States after Washington blamed Tehran for weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations

BEIRUT: Overnight airstrikes killed 10 pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen in eastern Syria, a war monitor said Tuesday, without specifying who carried them out.

The strikes targeted “three positions of the (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards and allied (Iraqi) militias” in Albu Kamal, in the Euphrates Valley just across the border from Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Ten Iraqis from pro-Iranian militias were killed,” the Britain-based monitor said.

The strikes came as tensions mounted between archfoes Iran and the US after Washington blamed Tehran for weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations.

They were the second to hit pro-Iranian forces in eastern Syria in little more than a week.

On Sept. 9, airstrikes killed 18 fighters, including Iranians, according to the Observatory.

In June last year, strikes near the Iraqi border killed 55 fighters, most of them Syrian or Iraqi. A US official speaking on condition of anonymity said Israel was responsible.

Much of the east of Syria was held by Daesh militants before their defeat in March.

It is now divided by the Euphrates Valley into a zone held by forces loyal to the Syrian regime and its ally Iran and another held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and their allies in a US-led coalition, which has in the past carried out air raids on pro-regime forces.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed on Monday to ease tensions in northwest Syria’s Idlib region, but disagreements between the countries appeared to linger, especially over the threat from Daesh.

The summit of the three countries aimed to find a lasting truce in Syria. Recent attacks by the regime forces risk deepening regional turmoil and pushing a new wave of migrants toward Turkey.

“We are in a period when we need to take more responsibility for peace in Syria, when we (three countries) need to carry more weight,” Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that all three leaders were in agreement that a political solution was necessary to end the crisis in Syria.


Turkey to repatriate most of 287 Daesh detainees by the year-end

Updated 21 November 2019

Turkey to repatriate most of 287 Daesh detainees by the year-end

  • Country has repatriation pacts with countries concerned but informs them before sending detainees back

ANKARA: Turkey will have repatriated most of its Daesh detainees to their home countries by the end of the year, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Tuesday, a week after Turkish authorities began the repatriation program.

Ankara says it has captured 287 militants in northeast Syria, where Turkish troops launched an offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia last month, and has hundreds more terror suspects in detention.

Speaking in Ankara, Soylu said Turkey was aiming to send six or seven more Daesh suspects this week to their home countries, including Ireland and the Netherlands. Turkish officials were in touch with counterparts there.

“The number of detainees to be repatriated by the year-end depends on how long the processes take, but especially for Europe, the process is under way,” Soylu said.

“I think we will have sent a large part of them to their countries by the end of the year,” he said, adding that certain countries that revoked the citizenships of their nationals were violating international law.

“They do not have the right to leave their citizens without a nationality. They have no such right,” he said. “This is why we held evaluations with certain countries on this, and they are taking them back.”

Turkey has repatriation and extradition agreements with the countries concerned but informs them before sending detainees back.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Turkey has accused its European allies of being too slow to take back their citizens who had traveled to the Mideast to join Daesh.

• So far Turkey has repatriated 10 German nationals, one US citizen, and one British suspected fighter.

• European countries are trying to speed up a plan to move thousands of terrorists out of Syrian prisons and into Iraq.

• NATO allies have been worried Turkey’s offensive into northeastern Syria could lead to Daesh suspects escaping from YPG prisons and camps.

Two Daesh mothers, aged 23 and 25, were detained at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Tuesday evening after being deported from Turkey, Dutch prosecutors said. They are suspected of membership in a terrorist organization.

The women, who were traveling with two children aged 3 and 4, will be brought before a judge on Friday.

Turkey has accused its European allies of being too slow to take back their citizens who had traveled to the Middle East to join Daesh. 

Meanwhile, European countries are trying to speed up a plan to move thousands of terrorists out of Syrian prisons and into Iraq.

Turkey’s European NATO allies have been worried that last month’s offensive into northeastern Syria could lead to Daesh suspects and their families escaping from the prisons and camps run by the YPG.

Ankara, which views the YPG as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish insurgents on its own soil, has dismissed the concerns, saying the militia had vacated some of the prisons and allowed around 800 radical terrorists to escape.

So far Turkey has repatriated 10 German nationals, one US citizen, and one British suspected fighter. 

Ankara has said that suspects will still be deported to Ireland, France and other mostly European nations in the coming days.