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.

 

Islamic State ‘share in US weapons’ embarrasses Pentagon

Hundreds protest in Iran after horrendous acid attacks

Libya army scores small victory in Benghazi

Masdar to build first large-scale wind farm in GCC

Kasserine reaps bitter harvest from Tunisia revolution: Poverty and terrorism

Turkish woman arrested for stepping on Koran

Erdogan criticises US for airdrops on Kobane

Iraq schools provide shelter but late to open for classes

Syria air force shoots down two of three 'IS warplanes'

Egypt court rules on ‘Nasr City terror cell’

Fire from Egypt wounds two Israeli soldiers near border

By hook or by crook, settlers notch up property gains in East Jerusalem

Turkey envoy meets leader of parallel government in Libya

Israel arrests seven Palestinian fishermen off northern Gaza

Khamenei to Abadi: Iraq can beat 'Islamic State' without foreign troops

Saudi special court rules in cases of riots and terrorism

Only in Libya: Government calls for civil disobedience

Iraq Kurds set to vote on deployment of Peshmerga forces to Syria

Alderton: Morocco unrivalled business gateway to sub-Saharan Africa

Protests over IS turn Istanbul University into war zone

Turkey eyes stricter punishment against lawbreakers at protests

For Sudan President: Promises are something and re-election is something else

Iran returns Abadi to ‘house of obedience’

From traditional military to counterinsurgency force: Syria army grows more capable

South Sudan rivals accept 'responsibility' for civil war

British drones in Iraq also used for Syria surveillance

Turkey launches new wave of wire-tapping arrests

Rise of Shiite militias challenges government authority in Iraq

Syria Kurds show impressive resistance to ‘Islamic State’ in Kobane

Vote or boycott: Grim record of self-serving politicians puts off voters in Tunisia

Egypt universities tighten security to avoid new Islamist violence

Iran forces inside Iraq as Abadi rules out foreign ground intervention!

South Sudan rivals meet in new bid to end civil war

From Morocco into Spain: Crowd of African migrants charges to border fence

Deadly suicide attack targets Shiite mosque in central Baghdad

Turkey gives Iraq Peshmerga forces passage to Kobane

Israel to supply Egypt with natural gas despite sabotage

Kerry seeks help of Southeast Asia in anti-Islamic State push

Qaeda inflicts heavy losses on Huthi rebels in central Yemen

US carries out first weapon airdrops to Kurd fighters near Kobane

Benghazi violence kills 75 people in five days

Morocco accuses Algeria of firing on civilians across border

Australia finalises deal for deployment of Special Forces to Iraq

Tunisia calls on Libya authorities to locate missing journalists

Turkey rejects calls to arm ‘terrorist’ Kurdish party in Syria