Erdogan vows no Daesh fighters will escape Syria

Ankara has vowed to take control of all detention centers in its operational area. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 October 2019

Erdogan vows no Daesh fighters will escape Syria

  • The United States slapped sanctions on Turkey Monday as it demanded an end to the military operation
  • Kurdish authorities claim the Turkish assault makes it difficult to maintain security at their detention centers

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to allow any Daesh fighters to escape northern Syria, in an editorial published Tuesday, following fears from Western nations over its offensive in the region.

“We will ensure that no ISIS (Islamic State) fighters leave northeastern Syria,” Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

But he added that Western countries were hypocritical to worry that Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants risked a mass escape of jihadists.

“The same countries that lecture Turkey on the virtues of combating ISIS today, failed to stem the influx of foreign terrorist fighters in 2014 and 2015,” Erdogan wrote.

The United States slapped sanctions on Turkey Monday as it demanded an end to the military operation, accusing its NATO partner of putting civilians at risk and allowing the release of extremists.

Kurdish authorities claim the Turkish assault makes it difficult to maintain security at their detention centers.

They say 800 Daesh family members escaped a camp at Ain Issa on Sunday, and five jihadists broke out of another prison on Friday.

Turkey says Kurdish forces have deliberately set free detainees “to fuel chaos in the area.” Some relatives of Daesh family members have made the same claim to AFP.

Ankara has vowed to take control of all detention centers in its operational area. “We are prepared to cooperate with source countries and international organizations on the rehabilitation of foreign terrorist fighters’ spouses and children,” Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal editorial.


Date palm, Arab region symbol of prosperity, listed by UNESCO

Updated 43 min 12 sec ago

Date palm, Arab region symbol of prosperity, listed by UNESCO

  • The symbol of the date palm tree has historically presented prosperity in the Arab region
  • All parts of the date palm were and are still used in some parts of the region for shelter or to produce a range of products

DUBAI: The date palm, which was recognized by UNESCO on Wednesday, has for centuries played an important role in the establishment and growth of civilizations in the hot and dry regions of the Arab world.
Now date palm-related knowledge, traditions and practices have been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The tree, whose roots penetrate deep into the soil, allowing it to grow in arid climates, has not only been a source of food but also of economic gain.
“Date palms gather in oases of different densities within desert areas indicating the presence of water levels suitable for irrigation,” according to a nomination put forward by 14 countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
“As a result, this aided mankind in settling down despite harsh conditions,” said the document.
Until this day, platters of dates adorn tables in homes and businesses across the Arab world, where the symbol of the date palm tree has historically presented prosperity.
The offering of the sweet fruit, coupled with a cup of coffee, is a sign of good old-fashioned Arab hospitality.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the date palm is probably the most ancient cultivated tree.
It was grown as early as 4,000 BC and used for the construction of the moon god temple near Ur in southern Iraq — the ancient region of Mesopotamia.
“The population of the submitting states has been associated with the date palm tree for centuries as it aided them in the construction of civilization,” they said in the nomination.
“Historical research and various antiquities excavations have resulted in the plant’s significant cultural and economic status in numerous regions such as Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and the Arab Gulf.”
The ancient crop also faces some modern challenges. Gulf countries have fought hard to eradicate the red palm weevil, which originally came from Asia and was first detected in the region in the 1980s.
The beetle, which is barely a few centimeters (around an inch) long, produces larvae that feed off palm trunks, killing the trees.
“In Gulf countries and the Middle East, $8 million is lost each year through removal of severely infested trees alone,” according to the FAO.
All parts of the date palm were and are still used in some parts of the region for shelter or to produce a range of products, including handicrafts, mats, rope and furniture.
To celebrate and promote their date palm heritage and palm products, some of the submitting countries hold annual date festivals, most notably the annual Liwa Date Festival in the UAE and the Dates Festival in Al-Qassim in Saudi Arabia.
Both Gulf countries are among the top date exporters, according to the Geneva-based International Trade Center.

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