First Published: 2013-01-19

 

Is Turkey using jihadists to fight Kurds in Syria?

 

Syrian Kurds urge opposition to halt siege against them by Islamist rebels, as UN condemns killing of dozens of children across country.

 

Middle East Online

Proxy war?

DAMASCUS - Syrian Kurds urged the opposition on Saturday to halt a siege against them by Islamist rebels, as the UN condemned the killing of dozens of children across the country over the past week.

The Kurdish National Council, a pro-opposition umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish parties, condemned what it said was an ongoing assault "against unarmed civilians" by jihadist insurgents on the northern town of Ras al-Ain.

It said the rebels, who came across the border from Turkey, were shelling the town indiscriminately, and called on the main opposition National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army to "pressure these militants to stop this criminal war which is detrimental to the Syrian revolution."

On Saturday, one rebel was killed in shelling and fierce clashes that pitted the jihadist Al-Nusra Front against Kurdish fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

A resident of Ras al-Ain told AFP both sides appeared to be preparing for a fierce battle, with Kurdish fighters building fortifications and digging trenches, and rebels bringing in reinforcements from across the border.

Turkey, which supports the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is home to a sizeable Kurdish minority whose demands for greater independence it has moved to suppress, notably in air strikes on Kurdish militants groups.

Activists say Turkey may be using jihadists in Syria to fight its own battle against the Kurds.

Elsewhere, Syrian warplanes raided the eastern outskirts of Damascus as army reinforcements arrived in Daraya, a key battleground near the capital, the Observatory said.

The violence came a day after 149 people were killed, according to the Observatory, including 103 civilians and 18 children.

The United Nations Children's Fund condemned the killing of children in Syria..

"A series of reports from Syria this week underlines the terrible price children are paying" in a conflict that has ravaged the country for 22 months and killed more than 60,000 people, UNICEF said.

"Media reports (Friday) from the scene of mass killings in the village of Hasawiya outside Homs said whole families were among the dead," it added.

"UNICEF condemns these latest incidents in the strongest terms, and once again calls on all parties to ensure civilians -- and children especially -- are spared the effects of the conflict."

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics for its information, says 3,538 children have been killed since the start of the revolt in March 2011.

Meanwhile, Syria's foreign ministry criticised a petition by UN rights chief Navi Pillay and 58 countries calling for a war crimes case against Damascus to be opened at the International Criminal Court.

"The Syrian government regrets the persistence of these countries in following the wrong approach and refusing to recognise the duty of the Syrian state to protect its people from terrorism imposed from abroad," it said.

Those countries, are "hindering the Syrian national dialogue for a peaceful settlement of the crisis as proposed by Assad on January 6." Those talks would only include opposition forces tolerated by the regime, disqualifying the vast majority of the country's rebels.

Rebels offered a stark reply on Saturday by assassinating Khaled al-Hilal, a local official responsible for arranging any such talks in the southern province of Daraa.

 

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

Libya parliament rejects Sarraj’s unity government

Prominent Morocco Islamists rapped over 'sex on beach'

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo

Yemen army looks to break Taez siege amid deadly battles

Jordan to allow more Syrian children access to education

Tunisia parliament sets date for unity government vote

Iraq forces foil attack by teenage bomber

Israel launches 'dozens' of Gaza strikes

Russian stops using Iran airbase for raids on IS in Syria

Turkey says Syria border region must be 'cleansed' of IS jihadists

Turkey authorities scramble to identify child bomber

Libya forces seize more IS ground in Sirte

Sisi says Putin ready to revive Palestine/Israel talks

Jihadist asks Malians for 'forgiveness' for Timbuktu attacks

Iran criticize Russia’s ‘show off’ on airbase use

Ennahda 'has reservations' on Tunisia unity govt

In sharp reversal, Trump pitches softer line on immigration

Syria regime, Kurds agree truce after Russian mediation

Checkpoint attack leaves two policemen dead north of Cairo

ISIS child bomber kills 50 at Turkish wedding

No injuries as Gaza rocket crashes into centre of Israeli city

Tunisia premier-designate announces nominees for new government

Moroccan King calls on diaspora to defend tolerant form of Islam

Iran unveils new Bavar 373 missile defence system

Kurds advance in Hasakeh after Russia talks fail

Iraq hangs 36 over 2014 Speicher massacre

More than 10 dead in twin blast in Somalia town

Turkey vows 'more active' role in Syria

UN uses World Humanitarian Day to plead for Libya aid

Turkey hopes for improved relations with Egypt