South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

FILE PHOTO: Sudan's new Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok, speaks during a Reuters interview in Khartoum, Sudan August 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo
Updated 13 October 2019

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

  • Hamdok will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile

JUBA: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will attend peace talks in the South Sudan capital Monday with rebel leaders from several Sudanese states, said official sources in Juba.
“Tomorrow’s meeting is to mark the launching of Sudan’s peace talks,” Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, told AFP Sunday.
Hamdok, who was only appointed in August in a deal between the army and the opposition, will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Kiir, who just a few weeks ago signed his own peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, offered to mediate between Sudan and the rebels back in November 2018.
This new set of talks follow a first round in September when both sides agreed on a road map for the negotiations.
This week’s meeting is intended to tackle the main issues, said Ateny.
Also attending will be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last week won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Their presence, said Ateny, was to give the talks more weight.
A senior Sudanese delegation arrived in Juba on Sunday.
The Sudanese delegation will meet Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in Bule Nile and South Kordofan states. Al-Hilu will lead the rebel delegation.
This new peace initiative comes after the fall of longtime Sudanese autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April.
Prime Minister Hamdok has been tasked with leading Sudan back to civilian rule, but he has said he also wants to end the conflicts with the rebels.
Over the years, the rebels’ conflict with Khartoum have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.


Airstrike in northwestern Syria kills over 50 rebel fighters

Updated 26 October 2020

Airstrike in northwestern Syria kills over 50 rebel fighters

  • The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave a higher toll, at 78 fighters dead and nearly 90 wounded

BEIRUT: An airstrike on a rebel training camp in northwestern Syria on Monday killed more than 50 Turkish-backed fighters and wounded nearly as many, a Syrian opposition spokesman and a war monitor said.
The airstrike in the northwestern part of Idlib province, the last rebel enclave in Syria, targeted a military training camp for Failaq Al-Sham, one of the largest Turkish-backed opposition groups in Syria, said Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for the groups.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, gave a higher toll, at 78 fighters dead and nearly 90 wounded. Rescue missions were still underway, the Observatory said. It said it also suspected the airstrike was carried out by Russia, which is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war.
Leaders of the camp were among those killed in airstrike in Jabal Al-Dweila, according to Hammoud. The camp is close to the borders with Turkey.
Syrian rebel groups vowed to retaliate.
“The factions of the National Front for Liberation we will respond to these violations,” said Naji Al-Mustafa, another spokesman for the Turkish-backed fighters, threatening to target government and Russian posts. He called it a “crime” by Russia.
Turkey and Russia had brokered a truce in Idlib earlier this year to halt a government offensive that displaced hundreds of thousands. But the truce remained shaky.
Turkey has long supported Syrian rebel forces in Syria. Russia has negotiated with Ankara to deploy observation teams in the rebel enclave to monitor the truce.
Last week, Turkish troops evacuated one of their largest military bases in the area, which was surrounded by Syrian government troops for months. Syrian opposition fighters said it was part of Turkey’s redeployment of its forces in the shrinking enclave.