Tag Archives: terrorism

Borrell on situation in Idlib

“The war in Syria is now in its ninth year. The most severe humanitarian catastrophe and security crisis is unfolding right now in the northwest of the country. In other parts of Syria we continue to see instability and dramatic human suffering.

“Last Thursday we heard the United Nations Special Envoy [Geir] Pedersen and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA] Mark Lowcock briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Idlib. They described how regime forces, aided by Russia and Iran, are launching heavy military offensives with no regard for the civilian population or civilian infrastructure. “We appear to have lost sight of the principle of proportionality”, United Nations Special Envoy [Pedersen] said.

“The intensification of military operations in Idlib has resulted in the indiscriminate killings of hundreds of civilians. Attacks continue on civilian targets in densely populated areas, medical facilities and settlements for internally displaced people. These are blatant and serious violations of international humanitarian law. There has to be accountability for those responsible.

“Since military operations began in Idlib in February 2019, one year ago, more than 1 million people have been displaced towards Turkey. We are talking about one million displaced people in one year. Every day more Syrians are fleeing the fighting and another wave of refugees is quite possibly in the making.

“We also see clashes between the Syrian regime and Turkish forces, plus the risk of Turkish and Russian militaries confronting each other. These tensions could in turn trigger a wider regional conflict. The ceasefire agreed between Ankara and Moscow must be implemented.

“This is the situation. Now, let me say this. After almost a decade of violence, the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the regime and its backers must cease. Too many people have died, and those that are alive face a bleak future.

“The EU has major stakes in Syria and in the surrounding region. We cannot afford more regional instability and another migrant crisis. We must avoid a resurgence of Da’esh and other terrorist organisations at Europe’s doorstep. The EU has a duty to preserve the rules based international order including the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council. Yes, I know, we say that once again and we have to continue saying that.

“Recent military gains by the Syrian regime are not translating into stability, on the contrary. The Syrian regime will not bring peace and stability to Syria if it continues to pursue a military logic and the repression of its people. The economic situation is deteriorating rapidly, exacerbated by the banking crisis in Lebanon. The regime must change its behaviour.

“[Honourable] Members of the European Parliament, we have stated from the very beginning that only a comprehensive and inclusive political solution in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 will allow sustainable peace and stability in Syria and the region.

“The European Union will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy Pedersen in relaunching the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. We also need to focus on other parts of this resolution [UNSCR 2254] such as a nationwide ceasefire, the release of detainees and getting progress on the file of missing persons.

“Let’s recall that the European Union is and remains the largest humanitarian donor in relation to crisis in Syria and to its people, both inside [Syria] and to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries. We are supporting the resilience of ordinary civilians and civil society to maintain the social fabric of Syrian society.

“We are convinced that our support is a fundamental investment – it is not an expenditure it is an investment – in the future of Syria and the region which is part of our future. And as a partner in the Global Coalition to defeat Da’esh, the EU is conducting stabilisation projects in the north east of Syria.

“We are always prepared to do more on all these lines of action, within the limits of our common redlines. These are: no normalisation with the regime; no risking of our funding being diverted to the regime or to terrorists, and no reconstruction before a political process is firmly under way. Syria: Speech by HR/VP Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria, on February 12.

“Honourable members, we will continue to apply European Union sanctions targeting individuals and entities associated with the regime and responsible for its repressive and inhuman policies, and not the Syrian people.

“As I said before: the conflict in Syria is a geopolitical struggle. The European Union has a responsibility to lead, for the sake of the Syrian people and to protect our own interests. While difficult, we must redouble our efforts to identify common interests with other international stakeholders, Russia, U.S., Turkey and others.

“Maybe I will have the occasion to update you on our discussions in Washington about this issue. ” Strasbourg, European Parliament Plenary, Syria: Speech by High Representative Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria.

Gent: knife attack under investigation

A women has been shot by Belgium police after attacking two pedestrians with knife in busy street of #Gent, one of the top European destinations for cultural tourism.

The incident took place just minutes after a similar attack in #Streatham in London.

AMENDED:

The street name is “Bevrijdingslaan” which in translation from Dutch means “Liberation” lane. The incident took place in late afternoon, around 16:00 Local time.

AMENDED:
A woman was allegedly hit and injured in the hand by the police, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. She allegedly tried to stab two people with a knife. Also according to our colleagues from Het Laatste Nieuws, the victims with knife wounds were taken to hospital but their lives were not in danger. Local police and the East Flanders public prosecutor’s office are investigating the incident but are not yet able to provide further information.

An investigating judge has been summoned and the facts are under investigation. There is currently no indication that the incident at the Bevrijdingslaan in Ghent is an act of terrorism. This is reported by the Ghent service of the public prosecutor’s office of East Flanders, which does not give more details on the judicial investigation.

In the UK “a man has been shot by armed officers in #Streatham. At this stage it is believed a number of people have been stabbed. The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related. Please follow @metpoliceuk for updates” London police wrote on Twitter microblog.

AMENDED:

Stabbings occurring hours apart in #London and Belgian city of #Ghent are being treated as terrorism. Both instances bear telltale signs of #ISIS-inspired attacks: knives, random soft targets on busy streets, etc. No claim yet from any group, though” the director of SITE Intelligence group Rita Katz writes on her Twitter micro blog.

“#ISIS-linked groups have taken to celebrating #londonattack & #Belgium stabbings, posting old and new posters & statements across various platforms. It would not be surprising if #ISIS #Amaq news claims soon, calling perps “Soldiers of the Islamic State,” indicating IS-inspired” Katz concluded.

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.

Putin thanks Trump for counter-terrorism cooperation

Vladimir Putin called to Donald Trump to thank him for what White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said was “information the United States provided that helped foil a potential holiday terrorist attack in Russia.”

No details were provided, but Moscow announced it had thwarted attacks reportedly planned in St. Petersburg thanks to the information from Washington.

American and Russian Presidents discussed the state of relations between their two countries in a phone call instigated by Putin, the White House said.

President Putin of Russia called to thank me and the U.S. for informing them of a planned terrorist attack in the very beautiful city of Saint Petersburg. They were able to quickly apprehend the suspects, with many lives being saved. Great and important coordination!” President Trump wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

Stabbing incident in The Hague

The are reports of people stabbed in a knife attack at a department store in a busy shopping street in The Hague, Dutch police say.

Police are searching for a man aged between 45 and 50, wearing a grey jogging tracksuit, who they believe may be behind the attack. Images on social media showed emergency services at the scene amid shoppers crowds of Black Friday.

The incident happened at the Hudson’s Bay store in the city’s historic Grote Markt or main market square area, local reports say.

Video posted to social media showed dozens of shoppers running in the busy shopping street.
At present there is no information about the number of injured and their condidtion released.
Police ask to stay vigilent, and avoid the area of the Grote Markt.

Dutch police has announced they “stopped reporting” on Twitter on stabbing incident, but the investigation would take its cause.

NATO: French flag half-mast

The flags of France are at half-mast outside NATO Headquarters to honour the fallen French soldiers in Mali.

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants.

A Tiger attack helicopter crashed into a Cougar military transport mid-air as it manoeuvred to engage the militants, who were fleeing on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks.
The two aircraft collapsed not far from each other, killing everyone on board including six commandos and an officer.

It is the heaviest toll in a single combat operation since 1986 when a French sea surveillance plane crashed into a mountain in northern Djibouti with the loss of 19 soldiers.

Estonia is one of the Allies of France, expressing it profound condolences. It is also
about to commit 160 military personnel to international operations, along with 234 service members to readiness units, next year. This includes a continued contribution to the French-led anti-insurgency Operation Barkhane, in the West African country of Mali, for which 95 personnel will be assigned. The Barkhane contingent will increase from 50 to 95 troops, and special operations forces will be deployed.

Europol cyber offensive against IS

Between 21-24 November, law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe launched a joint action against the so-called Islamic State (IS) to disrupt the online activities of this terrorist organisation.

The referral action coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit of Europol, supported by Eurojust was joined by 12 Member States and 9 online service providers. It led to the referral of a total of over 26 000 items of IS-supporting content. This process is based on the referral by Europol of branded terrorist propaganda to online service providers who are responsible for evaluating it to establish any potential breach of their terms of service, to ensure that the rule of law is implemented and freedom of speech is safeguarded.

The operation was led by the Belgian Investigating Counter Terrorism Judge and the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office, together with the Belgian Federal Judicial Police of East-Flanders.

Within this operation the Guardia Civil carried out an arrest in Spain of an individual suspected of being part of the core disseminators of IS terrorist propaganda online. This arrest was carried out in coordination with the Central Magistrate’s Investigating Courts number 3 and 5, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Audiencia Nacional.
 

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