New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 10:09 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 24 Jun 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Pakistan Arrests Lady Doctors, Students Sitting on A Peaceful Protest in Quetta






Pakistani policemen arresting lady doctors and students in Quetta on Wednesday.

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• ‘Driving Changed My Life’: Two Years After Saudi Arabia Allowed Women to Drive

• Kuwaiti Women Demand Equal Housing Citizenship Rights

• Iran, Japan Discuss Joint Project On Women's Empowerment

• Activist RehanaFathima Booked for Posting A Video on Social Media Where Her Minor Children Were Seen Painting Her Semi-Nude Body

• Women’s Empowerment A Top Priority for Saudi Arabia During Its G20 Presidency

• Husband, In-Laws Booked for Harassing Woman, Giving Her Triple Talaq: Pune Police

• Why So Few Women Workers in The Arab World? The World Bank Provide Answers

• Jordan- Enhancing Women's Labour Participation InMashreq Countries Will Boost Economic Growth — WB Report

Turkish Drone Strike Kills Three Kurdish Women In Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pakistan-arrests-lady-doctors,-students-sitting-on-a-peaceful-protest-in-quetta/d/122214

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Pakistan Arrests Lady Doctors, Students Sitting on A Peaceful Protest in Quetta

June 25, 2020

Pakistani Police arrested several lady doctors and other protesting students protesting on Wednesday in Quetta, occupied Balochistan. The arrested women included doctorMahrangBaloch, JeehandBaloch and other students of the Baloch Student Organisation (BSO).

The doctors and students were protesting against the decision of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to commence online classes despite the fact that internet facilities are not available in occupied Balochistan. The protest in Quetta was called by the Baloch Students Alliance, that claimed that the sole of the peaceful protest was to grab the attention of concerned authorities towards genuine issues of students. Without internet the students across occupied Balochistan will miss out all their classes and will then not be able to learn their subjects or clear their exams. Pakistani security forces have suspended internet access at several regions in occupied Balochistan citing security concerns. This internet suspension has been in place for several years in occupied Balochistan.

Soon after her arrest, MahrangBaloch said that they were protesting against the unilateral decision to conduct online classes. She said that the “barbaric state doesn’t change its behaviour towards oppressed nations.”

Students across Balochistan have been protesting since the last few weeks due to non-availability of internet facilities and the decision of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to conduct online classes.

Earlier, the protesting students had said: “The HEC’s decision for beginning online classes is one sided and prejudiced, which completely ignores the ground realities. The HEC’s decision makes it clear that the students of Balochistan are not the part of this education system, which is an attempt to keep away the Baloch students from education.”

Baloch nationalist organisations say that denying internet accessibility in occupied Balochistan is an attempt by the Pakistani state to prevent news going out to the outside world about Pakistan Army’s blatant human rights violations across occupied Balochistan.

https://www.newsintervention.com/pakistan-arrests-lady-doctors-students-sitting-on-a-peaceful-protest-in-quetta/

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‘Driving Changed My Life’: Two Years After Saudi Arabia Allowed Women To Drive

BalqueesBasalom

June 24, 2020

Two years after Saudi Arabia allowed women to drive, one woman living in Makkah says the licence has changed her life.

RawanFairq, a barista, told The National that being able to drive has allowed her to find a job she enjoys and freed her from relying on men to go anywhere by car.

“Driving made me depend on myself. I searched for a job and I found one,” Ms Fairq told said, donning brown-shaded sunglasses as she sat behind the wheel of a Honda sedan.

“I am doing all the family errands. Some days, I drive my sister to her work. Some days, I take my mom to the supermarket, although I’m the youngest.”

Ms Fairq said she had grown accustomed to the driving ban for women, although her mother encouraged her to learn how to drive. Today she is saving to upgrade from her family’s relatively old Honda to a new Mazda.

“My mother really supported and pushed me to drive, until I got excited and asked our driver to teach me,” she said.

The lifting of the ban in June 2018 came amid sweeping social reforms that underpin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernisation drive of the kingdom. Part of the plan is encouraging Saudi women to join the labour force as he forges an economy not dependent on oil revenue.

Saudi academic HaifaaFaqeih, who teaches at Um Al Qura University in Makkah, said the sight of thousands of women driving in the kingdom is helping to change dismissive male attitudes.

She said women in the kingdom “have become stronger.”

https://www.thenational.ae/world/gcc/two-years-in-the-saudi-fast-lane-driving-changed-my-life-1.1038665

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Kuwaiti women demand equal housing citizenship rights

June 24, 2020

Samir Salama

Abu Dhabi: Kuwaiti women's and political activists have demanded to be granted housing rights and the right of their children to jobs in accordance with the laws and the constitution that guarantee equality of citizens, men and women, Kuwaiti media reported.

Activists focused on the fact that housing rights should be granted to Kuwaiti women in all categories (married to a foreigner, divorced, single women, widow), demanding the Public Authority for Housing Welfare to provide adequate housing and rent allowances same male citizens.

Alia Al Dulaimi, head of the Kuwaiti Women’s Rights Committee, said we had a meeting with the Minister of Housing Dr.Rana Al Faris and some of the demands of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis were discussed. “There is a flagrant discrimination between men and women in Kuwait, even though they are equal legally and constitutionally,’ Al Dulaimi said.

Al Dulaimi added article 29 of the Kuwaiti constitution states,“People are equal in human dignity, and they are equal before the law in public rights and duties, there is no discrimination between them on the grounds of gender, origin, language or religion. However, unfortunately, we note that the state grants housing rights to the male only including plots of lands, housing loans, government houses and housing allowance,” she said.

Al Dulaimi specifically demanded reopening the file of Kuwaiti women who applied for housing since the 1980s, which was shelved by the prime minister. “The Cabinet decision to shelve this crucial dossier is extremely unfair against the right of Kuwaiti women married to a non-Kuwaiti to housing similar to Kuwaiti men,” she said.

Al Dulaimi also demanded full ownership of houses that were granted to Kuwaiti women married to foreigners on lease since the 1970s.

“It is unfair to Kuwaiti women, because the state grants Kuwaiti men the right to own property but the Kuwaiti women are not entitled to own these houses and in the event of their death, the house goes back to the government,” Al Dulaimi said.

The head of the Kuwaiti Women’s Rights Committee said Kuwaiti women married to a non-Kuwaitis do not receive a rent allowance of 150 dinars, just like the male citizens.

“Decree 2/2011 granted Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaiti women the right to low-cost housing but the decree has not seen the light yet. Also, divorcees and widows are granted a credit bank loan of 70,000 dinars, but most Kuwaiti women were unable to obtain it, especially in light of the growing real estate prices,” she said.

For his part, political activist Faisal Al Harbi affirmed that the issue of Kuwaiti women’s rights to housing requires radical solutions once and for all.

Al Harbi added laws clearly and explicitly provides for naturalisation of Kuwaiti children born to Kuwaiti women married to foreigners in the event of the death of the father or the irrevocable divorce after a period of time, but this unfortunately has not been enforced for many years.

“The issues Kuwaiti women go through are more than enough to undermine households, and this calls for a serious decisions to grant Kuwaiti women and their families the peace of mind they deserve.” Al Harbi said.

https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/kuwait/kuwaiti-women-demand-equal-housing-citizenship-rights-1.1592999485767

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Iran, Japan discuss joint project on women's empowerment

June 24, 2020

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation has worked over the past 10 years to promote constructive ties with Iran through a range of projects including joint research, mutual visits, and dialogues on different issues such as women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship.

MasoumehEbtekar, vice president for women’s and family affairs; MortezaRahmaniMovahed, ambassador of Iran to Japan; and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the meeting, IRNA reported.

Nobuo Tanaka, chairman of the SPF; Atsushi Sunami, president of the Ocean Policy Research of the SPF; Mitsugu Saito, Japanese ambassador to Iran; and several directors of the SPF joined the meeting from Japan.

A review of joint actions conducted last year, proposals on the type of cooperation in the post-corona period, and the creation of appropriate conditions for employment and women's entrepreneurship and the experiences of both sides were among the issues discussed during the meeting.

During the video conference, a joint research report on the comparative study of women entrepreneurs in Iran and Japan, women and information and communication technology, as well as a joint project report on home businesses were presented.

The meeting also discussed plans for the role of women in the post-corona period, the development of home-based businesses using the experiences of the Indonesian government, and women's access to information and communication technology for economic growth.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/449195/Iran-Japan-discuss-joint-project-on-women-s-empowerment

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Activist RehanaFathima Booked for Posting A Video On Social Media Where Her Minor Children Were Seen Painting Her Semi-Nude Body

June 25, 2020

RehanaFathima, the activist who created a furore when she tried to enter the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala following the 2018 Supreme Court verdict allowing women’s entry has been booked by the Kerala police for posting a video on social media platforms in which her two minor children are painting on her naked body.

Police registered a criminal case against Fathima under Section 67 of the IT Act (electronically transmitting sexually explicit content) and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act for cruelty to child. The case was registered following a complaint by a local BJP leader.

In January 2019, a few months after the historic apex court verdict, rehana and another women became the only two women who could reach closest to the temple.

RehanaFathima had, on June 19, shared a YouTube video on Facebook of her son and daughter painting on her semi-nude body. The video was accompanied by her post with the hashtag #BodyArtPolitics. According to Rehana, the video was made to reiterate that women need to be open about sex and their bodies in a society where sex and nudity are taboo.

“The feminine body and her nakedness are more than 55 kg of flesh, compared to the male body. Leggings are aroused by the sight of the legs, while the man standing with his knees bent over his chest and his legs half-naked, forces men and women to approach the body in a manner that does not elicit ejection. It is the false sexual consciousness that is currently being given to society. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is porn in the eyes of the beholder,” she wrote.

However, the activist’s video has drawn criticism on social media, with many users pointing out that the act amounts to child abuse. Some have asked if Rehana would be all right with a father doing the same with his young daughter. Though a complaint has been filed against the activist, the police have not booked Rehana under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Police said the complaint was filed by BJP leader AV Arun Prakash. Rehana has been booked under section 67 of the IT Act (publishing or transmitting or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or tend to deprave and corrupt persons), section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act for cruelty to child and section 120 of Kerala Police Act (causing through any means of communication, a nuisance of himself to any person by repeated or undesirable or anonymous call, letter, writing, message, email or through messenger).

RehanaFathima, a former employee of BSNL was forced to quit the PSU after she controversy became her constant companion. She had been arrested and jailed for 18 days for a Facebook post that allegedly hurt the sentiments of Ayyappa devotees.

https://www.indialegallive.com/top-news-of-the-day/news/muslim-woman-who-tried-to-enter-sabarimala-ayyappa-temple-booked-for-making-her-minor-kids-paint-her-nude

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Women’s empowerment a top priority for Saudi Arabia during its G20 presidency

June 24, 2020

RIYADH — During its G20 presidency, the empowerment of women is a top priority for Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom has been taking up issues of women's employment, financial inclusion, and access to real opportunities.

Saudi Arabia is working with all members of G20 to build on the common ground made during the previous presidencies. The G20 has developed over the past years, "Empowering Women" as one of its main topics that will be discussed, with the aim of addressing related issues at the global level.

The presidency will focus in its current session on three main axes: enabling human beings through creating conditions that help them — especially women and youth — live decently, work and prosper, and to preserve the land by enhancing collective efforts and enacting sustainable economic policies, as well as shaping new horizons through the adoption of bold and long-term strategies to make the most of innovation and technical progress.

The Kingdom’s G20 Presidency, through more than 100 meetings, will offer a number of axes at the global level within the framework of the COVID 19 pandemic, including financial inclusion, health, inclusive tourism, energy, education, water and food management, digitization, artificial intelligence, financial technology, cybersecurity and other areas of common concern.

Under the Kingdom's Presidency of G20, a meeting of the Private Sector Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women’s Economic Representation (EMPOWER) will be held, with the aim of supporting employment and the advancement of women in leading the private sector.

EMPOWER was launched at the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019 in order to advocate for the advancement of women in the private sector, and began its first meeting under the presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 9, 2020 via teleconferencing.

It is worth noting that two Saudi women co-chair EMPOWER, they work to support the empowerment of women through their leadership roles, and they are Rania Nashar and Dr.Hala Al-Tuwaijri.

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/594678/SAUDI-ARABIA/Womens-empowerment-a-top-priority-for-Saudi-Arabia-during-its-G20-presidency

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Husband, in-laws booked for harassing woman, giving her triple talaq: Pune Police

June 25, 2020

Following a complaint lodged by a woman, the Pune City Police has booked five persons, including her husband and in-laws, for allegedly giving her ‘triple talaq’ orally because she failed to bring Rs 20 lakh from her parents.

The woman, who is 25 years old, lodged the FIR in this case at Kondhwa police station last week. According to the complaint, the woman married Faizal Shaikh two years ago and her husband and in-laws harassed her physically and mentally, police said.

Senior Police Inspector VinayakGaikwad said, “We have registered the offence as per the complaint lodged by the woman. No arrests have been made yet. The accused persons are residents of Nashik and we have issued notices to them. Further investigation is on.”

Her husband and in-laws have been booked under Section 498 (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) 2019, which is also known as the ‘Triple Talaq Bill’.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/husband-in-laws-booked-for-harassing-woman-giving-her-triple-talaq-pune-police-6474815/

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Why So Few Women Workers in The Arab World? The World Bank Provide Answers

June 24th, 2020

Women’s labour force participation in the Mashreq countries (eastern Arab countries) remains among the lowest in the world and is likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Bank.

Addressing prevailing social norms, legal constraints and market failures can boost women’s share of labour market participation in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon and help their economies grow, the World Bank said in its new report released on Tuesday.

If the three countries’ targetted increases in participation of five percentage points over five years are not only met but also continue for a further decade, annual economic growth would be increased by 1.6 percentage points in Iraq, 2.5 points in Jordan and 1.1 points in Lebanon by 2035, read the statement.

“The State of Mashreq Women” report examines the reasons behind low women’s labour force participation and calls for action to provide the needed support systems, services and legal framework to incite more women to access the labour market, the WB statement said.

Less than 15 per cent of women work in Iraq and Jordan, placing these countries among those with the lowest female participation rates in the world, only after war-torn Syria and Yemen.

In Lebanon, only 26 per cent of women work. Participation is particularly low for the less-educated. While two-thirds of women with tertiary education are either employed or seeking a job, this amounts to only a small portion of the total female population in these countries — around 12 per cent in Iraq, 27 per cent in Jordan and 31 per cent in Lebanon. Labour force participation is generally higher among younger women, noted the report.

In Lebanon, women aged 15 to 44 are twice as likely to participate than those aged 45 to 64, suggesting a generational shift that is not seen in Iraq and only partly witnessed in Jordan, according to the report.

Younger women are also more likely to work in Jordan, but for those aged 25-34, participation rates reach only around 35 per cent.  In contrast, for those older than 35 it is 20 per cent or lower, the WB said.

In all three countries, getting married and having children is “associated with a lower probability of participating in the labour market”, albeit with some noticeable differences, according to the report.

In all three countries men experience the opposite profile, with higher participation rates for married men and those with younger children than their unmarried counterparts.

“Securing and expanding economic opportunities for women is at the heart of the World Bank’s agenda,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for the Mashreq, in the statement.

“Women should have equal chances to engage in economic life, make their voices heard and fulfil their aspirations. This can promote growth, prosperity, peace and stability in the Mashreq countries,” he said.

While low female labour force participation rates are partly due to low job creation in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon as a result of “structural economic problems” and challenges, additional barriers related to the role of women in society and within their families specifically affect the access of women to the labour market, the statement said.

The report offers policy recommendations to enhance female labour force participation in Mashreq countries. Beyond the creation of additional jobs, governments can boost women’s access to the labour market by making public transportation safer, reviewing certain laws and regulations and closing certain gaps between the law on paper and the law in practice, increasing the supply of high-quality childcare services and addressing social norms that prevent women from earning their own incomes.

“The digital economy can also contribute to promoting women’s labour force participation by allowing women to work from home with flexible hours,” said Matthew Wai-Poi, one of the lead authors of the report, in the statement.

“However, the prevailing digital gender divide means women have less access to the Internet and mobile connectivity and fewer digital skills than men.  This issue is exacerbated for less-educated women. Without action to close the digital gender gap, those opportunities could become another barrier,” he said.

This first “State of the Mashreq Women” report was produced as part of the Mashreq Gender Facility, which provides technical assistance to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to enhance women’s economic empowerment and opportunities as a “catalyst towards more inclusive, sustainable and peaceful societies, where economic growth benefits all”, according to the statement.

https://www.albawaba.com/editors-choice/why-so-few-women-workers-arab-world-world-bank-provide-answers-1364527

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Jordan- Enhancing women's labour participation in Mashreq countries will boost economic growth — WB report

6/24/2020

Women''s labour force participation in the Mashreq countries (eastern Arab countries) remains among the lowest in the world and is likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Bank.

Addressing prevailing social norms, legal constraints and market failures can boost women''s share of labour market participation in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon and help their economies grow, the World Bank said in its new report released on Tuesday.

If the three countries'' targetted increases in participation of five percentage points over five years are not only met but also continue for a further decade, annual economic growth would be increased by 1.6 percentage points in Iraq, 2.5 points in Jordan and 1.1 points in Lebanon by 2035, read the statement.

''The State of Mashreq Women'' report examines the reasons behind low women''s labour force participation and calls for action to provide the needed support systems, services and legal framework to incite more women to access the labour market, the WB statement said.

Less than 15 per cent of women work in Iraq and Jordan, placing these countries among those with the lowest female participation rates in the world, only after war-torn Syria and Yemen.

In Lebanon, only 26 per cent of women work. Participation is particularly low for the less-educated. While two-thirds of women with tertiary education are either employed or seeking a job, this amounts to only a small portion of the total female population in these countries — around 12 per cent in Iraq, 27 per cent in Jordan and 31 per cent in Lebanon. Labour force participation is generally higher among younger women, noted the report.

In Lebanon, women aged 15 to 44 are twice as likely to participate than those aged 45 to 64, suggesting a generational shift that is not seen in Iraq and only partly witnessed in Jordan, according to the report.

Younger women are also more likely to work in Jordan, but for those aged 25-34, participation rates reach only around 35 per cent.  In contrast, for those older than 35 it is 20 per cent or lower, the WB said.

In all three countries, getting married and having children is ''associated with a lower probability of participating in the labour market'', albeit with some noticeable differences, according to the report.

In all three countries men experience the opposite profile, with higher participation rates for married men and those with younger children than their unmarried counterparts.

''Securing and expanding economic opportunities for women is at the heart of the World Bank''s agenda,'' said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for the Mashreq, in the statement.

''Women should have equal chances to engage in economic life, make their voices heard and fulfil their aspirations. This can promote growth, prosperity, peace and stability in the Mashreq countries,'' he said.

While low female labour force participation rates are partly due to low job creation in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon as a result of ''structural economic problems'' and challenges, additional barriers related to the role of women in society and within their families specifically affect the access of women to the labour market, the statement said.

The report offers policy recommendations to enhance female labour force participation in Mashreq countries. Beyond the creation of additional jobs, governments can boost women''s access to the labour market by making public transportation safer, reviewing certain laws and regulations and closing certain gaps between the law on paper and the law in practice, increasing the supply of high-quality childcare services and addressing social norms that prevent women from earning their own incomes.

''The digital economy can also contribute to promoting women''s labour force participation by allowing women to work from home with flexible hours,'' said Matthew Wai-Poi, one of the lead authors of the report, in the statement.

''However, the prevailing digital gender divide means women have less access to the Internet and mobile connectivity and fewer digital skills than men.  This issue is exacerbated for less-educated women. Without action to close the digital gender gap, those opportunities could become another barrier,'' he said.

This first ''State of the Mashreq Women'' report was produced as part of the Mashreq Gender Facility, which provides technical assistance to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to enhance women''s economic empowerment and opportunities as a ''catalyst towards more inclusive, sustainable and peaceful societies, where economic growth benefits all'', according to the statement.

https://menafn.com/1100381588/Jordan-Enhancing-womens-labour-participation-in-Mashreq-countries-will-boost-economic-growth-WB-report

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Turkish Drone Strike Kills Three Kurdish Women In Syria

AmberinZaman

Jun 24, 2020

The leader of a US-backed militia in northeast Syria accused Turkey of violating the terms of two separate cease-fire agreements brokered by Russia and the United States today after an alleged Turkish drone struck his native village of Helenj, near the town of Kobani, killing three women last night.

MazlumKobane, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), called the drone attack that took place around 7 p.m. local time “a continuation of the policy of massacres against the Kurds.” He added via Twitter, “Stopping Turkish violations and the policy of ethnic cleansing is a responsibility and duty of America and Russia, within the framework of the October agreements and international law.”

Kobane was referring to the accords brokered in the aftermath of Turkey’s Oct. 9 “Operation Peace Spring” assault against northeast Syria that resulted in its occupation of a swath of territory between the towns of Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain and the withdrawal of US forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, including from Kobani.

In a rare if oblique rebuke of America’s NATO ally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his sympathies to families of the "innocent civilians and those wounded" in the airstrike via Twitter just hours after the attack occurred.

But in an apparent bid to keep things even, Pompeo also mentioned the families of five civilians who died in a bomb attack that took place yesterday near Ras al-Ain that Turkey blamed on the SDF. Pompeo did not identify any perpetrators in his tweet, but it will have likely angered Ankara nonetheless.

Salih Muslim, the deputy co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which holds power in the Syrian Kurds’ Autonomous Administration, told Al-Monitor that Russia was responsible for protecting Kobani now that the Americans are gone. “Turkey cannot operate in the skies over Kobani without their assent,” he said. “Though we don’t know their role in this particular instance, we’ve seen them look the other way when Turkey has attacked the area in the past.” Moscow has not commented officially on the strike.

StanislavIvanov, a former colonel in the Russian army and a Syria expert, refuted the idea that Russia would have greenlit the attack, saying Turkey never sought Moscow’s permission for its attacks conducted “under the pretext of fighting Kurdish militias." He likened Turkey’s actions to “acts of state terrorism” in emailed comments to Al-Monitor, adding, “in this case, the deaths of three women from among local residents.”

Ankara has yet to claim responsibility, though it routinely trumpets targeted assassinations of men and women militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turkish government for Kurdish self-rule since 1984. Fighting has escalated since a two-and-a-half-year cease-fire broke down in 2015. Turkey is currently engaged in twin air and ground offensives against the PKK in their stronghold in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

Turkey insists that the SDF’s Kurdish component known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are legitimate targets as well, because of its historical links with the PKK.

A Turkish soldier was killed yesterday near the mainly Kurdish town of Yuksekova after coming under attack from the Iranian side of the border. The Turkish Ministry of Defense did not assign blame, but the PKK is active inside Iran as well.

In Kobani, thousands of citizens chanting anti-Turkey slogans gathered in the town’s main square today to air their fury over the drone strike.

Ayse Effendi, a prominent PYD member, charged that Turkey was planning further massacres in Kobani. Ankara’s aim was “to erase Kurdish identity,” she said.

The victims of Tuesday’s airstrike were named as ZehraBerkel, MizginXelil and EmineWeysi. Berkel was a leading member of Kongra-Star, a confederation of women’s groups that promotes gender equality and helped mobilize women in the fight against the Islamic State. The 33-year-old, who studied law, was also a former co-mayor of Kobani. Xelil, who was reportedly undergoing treatment for cancer, was active in Kongra Star and Weysi was married to a relative of the SDF chief. She was hosting a gathering outside their family home in Helenj.

It’s unclear why the women were targeted. “None of them were involved in any armed activity,” said Muslim.

Meghan Bodette, a Washington-based international affairs specialist and a vocal advocate of the Kurdish feminist movement, argued that the choice of women was deliberate. “In Afrin, Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad, one of the consequences of Turkish intervention has been the destruction of virtually all gains in rights, representation and empowerment made by women under the Autonomous Administration — accompanied by a pattern of kidnappings, forced marriages, torture and sexual violence carried out with impunity by Turkish-backed armed groups,” Bodette said in emailed comments to Al-Monitor. “Both the targeting of political figures like ZehraBerkel and HevrinKhalaf and the daily fear of violence that women in occupied areas live with are part of a broader attempt to weaken the strongest and most effective women's movement in Syria.” HevrinKhalaf was the young Kurdish woman politician who was summarily executed by members of a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel faction in the early days of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Some observers draw eerie parallels between the murder of three prominent Kurdish female activists in Paris in January 2013. The victims included SakineCansiz, the legendary former fighter who co-founded the PKK.

The murders were widely believed to have been planned by rogue elements in Turkey’s national security establishment to derail now defunct peace talks between the Turkish government and the PKK.

Muslim noted that there may be a link between yesterday’s attack and ongoing reconciliation talks between the PYD and the opposition Kurdish National Council that are being mediated by the United States. The talks were initiated by Kobani, who was added to Turkey’s list of most wanted terrorists following the collapse of the Kurdish peace talks in which he played a tangential role. The veteran commander has been the target of several assassination attempts allegedly planned by Turkish intelligence.

Turkey has aired occasional disgruntlement over the talks, mainly via its Foreign Minister MevlutCavusoglu, who told the Turkish news channel CNNTurk on May 18 that “anyone who cooperates with the PKK/YPG is a legitimate target.”

A well-placed Turkish source said that some members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party view the talks, however, as a vehicle to resume a détente with the Kurds — whose votes help tip elections — and to ease relations with the United States. But nationalists who oppose Kurdish rights and Kurdish unity wherever they scent any retain the upper hand. Yet, “No one within the Turkish government apparatus seems to be in a rush to take credit for the [Kobani] attack. The only ones praising it are pro-government social media trolls,” the source observed.

Kobani emerged as a symbol of Kurdish resistance against the Islamic State, which laid siege to the town in the fall of 2014 as Ankara looked on and even collaborated with the jihadis, Syrian Kurdish officials charge, until it was shamed into rising to the Kurds’ defense. Kobani is where the US-Kurdish partnership against the jihadis was forged, tilting Turkish-US relations into crisis with Ankara accusing Washington of arming and training what it called PKK terrorists.

Turkey has made no secret of its desire to add Kobani to the real estate it occupies inside northern Syria. Doing so would allow Turkey to fully connect the Euphrates Shield zone west of the Euphrates River with its freshly acquired dominion east of the river, giving it a further strategic edge. Russia, whose military police are deployed around Kobani along with regime forces, since the US retreat, wields the threat of a Turkish attack to press the Kurds into ditching the Americans and cutting a deal with the Syrian regime, but to little effect so far.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/06/turkey-drone-strike-syria-sdf-kobane-russia-pompeo-kurds.html

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