Category Archives: terrorism

Release of 5K Taliban prisoners

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree promising to release 1,500 prisoners belonging to Taliban as a goodwill gesture to get intra-Afghan negotiations started. (Image: social media)

A recent peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban called for the release of up to 5,000 prisoners as precondition of the negotiations.

There was no official response from the Taliban, but the Associated Press news agency claims they saw a letter that Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, the head of the Taliban’s Prisoners Commission, sent to the prisoners, their families and Taliban leaders promising there would be no intra-Afghan talks until all the prisoners are released.

In a letter, sent around last weekend, President Ghani wrote that Taliban would verify that each prisoner released is among those on the list given to an American delegation.

The first round of 1,500 prisoners will be selected based on age, health and the length of their sentences already served. Each released Talib will be biometrically identified, and obliged to sign a written guarantee that they will not return to the battlefield. Taken in condiseration that the majority of them are illiterate, highly likelty that they will use ink to make an fingerpirnt on the document.

The remaining 3,500 prisoners will be released after intra-Afghan negotiations start and 500 will be released every two weeks providing the Taliban reduce violence on the battlefield, Ghani’s decree said.

Idlib: ceasefire from midnight

Presidents of Russian and Turkey signed a new memorandum on Idlib after five hours talks in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin and Tayyp Recep Erdogan signed a document, agreeing on ceasefire from Midnight, safety corridors, resumption of patrols.

– ceasefire today at midnight.
– A safety corridor along the M-4 highway in Syria.
– resumption of joint Russian-Turkish patrols, including along the new route

Putin also voiced hope that the deal would end civilian suffering and help contain a humanitarian crisis.

MAVRIDES: Erdogan supports jihadists in Idlib

During February Plenary the Members of European Parliament discussed the crisis in Idlib, reacting upon aggravated hostilités between Syrian Army and groups of Islamist fighers, backed by Turkey. The ongoing shelling caused a new ordeal for civilians in de-escalation zone in Idlib, agreed between Ankara and Moscow (2018) to protect refugees and prevent the flow of refugees north to Turkey.

Over 140,000 Syrians have been displaced in just three days under the offensive in the north-west of the country.

Accroding to Astana agreement Turkey was supposed to separate the armed opposition, ready for dialogue within the framework of the Syrian political process, from the militants of Khayyat Tahrir al-Sham (or Hetech, active Salafist jihadist militant group, organised as a result of fusion of six smaller ones). At the same time, the terrorists had to leave Idlib, and the pro-Turkish moderate opposition – to stay, but to withdraw all heavy weapons from the province. In fact, by the beginning of 2019, the Khayyat Tahrir Al-Sham Islamist group had established full control over the territory of Idlib. Provided by weapons and resources from Turkish territory, the fighters started to undertake raids outside the demilitarized zone, to bombard the nearest cities (for example, Aleppo), and to threaten the Russian military base Khmeimim.

Syria’s government, backed by Russia, has launched an offensive on Idlib province and southern and western Aleppo, the last stronghold jihadist armed groups.

Reacting upon the situation in Idlib, the chair of the Delegation to Mediterranean MEP Costas MAVRIDES underlined the necessity to continue eliminating terrorism in Syria, representing threat to Europe.

…Our priority is the elimination of terrorism of co-called Islamic State, and associated jihadist groups, but in has been for some years, and recently in Idlib, that number one supporter of jihadists is Turkey, and personally President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan” MAVRIDES said.

This week through the southern province of Hatay to the north-west of Syria additional military equipment and army special forces are being transferred.

Another convoy with special forces from various military units of Turkey proceeded to Idlib on February 13 during night hours. Electronic warfare complexes (EW) and armored medical vehicles were also deployed to the area of Turkish “observation posts”.

At present Turkish generals are following the order of the President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to strengthen their “observation posts” in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which have long gone beyond monitoring the situation on the ground.

The “observation” posts of the Turkish Armed Forces in the neighboring Arab Republic have become full-fledged strongholds for Islamic militants supported by Ankara, as well as points from which the positions of the Syrian army are constantly fired upon.

London jihadist released on licence

The assailant who strapped a fake bomb vest to his chest before stabbing two people in South London had been released from prison just days earlier, The Sun reports.

Sudesh Amman, 20, was being monitored by counter-terror police before the “knife obsessed” jihadi went on a rampage on Streatham High Road on Sunday afternoon.

Amman, from Harrow, North London, was sentenced to more than three years in jail for committing terror offenses but let-out on automatic release after serving half his sentence despite concerns he still held extremist views.

The ISIS-supporting jihadi, who was only a teenager when arrested, was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents.

Norway government turmoil over jihad

Norway Progress Party announced it was leaving the right-wing coalition government over the repatriation of an alleged Islamic State member and her two children last week.

We don’t compromise with people who have voluntarily joined terror organisations,” party leader Siv Jensen told reporters in Oslo.

We don’t get enough of the Progress Party’s policies through,” Jensen added.

Without the Progress Party, the coalition, headed by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, loses its majority in parliament, but she will still remain in charge.

While announcing her party’s decision, Jensen said it was “natural” that Solberg would remain Prime minister.

The 29-year-old Norwegian woman of Pakistani origin, was married to an Islamic State fighter.

The Progress Party had been in favour of bringing back the children but opposed her return, but all of them the mothere and her two children were repatriated to Norway on humanitarian grounds. The other three parties making up the coalition government ignored the objections of Progress Party and approved it.

The woman is accused of being a member of both the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State and was arrested by arrival.

Her five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, born to different jihadist fighters, have been hospitalised.

EU renews terrorist list

The Council today renewed the so-called EU terrorist list, which sets out persons, groups and entities subject to restrictive measures with a view to combating terrorism. Persons, groups and entities on the list are subject to the freezing of their funds and other financial assets in the EU. It is also prohibited for EU operators to make funds and economic resources available to them.

The Council is empowered to establish a EU list and impose related restrictive measures under Council Common Position 2001/931/CFSP, and Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001.

The Council first set up the list as implementation of UNSC Resolution 1373/2001 that followed the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It reviews the list at regular intervals, and at least every six months, on the basis of a regular exchange of information between member states on any new facts and developments relating to the listings.

This sanctions regime is separate from the EU regime implementing UN Security Council resolutions 1267 (2011), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015 and targeting Al-Qaida and ISIL/Da’esh. The EU also has its own sanction regime which allows the EU to apply sanctions autonomously to ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida and persons and entities associated or supporting them.

EU focus on counter-terrorism in Iraq

The Minister of foreign affairs discussed the latest developments in Iraq. The diplomats have been assessing the consequences of the recent escalation of tension and major security incidents in Iraq and its impact on the entire the region. They also considered the impact of these developments on the international coalition engaged in the fight against Da’esh.

Ministers have exchanged views on possible ways to de-escalate tensions both in the short and long term.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, invited to the Council has assessed the discussion with Foreign Ministers as important.

He expressed the opinion of a profound need to continue to support Iraq, fighting  international terrorism, and stay united in face of the threat.

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