Kurdish forces repel ISIS attack near Kirkuk, casualties reported

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Iraqi Kurdistan’s security forces of the Asayish on Tuesday repelled an offensive by Islamic State’s (ISIS) jihadists in Kirkuk province, officials reported.

A group of ISIS militants tried to infiltrate into the Dibs district in Kirkuk province, after opening fire on Kurdish Asayish forces at the Dibs Checkpoint.

“Clashes broke out between the Asayish and Daesh [ISIS] terrorists who were trying to enter the area and conduct terrorist attacks,” the Kurdish security said in a statement.

After nearly two hours of clashes, the Kurdish forces were able to repel the attack.

According to the Asayish leadership, two members of the group were killed before the withdrawal of several others.

This is not the first attempt by ISIS militants to infiltrate into Kirkuk. On 8 May, 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces repelled an attack by Islamic State’s jihadists on a Kurdish-American airbase near Kirkuk city in northern Iraq.

According to the Peshmerga Ministry, five ISIS suicide bombers tried to infiltrate into the Kiwan Airbase west of Kirkuk. “Two of them detonated their explosive belts near the main gate of the Kiwan Airbase after failing to break into the base,” a Peshmerga officer told ARA News at the time.

At least two Peshmerga guards lost their lives and six others were wounded in the explosion. The source confirmed that three other suicide bombers were killed by Peshmerga fire before reaching their target.

“The strict security measures by the Peshmerga and allied US-led coalition’s forces prevented these terrorists from infiltrating into the base,” the Kurdish official told ARA News.

Kiwan Airbase is a main station for the US-led coalition and Kurdish forces in their fight against ISIS extremists in northern Iraq.

Reporting by: Salar Qasim | Source: ARA News

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Syrian Kurds bomb Turkish army base near Afrin, casualties reported

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Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Thursday shelled a Turkish army base near Afrin district northwest of Aleppo, military sources reported.

“In response to the Turkish aggression against our people in Afrin, the YPG targeted headquarters of Turkey’s military with heavy artillery,” a YPG spokesman told ARA News.

At least one Turkish soldier was killed and several others wounded in the bombardment.

“The clashes continued between the YPG and Turkish troops over the past few days after the latter entered Afrin countryside in a bid to hit YPG-held villages,” the Kurdish official said.

This comes just one day after three Kurdish fighters lost their lives when the Turkish army hit a YPG security office in the Jinderis area of Afrin district, northwest of Aleppo.

“As our fighters continue their struggle to liberate Raqqa from ISIS terrorists, Turkey’s military intensified its attacks against our headquarters in Rojava,” the YPG General Command said in a statement. “On Wednesday, the Turkish shelling caused the death of three YPG fighters and the injury of several others in Jinderis area of Afrin.”

Reporting by: Dilber Issa | Source: ARA News

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Kurdish rebels attack Turkish army in Diyarbakir and Sirnak, casualties reported

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At least 10 Turkish soldiers were killed in two separate attacks by rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, military sources reported on Sunday.

The PKK fighters attacked a Turkish army convoy in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, killing at least eight Turkish soldiers.

In Sirnak, the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party attacked a Turkish border post. At least two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded.

In the meantime, the Turkish General Command condemned the attacks in an official statement on Sunday.

On Saturday, Turkey’s military reported the death of 14 PKK fighters in two separate offensives in the Kurdish provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak.

Resuming Peace Process Unlikely 

Experts told ARA News that a return to peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) –that fell apart in July 2015– is unlikely, after rumours that peace talks could re-start in Turkey.

Meral Akşener, a former interior minister and an opponent of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), hinted a couple of times that there are talks going on between PKK leader Ocalan and Ankara.

Moreover, Cevat Öneş, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT), said there is a need to revive the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurds.

However, analysts suggest it’s unlikely that there would be a return to the peace process.

“In view of the bitterness of the constitutional fight, the dragnet of Kurdish politicians, academics and activists and especially the effort to erase the gains Kurds made in the last few years along cultural lines, I find it impossible that the peace process will restart,” Dr. Henri J. Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars told ARA News.

“Erdogan has committed himself to a hardline policy; he will change assuming he stays on as president for sometime to come, but it will not be soon,” he said.

“First of all, we need to define what Erdogan means when he talks about a peace process,” said Amberin Zaman, a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

“Is it about imposing his vision of what that is: cultural and linguistic rights say like private Kurdish language education, publications  and allowing Kurdish parties which have no known connections to the PKK to operate freely,” she told ARA News. “Or is it getting back to the table with Ocalan and the PKK and making the sorts of constitutional changes and striking the kinds of deals that would give Turkey’s Kurds confidence that they will henceforth have constitutionally enshrined rights that are no longer hostage to the whims of this or that Turkish leader,” she added.

Therefore, she said it’s hard to imagine a return to the peace process.

“Judging by the developments that have unfolded since the June 2015 election, it is very hard to imagine the latter scenario coming into play. After the referendum Erdogan may well make some gestures to the Kurds but they will be to the strict exclusion of the PKK-inspired groups and organizations,” Zaman said.

“Unless Ocalan agrees to getting his men to unilaterally withdraw from Turkey leaving their weapons behind, and for the YPG (Syrian Kurdish forces) to confine itself strictly to the east of the Euphrates [in northern Syria] it seems unlikely he would be willing to engage with him. But in the end we are talking about a leader who can make U turns when needed as witnessed in relations with Israel and Russia,” she added.

James F. Jeffrey, the former US ambassador in Ankara, suggested during a congressional hearing in Washington that Turkey might be more flexible after the presidential referendum.

“Once that is behind him, he may be more flexible with the PKK and YPG, as he was before summer 2015,” Jeffrey said. “The YPG, in turn, would require assurances that its core Kurdish territory would not be pressured by Turkey.”

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Turkey bombs PKK headquarters in Kurdistan Region, casualties reported

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The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said in a statement that Turkish aircraft carried out an intense bombardment targeting the areas of Sikefta Brindara, Ciloye Picuk, Kokere, Cemco and Kani Sarke in Zap region of Medya Defense Zones, Mervanis and Dola Sive hamlets in Avashin region and the surroundings of the Segire village hill in Duhok’s Amedia district on February 19-20.

source: Kurdpress News Aganecy

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Turkey bombs PKK headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan, casualties reported

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The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Sunday confirmed that four of its fighters were killed by Turkish airstrikes on the Medya Defense Zones in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan on February 19-20.

The PKK said in a statement that Turkish aircraft carried out an intense bombardment targeting the areas of Şikefta Brîndara, Ciloyê Pıçuk, Kokerê, Çemço and Kani Sarkê in Zap region of Medya Defense Zones, Mervanıs and Dola Şive hamlets in Avashin region and the surroundings of the Sêgire village hill in Duhok’s Amedia district on February 19-20.

As result of the bombardments, PKK fighters Giyasettin Gür (Bawer Xebat) from Hakkari, Berzan İmdat (Firaz) from Van, Megrican Atsız (Helin) from Mardin and Torin Şevişoğlu (Raperin) from Şırnak lost their lives.

“They are the bravest and most beautiful examples of the generation that was born and raised in Kurdistan with the PKK struggle”, said the media office of the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the armed branch of the PKK.

Since the end of the PKK-Turkey peace process in July 2015, the Turkish army has been carrying out bombing raids on PKK positions in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.

PKK fighters who were killed in the recent Turkish airstrikes

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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Suicide attack hit Syria’s Damascus, casualties reported

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Damascus – A bomb attack hit the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, killing at least eight people.

The blast, caused by a suicide bomber, targeted the neighborhood of Kafr Sousa in Damascus, where key regime security headquarters are located.

“A suicide bomber blew himself in Kafr Sousa where some of Syria’s main security installations are located,” a police officer told state media on Thursday evening.

Local sources reported that at least eight people were killed and several others were wounded in the attack.

“Some of the wounded are in critical condition,” media activist Musaab al-Shami told ARA News in Damascus.

Regime officials said “armed terrorist groups” carried out the suicide bombing in Kafr Sousa. However, it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi 

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Car bomb hit Syrian regime bastion, casualties reported

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Damascus – A car bomb attack hit on Thursday the Syrian coastal city of Jablah, a main regime bastion, killing and wounding dozens.

At  least 16 people were killed and some 30 others wounded in the attack.

Jablah lies in the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.

The Syrian authorities condemned the attack, and blamed “terrorist groups”.

Ghassan Findi, a senior medical officer, told state television the death toll was expected to rise, with rescue operations still continuing and scores of injured still being rushed to nearby hospitals.

At least 150 people were killed and 200 wounded in May when bombs hit the town and the port city of Tartous on the Mediterranean coast that hosts Russian military bases. ISIS claimed the May attacks, saying its fighters had targeted “gatherings of Alawites”.

Hardline Sunni militants consider Alawites heretics.

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Kurds clash with pro-Assad forces in Syria’s Qamishli, casualties reported

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Qamishli – Clashes broke out on Wednesday evening between Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, and pro-Assad troops in Syria’s northeastern city of Qamishli.

The fighting broke out on Wednesday after a Syrian army vehicle passed by an Asayish security checkpoint and refused to stop. “The Asayish forces fired on the car for refusing to stop, and then clashes erupted,” a Kurdish officer told ARA News.

“It is our duty to prevent any breach into our security checkpoints in Qamishli in order to protect the people of the city against any terror acts, especially that we’ve faced a lot of threats by ISIS terrorists in the past,” he added.

At least two members of the Syrian regime’s forces, including an officer, were killed in the clashes.

“Yasser Wazzeh, a prominent pro-Assad military officer in Qamishli, was killed along with another fellow fighter in the clashes,” an Asayish spokesman told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Also, an Asayish member was reportedly injured in Wednesday’s clashes, which centred in the al-Wahda Street in central Qamishli.

Al-Wahda Street and other major parts of Qamishli city are under the control of the Kurdish forces.

In April, heavy clashes erupted between the Kurds and the Syrian government forces. However, following negotiations between the government and the Kurdish leadership, a deal was made to stop the fighting that claimed lives of dozens, including civilians.

Reporting by: Qehreman Miste | Source: ARA News

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Syrian rebels bomb Alawite district in Damascus, casualties reported

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Damascus – Syrian rebel groups launched an offensive on a regime-held district in central Damascus on Friday, killing and wounding scores of civilians, local sources reported.

The Alawite-populated district of Mazzeh 86 in the Syrian capital Damascus was exposed to heavy bombardment by anti-regime rebel groups.

“The rebels targeted Mazzeh 86 with several mortar shells, most of which hit residential buildings in the district,” human rights activist Waleed al-Dumani told ARA News in Damascus.

At least two civilians lost their lives and nine others were wounded during the attack.

The offensive was deemed an act of revenge against the Alawite community–the same sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Alawites have supported the Assad regime since the start of the five-year war in Syria, during which tens of thousands of Alawite men have been killed at the hands of rebel groups.

“The operation was a response to the continuous bombardment of Aleppo and the killing of civilians with barrel bombs,” rebel spokesman Saleh al-Zein told ARA News, calling on the Alawites to stop supporting the Assad regime which is accused of committing crimes against humanity in Syria.

Human rights activist al-Dumani, however, condemned the targeting of civilians under any pretext. “By bombing populated areas, the rebels show that they’re no different from the regime in killing innocent civilians.”

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News

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Turkish warplanes strike al-Bab, casualties reported

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SHAHBA – Turkish warplanes struck the al-Bab region, causing three civilian deaths and many injuries, it has been reported.

According to ANHA reporters on the ground, Turkish warplanes struck the al-Bab region on Monday. Three civilians have been killed and many others have been injured in the attack.

Local sources say Turkish warplanes began striking the al-Bab region where thousands of people live after ISIS gangs handed over the villages in the Shahba region to the Turkish-backed gangs.

(a.k)

ANHA

source: ANHA

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