Tag Archives: ceasefire

The Latest: Erdogan rejects call for ceasefire in Syria

The Latest: Erdogan rejects call for ceasefire in SyriaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he rejects a call from U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a ceasefire and halt Turkey’s military offensive in northeastern Syria. Turkey’s leader also told a group of journalists Tuesday that he is not concerned about the presence of Syrian government troops moving into the city of Manbij, but does not want Syrian Kurdish fighters to remain.



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Tripoli Fighting Intensifies as Rivals Ignore Ceasefire Call

Tripoli Fighting Intensifies as Rivals Ignore Ceasefire CallMitiga International Airport, Libya’s largest, temporarily suspended flights after the airstrike, which the UN’s secretary-general, Antonio Gutteres, condemned. In a statement, Gutteres urged an immediate halt to hostilities “to prevent an all-out conflict.” Ahmed al-Mismari, spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army, said his forces were targeting two military aircraft and were not intending to disrupt passenger traffic.



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Fighting flares in battle for Tripoli despite UN appeal for ceasefire in Libya

Fighting flares in battle for Tripoli despite UN appeal for ceasefire in LibyaFighting has flared in southern Tripoli as General Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National  Army (LNA) intensified its assault on the capital despite a United Nations appeal for a cease fire.  The United Nations mission to Libya (Unsmil) called for an "urgent" two hour truce to allow the evacuation of civilians and wounded from Tripoli's southern suburbs on Sunday, where troops loyal to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) were battling to halt the LNA assault on the city.  But the violence saw no sign of abating, with Gen Haftar's forces launching at least one airstrike on a Tripoli suburb, and witnesses reported hearing grad rockets firing to the south of the city.  The airstrike was the LNA's first use of air power in the battle. It came after pro-government forces launched air-raids on Saturday.  Militiamen from the western city of Misrata head into Tripoli to reinforce the UN-backed government  Credit: STRINGER/EPA-EFE/REX Clashes were concentrated on the mainly farmland area of Wadi Raba and the disused international airport, 15 miles south of the capital. Haftar's forces claimed to have seized the airport on Saturday.  Colonel Mohamed Gnounou, a spokesman for pro-government forces, on Sunday said a counter offensive had been launched to push Haftar’s troops back.  He said operation "Volcano of Anger" was aimed at "purging all Libyan cities of aggressor and illegitimate forces", in reference to Haftar fighters. Pro-GNA forces have been reinforced by powerful militia groups from the western city of Misrata, Zintan, and Zawiya. At least one armed group from Misrata known as Brigade 166 arrived Saturday in eastern Tripoli, according to AFP.  The health ministry in Tripoli said at least 21 people were killed and 27 wounded in the fighting. The United States, which maintains a small contingent in the country to protect diplomatic facilities and help local forces fight al-Qaeda, said it was withdrawing some of its troops for security reasons.  A handout photo made available by Libyan Army Media office on 05 April 2019 shows Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (R) shaking hands with commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar (L) in Benghazi, eastern Libya  Credit: LIBYAN ARMY MEDIA OFFICE HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX "The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable," said Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command. "Even with an adjustment of the force, we will continue to remain agile in support of existing U.S. strategy." Libya has been divided between various armed groups since the Nato-backed uprising that overthrew Muammar Gadaffi in 2011.  The main centres of power are the Tripoli-based GNA, and a rival administration allied to Gen Haftar in the east of the country. Gen Haftar has portrayed himself as a bulwark against militant Islamists and has received military backing from Egypt, France, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. He is also endorsed by a Saudi Arabia-based Salafist cleric and recently met Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in Riyadh.     Critics say he wants to be a Gaddafi-style dictator, and his assault on Tripoli is widely seen as a bid to change facts on the ground ahead of a UN-sponsored national reconciliation conference later this month.  The move has drawn international condemnation and analysts say it is not yet clear his forces are capable of defeating the alliance of groups defending Tripoli.



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Thousands protest at Israel-Gaza fence amid cease-fire deal

Thousands protest at Israel-Gaza fence amid cease-fire dealGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Palestinians thronged the perimeter fence between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday as the weekly, bloody demonstrations rolled into their second year.



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Cease-fire talks continue ahead of Gaza anniversary rally

Cease-fire talks continue ahead of Gaza anniversary rallyGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas progressed Friday, the leader of the Islamic militant group said, as the Gaza Strip braced for renewed violence on the eve of the first anniversary of its weekly protests along the frontier with Israel.



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Egyptian cease-fire mediators shuttle between Israel, Gaza

Egyptian cease-fire mediators shuttle between Israel, GazaJERUSALEM (AP) — Egyptian mediators pressed ahead Thursday with efforts to broker a cease-fire between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, even as the sides braced for the possibility of renewed violence this weekend.



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Wary calm as Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ends fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza

Wary calm as Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ends fighting between Hamas and Israel in GazaA wary calm returned to Gaza and southern Israel on Tuesday after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire brought an end to hours of intense fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas. Israeli jets struck targets throughout Gaza on Monday night, including the offices of the Islamist group’s leader, while Hamas and other Palestinian factions fired rockets at Israeli towns and cities.  No fatalities were reported on either side although several people were injured in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.  The escalation was sparked by Hamas firing a rocket that wounded several members of a British-Israeli family on Monday morning.  At around 10pm on Monday, Egyptian mediators managed to broker a ceasefire between the two sides, as they have done during several other flare-ups of violence in recent months.  The ceasefire took several hours to take hold and airstrikes and rocket fire continued in the early hours of Tuesday. Millions of civilians on both sides spent the night in fear as the fighting continued.  Palestinians sit with their belongings in a street outside their destroyed house after an Israeli missile targeted a nearby Hamas site, in Gaza City Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem However, by mid-morning the situation was tense but calm. Palestinian children went to school in Gaza as usual but school was cancelled for Israeli children in several districts in the country’s south.  Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, cut short a trip to Washington to return to Israel to manage the situation. Mr Netanyahu, who is also Israel’s defence minister, was due to arrive in Israel in the afternoon and hold meetings with security chiefs.  “We have responded very, very forcefully,” Mr Netanyahu said before departing Washington.  “Hamas needs to know that we will not hesitate to go in and take all necessary steps – regardless of anything, any date, other than Israel’s security needs.” The Israeli leader is seeking re-election for a fifth term in office when Israelis go to the polls on April 9. He is under pressure from political opponents on both the Centre and the Right to strike forcefully against Hamas.  Hamas hailed Monday night’s violence as a victory for its cause. “Gaza and the resistance in Gaza are unbreakable. The will of Gaza will always defeat the occupation; Gaza will break the siege and live free and in dignity,” a spokesman said.  Hamas is under intense pressure within Gaza to raise living standards and deal with horrendous economic conditions in the strip, where unemployment is at around 50 per cent.  Anti-Hamas protesters took to the streets last week under the slogan “We Want To Live”. Hamas responded with a major crackdown and arrested dozens of people. Egypt and the UN have been trying to broker a long-term deal which would see Hamas promise to stop attacks on Israel in return for Israel lifting its crushing 12-year blockade on Gaza.  However, the negotiations have yielded few results and Hamas is believed to be trying to inject fresh urgency into the talks by firing rockets while at the same time avoiding a full-blown war.



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U.S.-Taliban talks focus on Afghan ceasefire

U.S.-Taliban talks focus on Afghan ceasefireThe meeting in Abu Dhabi is at least the third time that U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met Taliban representatives as diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year war have intensified this year. Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. delegation was pressing for a six-month truce as well as an agreement to name Taliban representatives to a future caretaker government. In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the Taliban said the talks had mainly concentrated on the “U.S. occupation”, adding: “Nothing about interim government, ceasefire, election or other internal issues has been discussed”.



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Fierce clashes in Hodeidah lead to delay of ceasefire

Fierce clashes in Hodeidah lead to delay of ceasefireFierce clashes broke out in Yemen’s crucial port city of Hodeidah on Sunday, leading UN and Yemeni officials to delay the "official" start of the hard-fought ceasefire agreed last week. Residents reported skirmishes on the outskirts of town with missiles and automatic gunfire heard near the city's eastern 7th July suburb.  Unconfirmed television reports said that the Saudi-led coalition had launched two airstrikes on Ras Isa, a port north of Hodeidah. On Thursday, the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels agreed to a UN-brokered truce in Hodeidah with the Saudi-led coalition that backs the official government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  UN officials said it was necessary to delay the implementation of the ceasefire until December 18th to convey orders to troops on the ground.  On Sunday afternoon, UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths issued a plea to both to “respect their obligations as per the text and the spirit of the Stockholm Agreement” and “engage in the immediate representation of its provisions.” "Without peace, we will be facing in 2019 a much worse situation than today" as a result of food shortages, warned UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday. Hodeidah is almost completely controlled by the Houthis, and their withdrawal from key positions like the port is one of the central components of the UN-brokered deal reached last week in Sweden. By moving units away from the Red Sea port, international officials hope to get desperately needed food and aid into the country to ease Yemen’s festering humanitarian crisis. Under the deal, which could create the breathing space for meaningful peace talks, international monitors are to be deployed in Hodeidah to observe as all armed forces pull back completely within 21 days of the start of the ceasefire. Skirmishes and clashes like those seen in Hodeidah over the past two days are not in themselves a sign that the ceasefire is doomed, said independent Yemen analyst Hisham Al-Omeisy. “Even in previous ceasefires, there was a huge de-escalation infighting, but still sporadic fighting here and there, like we’ve seen over the past few days,” he told the Telegraph. He cited recent conversations with Houthi contacts where the atmosphere in Hodeidah was cited as “toxic” and characterised by a deep mistrust of the Saudi-led coalition. A rise in looting by Houthi forces, he said, showed "bad faith" ahead of the agreed withdrawal. 



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Yemenis fear collapse of UN-backed ceasefire accord

Yemenis fear collapse of UN-backed ceasefire accordResidents of Yemen’s flashpoint port of Hodeida and other cities fear a UN-brokered ceasefire could collapse at any moment, saying that after four years of conflict any accord is deeply fragile. The Red Sea port of Hodeida, a main frontline between rebels and loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition and a key conduit of aid, had woken to calm after weeks of confrontation. Saturday morning saw calm return to Hodeida, but shops and schools remained shuttered as gunmen deployed in the south and east.



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