New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 07:59 PM

Islamic World News ( 20 Jan 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

London Mayor on Donald Trump: He Sounds Like ISIL














Photo: London Mayor Sadiq Khan compared US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

 

Taliban Attack on Afghan Hotel Ends After 13 Hours; Six Killed

Octogenarian Pir Sialvi Demands Shariah in Seven Days in Pakistan

Terrorists Come under Army Siege in 1,200 sq-km of Land in Northern Syria

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Europe

London Mayor on Donald Trump: He Sounds Like ISIL

UK Muslim Body to Launch New Counter-Terror Initiative

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South Asia

Taliban Attack on Afghan Hotel Ends After 13 Hours; Six Killed

Jamiat-e-Islami Top Leaders Meet in Mazar amid Soaring Political Tensions

Taliban finally claims Kabul Hotel attack as all 5 assailants killed

Taliban and their supporters attempting to avenge recent losses: Abdullah

Several killed in a deadly clash in Balkh province of Afghanistan

Noor says ready to step if President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah resigns

Pakistan condemns coordinated attack on a hotel in Kabul city

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Pakistan

Octogenarian Pir Sialvi Demands Shariah in Seven Days in Pakistan

UNSC Sanctions Monitoring Team to Visit Pakistan This Week

Pak calls for cooperation for combating terrorism

Naqeebullah was killed in ‘fake encounter’, had no militant tendencies: police inquiry finds

MQM distances itself from #FreeKrachi campaign

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Arab World

Terrorists Come under Army Siege in 1,200 sq-km of Land in Northern Syria

Syrian Army Defeats Al-Nusra at Strategic Airbase in Idlib

Iraqi PM Meets Kurdistan Region Leader for First Time since Independence Vote

ISIL Drives Rival Terrorists out of Several Positions in Southern Damascus

Syrian Army Makes Fresh Gains in Southern Aleppo

Army Captures Key Military Airport in Southeastern Idlib

Syrian Army Advancing towards Idlib Airbase in All Fronts

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Mideast

Hundreds of Gunmen Join Turkish Army to Attack Kurdish Regions in Northern Syria

Dubai Islamic Bank Wins ‘Fastest Growing Bank in the UAE’ by International Finance Magazine

Turkey says ground forces push into Syria, Kurdish militia says attack repulsed

Turkey and Syria will never allow a Kurdish mini-state

Turkish artillery fires in northern Syria after border town hit

Iranian President: Iraqi Kurds Should Respect Constitution, Territorial Integrity

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India

J-K Should Become Bridge Of Friendship between India, Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

J-K: Soldier injured in Pak firing dies; crossfire toll climbs to 11 in 4 days

Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over 'unprovoked firing'

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar Soldiers Jailed For Killing Civilians in Rare Trial

Tensions Mount in Rohingya Camps Ahead of Planned Relocation to Myanmar

Rohingya militant army terms Myanmar's repatriation agreement 'deceitful'

Malaysia's Parti Islam aims high, saying it wants to win control of parliament

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North America

The Muslim Actor Turned Taliban-Fighting Marine at the Heart of ‘12 Strong’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/london-mayor-on-donald-trump--he-sounds-like-isil/d/114006

 

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London Mayor on Donald Trump: He Sounds Like ISIL

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- London Mayor Sadiq Khan compared US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

Daesh terrorists seek “an increase of Islamophobic attacks; they want a backlash against proud Muslims, proud westerners”, Khan said in an interview with the Intercept.

Khan, who has exchanged barbs with Trump in the past, added that the US President’s language was “very similar to the rhetoric used by so-called ISIS”

The comments were in reference to Trump re-tweeting of a series of Islamophobic posts by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, who has been accused of hate speech.

The mayor pointed out that Thomas Mair, the man who killed Labour MP Jo Cox in 2015, repeatedly shouted out “Britain first” as he shot and stabbed the lawmaker.

“One of the reasons I spoke out against his retweets was that he was amplifying a message of division and hatred, and he should be condemned for that,” Khan said of Trump.

The mayor also stressed that it “beggared belief” that Prime Minister Theresa May’s invitation to Trump for a state visit to the UK had not been withdrawn following the retweets of Fransen’s hateful posts.

Khan underlined that the US President should not be granted a state visit because “there are too many things that he believes that we disagree with.”

The war of words between Trump and Khan – London’s first Muslim mayor – began during the US election campaign when he condemned Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims as “ignorant.”

Khan lashed out at Trump again when the President introduced a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, calling the policy “cruel and shameful.”

A planned visit for Trump to open the new US embassy in London was cancelled earlier this month amid fears of mass protests.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961101001335

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Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours; six killed

AP | Jan 21, 2018

A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people with the death toll expected to rise.

The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials.

Afghan security personnel stand guard as smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul. (AP photo)Afghan security personnel stand guard as smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul. (AP photo)

KABUL: A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people, including a foreigner, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise.

The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the six killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference.

Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

The Taliban claimed the attack, which began around 9pm Saturday, saying five gunmen armed with suicide vests targeted foreigners and Afghan officials. Taliban spokesman ZabihullahMujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.

The attack unfolded almost six years after Taliban insurgents launched a similar assault on the property, which is not part of the InterContinental chain of worldwide hotels.

The Interior Ministry said a private firm assumed responsibility for securing the hotel around three weeks ago. The ministry says it is investigating how the attackers managed to enter the building.

Afghan security officials confirmed that 34 provincial officials were gathered at the hotel to participate in a conference organized by the Telecommunication Ministry.

A fire broke out at the hotel as the fighting raged, and the sound of explosions could be heard throughout the standoff. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.

Capt Tom Gresback, spokesman for NATO-led forces, said in a statement that Afghan forces were leading the response efforts. He said that according to initial reports, no foreign troops were hurt in the attack.

Neighboring Pakistan condemned the "brutal terrorist attack" and called for greater cooperation against militants. Afghanistan and Pakistan routinely accuse each other of failing to combat extremists along their long and porous border.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. They have also had to contend with a growing Islamic State affiliate that has carried out a number of massive attacks in recent years.

In the northern Balkh province, insurgents burst into a home where several members of a local pro-government militia were gathered late Saturday, leading them outside and killing 18 of them, said Gen. Abdul RazeqQaderi, the deputy provincial police chief. Among those killed was a tribal leader who served as the local police commander, he said.

In the western Farah province, a roadside bomb killed a deputy provincial police chief and wounded four other police early Sunday, according to Gen. MahrufFolad, the provincial police chief.

The Taliban claimed both attacks.

In the western Herat province, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying 13 civilians, killing all but one of them, said Abdul AhadWalizada, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. No one immediately claimed the attack, but Walizada blamed Taliban insurgents, who often plant roadside bombs to target Afghan security forces.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/taliban-attack-on-afghan-hotel-ends-after-13-hours-six-killed/articleshow/62591135.cms

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Octogenarian Pir Sialvi Demands Shariah in Seven Days in Pakistan

January 21, 2018

LAHORE: Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi on Saturday set yet another deadline for the government, this time for enforcing “Shariah” within seven days or risk protests in every nook and corner of the country.

Addressing a Khatm-i-Nabuwat Conference in the city, the third protest rally of its kind in the last two months, the octogenarian Pir from Sial Sharif warned if the government failed to meet the deadline, Aashqan-i-Rasool [those in love with the Holy Prophet (PBUH)] would protest in every street in the country, and it won’t stop.

Earlier two protests were held at Faisalabad and Gujranwala.

The Pir also supported the “jail bharo (fill the jails)” movement announced by the Tehreek-i-LabaikYa RasoolAllaha, starting from Jan 27, during which the TLYR claimed 100 workers of the party would court arrests daily till all jails in the province were filled.

The conference was attended by the workers the TLYR, the Sunni Ittehad Council, the Sunni Tehreek and other ulema and Mushaikh.

The protest had originally started with a single demand of resignation by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for his controversial remarks in a TV programme. But, on Saturday, PirSialvi just demanded implementation of Shariah laws in the country in seven days.

For Rana Sanaullah, the Pir advised him to recite “kalima” again and renew his faith – otherwise, he said the law minister could not be considered a Muslim.

Sialvi also directed the participants not to vote for the PML-N in the next general elections because, he said, the party had failed to punish the offenders who tinkered with the text of oath on finality of the Prophet (PBHU).

Earlier, Sahibzada Hamid Raza of the SIC and AshrifJalali of TLYR also advised the participants to vote against the PML-N because “it was no more a party of Aashqan-i-Rasool. They also announced support for the decisions taken by the caretaker of the Sial Sharif and pledged they won’t let the movement lose the steam.

All Aashqan-i-Rasool would continue protesting till the goals set by the conference were met, they said.

They had earlier planned to hold the conference on Jan 13 but postponed it because of Kasur incident. At Faisalabad, five of the PML-N lawmakers – two MNAs Nisar Ahmad Jutt and Ghulam

Bibi Bharwana and three MPAs MaulanaRehmatullah, NizamuddinSialvi (his son) and Khan Muhammad Baloch – had resigned. The Pir is thought to have political influence over a dozen lawmakers belonging to the PML-N from Sargodha division.

Saturday also turned out to be a tough day for the Lahore police and the city dwellers as more than 3,000 policemen were deployed to secure the area around the venue of the protest and one of the busiest intersections, Bhati Chowk, was closed for traffic for the entire day.

The conference proceedings were expected to start early afternoon but were delayed because of the late arrival of PirHameeduddinSialvi, who led a procession of his followers from Sargodha to Lahore.

dawn.com/news/1384229/sialvi-demands-shariah-in-seven-days

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Terrorists Come under Army Siege in 1,200 sq-km of Land in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops laid a full siege on the terrorists in a region as large as 1,200 sq-km stretching among the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, military sources confirmed on Saturday.

The sources said that the army men managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Um Tineh in Southern Aleppo and moved towards the village of Um al-Joureh near Abu al-Dhohour airbase in SoutheasternIdlib, laying siege on the militants in a region covering 1,200 sq/km of area from SoutheasternKhanasser in Aleppo up to West of the town of Sinjar in Idlib and North of al-Sa'an region in Northern Hama.

A field source said that two-thirds of the besieged region are under the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) control and the rest is held by the ISIL.

Field sources reported on Friday that the Syrian army dispatched a large number of forces and equipment to the town of al-Hazer in Western Aleppo.

They added that the army wants to launch a new phase of operations against the al-Nusra Front terrorists in the region.

Meantime, the al-Nusra has sent 15 military vehicles and a number of forces to Tal Ais and adjacent areas near al-Hazer.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961030001383

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Europe

London Mayor on Donald Trump: He Sounds Like ISIL

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- London Mayor Sadiq Khan compared US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

Daesh terrorists seek “an increase of Islamophobic attacks; they want a backlash against proud Muslims, proud westerners”, Khan said in an interview with the Intercept.

Khan, who has exchanged barbs with Trump in the past, added that the US President’s language was “very similar to the rhetoric used by so-called ISIS”

The comments were in reference to Trump re-tweeting of a series of Islamophobic posts by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, who has been accused of hate speech.

The mayor pointed out that Thomas Mair, the man who killed Labour MP Jo Cox in 2015, repeatedly shouted out “Britain first” as he shot and stabbed the lawmaker.

“One of the reasons I spoke out against his retweets was that he was amplifying a message of division and hatred, and he should be condemned for that,” Khan said of Trump.

The mayor also stressed that it “beggared belief” that Prime Minister Theresa May’s invitation to Trump for a state visit to the UK had not been withdrawn following the retweets of Fransen’s hateful posts.

Khan underlined that the US President should not be granted a state visit because “there are too many things that he believes that we disagree with.”

The war of words between Trump and Khan – London’s first Muslim mayor – began during the US election campaign when he condemned Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims as “ignorant.”

Khan lashed out at Trump again when the President introduced a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, calling the policy “cruel and shameful.”

A planned visit for Trump to open the new US embassy in London was cancelled earlier this month amid fears of mass protests.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961101001335

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UK Muslim body to launch new counter-terror initiative

21.01.2018    

Muslim Council of Britain debates why government's strategy does not work in 'Our Mosques Our Future conference' in London

Britain’s Muslims will start a new counter-terrorism initiative under the country’s biggest Muslim umbrella organization, according to a conference in North London on Saturday.

The plans for the new initiative by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was one of the key issues covered in the first “Our Mosques Our Future” conference.

The new initiative by the council will be based on conversation with Muslim communities across the country and will be launched in the Spring, according to the MCB Secretary General Harun Khan.

Khan told Anadolu Agency their new initiative would be a nationwide listening exercise.

“This year, we’ve launched a project, it’s a national listening exercise and we will be holding in 10 different cities across the U.K.

“We’ll be holding events listening to communities about the impact of the government’s counter-terrorism legislation, including the Prevent…the impact it’s having on our communities, but also taking feedback from them on what is actually working.”

Prevent is a government strategy which lays out additional responsibilities for educators in U.K. schools to report any suspected extremist activities. It says it “aims to stop people [from] becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”. It has been under constant criticism by British Muslims who claim that it does not work and in most of the cases, people with no extremism links are questioned by authorities.

Khan said they “have a duty as members of the society to keep our country safe as well as the security services; they have to keep us safe, but the way the policies are set out at the moment, it’s not been effective and we’re hearing a lot of that.”

“We’ll be holding these events and by early 2019 we will then launch our report based on those findings. What we are looking for really is a community informed and evidence based strategy where its bottom-up, whereas up until now that’s strategy has been all top-down, and especially the Prevent itself is not evidence based and this has been going on for many years now, so we’ve embarked on this project to really inform the debate from a community perspective on where it should be going.”

Asif Hussain, one of the key members for the MCB in the new initiative, told Anadolu Agency that the new initiative would not be replacing the government’s Prevent strategy “but what we have been calling for is for the government to meaningfully engage with the communities most affected by the policies, what they haven’t done from the beginning is actually do a meaningful consultation with the Muslim community on what is extremism and what is the definition of extremism.

Problems with Prevent strategy

“…because at the moment you have Prevent training where they ask doctors and teachers ‘has the student been growing a beard and going to the mosque?’ and suddenly that is a sign of going onto the path of radicalization, whereas if you talk to any normal Muslim, a man who grows a beard or goes to the mosque he’s just become more religious.”

He said signs detected by Prevent do not necessarily indicate radicalization of an individual.

“That [person] doesn’t necessarily going to become a terrorist, there are other factors that Muslims know are triggers and signs of radicalization.

“So, they [the government] haven’t had that consultation and that’s why they are getting it wrong.

"So, we’re not necessarily going to replace Prevent, but we’re going to come out at the end of this year with the listening exercise, we’re going to go through all the Muslim communities in the country and provide recommendations for how Prevent can be changed and also call for a new review… We do know people independently advising government to look at it again.”

Hussain said the MCB National Listening Exercise will be completed after conversations to be held in 10 biggest cities hosting Muslim communities and a report will be published in early 2019.

Delegates from around 50 mosques have participated in the first “Our Mosque, Our Future” conference where keynote speakers discussed how British mosques could be more engaging in overcoming the challenges British Muslim communities have faced, Islamophobia and misrepresentation of Muslims in media, ways to increase range of services and basic access for women and young people, as well as engaging in more interfaith and outreach work for supporting the poor and the homeless.

The participants also attended workshops in the afternoon session of the conference held at Friends House in Euston, North London, where they contributed to the MCB with their ideas to tackle some of the main issues they have faced.

Next year’s conference is being planned in Midlands or North England in 2019, the council said.

The Muslim Council of Britain describes itself as “a national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organizations, mosques, charities and schools”.

aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-muslim-body-to-launch-new-counter-terror-initiative/1037520

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South Asia

Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours; six killed

AP | Jan 21, 2018

A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people with the death toll expected to rise.

The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials.

Afghan security personnel stand guard as smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul. (AP photo)Afghan security personnel stand guard as smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul. (AP photo)

KABUL: A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people, including a foreigner, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise.

The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the six killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference.

Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

The Taliban claimed the attack, which began around 9pm Saturday, saying five gunmen armed with suicide vests targeted foreigners and Afghan officials. Taliban spokesman ZabihullahMujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.

The attack unfolded almost six years after Taliban insurgents launched a similar assault on the property, which is not part of the InterContinental chain of worldwide hotels.

The Interior Ministry said a private firm assumed responsibility for securing the hotel around three weeks ago. The ministry says it is investigating how the attackers managed to enter the building.

Afghan security officials confirmed that 34 provincial officials were gathered at the hotel to participate in a conference organized by the Telecommunication Ministry.

A fire broke out at the hotel as the fighting raged, and the sound of explosions could be heard throughout the standoff. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.

Capt Tom Gresback, spokesman for NATO-led forces, said in a statement that Afghan forces were leading the response efforts. He said that according to initial reports, no foreign troops were hurt in the attack.

Neighboring Pakistan condemned the "brutal terrorist attack" and called for greater cooperation against militants. Afghanistan and Pakistan routinely accuse each other of failing to combat extremists along their long and porous border.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. They have also had to contend with a growing Islamic State affiliate that has carried out a number of massive attacks in recent years.

In the northern Balkh province, insurgents burst into a home where several members of a local pro-government militia were gathered late Saturday, leading them outside and killing 18 of them, said Gen. Abdul RazeqQaderi, the deputy provincial police chief. Among those killed was a tribal leader who served as the local police commander, he said.

In the western Farah province, a roadside bomb killed a deputy provincial police chief and wounded four other police early Sunday, according to Gen. MahrufFolad, the provincial police chief.

The Taliban claimed both attacks.

In the western Herat province, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying 13 civilians, killing all but one of them, said Abdul AhadWalizada, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. No one immediately claimed the attack, but Walizada blamed Taliban insurgents, who often plant roadside bombs to target Afghan security forces.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/taliban-attack-on-afghan-hotel-ends-after-13-hours-six-killed/articleshow/62591135.cms

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Jamiat-e-Islami top leaders meet in Mazar amid soaring political tensions

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

The senior leaders of Jamiat-e-Islami met in Mazar-e-Sharif city the capital of northen Balkh province amid soaring political tensions between the chief executive of the party and the Afghan government.

The leader of Jamiat-e-IslamiSalahuddin Rabbani said the meetign was attended by Ata Mohammad Noor, BismillahMohammadi, Abdul Satar Murad, Dr.Mohiuddin Mahdi, Jan AmadHaqjo, and Noor Rahman Akhlaqi.

He said the leaders of the party discussed the recent political upheavals, related issues to Jamiat-e-Islami, and the future programs of the party.

Rabbani did not provide further information but this comes as tensions remain persistent between Ata Mohammad Noor and the Afghan government over the Balkh political leadership since almost a month.

Tensions between the two sides sparked after the Office of the President announced the approval of Noor’s resignation from the Balkh provincial government.

Noor says he had submitted his resignation as a guarantee to the government that he will step down if the demands of Jamiat-e-Islami are met by the government.

However, he says the government has approved his resignation as negotiations were underway insisting that none of the conditions and demands of the party have been met.

khaama.com/jamiat-e-islami-top-leaders-meet-in-mazar-amid-soaring-political-tensions-04308

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Taliban finally claims Kabul Hotel attack as all 5 assailants killed

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan claimed responsibility behind the coordinated attack on Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul after almost 15 hours of heavy gun battle that resulted into the killing of all five insurgents.

Taliban spokesman ZabiullahMujahid in a statement claimed that the attack was carried out by a group of at least five insurgents who stormed into the hotel and managed to resist the security forces for almost 14 hours.

He said the attack was carried out by the Taliban suicide bombers identified as Bilal, Ayoubi, Khalil, Bashar, and Obaid who were originally residents of Kandhar, Faryab, and Ghor provinces.

Mujahid also claimed that several people were killed in the attack including the foreigners, accusing all the victims of the attack as invaders.

This comes as reports earlier this afternoon suggesting that the last assailant still continue to resist the security forces from his position inside the hotel.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan had earlier confirmed that the militants siege of the hotel ended with the elimination of all four attackers.

A statement by the ministry said at least 160 people including 41 foreign nationals were rescued during the operation by the Afghan forces.

The statement further added that five people including a foreigner were killed and six others were wounded during the clashes.

According to the ministry of interior, at least four policemen were also among those wounded during the clearance operation.

khaama.com/taliban-finally-claims-kabul-hotel-attack-as-all-5-assailants-killed-04309

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Taliban and their supporters attempting to avenge recent losses: Abdullah

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

The Chief Executive of the government of national unity Abdullah Abdullah slammed the Taliban group and supporters for the heinous Kabul Hotel attack.

Abdullah in a statement said the Taliban group has been hardly suppressed in the battlefield by the national defense and security forces and their supporters are under immense international pressure.

According to Abdullah, the terror groups and their supporters carry out indiscriminate attacks targeting the civilians in a bid to avenge their recent losses and international pressures.

group of insurgents launched a coordinated attack on Kabul Intercontinental Hotel late on Saturday night, sparking clashes that continued for almost 15 hours.

Taliban spokesman ZabiullahMujahid in a statement claimed that the attack was carried out by a group of at least five insurgents who stormed into the hotel and managed to resist the security forces for almost 14 hours.

Mujahid also claimed that several people were killed in the attack including the foreigners, accusing all the victims of the attack as invaders.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan confirmed that five people including a foreigner were killed and six others were wounded during the clashes.

khaama.com/taliban-and-their-supporters-attempting-to-avenge-recent-losses-abdullah-04311

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Several killed in a deadly clash in Balkh province of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

Several people were killed in a deadly clash in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan as the Taliban claim that security personnel were killed in an operation of the Red Unit of the group.

However, the local officials are saying that a member of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces and 16 public uprising forces were killed during the clashes in Sholgar district.

On the other hand, a security source in Mazar-e-Sharif city said preliminary reports indicate the attack was carried out by a militant who had infiltrated among the uprising and local police forces.

The source further added that the victims were apparently poisoned before the militants stormed their check post and killed at least 17 people.

The Taliban group spokesman ZabiullahMujahid however claims that a group of the Special Forces of their Red Unit stormed the check post and killed at least 18 policemen.

This comes as seven militants were killed and five others were wounded during the clashes that took place in the vicinity Salbaroon, KhwajahRoshnayi, and Samochak villages during the similar clashes in ChaharBolak district last week.

Balkh is among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan where fewer insurgency related incidents have been reported since the fall of the Taliban regime and during the recent years.

But the anti-government armed militant groups are attempting to expand their insurgency in this province as the security situation in certain Northern provinces has started to deteriorate.

khaama.com/several-killed-in-a-deadly-clash-in-balkh-province-of-afghanistan-04310

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Noor says ready to step if President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah resigns

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

The chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami Ata Mohammad Noor has said he is ready to step down from the political administration of the northern Balkh province only if President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah resign from their posts.

Speaking during a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif city late on Saturday afternoon, Noor accused President Ghani for his failure to implement the accord for the formation of the government of national unity, in which he considers himself as a major stakeholder.

Noor said he and his supporters will adopt tougher stance against the government and will initially launch uprising if the talks fail but warned that the situation could get tougher if the stalemate continues as he warned that lock down the cities and districts, including the government offices.

Tensions remain high between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government after President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani approved the resignation of Ata Mohammad Noor as the Balkh governor almost a month ago.

Noor says he had submitted his resignation as a guarantee to the government that he will step down if the demands of Jamiat-e-Islami are met by the government.

However, he says the government has approved his resignation as negotiations were underway insisting that none of the conditions and demands of the party have been met.

In the meantime, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass on Thursday called for the peaceful settlement of the tensions relating to the transfer of the authority in Balkh province, emphasizing that only the terrorists would benefit from the political instability in the country.

khaama.com/noor-says-ready-to-step-if-president-ghani-and-abdullah-abdullah-resigns-04306

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Pakistan condemns coordinated attack on a hotel in Kabul city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 21 2018

Officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan say the government of Pakistan condemns the attack on a hotel in Kabul city.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Dr. Mohammad Faisal said “Pakistan condemns the terrorist attack on a hotel in Kabul. Terrorism is not acceptable.”

No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility behind the coordinated attack which lasted for almost twelve hours.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish confirmed that the ministry has received reports regarding the death of five people so far while six others have been wounded during the attack.

He said two of the attackers have been shot dead by the security forces and the clearance operations are underway to eliminate the remaining militants.

In the meantime, the security officials are saying that all the attackers have been shot dead and at least seven people have lost their lives in the attack.

Last night’s attack takes place almost six years after a group of insurgents launched a similar attack on the same.

More than ten people were killed in a similar attack on Intercontinental Hotel in 2011.

khaama.com/pakistan-condemns-coordinated-attack-on-a-hotel-in-kabul-city-04305

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Pakistan

Octogenarian Pir Sialvi Demands Shariah in Seven Days in Pakistan

January 21, 2018

LAHORE: Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi on Saturday set yet another deadline for the government, this time for enforcing “Shariah” within seven days or risk protests in every nook and corner of the country.

Addressing a Khatm-i-Nabuwat Conference in the city, the third protest rally of its kind in the last two months, the octogenarian Pir from Sial Sharif warned if the government failed to meet the deadline, Aashqan-i-Rasool [those in love with the Holy Prophet (PBUH)] would protest in every street in the country, and it won’t stop.

Earlier two protests were held at Faisalabad and Gujranwala.

The Pir also supported the “jail bharo (fill the jails)” movement announced by the Tehreek-i-LabaikYa RasoolAllaha, starting from Jan 27, during which the TLYR claimed 100 workers of the party would court arrests daily till all jails in the province were filled.

The conference was attended by the workers the TLYR, the Sunni Ittehad Council, the Sunni Tehreek and other ulema and Mushaikh.

The protest had originally started with a single demand of resignation by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for his controversial remarks in a TV programme. But, on Saturday, PirSialvi just demanded implementation of Shariah laws in the country in seven days.

For Rana Sanaullah, the Pir advised him to recite “kalima” again and renew his faith – otherwise, he said the law minister could not be considered a Muslim.

Sialvi also directed the participants not to vote for the PML-N in the next general elections because, he said, the party had failed to punish the offenders who tinkered with the text of oath on finality of the Prophet (PBHU).

Earlier, Sahibzada Hamid Raza of the SIC and AshrifJalali of TLYR also advised the participants to vote against the PML-N because “it was no more a party of Aashqan-i-Rasool. They also announced support for the decisions taken by the caretaker of the Sial Sharif and pledged they won’t let the movement lose the steam.

All Aashqan-i-Rasool would continue protesting till the goals set by the conference were met, they said.

They had earlier planned to hold the conference on Jan 13 but postponed it because of Kasur incident. At Faisalabad, five of the PML-N lawmakers – two MNAs Nisar Ahmad Jutt and Ghulam

Bibi Bharwana and three MPAs MaulanaRehmatullah, NizamuddinSialvi (his son) and Khan Muhammad Baloch – had resigned. The Pir is thought to have political influence over a dozen lawmakers belonging to the PML-N from Sargodha division.

Saturday also turned out to be a tough day for the Lahore police and the city dwellers as more than 3,000 policemen were deployed to secure the area around the venue of the protest and one of the busiest intersections, Bhati Chowk, was closed for traffic for the entire day.

The conference proceedings were expected to start early afternoon but were delayed because of the late arrival of PirHameeduddinSialvi, who led a procession of his followers from Sargodha to Lahore.

dawn.com/news/1384229/sialvi-demands-shariah-in-seven-days

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UNSC Sanctions Monitoring Team To Visit Pakistan This Week

PTI | Jan 21, 2018

The team will assess Islamabad's compliance with world body's sanctions regime

The two-day visit of the UN Security Council's sanctions monitoring team will begin on Thursday

There is mounting global pressure on Pakistan to act against Hafiz Saeed and entities linked to him

File photograph of Hafiz SaeedFile photograph of Hafiz Saeed

ISLAMABAD: Amid mounting global pressure on Pakistan to act against Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and entities linked to him, a UN Security Council team will visit the country this week for an assessment of Islamabad's compliance with the world body's sanctions regime.

The two-day visit of the UN Security Council's sanctions monitoring team will begin on Thursday.

"The monitoring team of the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee will be here on January 25 and 26," a senior Pakistani official was quoted as saying by Dawn.

The UN monitoring team's visit is taking place amid increasing pressure on Pakistan from the US and India with respect to the inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Saeed and entities linked to him.

However, Pakistani officials, insist that the trip is a routine visit.

Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

On Friday, the US State Department said it has told clearly to Islamabad that Saeed is a "terrorist" and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, reacting strongly to Pakistan Prime Minister ShahidKhaqanAbbasi's remarks that there was no case against the Mumbai attack mastermind.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: "He is listed by the UNSC 1267, the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e- Taiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation."

"We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Nauert had said.

Saeed, the chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.

"The terms of reference of the monitoring team for Pakistan visit are not publicly known, but as per its general mandate it assists the 1267 Committee in keeping an eye on the freezing of the financial assets of listed persons and entities and checking provision of training and other material to them and their travel," the paper said.

The UNSC monitoring team intimates instances of non- compliance to the committee through its reports. At the same time it also advises and assists member states on implementation of the regime.

Pakistan has remained under the Financial Action Task Force scanner over allegations by the US and India about the UNSC sanctions not being fully implemented, the paper said.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/unsc-sanctions-monitoring-team-to-visit-pakistan-this-week/articleshow/62591718.cms

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Pak calls for cooperation for combating terrorism

PTI | Jan 21, 2018, 13:18 IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today strongly condemned a deadly terror attack at a luxury hotel in Kabul and called for cooperation among countries for effectively combating and eliminating the scourge of terrorism.

Gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul killing at least six people, sparking a twelve hour fight with security forces.

"Pakistan strongly condemns the brutal terrorist attack at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul last evening, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

"In our view, cooperation among the states is important for effectively combating and eliminating the scourge of terrorism," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to militants who carry out terror attacks in Afghanistan.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-calls-for-cooperation-for-combating-terrorism/articleshow/62590030.cms

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Naqeebullah was killed in ‘fake encounter’, had no militant tendencies: police inquiry finds

ImtiazAliUpdated January 20, 2018

An inquiry team of senior police officers probing the alleged extrajudicial killing of NaqeebullahMehsud has found that the Waziristan native was killed in a "fake encounter" which was "staged" by SSP Malir Rao Anwar on January 13, well-placed sources said on Saturday

The high-level inquiry committee also concluded in its initial report submitted to the Sindh police that the deceased 27-year-old man had no militant tendencies.

During its two-day probe, which included a visit to the site of the alleged 'encounter', the committee found no sign of an exchange of gunfire, leading the inquiry team to declare Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah, an aspirational man who had no history of militancy or criminal activity.

Editorial: NaqeebullahMehsud's killing in an 'encounter' is the justice system's failure

The committee, headed by Additional IGP Sindh Counter-Terrorism Department Dr SanaullahAbbasi and comprising DIG East Sultan Ali Khowaja and DIG South Azad Khan, was formed on Thursday to investigate the veracity of the police 'encounter' in which four suspects were killed earlier this month.

On the committee's recommendation, SSP Anwar was earlier in the day removed from his post as the senior superintendent of police Malir.

Sources familiar with preliminary findings of the inquiry told Dawn that the committee members during the probe visited the site of the 'encounter' in Shah Latif Town off National Highway where they recorded statements of half a dozen policemen, including SHO Shah Latif Town AmanullahMarwat, who had taken part in the alleged shootout.

The SHO told the probe team that the police party had carried out a targeted raid in the area acting on a tip-off from an intelligence agency. The inquiry committee discovered that the place where the purported encounter took place was an abandoned poultry farm, sources said.

SHO Marwat claimed that they had come under attack from suspected militants when they encircled their hideout and four suspects were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, including one suspect who was later identified as Naseemullah alias NaqeebullahMehsud.

After a thorough examination of the poultry farm, the inquiry team was of the considered view that the encounter was "fake" and "staged", the sources told Dawn.

The committee found no signs of gunfire which would have come from inside the poultry farm during the 'encounter'. Besides, there were different firing marks in a room and on walls of the poultry farm, which the team members declared as "post-incident and fabricated", the sources added.

The inquiry team did not find any piece of evidence showing that the police party came under attack from inside the poultry shed.

No militancy tendency

After establishing that it was a 'fake encounter', the probe body also tried to collect information about the deceased man.

The sources said that the committee members were of the view that Naqeebullah did not have any tendency of militancy as evident from his profile and social media posts.

They suggested that the deceased seemed to be living a happy family life with goals for their future in his mind.

Visit to prison

According to sources, the inquiry team during its investigation also visited Central Prison Karachi to ascertain a claim SSP Anwar had made in his statement before the committee: that Naqeebullah was wanted in a criminal case lodged at Sachal police station in 2014.

The now-suspended police officer had also told the probe team that Naqeebullah had remained a close aide of one Qari Ehsan, who was presently confined in the prison.

The committee members met Ehsan in the prison and showed him different photos of Naqeebullah; however, he (Ehsan) told them that the deceased was not his accomplice.

The committee will submit its conclusive findings in five days.

Innocent or a terrorist?

Naqeebullah, who hailed from South Waziristan, was among the four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by SSP Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis last week.

Anwar has stuck to the claim that the deceased was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant but so far, no evidence has emerged.

A statement reportedly issued by a spokesperson of TTP's South Waziristan chapter, however, had termed Anwar's claim as "baseless", clarifying that Naqeebullah had no links with the banned militant outfit.

Naqeebullah's family also disputed the SSP's claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation.

Naqeebullah — whose name is given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, a relative of the deceased had earlier told Dawn.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had taken notice of his death on Thursday following an uproar on social media over the alleged staged 'encounter'.

The next day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan also took suomotu notice of the incident. The Chief Justice of Pakistan MianSaqibNisar has asked the Sindh IGP to submit a report on the matter within seven days.

The ‘encounter specialist’

Rao Anwar, called the ‘encounter specialist’ by some, is known for carrying out 'encounters' of controversial nature against outlaws and has claimed in the past to have killed militants belonging to various terrorist organisations and the then-MohajirQaumi Movement activists during his raids.

The majority of such cases remained unquestioned, apart from the few where the families of those shot dead moved the court.

dawn.com/news/1384163/naqeebullah-was-killed-in-fake-encounter-had-no-militant-tendencies-police-inquiry-finds

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MQM distances itself from #FreeKrachi campaign

ANI | Jan 21, 2018, 13:00 IST

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM): MuttahidaQaumi Movement (MQM) leadership has distanced itself from the recently launched Free Karachi campaign in the United States.

"The meeting also unanimously informed hereby that the Movement and its founder and leader Altaf Hussain has nothing to do with the recently surfaced "#FreeKarachi" campaign", the MQM said in a statement.

The decision was taken in a meeting of its senior leaders held at the MQM International Secretariat here.

The meeting was attended by seniors from Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Belgium, South Africa and other countries.

It deliberated on issues relating to Pakistan, international and MQM organisational matters.

The statement comes after taxis lined up with #FreeKarachi banners to participate in the Dr Martin Luther King Day parade earlier this week in Washington and similar demonstrations were held in New York.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/mqm-distances-itself-from-freekrachi-campaign/articleshow/62589832.cms

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Arab World

Terrorists Come under Army Siege in 1,200 sq-km of Land in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops laid a full siege on the terrorists in a region as large as 1,200 sq-km stretching among the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, military sources confirmed on Saturday.

The sources said that the army men managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Um Tineh in Southern Aleppo and moved towards the village of Um al-Joureh near Abu al-Dhohour airbase in SoutheasternIdlib, laying siege on the militants in a region covering 1,200 sq/km of area from SoutheasternKhanasser in Aleppo up to West of the town of Sinjar in Idlib and North of al-Sa'an region in Northern Hama.

A field source said that two-thirds of the besieged region are under the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) control and the rest is held by the ISIL.

Field sources reported on Friday that the Syrian army dispatched a large number of forces and equipment to the town of al-Hazer in Western Aleppo.

They added that the army wants to launch a new phase of operations against the al-Nusra Front terrorists in the region.

Meantime, the al-Nusra has sent 15 military vehicles and a number of forces to Tal Ais and adjacent areas near al-Hazer.

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Syrian Army Defeats Al-Nusra at Strategic Airbase in Idlib

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their advances towards Abu al-Dhohour airbase in all fronts and captured the strategic military airport in SoutheasternIdlib on Saturday afternoon to score a major victory in the war on Al-Nusra terrorists.

The army men drove the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) back from the key Abu al-Dhohour airbase after over two years of occupation, army sources confirmed minutes ago.

The sources added that the army men are fortifying their positions at the airbase.

The Al-Nusra has suffered a heavy death toll in the clashes, the sources said, adding that the army has forwarded more troops and equipment to the military airport and its engineering units have started defusing bombs and landmines planted by the terrorists in the newly-captured military airport.

The Syrian Air Force is still conducting massive bombing raids on the terrorists in the Northern and Southwestern directions of the airbase.

In the meantime, other units of the army are advancing towards the villages near the airbase to reinvigorate security to the airport.

Field sources reported earlier today that the army troops are advancing towards Abu al-Dhohour Airbase from East and South-East after other units of the army entered the military airport from the Southern direction.

The army soldiers deployed in the Eastern direction of Abu al-Dhohour airbase stormed the positions of Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) and captured the villages of al-Ja'akiyeh, HamidiyehShaddad and al-Hamidiyeh.

Also, the army units operating in the Western direction of the airbase managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Tal SalmuShamali.

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Iraqi PM meets Kurdistan region leader for first time since independence vote

Reuters | Jan 20, 2018

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met on Saturday with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's Prime Minister NechirvanBarzani for the first time since conflict broke out over a Kurdish independence referendum, officials said.

The Kurdish referendum on September 25, which produced an overwhelming 'yes' for independence, angered Baghdad and Iraq's neighbours Turkey and Iran, which have their own restive Kurdish minorities, and brought a rebuke from the United States and European Union, the Iraqi Kurds' Western supporters.

At the meeting, Abadi renewed his conditions for lifting restrictions imposed on the Kurdistan region after the referendum, including a direct international air travel ban.

He said the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) airports and border crossings have to come under the control of the federal authorities, according to a statement from his office.

Abadi also demanded that the Kurds stop exporting crude oil from the KRG independently from the central government.

"Kurdistan delegation headed by @PMBarzani is in Baghdad now, met with @HaiderAlAbadi," Hemin Hawrami, a senior official of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party said on Twitter.

"Later today the delegation will fly to Tehran for official meetings with senior Iranian officials Sunday," added Hawrami, who is also an assistant of ex-KRG president MassoudBarzani.

Iraq's central government said "an atmosphere of trust" marked talks held on Monday with the KRG to resolve their conflict, which saw armed clashes in October.

Under Abadi's orders, government forces responded to the referendum by dislodging Kurdish militia from disputed regions including the oil city of Kirkuk.

Abadi also retaliated with a series of measures curtailing the KRG's autonomy, including a ban on direct international travel to the two main Kurdish airports.

A TV channel close to the KRG, Rudaw, said on Monday Iraqi and Kurdish negotiators agreed on a series of points to jointly manage the airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniya. The KRG would accept that representatives of the Iraqi civil aviation authority would be posted in the two airports to oversee the implementation of federal regulations, it said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iraqi-pm-meets-kurdistan-region-leader-for-first-time-since-independence-vote/articleshow/62582926.cms

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ISIL Drives Rival Terrorists out of Several Positions in Southern Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL managed to beat Jeish al-Islam back from several positions in the Southern countryside of the Syrian capital city of Damascus after a fresh round of clashes erupted between the two rival terrorist groups, field sources conformed on Sunday.

The sources said that the ISIL engaged in fierce clashes with Jeish al-Islam in al-Zeinneighborhood in Hajar al-Aswad region in the Southern countryside of Damascus city, imposing control over a set of buildings, including strategic White Building that overlooks the settlement of Yalda in Southern Damascus.

They added that a number of both warring sides were killed or wounded in the clashes.

Some other sources reported that the ISIL has captured the entire al-Zeinneighborhood. 

Local sources reported earlier this week that a large number of terrorists were killed or wounded in heavy infighting between the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) in the Palestinian Yarmouk Refugee Camp in the Southern countryside of Damascus city.

The sources said that ISIL stormed the Al-Nusra's positions in al-Balaha, Hayfa and al-Rijehneighborhoods in Yarmouk camp.

They went on to say that the infighting was very heavy, specially near Abdul Qader and al-Ash'ari mosques, adding that tens of terrorists from both sides were killed or wounded and several more were captured by the warring sides.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961101000372

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Syrian Army Makes Fresh Gains in Southern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army seized control over seven more villages near the newly-freed Abu al-Dhohour airbase after a tough battle with the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) in Southern Aleppo on Sunday.

The army men captured the villages of Moshrefeh al-Haj, Moshrefeh al-Sharbatji, Andan al-Sheikh, Tafawi, Abu Mojaher, Bariyeh al-Hayaya and Ziyareh in Southern Aleppo after beating the Al-Nusra back from their strongholds.

The army's engineering units started to defused bombs and landmines in the newly-liberated villages.

The army is trying to expand security around Abu al-Dhohour airbase by capturing more lands in regions around the military airport. 

Military sources confirmed on Saturday that the army troops laid a full siege on the terrorists in a region as large as 1,200 sq-km stretching among the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib.

The sources said that the army men managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Um Tineh in Southern Aleppo and moved towards the village of Um al-Joureh near Abu al-Dhohour airbase in SoutheasternIdlib, laying siege on the militants in a region covering 1,200 sq/km of area from SoutheasternKhanasser in Aleppo up to West of the town of Sinjar in Idlib and North of al-Sa'an region in Northern Hama.

A field source said that two-thirds of the besieged region are under the Al-Nusra Front control and the rest is held by the ISIL.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961101000281

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Army Captures Key Military Airport in SoutheasternIdlib

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their advances towards Abu al-Dhohour airbase in all fronts and managed to seize the strategic military airport in SoutheasternIdlib.

The army sources confirmed that army troops drove the terrorists back from the key Abu al-Dhohour airbase after over two years of occupation.

Meantime, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their military advances in other parts of Syria, including Aleppo, over past 24 hours.

Idlib

The Syrian Army troops continued their advances towards Abu al-Dhohour airbase in all fronts and captured the strategic military airport in SoutheasternIdlib on Saturday afternoon to score a major victory in the war on Al-Nusra terrorists.

The army men drove the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) back from the key Abu al-Dhohour airbase after over two years of occupation, army sources confirmed.

The sources added that the army men are fortifying their positions at the airbase.

The Al-Nusra has suffered a heavy death toll in the clashes, the sources said, adding that the army has forwarded more troops and equipment to the military airport and its engineering units have started defusing bombs and landmines planted by the terrorists in the newly-captured military airport.

The Syrian Air Force is still conducting massive bombing raids on the terrorists in the Northern and Southwestern directions of the airbase.

In the meantime, other units of the army are advancing towards the villages near the airbase to reinvigorate security to the airport.

Field sources reported earlier on Saturday that the army troops are advancing towards Abu al-Dhohour Airbase from East and South-East after other units of the army entered the military airport from the Southern direction.

The army soldiers deployed in the Eastern direction of Abu al-Dhohour airbase stormed the positions of Al-Nusra Front and captured the villages of al-Ja'akiyeh, HamidiyehShaddad and al-Hamidiyeh.

Also, the army units operating in the Western direction of the airbase managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Tal SalmuShamali.

Aleppo                        

The Syrian Army troops managed to push the terrorists back from their last strongholds in Southern Aleppo, inching closer to lay siege on them in a region among Aleppo, Hama and Idlib.

The army men captured the village of Um Tineh North of the village of Qaytal following heavy clashes with terrorists in Southern Aleppo.

Field sources say the army has the upper-hand to impose the siege on the last strongholds of the terrorists in a large region among the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama, adding that the army men deployed in Um Tineh are 2 km away from the village of Um al-Joureh in SoutheasternIdlib.

Meantime, an Arab media outlet confirmed on Saturday that the Russian Forces have not withdrawn from their positions in the town of Afrin in Northern Aleppo.

The Arab media outlet also denied reports on the Turkish Army attacks on Kurdish fighters' positions in the town.

Local sources in Northern Aleppo reported that the Turkish forces crossed the border into Syria and launched their operation in Afrin, adding that the Turkish artillery and missile units pounded Afrin heavily.

The sources further claimed that the Russian forces are retreating rapidly from their positions in Northern Syria.

However, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen quoted a well-informed security source as reporting that the Russian forces have set up more security checkpoints in Tal (hill) Ajar East of Afrin.

Also, the Arabic-language Elam al-Harbi quoted a source as saying that the attacks on Afrin were launched by the militant groups affiliated to Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield, denying reports on the Turkish Army's direct operation in the region.

Elam al-Harbi further said that reports on the Russian monitoring forces' withdrawal from Afrin's outskirts are sheer lies, adding that they have only relocated their positions.

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected reports on the withdrawal of the Russian forces from Afrin, adding, "We are to set up de-escalation zone in Idlib."

Turkey has been mobilizing its forces and tanks to the North and West of Afrin that is controlled by the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization as well as being a branch of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Ankara has no option but to carry out a military operation in the Syrian enclave of Afrin, Turkey’s Defense Minister NurettinCanikli said, adding that the operation has ‘de facto started’ with cross-border shelling.

The Damascus government made clear to Ankara that it considers Turkey’s military presence on its territory as a violation of its sovereignty, and warned that it will shoot down Turkish bombers in Syrian airspace.

The statement was made after Turkish Foreign Minister MevlutCavusoglu said Ankara would intervene in Syria's Afrin and Manbij, citing the threat posed by the Kurdish militants to the integrity of the Syrian border. He has also outlined the country's position towards Syrian government forces in Idlib, adding that their advance should be stopped.

It also came as Ankara announced that Turkey is ready “at any moment” to start an operation in a besieged border area of Syria.

“The Turkish Armed Forces will resolve the Afrin and Manbij issue as soon as possible. Our preparations are finalized, an operation may start at any moment,” Tukey's President RecepTayyip Erdogan told an opening ceremony in the capital, Ankara on Monday.

Washington also continues providing Kurdish fighters with more military hardware in Syria despite US President Donald Trump's promise to his Turkish counterpart to halt arms shipment to the Kurdish fighters.

Ankara said late November 2017 that Trump told Erdogan that he had issued instructions that weapons should not be provided to Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Dara'a

Over 20 detainees escaped from terrorists' incarceration in the Southern Dara'a province after tensions and differences escalated among rival militant groups in the region, local sources reported on Saturday.

The sources said that 21 detainees escaped from Dar al-Adl prison run by terrorist groups in Qaraz region in Dara'a province.

The sources said that prison breaks have occurred several times in Dara'a in recent weeks.

Head of Dar al-Adl prison Sheikh Esmat al-Abasi said that the detainees managed to escape the prison due to the lack of the financial commitment of the terrorists groups that have set up the prison, adding that prison guards have left after they received no payment.

Meantime, the same sources said that Sheikh Osama al-Yatim, the former Head of the prison, together with three of his aides were assassinated by other terrorist groups.

Field sources confirmed earlier that one of the notorious commanders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was killed after a bomb planted in his vehicle went off in Dara'a province.

The sources said that Commander of FSA Artillery Regiment in Dara'a province Emad al-Sharif was killed in a booby-trapped explosion in Dara'a al-Balad district in the Southern part of Dara'a city.

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Syrian Army Advancing towards Idlib Airbase in All Fronts

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops are advancing towards Abu al-Dhohour Airbase from East and South-East after other units of the army entered the military airport from the Southern direction earlier today, field sources reported on Saturday.

The army soldiers deployed in the Eastern direction of Abu al-Dhohour airbase stormed the positions of Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) and captured the villages of al-Ja'akiyeh, HamidiyehShaddad and al-Hamidiyeh.

Also, the army units operating in the Western direction of the airbase managed to beat back terrorists from the village of Tal SalmuShamali.

Earlier reports said that the army men deployed in the Southern direction of Abu al-Dhohour airbase managed to break through the terrorists' positions and seized control over Tal (hill) SalmuJanoubi Southwest of the airbase.

A field source said that the army infantry units have entered Abu al-Dhohour airbase after advancing against terrorists along the Southern wall of the military airport.

The source further said that the army's artillery and missile units and the country's Air Force pounded the terrorists in Tal SalmuShamali Southwest of the airbase.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961030001512

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Mideast

Hundreds of Gunmen Join Turkish Army to Attack Kurdish Regions in Northern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A sum of 400 members of the Ankara-led Euphrates Shield has joined the Turkish Army at the borders with Syria amid Turkey's military preparedness to launch an imminent attack on the Kurds in Afrin in Northern Aleppo, local sources said on Saturday.

The sources in the town of al-Ra'ei in Northeastern Aleppo reported that almost 400 militants affiliated to the Ankara-led coalition known as the Euphrates Shield have arrived in Turkish territories at the border with Afrin via al-Ra'ei passageway to join the Turkish army that is preparing to kick off an imminent operation against the Kurds in Afrin.

The sources said that the ruling Development and Justice Party had previously called for affiliation of the Euphrates Shield militants to the Turkish army, guessing that the newly-joined militants have arrived in a region where the army will launch the Afrin operation.

The militants are thought to be playing a marginal role in the Afrin battle as the army has gathered a large number of soldiers for the operation, the sources said, adding that the army units together with 20,000 militants of the Euphrates Shield in Mar'ea are fully ready to launch the operation and advance towards the town of Tal Rafat that is considered as one of the first targets of the Ankara forces in Northern Aleppo.   

The Arabic-language al-Hadath news quoted the Turkish Haberturk newspaper as reporting on Friday that the Turkish army would launch heavy attacks on 150 Kurdish positions before starting the ground operations in Afrin.

It added that the Turkish intelligence forces specified 149 Kurdish targets, including fixed positions and vehicles, from last October to January 16, 2018, reporting that the operations would take 6 days and the Turkish air force and artillery units, stationed at the borders, would participate in them.

According to the report, given the fact that the Kurds built strongholds and ditches in 9 regions of Afrin, the Turkish forces would send special units skilled in war of attrition, if necessary, to carry out final cleansing operations in Afrin.

Meantime, the Turkish Milliyet newspaper reported that the country's joint chief of staff adopted the marching tactic by using armored tanks which were equipped with jamming systems, after airstrikes.

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Dubai Islamic Bank Wins ‘Fastest Growing Bank in the UAE’ by International Finance Magazine

Published January 21st, 2018

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic bank in the UAE, was recognized as the Fastest Growing Bank in the country at this year’s International Finance Magazine Awards. The awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, on January 18, 2018.

Organized for the fifth consecutive year, the International Finance Magazine (IFM) Awards recognizes and honors individuals and organisations that make a difference and bring significant value to the international finance industry.

Commenting on the award success, Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, said; “All of us at DIB are extremely proud of what we have achieved together over the recent past. And it is not just the incredible growth story that the organization has witnessed that instills this sense of pride, but the fact that it has done so in extremely trying and challenging times. The bank’s continued financial success and the ability to sustain growth two to three times that of the market over the last few years is proof of the fact that the efforts put into solidifying the franchise nearly a decade ago were not in vain. Today, we are an organization which is not guided by the environmental constraints or barriers. We are dictated by the needs and wants of our customers and our own aspirations. And this single minded focus on these two critical pillars has led to the bank delivering the market beating performance that continues to earn awards and accolades from local and international organizations.”

Growing at nearly 4 times the market in as many years, the bank is clearly seen as the leading performer in the UAE financial sector with its share of wallet now reaching the 9% mark. As a result of its many accomplishments in the Islamic Banking space, the bank has earned a plethora of awards including the Best Islamic Bank, Best Islamic Retail Bank, Best Islamic Corporate Bank and Best Sukuk Arranger to name a few across a variety of regional and international platforms. Currently present in seven markets worldwide, DIB is well-placed to progress its global expansion plans and maintain its leadership as it continues in its mission to transform the Islamic finance industry.

albawaba.com/business/pr/dubai-islamic-bank-named-‘fastest-growing-bank-uae’-international-finance-magazine-10771

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Turkey says ground forces push into Syria, Kurdish militia says attack repulsed

Reuters | Jan 21, 2018

AZAZ: Turkish ground forces pushed into northern Syria's Afrin province on Sunday, media cited the prime minister as saying, as Ankara stepped up artillery attacks on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border.

NATO's second-largest army entered northern Syria shortly after 11:00 a.m. (0800 GMT), broadcaster HaberTurk cited Prime Minister BinaliYildirim as saying.

The Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia, supported by the United States but seen as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, said it had repulsed the Turks and their rebel allies after fierce clashes.

The fighting marks the second day of Turkey's new front in the nearly seven-year-old Syrian civil war.

Under what the Turkish government has called "Operation Olive Branch", Turkish air strikes on Saturday pounded positions of the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia in the northern Afrin province.

The military said it had hit 153 targets so far, including shelters and hideouts used by Kurdish militants. The YPG has said Turkey's strikes killed six civilians and three of its fighters, and wounded 13 civilians.

The YPG has also accused Turkey of striking civilian districts and a camp for the displaced in Afrin.

A Reuters reporter in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, which is under the control of rebels from the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army factions, could hear the boom of artillery being fired into the region.

There were no other signs of conflict and life appeared to continue as normal, with traffic on the muddy, potholed roads and uniformed rebel police at the main roundabouts. Still, Azaz was bleak and the toll from the war was plainly seen in some of its crumbling buildings.

At one of the car repair workshops on the outskirts of the town some men were fixing a gun-loaded vehicle.

"In its second day, #OliveBranchOperation continues to ensure peace and security for our people, protect Syria's territorial integrity and eliminate all terrorist elements in the region," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

"Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms."

On land, the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army rebels were also helping the operation in Afrin, Turkish officials said.

BOMBARDMENT

Intense bombardment continued on the region's Balia and Topal villages, the YPG said.

"Our people are holding on to their land and do not accept surrender ... we repeat our determination to protect our people in Afrin against the attacks," the YPG said overnight.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that four rockets fired from Syria hit the border town of Kilis overnight, damaging houses. Turkish security forces retaliated, it said.

The operation pits Turkey against Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when ties between Ankara and Washington - NATO allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State - appear close to a breaking point.

Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a deadly, three-decade insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast.

The United States is backing the YPG in Syria, seeing it as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/turkey-says-ground-forces-push-into-syria-kurdish-militia-says-attack-repulsed/articleshow/62590813.cms

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Turkey and Syria will never allow a Kurdish mini-state

Robert FiskJanuary 20, 2018

COLONEL Thomas Veale has had the unenviable task of announcing the first official Western attempt to partition Syria on ethnic-sectarian lines. Whether or not he realises the implications of his extraordinary statement a few days ago, Colonel Veale — a Kansas University and US Military Academy graduate who rejoices in the title of “Public Affairs Director at Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve” — was quite open about the creation of another new and largely Kurdish force which will, in theory, control tens of thousands of square kilometres of Syria.

Arab members of the same 30,000-strong “Border Security Force” will man checkpoints further south along the Euphrates river valley.

To quote the good colonel, “Recruiting is done in such a manner as to build a force reflecting the populations they serve; both in gender and ethnicity.” And there you have it. The Kurds will look after the Kurds, the Arabs (largely Sunnis, though there aren’t many of them) will run the non-Kurdish bits of this new enclave which will, in the north, run right along the Turkish border — an invitation to further civil war, if ever there was one.

For an indication of just how equivocal this US decision is, we only have to witness the unprecedented if brief alliance it has created between the Syrian regime — anxious to regain every square foot of the nation which was under attack by the militant Islamic State group, Al Qaeda and various Western and US-armed military outfits for the past seven years — and Turkey, which has over exactly the same period been trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

RecepTayyip Erdogan has promised to “suffocate” this latest American proxy “terror army”, regarding it as a Kurdish force effectively controlled by the “terrorist” Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK. Assad’s government termed the enlistment of a new militia a “blatant assault” on Syria’s sovereignty. Russia warned of partition.

Unfortunately for Colonel Veale, Turkey is right to suspect that the PKK controls local Kurdish fighters, Assad is correct in identifying the “Border Security Force” as an attack on Syria’s sovereignty — whoever rules the state itself — and Russia, no stranger to the partition of the Ukraine, knows how to recognise similar US skulduggery. Its origins go back to the start of the war, when the local Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) were encouraged by the authorities in Damascus to oppose IS, Al Qaeda (later Nusrah) and other jihadi groups trying to seize the Syrian state.

The Syrian army handed the YPG thousands of weapons to defend themselves. In the early days, Assad himself even praised the Kurds for resisting the “terrorist” forces of IS and Al Qaeda.

Just over three years ago, I spent a week talking to both Syrian troops on the Turkish border at Qamishli and their Kurdish “allies” — as they were supposed to be — further east. The Kurds, as always, expressed their desire for a “federal” enclave in the north and swore to me that they would never forget the tortures they had suffered at the hands of the Syrian regime.

The Syrian military insisted that they would “never, ever” cede the territory to the Kurds. But then came the American decision to destroy IS, the siege of Mosul in Iraq and, inside Syria, the assault on the IS bastion of Raqa.

Washington then created its first anti-IS and anti-Assad militia, which it called the “Syrian Defence Forces”. Like all such groupuscules, it was neither ethnically “Syrian” — since it was largely Kurdish — and it wasn’t interested in “defending” Syria as a state. And without US air cover, it had no “force” whatsoever. Within hours, the acronym “SDF” appeared, and the media swiftly stopped putting quotation marks around it, thus awarding it a spurious legality. It speedily morphed into “the US-supported SDF”, bravely fought its way south, and finally took Raqa, a major Syrian city, last October.

But the Syrian government army was only 12 miles on the other side of Raqa and had already set up a coordination centre in a mud-walled village close to the Euphrates in which Syrian army officers, Kurdish fighters armed by the Americans and a Russian air force colonel regularly gathered. I met them — all together — at their headquarters just before the recapture of Raqa. The Syrian authorities were already re-installing a (pro-Assad) local government for Raqa in fields west of the city, supposedly arranging for the return of electricity from the Syrian grid, pensions for the elderly and the repair of sewerage and other facilities. In other words, Syria would maintain its sovereignty over Raqa, however many American-armed Kurds occupied its streets.

The region is, of course, inhabited by others; by Sunni Muslims, Circassian Christians and Armenians, by Turkmen and even Chechens. Hence Colonel Veale’s promise to make sure that future control of the area would be along ethnic — i.e. sectarian — lines. The “Syrian Democratic Forces”, however, had clearly outlived their usefulness.

Having played the role of America’s foot soldiers, they had to be reincarnated with another dubious title, this time the “Border Security Force” — soon, no doubt, to be awarded the usual media accolade of an acronym without quotation marks — which would hold bits of Syria far away from the border with Turkey, which cannot (and will not) ensure Turkey’s “security”, and which will, like its old namesake the “SDF”, be totally reliant for its “force” on US weapons, arms supplies, hardware, air cover and, if necessary, air strikes.

Be sure, as usual, that the Kurds will be betrayed. The new “force” will exist just so long as the Americans think it necessary; after which it will be left to the mercy of the Syrians and Turks who both regard it as a threat to their hegemony. Both Erdogan and Assad have long ago regarded any enemy of their states as “terrorists” — a dangerous word whose etymology goes back to Tsarist Russia and World War Two but whose ascendance needed the Americans and the world’s reporters to crown — and the Kurds, until they come to heal, will be treated as that by Ankara and Damascus.

Syria cannot countenance a Kurdish mini-state on its territory and Turkey cannot tolerate a Kurdish mini-state along its southern border, however secular, liberal and socialist it claims (not without reason) to be.

Of course, the “BDF” still has only — wait for it — 230 militiamen under arms and in training; the other 29,770 will follow later, if Colonel Veale is to be believed. And while these warriors are preparing to transfer their allegiance from one pro-American armed group to another, Erdogan and Assad — along with Putin — will have a mutual interest to discuss: the destruction of US political ambitions in Syria.

By arrangement with The Independent

dawn.com/news/1383971/turkey-and-syria-will-never-allow-a-kurdish-mini-state

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Turkish artillery fires in northern Syria after border town hit

Reuters | Jan 21, 2018

ONCUPINAR: Turkey continued to fire artillery at a US-backed Kurdish militia in northern Syria on Sunday, after Turkey's state media said four rockets from Syria had hit a Turkish border town.

The cross-border fire marked the second day of Turkey's new front in the nearly seven-year-old Syrian civil war. Under "Operation Olive Branch", Turkish airstrikes on Saturday pounded positions of the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia in the northern Afrin province.

A Reuters reporter at the Oncupinar gate on the Turkish side of the border with Syria, could hear the boom of outgoing artillery, with one being fired roughly every three minutes.

Military convoys were travelling near the gate, with one transporter carrying several tanks.

"In its second day, #OliveBranchOperation continues to ensure peace and security for our people, protect Syria's territorial integrity and eliminate all terrorist elements in the region," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on Twitter.

"Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms."

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency earlier reported that four rockets fired from Syria hit the border town of Kilis overnight, damaging houses.

Turkish security forces retaliated in kind, it said.

The operation pits Turkey against Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when ties between Turkey and Washington - NATO allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State - appear dangerously close to a breaking point.

Saturday's strikes on the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia hit some 108 targets, the Turkish military said. On land, the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army rebels were also helping the operation in Afrin, Turkish officials have said.

Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a deadly, three-decade insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast.

The United States is backing the YPG in Syria, seeing it as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/turkish-artillery-fires-in-northern-syria-after-border-town-hit/articleshow/62590294.cms

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Iranian President: Iraqi Kurds Should Respect Constitution, Territorial Integrity

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined the necessity for Iraq's Kurdish community to respect the country's Constitution and territorial integrity.

"All ethnic groups in the regional states, including the Iraqi Kurds, should attain their legitimate and legal rights within the framework of the Constitution and territorial integrity of their countries," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government NechirvanBarzani and his accompanying delegation in Tehran on Sunday.

He also underscored the Iranian investors' preparedness to partner in development projects of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, adding that Tehran also welcomes the Iraqi Kurdish businesspersons.

Barzani, for his part, appreciated Iran for its assistance to Iraq in fighting terrorist groups, and said, "We have always wanted a united and integrated Iraq and believe that all sides should be committed to the Constitution and seek solution to the problems within the framework of the Constitution."

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Iranian Ambassador to Iraq IrajMasjedi underlined his country's efforts to resolve problems between the government in Baghdad and the officials of the Iraqi Kurdistan region after the latter held an independence referendum.

"Despite the challenge that we experienced with the Kurds during the recent events in Kurdistan, our relations are highly serious, good and tight," Masjedi said, addressing a conference in Tehran.

He referred to the September 25 independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, and said that "Iran tries to help Baghdad-Erbil relations to resolve the problem" in a way that benefits both sides.

Masjedi stressed that Iran is Iraq's second trade partners after China and enjoys good economic ties with Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Iran, earlier this month, reopened its border crossings with the Iraqi Kurdistan region in Tamarchin and Parviz Khan, which were closed after the September 25 independence referendum in the region, the Iranian consulate in Erbil announced.

The decision came after Iraq extended its flight ban to the breakaway region until February 28: the limitations concern Kurdistan's Erbil and Suleimaniyeh airports.

Iran previously imposed a fuel embargo on the autonomous region, banning the trade of fuel products, in terms of both imports and exports, with the Iraqi Kurdistan.

Meanwhile, military, diplomatic, humanitarian and UN flights to the area are still permitted, but subject to approval by the Iraqi government.

The situation in the region escalated after 90 percent of Kurds voted in September in favor of the autonomy's secession from Iraq. Baghdad, for its part, has called the referendum illegal and launched a military operation to recapture the Kurdish-held disputed areas of the country, while also imposing sanctions on Kurdish authorities.

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India

J-K Should Become Bridge Of Friendship between India, Pakistan: Jammu and Kashmir CM

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said her state should become a bridge of friendship and not a battlefield between India and Pakistan.

INDIA Updated: Jan 21, 2018

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said her state should become a bridge of friendship and not a battlefield between India and Pakistan and appealed to the leadership of the two countries to do so.

At present, the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir have been witnessing a bloodbath, she said in her speech to police recruits at the passing out parade at the Sheeri Police Training School in Baramulla district.

“As the country moves on the path of development, the opposite is happening in our state,” she rued.

The chief minister lauded the police for bravely facing the toughest of professional challenges while making the ultimate sacrifice for the country.

“Handling law and order, you have to face your own brothers to restore peace and at the same time act with patience and restraint,” she told the policemen.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/j-k-should-become-bridge-of-friendship-between-india-pakistan-mehbooba-mufti/story-BiO5crSKszBD9cXw2GlrZM.html

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J-K: Soldier injured in Pak firing dies; crossfire toll climbs to 11 in 4 days

INDIA Updated: Jan 21, 2018

An Army jawan injured in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir succumbed on Saturday night, taking the death toll in the border firing to 11 since Thursday, police said.

Signalman Chandan Kumar Rai, posted in a forward post in Mankote sector of Poonch district, was grievously injured when Pakistani army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing in Mendhar sector around 4.30 pm on Saturday, northern army spokesman Col NN Joshi.

He was taken to the military hospital where he succumbed to injuries at night, he said.

@ANI

Soldier Chandan Kumar Rai have lost his life in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Mendhar sector of Poonch #JammuAndKashmir

10:29 AM - Jan 21, 2018

 37 37 Replies   116 116 Retweets   140 140 likes

Rai (25) belonged to Nadesar village in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district, and is survived by his father, Satya Prakash Rai .

His death raised the number of persons killed in the Pakistani firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in five districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Poonch and Rajouri since Thursday to 11.

The dead included six civilians, three army men and two BSF personnel.

While a BSF jawan and a teenaged girl were killed on Thursday, four persons — two civilians and a BSF jawan and Army jawan — were killed and over 40 others, including two BSF personnel, injured in the Pakistani firing on Friday.

Three civilians and an Army jawan were killed and 16 others injured in the ceasefire violations on Saturday.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/j-k-army-soldier-dies-death-toll-in-pakistan-ceasefire-violation-climbs-to-11/story-NNlpTlHQng2uaKaawFJwSL.html

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Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over 'unprovoked firing'

PTI | Updated: Jan 21, 2018

Pakistan summoned India's deputy high commissioner for the fourth consecutive day over the alleged "unprovoked firing" by Indian troops

Director General (South Asia and SAARC) "condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations" by Indian forces, the Foreign Office said.

Pak had also summoned India's deputy high commissioner on January 15, 18, 19 and 20.

Army personnel take positions at Uri near Line of Control (LOC) in North Kashmir (PTI Photo)Army personnel take positions at Uri near Line of Control (LOC) in North Kashmir (PTI Photo)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan summoned India's deputy high commissioner for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday over the alleged "unprovoked firing" by Indian troops across the Line of Control which resulted in the death of two people.

The tensions have increased between the two sides due to ongoing skirmishes and Pakistan has summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh five times since Monday.

Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh and "condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations" by Indian forces, the Foreign Office said.

In a statement, it claimed that the latest violation by Indian forces occurred on January 20-21, when 18 Indian posts resorted to "unprovoked firing" with mortars and heavy weapons in the Nikial sector at the LoC.

The firing killed two civilians - a 33-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman - and injured another women and a girl, the Foreign Office said.

Faisal said the deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and against the human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws.

The repeated ceasefire violations by India "are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation," he asserted.

He urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement and investigate the repeated incidents of ceasefire violations, the statement said.

Faisal also urged the Indian side to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.

The FO, apart from today, had summoned India's deputy high commissioner on January 15, 18, 19 and 20.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-summons-indian-diplomat-over-unprovoked-firing/articleshow/62589732.cms

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing civilians in rare trial

The Kachin state police office said the tribunal handed down the sentence Friday after finding the soldiers guilty of killing three ethnic Kachin civilians in September. The prosecution came after an internal investigation by the military.

By: AP | Bangkok | Published: January 21, 2018

A Myanmar military tribunal has sentenced six soldiers to 10 years in prison with hard labour for killing three civilians in war-torn Kachin state, officials said, in a move welcomed by rights groups.

The Kachin state police office said the tribunal handed down the sentence Friday after finding the soldiers guilty of killing three ethnic Kachin civilians in September. The prosecution came after an internal investigation by the military.

Min Zaw, a Kachin state police officer, said that during the hearing the six confessed that they were responsible for the killings.

Kachin state is home to an ethnic rebel army that has been fighting the Myanmar military for more than seven years. More than 100,000 people have fled the fighting and live in refugee camps.

Calls to the military information office rang unanswered yesterday.

The three civilians were among a group of five detained by soldiers last May while they were heading back to their refugee camp after gathering firewood near HkaPra Yang village. Two of the men were released and returned to the camp, while the bodies of the other three were found in a shallow grave three days later.

Rights groups said the prosecution of the six soldiers was rare and the first step down a long road to ending military impunity. Still they raised concerns about the trial being held behind closed doors.

“There’s a good reason for the military to keep these trials behind closed doors. It makes it a lot easier to cover up widespread and systematic abuses,” said David Baulk, Myanmar human rights specialist for Fortify Rights.

Myanmar’s military has been accused of violating human rights with impunity for decades, including in its conflicts with rebel groups.

Most recently it has been accused of abuses during what it calls “clearance operations” against ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. More than 650,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar for Bangladesh, fleeing what the United Nations calls ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar’s military last week made a rare public admission of killing 10 Rohingya Muslims whose bodies were found in a mass grave in a village in northern Rakhine.

indianexpress.com/article/world/myanmar-soldiers-jailed-for-killing-civilians-in-rare-trial-5033384/

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Tensions Mount in Rohingya Camps Ahead of Planned Relocation to Myanmar

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tensions mounted on Sunday at refugee camps in Bangladesh holding hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims over an operation to send them back to Myanmar, from where they have fled following a military crackdown.

Dozens of refugees stood holding cloth banners opposing their transfer as United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee visited camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border over the weekend, Reuters reported.

Some refugee leaders said Bangladesh military officials had threatened to seize their food ration cards if they did not return.

Rashedul Hasan, a Spokesman for the Bangladesh army, said he was not aware of army men threatening to take away food cards.

The refugees refuse to go back unless their safety can be guaranteed and Myanmars grant their demands to be given citizenship and inclusion in a list of recognized ethnic minorities. They are also asking that their homes, mosques and schools that were burned down or damaged in the military operation be rebuilt.

The refugees, living in overcrowded and squalid camps in Southeastern Bangladesh, had also staged the protest on Friday, declaring that they did not want to be returned. Chanting slogans and holding banners, the Muslim refugees demanded citizenship and guarantees of security before they would return to their home state of Rakhine in Myanmar.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to repatriate the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled a recent army crackdown in Myanmar within a period of two years.

The United Nations refugee agency stressed that Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh should be consulted and ensured of their safety before they are repatriated to Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Concerns are growing among United Nations agencies and humanitarian groups over an agreement between the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments to repatriate several hundred thousand Rohingya refugees within two years.

The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said the repatriation deal needed to clarify whether Rohingya would be permitted to return to their homes or live in specially built camps.

“The worst would be to move these people from camps in Bangladesh to camps in Myanmar,” Guterres stressed.

The deal included no role for the UN refugee agency, he added, making it difficult to “guarantee that the operation abides by international standards.”

Amnesty International described plans to return the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as “alarmingly premature.”

More than 655,000 of Myanmar's Muslim minority have fled across the border to Bangladesh since late August when the Myanmar army launched a sweeping crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Northern Rakhine state.

The UN has already described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world, calling the situation in Rakhine similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The Myanmarese government, however, denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya people and has even rejected UN criticism for its “politicization and partiality.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ZeidRa‘ad al-Hussein stressed that attacks on the Rohingya had been “well thought out and planned” and he had asked Myanmar’s de facto leader to do more to stop the military atrocities.

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Rohingya militant army terms Myanmar's repatriation agreement 'deceitful'

AFPJanuary 20, 2018

Rohingya militants on Saturday hit out at a repatriation plan for refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar set to begin next week, saying it aims to trap the Muslim minority in long-term camps while their ancestral lands are seized.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to send back around 750,000 refugees who arrived since October 2016 over the next two years, a process set to begin as early as Tuesday.

But the deal has been pilloried by many Rohingya refugees who say they do not want to return to Rakhine after fleeing atrocities including murder, rape and arson attacks on their homes.

Rights groups and the United Nations (UN) say any repatriations must be voluntary with safety assured in a state where communal hatred still runs sky high.

Concerns are also mounting about conditions in Myanmar, where hundreds Rohingya villages have been razed by soldiers and Buddhist mobs, with fears huge numbers of Rohingya will be coralled for the long-term in camps.

In a statement circulated on Twitter the ArakanRohingyaSalavation Army (ARSA) said the “deceitfully and crookedly (repatriation) offering” will lock Rohingya in “so-called temporary camps... instead of allowing them to resettle in their own ancestral lands and villages”.

Citing the tens of thousands of Rohingya IDPs languishing in camps in state capital Sittwe since communal violence in 2012, ARSA said Myanmar's intention is to distribute Rohingya lands to industrial and agricultural projects.

The aim is to “ensure a Buddhist majority” in Rakhine meaning Rohingya “will never be able to settle down” in their own homes, the statement on ARSA's official Twitter account said.

Most Rohingya are denied citizenship in Myanmar as well as free movement and other basic freedoms.

They are officially described as “Bengalis”, Muslim interlopers to a predominantly Buddhist land despite many living there for generations.

The group has been driven out in successive waves since the late 1970s.

The latest followed deadly co-ordinated attacks by ARSA in late August which sparked an army crackdown that sent 655,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

They carried with them a cascade of accounts of rape, mass murder and torture.

Beyond admitting its troops were involved in shooting dead 10 captured suspects, Myanmar's army has cleared itself of any wider wrongdoing.

What the UN and United States has described as “ethnic cleansing”, the military says is a proportionate response to an attempt by Muslim militants to take over Rakhine.

The state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar on Saturday carried photos of one of the reception camps for refugees at TaungPyoLetwe, in Maungdaw, showing basic wooden structures closed off by high wire fences.

The same outlet has this week carried several pages of colour headshot photos of the alleged 1,000 or more wanted “ARSA Terrorists”.

The photos, which include women and young men, with their names and 'father's names', have been circulated to Bangladeshi authorities urging them to handover the suspects.

Dhaka is unhappy at the slow pace of the returns negotiated by Myanmar, with only a few hundred likely to be processed each day.

dawn.com/news/1384152/rohingya-militant-army-terms-myanmars-repatriation-agreement-deceitful

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Malaysia's Parti Islam aims high, saying it wants to win control of parliament

 

SHAH ALAM - Malaysia's Islamist party PAS, whose best electoral performance was winning 27 parliament seats in 1999 at the height of Reformasi anger, said it aims to win a simple majority of 112 seats at the upcoming polls.

The ambitious declaration by PAS president Abdul HadiAwang on Sunday (Jan 21) is an apparent hardening of its go-alone stance after abandoning the other big opposition parties in 2015.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has 13 seats in Parliament today.

It had previously said it was hoping to win 40 seats and become kingmaker in the tussle between the ruling BarisanNasional coalition and the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PH).

And Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi on Sunday dismissed suggestions that PAS has an electoral pact with Prime Minister NajibRazak'sUmno party. He says the two parties only work together on Islamic matters such as the Rohingyas of Myanmar or the Palestine issue.

Mr Hadi said PAS will contest in more than 130 federal Parliament seats, as head of the Gagasan Sejahtera (Group of Harmony) alliance with the smaller opposition groups.

"We are aiming for more than 130 parliamentary seats so that we can win with a simple majority," Mr Hadi told reporters after a party function in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state.

"We either want to form the government, or we want to join the government that is formed," he added, as quoted by The Malaysian Insight news site.

A party or coalition must win a minimum 112 seats to control the 222-ward parliament in South-east Asia's third biggest economy.

PAS has huge obstacles in achieving its ambitious plans.

The BarisanNasional (BN) coalition led by Datuk Seri Najib'sUmno, has won all the 13 general elections since independence.

BN has 132 seats in Parliament and PAS just 13.

The four-party PH opposition alliance has 71.

Two of the remaining Parliament seats are in the hands of opposition PartiWarisan Sabah, and four held by independent MPs.

The Gagasan Sejahtera members include PartiIkatanBangsa Malaysia, Barisan Jemaah IslamiahSeMalaysia, PartiCinta Malaysia and PartiHarapan Malaysia. None of them has any seat in the federal or state legislatures.

PAS won the most number of parliament seats in 1999 when Malay-voter anger was at its peak against the government following the 1998 sacking of then-deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. It won 27 seats.

The Islamist party won 23 seats in 2008 and 21 in 2013, when it was part of an opposition alliance that it has since abandoned.

PAS' control of 21 seats was whittled down to 13 after it lost eight seats to defections.

straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysias-parti-islam-aims-high-saying-it-wants-to-win-control-of-parliament

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North America

The Muslim Actor Turned Taliban-Fighting Marine at the Heart of ‘12 Strong’

“Finally, I get to play a good guy,” says FahimFazli, an actor and Marine veteran who fought the Taliban in real life—but spent years being typecast as terrorists in Hollywood.

01.20.18

FahimFazli knew something was different when he went to work last January.

It was something about the smell of horse shit, oozing sweat and kicked-up dirt blended together like a misfit symphony with the remote rugged mountain terrain and spinning uproar of helicopter engines whining in the distance.

The people walking around with throwback uniforms and throwback guns that reminded him of his throwback life of war and loss — the war itself, however, not a throwback at all, but one that continues even today as Hollywood delivers another neatly packaged film that simplifies the complexities of the global war on terror.

“To be honest with you. I thought I was back in the real war,” Fazli told The Daily Beast about his time playing a Northern Alliance commander while filming director Nicolai Fuglsig’s new movie 12 Strong in New Mexico.

The movie, which premiered nationwide on Friday, stars Australian actor Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame, alongside two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, with a sprinkling of notable supporting actors like Michael Peña, William Fichtner and Rob Riggle.

The audience follows a small group of U.S. Army Green Berets, codenamed Operational Detachment Alpha-595, (played by Hemsworth, Shannon, and Peña) in Afghanistan. The team of commandos become America’s first response in the war on terror as they ride into battle on horseback amid the backdrop of October 2001.

At the time, the U.S. military had no plans prepared for operations in Afghanistan — three-letter agencies like the NSA, FBI and CIA were still piecing together the magnitude of the intelligence failure that led to September 11, but calls for retaliation were amplified as military recruiting numbers surged in the days following the attacks with the U.S. looking for someone to fight.

thedailybeast.com/the-muslim-actor-turned-taliban-fighting-marine-at-the-heart-of-12-strong.html

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/london-mayor-on-donald-trump--he-sounds-like-isil/d/114006

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