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Turkey starts offensive against Kurdish militias in northern Syria

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Erdogan announced on Wednesday the start of the offensive against Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria, which aims to eradicate the “terrorist threat,” an action rejected by the Government of Damascus, because it violates its sovereignty.

The president said that the Turkish armed forces began the operation “Source of Peace” in northern Syria to prevent “the creation of a terrorist corridor along our southern border, and bring peace to the area.”

For its part, the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting closed Thursday to address the military situation in Turkey, diplomatic sources said.

The meeting, claimed by the European members of the Council (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom), will take place after another meeting, also behind closed doors, on Colombia, according to the same sources.

On the other hand, the Syrian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the hostile intentions shown by the Turkish government and the concentration of troops on the border, as they constitute a flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions, which defend unity, integrity and sovereignty of the Arab country.

He said the aggressive behavior of President Erdogan’s regime clearly shows Turkish expansionist ambitions in Syrian territory and cannot be justified under any pretext, according to the Syrian news agency SANA.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry held some Kurdish organizations responsible for the situation because of their subordination to the United States, referring to Syrian Kurdish militias, backed by Washington.

According to Turkish television reports, planes had bombed Kurdish positions in Syria across the border with Turkey.

“Turkish aviation launches heavy bombardment against the city of Ras al Ein, in the northwest of Al Hasaka province, there are also artillery attacks,” Syrian state television reported.

“The Turkish attack has also reached the town of Ayen Issa in the northern Raqqa camp,” said the Syrian agency SANA.

In this operation against the PKK / YPG (Kurdistan Workers Party / Popular Protection Units) and the terrorists of the Islamic State participate members of the Syrian National Army, a group that is an ally of the Government of Ankara.

For its part, Syria had previously condemned in the strongest terms the aggressive intentions of the Turkish regime and the concentration of its military on the Syrian border.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Turkey, a member of the Alliance, on Wednesday to “moderation” in his operation launched in northern Syria as it does not jeopardize the fight that the agency undertook against the jihadists.

The offensive, which launched Turkey in northeastern Syria, will aggravate the crisis in the Arab country and cause a new wave of refugees, said Huseín Amir Abdolahian, an advisor to the president of the Iranian Parliament.

“The Turkish operation in Syria further complicates the situation,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

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News in Turkey

Libyan Government reopens its Embassy in Syria

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The reopening of the diplomatic headquarters is taking place after 8 years of being closed due to the Syrian conflict.

With the presence of the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Rahman Al-Ahirish, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdul Hadi Al-Hawaij, and the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, the Libyan diplomatic headquarters in Damascus, Syria, was reopened.

The reopening of the embassy is a sign of support from the Libyan Government in Tobruk for the management and leadership of Bachar al-Ásad at the head of Syria.

Both countries agreed to have among the priorities of their diplomatic relations, mutual cooperation in facing common problems.

Libya is facing a crisis derived from the internal confrontations that followed the aggression against the country led by the United States in 2011, which led to the overthrow of that nation’s historic leader, Muammar al-Qadhafi.

Currently, the country operates with a duality of powers, expressed in the so-called interim government, based in Tobruk (east of the country) together with the Parliament, and the appointed Government of National Unity, based in Tripoli (northwest of Libya).

Both entities have found international support, that of Tobruk by several countries from different continents and that of Tripoli by international organizations such as the UN.

Recently, the government of Tripoli signed military cooperation agreements with Turkey, an action that the Tobruk executive has denounced as illegal, because it was not ratified by Parliament, which unleashed an escalation in tensions in the country.

For their part, Syrian and Turkish troops have been fighting in recent days, in the context of the conflict in Syria. Russia is working with both governments to find a negotiated solution to the difficulties.

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Chancellor of Russia and Turkey meet in Munich

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Lavrov said that Moscow and Ankara are conducting negotiations with the aim of fulfilling agreements on Idlib, Syria, for the normalization of the situation in that Arab country, while Cavusoglu described the meeting with the Russian foreign minister as “positive”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu met Saturday on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich, Germany.

Lavrov said that Moscow and Ankara are conducting negotiations with the aim of fulfilling the agreements on Idlib, Syria, for the normalization of the situation in that Arab country, while Cavusoglu described the meeting with the Russian chancellor as “positive”.

“Contacts between Russia and Turkey at the level of experts, diplomats, military, security services are aimed at finding ways to implement the agreements on Idlib,” Lavrov said.

The Russian chancellor stressed that the agreements between the parties do not mean the end of “an intransigent fight against terrorist groups,” although Lavrov has stated that Turkey has not fulfilled fundamental commitments to resolve the tension in Idlib.

In this sense, Russia denounced on this day that Turkey sent 70 tanks, 200 armored cars and 80 guns to Idlib, destined, fundamentally, to supply the terrorist group Al-Nusra Front.

Likewise, the Russian chancellor informed that the next meetings will take place in the next week, while Cavusoglu pointed out that it will be announced if there will be a meeting between the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Lavrov said that there are “very good relations” with Turkey without this meaning that the parties agree on everything.

For his part the Turkish Foreign Minister stressed that “we must not allow the Syrian problem to weaken our cooperation and our relations”.

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Turkey reports that 76,000 migrants crossed into Europe

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However, the figure was very different from the statistics provided by Greece and independent observers who claimed that there were 13,000 migrants along the border.

More than 76,000 migrants crossed from Turkey into the European Union after the Turkish government allowed them to cross at Edirne, on the border with Bulgaria and Greece, revealed Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

“By 09H55 the number of migrants who left our country through Edirne reached 76,358,” Soylu posted on his Twitter account.

The new figure means that more than 29,000 people have crossed the border since 11:50pm on Saturday.

Turkish television stations have been showing since early morning how groups of refugees are travelling by bus to Edirne, the province on Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria.

However, the figure differs greatly from the statistics provided by Greece and independent observers such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which says that there are 13,000 migrants along the border.

Around half a thousand people arrived on the islands of the eastern Aegean this Sunday, showing an increase in arrivals by sea off the Greek coast since Turkey announced last Friday that it could no longer hold refugees.

On Lesbos, one of the islands that has seen the largest number of asylum seekers in years, groups of residents this morning blocked the buses carrying the newly arrived migrants to the camp in Moria.

According to local media, groups of islanders are blocking all roads leading to the notorious refugee camp.

Greece has prevented the entry of nearly 10,000 migrants from Turkey in the past 24 hours, government sources said.

From 06:00 (04:00 GMT) on Saturday until the same time on Sunday, “9,972 entries were prevented in the Evros region,” according to a press release from the Kastanian border post in northeastern Greece.

At 2am on Sunday (00am GMT), the police and army prevented “an organized attempt by migrants to cross the border en masse”, the statement said.

According to Greek Deputy Defense Minister Alkibiadis Stefanis, some 9,972 attempts at illegal entry were prevented on Saturday night.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan linked yesterday’s decision to facilitate the passage of refugees to Greece to the lack of support from the European Union to Turkey against the regime of Damascus in Syria, after the escalation of violence between the two armies in the province of Idlib.

With his decision to open the border with Europe, President Erdogan was carrying out an old threat of allowing refugees to enter the continent.

Turkey’s decision to open its borders with Europe coincides with a military escalation in northwest Syria that has led to increasing direct confrontations between Turkish and Syrian forces.

The European Borders and Coasts Agency (Frontex) has announced the reinforcement of its personnel and equipment in Greece, in view of the situation created on the borders with Turkey and the constant increase in refugees trying to reach European territory.

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