Tag Archives: truce

Deadly Turkish airstrikes hit Syria hours after U.S.-brokered truce

Deadly Turkish airstrikes hit Syria hours after U.S.-brokered truceDeadly Turkish airstrikes Friday shattered an hours-old U.S.-brokered deal to stop Ankara's military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.



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Syria Truce Shaky as Erdogan, Kurds Disagree on What It Means

Syria Truce Shaky as Erdogan, Kurds Disagree on What It Means(Bloomberg) — Kurdish fighters say they have no intention of withdrawing from Syria’s entire northeastern border — but that’s exactly what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects to happen under the cease-fire accord brokered by the U.S. on Thursday.The conflicting interpretations point to the fragility of the five-day truce deal, which is already being tested with reports of continuing skirmishes between Turkish forces and Syria’s Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of an autonomous administration in the northeast.Ankara says the YPG is linked to Kurdish separatists that it has battled for decades, and launched an offensive into northeastern Syria more than a week ago to push the group back from its border.After days of fighting, Turkey’s army now controls less than 120 kilometers (75 miles) of the frontier between the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. But it wants to create a buffer zone on hundreds more, stretching from the Euphrates River in the west to the Iraqi border in the east.The deal struck by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Erdogan — under which American troops would guide a YPG exit — was vague on detail. But Turkey has made its interpretation clear.Turkish officials including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were quick to boast that they had been given pretty much all they desired.With the ink on the agreement barely dry, Erdogan made it clear that the Kurds must leave a zone 444 km long and as deep as 32 km.“If their promise is not kept the minute when the 120th hour ends, then our operation will continue with even more determination from where it was left off,” Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday.Turkey, U.S. Agree to Brief Cease-Fire to Allow Kurdish RetreatBut the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, General Mazloum Abdi, sees it differently. He said Thursday night the cease-fire deal was limited to the 120-km stretch between Tal Abyad and Ras Al-Ayn.Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for the Syria conflict who was with Pence in Ankara, highlighted the potential obstacle to a lasting deal.“The Turks talk about an aspirational safe zone,” he said, while the U.S. has only defined a central section of the northeast corridor, where Turkish forces have penetrated as deep as 30 kilometers. With Kurdish-led forces vowing not to accept a “Turkish occupation of Syrian territory,” the fighting might not be over yet.Amid differing views on the zone, there were reports of sporadic clashes, airstrikes and Turkish shelling in the area, resulting in the death of 14 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group.Most of the fighting in northeast Syria has stopped, a U.S. official said, asking not to be identified. It will take time for things to completely quiet down, which is usually the case in situations like this, the official said.(Updates on casualties, U.S. official view on truce.)\–With assistance from Justin Sink.To contact the reporter on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at shacaoglu@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net;Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net;Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Saudis threaten UN-brokered truce in strike near Yemeni port city

Saudis threaten UN-brokered truce in strike near Yemeni port cityThe Saudi-led military coalition launched an air strike north of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah early on Friday morning, amidst heightened tensions following a weekend strike against Saudi oil installations. The coalition said it had struck only “legitimate military targets,” and had succeeded in destroying four sites used to assemble maritime drones and sea mines by Houthi fighters. “These sites are used to carry out attacks and terrorist operations that threaten shipping lines and international trade in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the southern Red Sea,” said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki in a statement. Houthi forces who control the area were quick to brand the strike a “dangerous escalation”, saying it violated a UN ceasefire agreement reached last year in Sweden. While the strike took place north of the city, it was within Hodeidah governate and as such violates the terms of the agreement. “The coalition will bear the responsibility of this escalation which is also a test to the United Nations,” said Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam on Twitter. But some argue this is only the latest in a series of violations on both sides. “There has been so much escalation in and around the city, but often when the Houthis break ceasefires they are labelled skirmishes,” said Fatima Alsarar of the Middle East Institute. “The focus has been so much on the Saudi-led coalition because it’s a partner to the United States and you expect them to behave responsibly, but the Houthis are expected to behave like a militia so the bar is so much lower.” “There’s also pressure to see Hodeidah agreement work, and this is unfortunate because the UN always says the ceasefire has been successful otherwise. But people have died. This is just an effort to make the agreement look more successful than it has been.” Yemen displaced Hodeidah is a vital port city on the Red Sea, not only for humanitarian access but because it is used by the Houthis to smuggle in missile parts and small weapons from their backers in Iran. As a result, the city has been at the centre of conflict for the majority of the five-year war. The Saudi-led coalition, which receives Western backing, have been engaged in Yemen's civil war since 2015 after Houthi forces, backed by Iran, ousted the internationally recognised government in the capital Sana'a in late 2014. Some suspect Friday’s strikes were a retaliation for attacks on Saudi oil installations on Saturday, which were later claimed by the Houthi movement. But experts have ruled out Houthi responsibility, arguing forensic evidence shows the attacks came from Iran, the Houthis’ principal ally in the region. “This attack seems symbolic and packaged for a domestic audience,” said Peter Salisbury, Senior Analyst at Crisis Group. “The Saudis likely felt the need to demonstrate their willingness to respond to Houthi cross-border attacks. They’ve struck this site before which raises questions about the utility of such a strike expect for show.” “Yemen, in the eyes of some in the Riyadh and elsewhere, represents the low-hanging fruit in terms of demonstrating a willingness to retaliate against Iran,” he added. The Houthis, for their part, are happy to be used as a scapegoat in Yemen for Iran in order to reach their ultimate objective, according to Ms Alasrar: “Iran thrives on creating confusion, it aims to deflect and say: look at the Houthis, look at the Saudis, we’re not doing anything. They’re sending a message to the US that they need to respect their authority while also denying involvement.”



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Clashes undermine fragile truce over Jerusalem holy site

Clashes undermine fragile truce over Jerusalem holy siteIt wasn’t inevitable that the overlap of Jewish and Muslim holidays would lead to clashes at a Jerusalem site deeply revered by both faiths. After an outcry by right-wing Israeli leaders, the police reversed an earlier decision to bar the Jewish visitors and let them in, as stun grenades echoed and tear gas filled the air.



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China says Trump, Xi reach trade truce

China says Trump, Xi reach trade trucePresident Donald Trump declared relations with China were “right back on track” after he and President Xi Jinping sought Saturday to de-escalate a prolonged trade war between the economic powerhouses despite doubts about either’s willingness to compromise on a long term solution. Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, said the leaders had agreed to a new cease-fire in a yearlong trade war, adding that stalled trade talks would resume and the U.S. would hold off on threatened additional tariffs on Chinese goods. The apparent truce marks a pattern for talks between Trump and Xi, who have professed their friendship with each other and hit the pause button on protectionist measures after their conversations, only to see negotiations later break down over the contentious details.



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Truce in US-China trade war as 2 rivals seek breakthrough

Truce in US-China trade war as 2 rivals seek breakthroughPresident Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed to a cease-fire Saturday in their nations' yearlong trade war, averting for now an escalation feared by financial markets, businesses and farmers. Trump said U.S. tariffs will remain in place against Chinese imports while negotiations continue. "We're going to work with China where we left off," Trump said after a lengthy meeting with Xi while the leaders attended the Group of 20 summit in Osaka.



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Palestinians protest on Gaza-Israel fence after truce

Palestinians protest on Gaza-Israel fence after truceThousands of Palestinians protested along the volatile Gaza-Israel frontier on Friday, hours after Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers confirmed an agreement to honor a past cease-fire. The unofficial truce, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, emphasizes calm in exchange for Israeli measures to improve living conditions in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. Gaza’s health ministry said 19 of them were wounded by live fire.



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U.S., China agree tentative trade truce ahead of G20 summit: SCMP

U.S., China agree tentative trade truce ahead of G20 summit: SCMPDetails of the agreement, which would halt the next round of U.S. tariffs on an additional $ 300 billion of Chinese goods, are being laid out in press releases and will be out as coordinated press releases and not a joint statement, the newspaper said. Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump is conditional upon Washington agreeing to such a tentative agreement, SCMP reported, citing one source with knowledge of the plans.



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Eastern Libyan forces conduct air strikes on Tripoli as U.N. fails to reach truce

Eastern Libyan forces conduct air strikes on Tripoli as U.N. fails to reach truceThe Libyan National Army (LNA) force of Khalifa Haftar, which backs a parallel administration in the east, last week launched an advance on Tripoli in the west, home to the internationally recognized government. The offensive intensifies a power struggle that has fractured the oil and gas producer since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The LNA reached the southern outskirts of the capital on Friday and says it took the former international airport, though the Tripoli military officials deny this.



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Clashes rage in Libya despite UN truce call

Clashes rage in Libya despite UN truce callFighting raged south of Libya’s capital Sunday despite a UN call for a two-hour ceasefire, as forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar and the internationally recognised government exchanged air strikes. The unity government said the fighting had killed 21 people, while the United Nations said there had been “no truce” despite calls for a two-hour pause in fighting for civilians and the wounded to flee. Oil-rich Libya has been riven by chaos since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, as rival administrations and armed groups have battled for power.



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